Tuesday, July 31, 2012


You offered me
dewberry tea
with a dismal lack of grace,
a weather bitten wink,
a warped tooth leer across your face.

I could see you were ill-nurtured;
still, to the ruttish I'm a friend.
But, when I saw the pox
midst your comb-over locks;
I thought my kidneys would cave right in!

I won't stoop to call you beast, Sir,
craven, or a varlot,
but next time you come
reeling out the weed
bring good malt
or find a cross-eyed harlot!

Poetic Words 2 for Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, July 30, 2012

Skinner Box

I am mortal inside this humble structure,
but I have the threat of hell
and a promised portion of paradise.

I have senses,
but I exert my will
to deny them what they want
at least a third of the time.

My fears and frailties
fail to penetrate
my (un)consciousness,
and I am blindly dependent
on the drug of destiny.

By any objective measure,
I prove the science I abhor

and the effectiveness of the Skinner Box.

From Wikipedia:  A Skinner Box "permits experimenters to study behavior conditioning by teaching a subject animal to perform certain actions (like pressing a lever) in response to specific stimuli, like a light or sound signal.  When the subject correctly performs the behavior, the chamber mechanism delivers food or another reward.  In some cases, the mechanism delivers a punishment for incorrect or missing responses.

Poetic Words (List 1).  Submitted to Open Link Monday at Real Toads.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wayward Arrows

From my bow, six wayward arrows
arc sublime to rough the sun's halls.
Oh, fly fast, my sharpened sparrows!
Pierce proud channels through the sky walls.
Attack the clouds and break them all!
They'll settle on our drying bones
and our once rich and robust homes;
falling frenzy on the marrow
of  life left marked by tilting stones
and a flight of wayward arrows.

Sunday Whirl words in a dizain for Kerry's (brutal!) Sunday challenge at Real Toads.
Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I Tried

I tried, but could not
catch the bird whose song I heard
lilting through the leaves.
Stay and lie with me.
Let me coo, soft, at your breast.
Maybe, she'll return.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

If They Can't Take A Joke

On the tip
of my intemperate tongue
is a tasteless joke
inappropriate giggles
from the guts of grief.
Snickers and snorts
of every sort
crash against the cracks
of my crumbling composure.
Finally, I let it loose -
the gallows guffaw
of a hanged man
struggling for balance
at the end of a fraying rope.

Hat trick!  A sound for Think Tank Thursday, balance for dVerse, and . . . 55 words for my G-Man!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Night's hieroglyphics are plain to me
as initials carved on a tree.
Graffiti is history.
History, graffiti.
Stars shine with secrets.
Moons fill to tell.
Then, sunrise
steals my

Submitted to Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

That June

We agreed that Michael Stipe
couldn't sing, but he could write.
And, hip hop was a fungus
that would kill acoustic soon.
Playing Thursday gigs for Pearls,
resolutely amateur -
the nights so humid
the guitars went out of tune

that June.
That June.

Monday mornings we'd ditch German Lit and Culture
to go smoke fairy rings behind the Student U.
We'd settle back against the dying tree roots.
Three summer credits; we couldn't graduate too soon

that June.
That June.

Now Monday mornings, I'm drinking coffee through a straw.
Got student loans to pay; I gotta suck up to my boss.
Monday mornings - migraines and anxiety.
Monday mornings ain't like they used to be

that June.
That June.

Some of Shawna's words for Open Link Night at dVerse

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Woman's History

Five times
she survived
at home without a doctor.

She buried two babies.

When harvest crews took the fields
she spent the heat of her days
cooking meals
for fifty or better.

She ate last and cleared the plates alone.

And, every Sunday
she attended church
wearing her finest hat.
Whether she prayed 
or demanded an explanation,
nobody knows.

For Ella's prompt at Real Toads.  The picture is not mine; it ended up with my watermark when I cropped it, and I'm too lazy to figure out how to get it off.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


This poem

would have turned poets into rock stars,
renewed the human spirit,
and cured cancer . . .

but I got distracted.

For Theme Thursday

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Devil

The devil dresses me down
to a trifle scrap of lace,
powders sweat from my face,
and curls ringlets in my hair.

The pulse inside my wrist
he scents with tears of absinthe
then tongues his judas kiss
in the palms of my dirty hands.

For Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Roadside Stand


bells of bones
and pretty stones
string them for the wind that blows
east to west
stealing words
stealing sage sweet breath.


from roadside stands
to catch the eye
and money in hand
of some white man
and his lady;
they don't sleep well at night.

Neither do I.

Fiction in 55 words for my G-Man!

Monday, July 16, 2012


When there's a lull
between one thing and the next,

the question comes

how do I feel?

Also submitted to Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I whispered until the sky came closer
and haloed the dark around my nightspeak lips.
And that's how constellations arose here,
lit by longing and crafted by a wish
for a storm starry night, a breathless kiss,
and a water moon pooled between my thighs
to hungry harbor any sailing ships
led lost by my constellations' lies.

A Huitain for Kerry's Challenge at Real Toads
Also submitted to Poetry Pantry

Saturday, July 14, 2012

French Today

Give me wine
instead of whine
and cheese
instead of Cheez-Its.
Give me quaint, street side cafes
instead of Chuck E. Cheese's.
Give me chic!  Give me style!
Listen to what I say.
Give me a break and take these kids.
Mom is French today.

Inspired by a fairly recent bestseller (Bringing up Bebe).  It claims that French mothers are far more relaxed and happy than their American counterparts.

For Karin's prompt at dVerse.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thirteen Seeds

Thirteen seeds in a beggar's hand.
Sun comes free, but he ain't got land.
He won't get a plot of his own
till he's buried without a stone.

But, beggar - he's a thinkin' man.
Keeps road dust in a coffee can.
Gathers dirt wherever he goes,
and that beggar man plants and grows
his thirteen seeds.

Thirteen seeds in a Folger's can
are treasure to the beggar man.
Then the guvmint screams "taxes owed!"
and comes to take the "land" he stole,
leavin' him with nothin' to show
for thirteen seeds.

For Mary's Challenge at Real Toads

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What We Wore

as the buttons on a barfly's dress.
We wore madness
when we dressed to impress.
And, disappointed butterflies
with our tasteless flowers.

You let me sleep
when the house caught fire.
You bound my feet
with ribbons and barbed wire.
Ran me down like rain
on a window pane,
but I didn't go.

I just had to know
what it was like to hurt for love.

Sanity wears a somber suit.
Maturity favors darker hues.
Sobriety's a hair shirt;
sometimes I still itch.

I think about you every summertime
when the days are longer
and the sun stretches out the time
it beats down like pain
until a window of rain
opens in the sky

to let a storm blow by.
And, I know better
than to call it love.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Down At The Local

Down at the local suck-n-fuck,
time pole dances
a slow strip of past progress
while her newly literate patrons
peruse fifty shades of poorly written porn
and mutter to themselves,
"I knew it!"

Shades of social commentary on Fifty Shades of Grey for Kenia's Challenge at Real Toads

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wood Of The Widow Maker

She is wood of the widow maker tree.
Sap sticky seed
of the first man to ask
and the last to leave
before famine took the fields.

She is a snake strung bow.
Drawn of the drink
of the first man to come
and the last to go.
Circles sink to dust and yield

when she steps like a goddess,
and homegrown.

for Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, July 9, 2012

Other Housewives

Other housewives
linger longer
at the stove
they know they ought to
have a hot, fresh meal prepared
when Sir Lord Alpha wanders home.

My tongue stings citrus,
working word fruit from the rind.

Other housewives
jog with strollers
around the block
sun on their shoulders
and greet neighbors like eternity
has passed since they last spoke.

I jumble half-folded clothes into drawers,
subtracting sounds that fall too easy.

Other housewives
keep the balls
moving through the air
and spurn the flaws
they've concealed for years;
months of magazines beside the bed show them how it's done.

I stink of ink and am artfully ignorant.


A wink and a nod to Kerry's awesome piece at Skywriting.

Submitted to The Sunday Whirl and Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Friday, July 6, 2012


I swallow uncertainty
like a pill.
Head thrown back.
Eyes clenched shut.
Throat closed in rebellion.

I swallow a pill
to like uncertainty
just a little more
than I like Mitt Romney,
high humidity,
or a pelvic exam.

for Theme Thursday

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boxed Up / Boxed In

Those parts of me that left you cold,
my laugh too loud and eyes too bold,
I packed them in a box somewhere
to ease your fear a look or stare
would mark me different from the fold.

Together, quickly, we grew old.
Quicker still all the lies we'd told
to make ourselves seem much more fair
than real can be.

Now, I search for that battered, old
box to see if it might still hold
those parts of me I hid in there,
the parts of me that never cared
for doing just as I was told;
the best of me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Your ghost comma curls around my shoulders
when I go walking late at night
to seek my solace from the moon
once the whippoorwills have sung her to shine.

The laying on of hands failed twice
to wash my one wish from my flesh;
to mate the mist that's left of you
comma curled against my neck.

for Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, July 2, 2012


Under the skin
of the snapshots you sent,
thin lips strain against empty gesture smiles,
stillness studies the act of touch,
and you stand with the other I called friend.

Under my skin
with the snapshots you sent;
under I'll be fine in time,
under I don't miss you quite so much,
under forgetting what might have been.

So, I utter a curse
on the snapshots you sent.
A curse on your plastic, pitying smiles!
A curse on the hands that used to touch me!
A curse on my reptilian bitch of a friend!

And, each time I see them I curse them again.

A Sunday Whirl wordle submitted to Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 1, 2012


In the pause
after the asking,
kiss ellipses .
down my neck,
and I'll say yes.

for Poetry Pantry