Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Without moons and runes
and symbol soaked sighs;
burnings and bones
and star-carved skies;
the parting of seas
and the parting of thighs,
what am I,
but ordinary?

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Fortune Teller

Synchronize your fingers
to catch the tint and tincture
of my answers.

Tip your fortune teller.

It's integral to a reading
to softly map the miles
'tween blast and chance.

Think a thousand futures;
I'll haunt your hollow wrist
and hawk your pupils.

Tip your fortune teller.

Led by pulse and dilation,
I'll see the dreams you see
into your hands.

The Sunday Whirl words for Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Poem Is A Live Thing

A poem is a live thing
once loosed by the hand.
It strains its stanzas,
rebels against refrains,
and pains its poet -
left to gnash her pen and watch
her rib
take on foreign
and unfriendly flesh.

For Poetry Pantry

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Back when milkshakes were free
for a white man,
everyone was happy.
The coloreds in the cotton didn't crow or complain,
same didn't go lying with same,
and Jesus taught third grade science
down at Jefferson Davis Elementary.

Respectable women didn't talk about their vaginas.
A vagina knew its proper place.
But no one shied from saying grace
or nigger.
Times were good,
and dicks were bigger

when milkshakes were free
for a white man.

For Marian's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, December 27, 2013


Let me look with my third eye
and see without seeing.
Let me Bardot in the bamboo,
selfie, and send it on.
Let me like
without loving -
swift and shallow,
the keeping current.
I am alien in skin,
and the frontier is alone.

For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Twice Measured

Twice measured, but never cut -
fading fabric waiting.
Sugar that I've spared the spoon
and spices I've been saving.
Dresses on their hangers.
A plot bought on the hill.
A record of my wishes
as if my wishes will
force the bloom from thistled habit

and put scissors to the fabric.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

santa animals 100

 A Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year to all
good Toads, far and near!

For Words Count at Real Toads.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

There Are Moons

There are moons you don't stand under
for fear of falling light.
There are suns you split asunder
to hurry help the night.
There are talismans you trade
for minutes secondhand.
There are flowers at the wall;
there are crosses in the sand.

Monday, December 23, 2013


When the light fails,
I'm forced to attend

to the echo of spiders
at the split of a branch
and to my own level breath,
clear and intact,

as beat follows beat of my heart

through the mean of the night
till morning.

Some Sunday Whirl words for Open Link Monday at Real Toads.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lost It

I was in Walmart when I lost it.
Surrounded by thirty nine dollar peace on earth -
I lost it.
Thinking about my mama dying and my husband and I having to start all over -
I lost it.

I just lost it.

I paid for my cart full of groceries.
Then, I paid for the guy behind me.
And, the lady behind him.
I kept on
until my purse was empty and I was sure
that God had to have seen me
acting out the faith
that all is well and in his hands.
Faith that there's some kind of grand plan.

But, I've lost it.
I've just lost it.

For Poetry Pantry

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Clouds hunt the half moon
and feed on the fractured stars
till the dark is whole,
and I am left to tremble
with want and unmade wishes.

For Kerry's Challenge at Real Toads

Friday, December 20, 2013

Calling All Angels

I need angels at the oars
if I'm to get this boat ashore.
Every preacher grab a pail.
Bishops!  Buckets!  Better bail!
Sisters, pray this piece to earth,
or we're walkin' waves
and suckin' surf.

For Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Crow

When the mandala moon goes missing
and the god's-eye stars of the sky
go timely blind,
there are quickenings and contractions
in the uterine night -
a breaking of the fallow.

Seeds in the softer places
Tendons stretch
to feather flesh the trellis bones.
Sugar sap spills
across the steps and stones
of every day scarred hollow.

Morn and midday nest swallows.
But, midnight cauls the crow.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

She Said

"Christmas isn't the same,"
she said,
"since I put up my hair and put dolls away,
and Mary, Joseph, and the newborn babe
became figures on the mantel.

Now, Handel's Messiah is just a song;
I barely bother to sing along,
and silent nights don't even last as long
as the bill to pay.

she said,
"just isn't the same."

For Peggy's prompt at Real Toads.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lotion Man

At the mall, there's this guy
working a little lotion kiosk.
From afar, he looks harmless, but when I walked near him,
he bared his teeth at me.
"This is for you, lady," he snarled.
Then, he flipped his lotion tube
and splattered me with his . . . product.
It was like taking a lilac-scented money shot.

I was marching my violated ass over to mall security,
when I was
(overwhelmed by the thought of how much junk I still had to buy in honor of Baby Jesus)
suddenly filled with the holiday spirit.
I found
(a tissue)
that happy, holly jolly place inside of myself and remembered to be grateful
(that the freak didn't work in food service)
for all of my many blessings.
I took a deep breath
(ahhhh, lilac),
and I just . . . let it . . . go.
After all, it's the most wonderful time of the year.

Merry Christmas, Lotion Man.  Merry Christmas.

A true story for Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Midway down the midway,
between the barkers and the dogs,
we found a place
a bit less light than shadow.
And, we kissed
as if we didn't know tomorrow

would bring the ferris wheel down.

For Poets United.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gourd Of Stars

Wind is swaying the grassy plains.
Brush in one hand,
knife in the other,

I bend knee to the bluestem of my birth.
My hair is shadows
to be gathered and sheared.
My skin is a silken sack,
empty and eggless.
Red dirt stains my feet,
and water witches
through the fine bones of my fingers
until "dig, dig" cramps and clenches
like a rheumatism.
I no longer know my hands.

When I was young,
the well was always running dry,
and I grew up afraid.
Afraid of drought.
Afraid of thirst.
But now that I am old,
I can barely bring myself to sip.

So, wind sway my grassy plains,
and I'll sway, too.
I have a brush in one hand
and a knife in the other.
Tonight, I'll drink from a gourd of stars.

The first three lines were provided by my ten year old daughter.  She loved the poem and thought it was really good.  She also thought that she could do better!

For Corey's prompt at Real Toads.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Advice To The Girl At The Backstage Door

Sexy Stripper Boots!

Wear stripper boots to elongate the legs and tilt the hips
a small, but seductive degree.
Properly position spotlights and artfully angle your thighs
to create the occasional fetching silhouette
of your lady credentials.
Reduce hecklers to gibbering objects of amusement . . . immediately.
Be the biggest, blackest crow in this little piece of sparrow sky.

Or, put your librarian glasses back on
and go home.

For Fireblossom's Get Listed prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wayward Moon

Wayward moon -
my shade to shine.
Heretic sister
in an ordered sky.

Maiden or messenger
of the Divine?
Wayward moon
of mine.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bell Jar Skirt

Ms. Matron wears a stained glass bell jar skirt.
And, a starched, white, good Christian woman shirt.
If her Venus screams deep beneath that glass,
she gets twice as cruel till the screaming's passed.
Her beloved left her  -  that's what I heard.

Me and Rhonda, we wear old prison shirts.
Short of cash, we put a man in the dirt.
After a hot pursuit that didn't last
but half as long as wild women are worth;
Ms. Matron wears a bell jar skirt.

Of all the ways a girl can cloak her hurts,
I've done some bad, but never done the worst.
Through most every lens, I'm nothing but trash.
But, I ain't become my pain under glass
like Matron in her bell jar skirt.

Note: a bell jar is a piece of scientific equipment that can be used to create a vacuum. When a vacuum is created, sound cannot travel and is muffled.

The Sunday Whirl words for Open Link Monday at Real Toads.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wannabe Alice

Dearest Wonderland,
please help me find my way.
I've stretched my skin
getting big and then
getting small again each day.
"Off with my head!"
I am most inclined to say.

But, since the headless
have a poor sense of direction,
I'm begging you
to give my compass some correction.
With gratitude
and my undying affection


Wannabe Alice

For Poetics at dVerse

Saturday, December 7, 2013


The Turkish Pipe by Jennifer Macneill.  See more of her work here and here.

The clear bead at the center
changes everything.
There are no edges
to my loving now.
                           ---- Rumi

I made a mala
string nest for my Rumi pipe
and put the clearest bead

at dead center.
But, nothing changed.

I guess my loving
still has its edges.

For Margaret's prompt at Real Toads.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Devil In Disguise

You look like an angel.
Walk like an angel.
Talk like an angel.
But, I got wise.

The first feather falls
unnoticed.  The second
bleeds the sky black
and back to finite form,
shaping and swirling
every curve and angle
of you until there you are:
muse and myth,
fantasy and fable.
You look like an angel.

Wings wet with wonder
cling to your back,
flat; then slowly unfurl
to fullness.
Arms and legs
in a sweat slick tangle
separate, and you stand -
steady, steady . . . stable.
You walk like an angel.

Words come slower.
First, sighs sneak soft
past your lips and tease
my ears like careless kisses.
Then moans, low and animal,
break the strangle -
hold of your throat.
You speak: music and mayhem
and mad, morgue mangle.
You talk like an angel

from an unbalanced heaven,
where halos have been traded 
for horsewhips 
and habits discarded
for heresies.
Your pharisee eyes
undo me,
but your hands lie
limp on the harp, and I
get wise;

you're the devil in disguise.

A bit of a goof for The Mag.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Eskimo Sisters

Across the room, my Eskimo sister
sits nursing a beer.  Her fingers
stroke the long neck bottle
(like she stroked you and you stroked me),

and, when she drinks, her mouth
sucks and tongues the foam
(like she sucked you and you tongued me).
We (she and I)

are having a threesome, just the two of us.
She smiles at me, and I smile back
(at her, at you; at me?).
I've really got to get out of this town.

Eskimo sisters - slang for women who have slept with the same man.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Clawfoot Tub

Fill that clawfoot tub
until the pipes complain.
Throw in the Mr. Bubbles.
I'll throw on some old Coltrane.

We'll let the water raft our fingers
and our currents take our toes -
till silly takes our good sense
and we overflow

that beat up clawfoot tub
with the pipes that always complain,
and everything that isn't us
goes swirling down the drain.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, December 2, 2013


One more time
down the spine
of I-35.
South a hundred miles of highway
and blackjack bordered sky.
To a wide spot in the road;
head west at the Jesus sign.

Home -
the state of half grown,
and a country all its own.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, December 1, 2013


What harm would it do
to pen you a line?
Just a word or two
to help pass the time.
No baring or sharing
my heart or my soul;
just a line, then I'll
let go.

But if a line became two,
and two became three,
what would you do?
Would you write back to me?
Or, shrug off the silly girl
you used to know;
loved and then
let go.

Getting lyric-y and ballad-y for Christina Rosetti's December Birthday at Real Toads. Also submitted to Poets United.

Friday, November 29, 2013

How Ya Doin' Mama

How ya doin',
Mama, how ya doin'?
You look a little Monday morning blue.
That rictus sex-toy mouth - OOO
dead giveaway.
You get her coat;
I get her shoes.

Gonna strip you like the cars
out on the corner.
Gonna stash you in the burned out
liquor store.
How ya doin',
Mama, how ya doin'?
At least you won't be itching anymore.

A bit of something for Marian's prompt at Real Toads.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


The length of a day
caught and cradled in your hands
and put away.

Laugh lines playing
loose and wicked at your eyes
and mouth when you smile.

Are they inches or miles,
these interstitial spaces?
Inches or wild, gray miles?

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

If Poetry

If poetry were science,
you'd be hunger under glass;
pinned, preserved, the protoplast
of a kiss begging replication.
With care and dedication,
I'd compound burn with burning
and melt the very yearning
of my bones for experimentation.
And once the study of permutations
had proven duplication flawed,
we'd take each other as gods,
and I'd sift sonnets from equations.
If poetry were science,
giving form to infatuation.

For the Open Links at Real Toads and dVerse.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Skin And Bone

The locusts came, and I bore witness.
Floods and flame weren't far behind.
The bankers blessed the mud and ashes
and planted a cross shaped For Sale sign.

Gave us three days to roll.
Roll like stones.

The river was red, and I bore witness.
Rent was high all over town.
We were poor relations of poor relations
uprooted from the only ground

we'd ever known.
Where we belonged.

After forty years, I'm bearin' witness.
Pharaohs don't set no one free.
God sends the plagues wherever he sees fit.
But the locusts only feed

on the likes of you and me.
Skin and bone.

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads.  Still a little rough, I think.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Back To Bed

Can't we just go back to bed
and forget the things you say I said
when I was nearly lost to sleep?
Perhaps, I was just counting sheep.
But, no, I see there's coffee on.
And, lights!  We'll be up till dawn
so you can question, curse, and scream
as if I am in charge of dreams.
Please!  Let's just go back to bed.
I won't say it again . . . whatever I said.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Saturday, November 16, 2013


A half-finished book
under a half-naked tree.
Bark and spine against my spine.
Notes fluttering loose as leaves.
"How do I love thee?  Let me . . ."*

*Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A tanka for the Mini-Challenge at Real Toads

Friday, November 15, 2013

Repost - Bride Flower

In the third year without wildflowers,
I circle swept a space
in the graceless dirt
and fell
before the hollow hives of the bees.

My confessions called nothing
and nothing.
And, my penance,
it produced nothing.

A stroke of my hand
broke open the dry, brittle hive
like two halves of a heart,
and I held them high -
invocations falling ripe
from my lips.

But, my pleas were heard
by nothing.
And, my prayers were answered
by nothing.

So, I parted my petal thighs
and returned a piece of the hive
to the honey-

and I became swarm
warm, winged,
and alive . . .

I became the sting and the bride flower . . .

I became a Queen
humming pregnant
with hive

and nothing.

Revisiting a favorite for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Keep the drill and dignity of your years,
but allow me this flawed instant -
humming with its hollow gain and grace.
Let me navigate

by stars and stride
and a vision of your face.
And, if I miss that place
that buckles your knees,

let me try again.

A Sunday Whirl wordle for Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, November 11, 2013


Fur and purr
and rough, pink tongue.
Fluffy tailed kitty
napping in the sun.

Paws with claws
and teeth that shine.
Unraveling the moon
like a ball of twine.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dinner And Drowning

Art by Mike Worrall

rises till the finer things float.
I'm dressed for dinner and drowning.
Rises like bile in my overfed throat.
I'm dressed for funerals and flight.

thrash in rain wrecked chiffon,
and heels staccato the landing -
lending pulse to the water's hypoxic hum.
I'm dressed for my last breath tonight.

For Grace's challenge at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poet's United.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nothing Like Anne

Kelli is hot.
Kelli is shadee.
Kelli is nothing like Anne.

She traveled throughout the South,
a delight and a joy to be around,
and one of the main reasons
Cousin Ernie's music was so smooth.

But even her mistress's sinister way with tight ropes
couldn't keep Kelli away
from the beautiful Big Horn Mountains;
now, she's a familiar face

and doing great.
She's nothing like Anne.

A googlism (these are hilarious!) for Form for All at dVerse.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sides Of The River

On this side of the river,
I stand on frozen ground.
On the other side of the river,
I hear a woman drowned last night.
She fell through the ice
reaching for the stars.

On this side of the river,
I can hear the murmurs start.
No one tries to cross that river
without a broken mind or heart.
But, she had neither.
I was going to meet her
with the moon in a Mason jar.

But the moon slipped like snowflakes through my fingers,
and I never got that far.

For Ed's Get Listed at Real Toads

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ghost Flower

Ghost flower grow in shade and shadow,
harbored by the roots of a sycamore tree.
Ghost flower here, then gone tomorrow
like the boys
who picked flowers
for me.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Saturday, November 2, 2013

In Reply

A letter couldn't have pleased
me more!  You must be doing well.
No strains upon your health,
nerves, or peace of mind to report.
No tales about the boss from hell,
that bitch, Miranda,
(she ever find a {sucker} roommate?),

or the frat boys down the hall.
And best of all (yes, I'm selfish),
your love for me remains
strong and unchanged (despite how long
it's been since we could even kiss).
No letter could please
more than this.  Is that why you don't write?

This is pretty rough, and I'm not sure if my point is getting across.  Let me know!
Written for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Us Chickens

This close to sunset
the farm goes quiet.
Fox is full from his feeding.
Farmer's gone to his wife.
We got the nest feathered.
Got some scratch on the ground.
Ain't nobody here but us chickens.
There ain't nobody else around.

It's just us chickens.
We laying long and slow.
There ain't nobody here but us chickens.
We alone till that cock crow.

This was written for Margaret's prompt at Real Toads and inspired by an extremely peaceful visual poem called "Tucking in the Chickens" by Maria Wulf.  How my mind got from there to here is a complete mystery to me.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Songs Of Water

The kelpie came
singing songs of water.
Daughter, can you swim?
I climbed on, and let blue
blot out the sun.

The kelpie's mane knotted tight
as we went under.
Daughter, breathe it in.
I lay back and let the wet
work to my lungs.

Note: the kelpie is a supernatural water horse from Celtic folklore.  So sayeth Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Reluctant Horsewoman

This incredible image is by Lasse Partanen via deviantart.  

Death has never cared for horses,
pale or otherwise.
She longs for modern conveniences.

She envies War his drones and unlimited expense account.
She envies Famine all those big corporate interests seeding her way.
She even envies Pestilence and his loophole use of "viruses" to insinuate himself into the digital age.

Death is not even on twitter.

She sighs 
herself astride that hated horse
for a long ride north.
Poor thing, she'll be saddle sore by noon.
But, she has her scythe
and more than enough spite

to keep her right on schedule.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


On the fourth step of my skull,
she stopped to write upon the wall -
For A Good Time Call
I'm not much of a shouter.
I think too much.

On the twelfth step of my skull,
she paused to smoke and take in the view.
I think that she was looking at you;
I know that I was.
I have to look.
I'll never touch.

On the top step of my skull,
she finally made herself look down
and saw herself there on the ground
small and broken.
Small and broken.
Both of us.

For Open Link Night at dVerse.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Forget Me Not

Forget me not in summer.
Forget me not in fall.
Forget me in the winter
if you must forget at all.
For a love gone cold in winter
is oft only slumbering
and wakes to life in the warmer light
of spring's remembering.

For Poetry Pantry

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pirate Hat

I wear a pirate hat
to hide my fear of water.
I keep a dozen dogs
to protect me from their fleas.

When I want you to stay,
I suggest that you be leaving.
Then to keep myself from begging
I cut my legs off at the knees.

A rather quirky take on Michael's prompt at Real Toads.

Friday, October 25, 2013

History Of A Kiss

I couldn't take another love at first sight,
so I offered up my eyes
to a blind man.
But, he just shook his head.

"Pick your flowers from a spider web;
wake with a widow in your bed
every time."

I couldn't take another lying word,
so I bottled everything I'd heard -
a draught for a deaf man.
But, he read my lips instead.

"The history of a kiss
is scripture, child, that gets
more true with time."

For Marian's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Gabur, Ghand Babul, Indian Medicinal Plant

Honey, heat, and cinnamon
linger everywhere she's been.
My hands, my hair, my lips, my skin
wear her like the rain.

She blooms deep in a whistle thorn tree,
and she's shred apart far better than me.
But I can keep secrets and quietly bleed
until only we two remain.

Editorial Note for Your Enjoyment:  In the language of flowers, acacia symbolizes secret love. Cassie flower absolute (Cassie) is extracted from the Acacia Farnesiana flower and used in several french perfumes.

For Kerry's Language of Flowers prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

That Love Poem

"What happened to that love poem -
the one that had us flying -
I could have sworn I left it dying by the bed.
But, perhaps, it breathed its last still in my head,"

the poet said.

No answer yet.

Linking up later with OLN at dVerse.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Womb Of God

Breath is born of breath
as ice is born of water
in the blue womb of God.
Without thought,

she sighs worlds 
to pearl the sleeping sky,
cleaving light from dark
and dark from light,

but preferring neither one
nor the other.

For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Woman, Draw The Shades

Woman, draw the shades
and loose the owls
to measure night

from wing beat
to heartbeat ceasing.
And salt the bed

lest I start dreaming
that I, too,
can fly.

For Kim's prompt at Poet's United

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


"Sweet little pussy, aren't you, honey?"
he says, all money and milk
in the bowl.
But, she's not;
she's just caught

in a temporary corner.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Mountain

I had a mustard seed -
seed I'd heard could move a mountain.
Mountain didn't move -
move an inch for me.

Now, I'm set against the stone,
stone simple and a singin' -
singin' to that rock,
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me?"

A late loop poem for Grace's challenge.  Submitted to Open Link Monday at Real Toads.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


This beat up old guitar's been here 
since way back when
Garcia was still truckin'.
Fuckin' shame that Jerry's gone.
We got starter wedding rings
and pretty things
for the girlfriend on the side.
Great Aunt Edna's serving tray
now displays
a dozen Rolex watches.
Fuckin' shame old Edna's gone.
Pick a shelf.  Pick a box.
Pick yourself a piece
of someone else's life.

All these things -
everything you see.
All these things
are just like me -
waiting to be redeemed.

That wedding dress hanging in the window
came from the widow
of a soldier.
Fuckin' shame that man is gone.
Sometimes I put it on
for velvet Elvis 
and the poker playing dogs.
She told me that he signed himself away
for the chance
to go to college.
A fuckin' shame that burns us all.
Now she's got a sandy folded flag
and two babies on her own.

Some things
are more than what you see.
Some things
are just like me -
can't be redeemed.

A much belated response for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Prison me
in plush leather and teak wood.
Feed me
fat elephants and ass.

At last,
a totem
two-headed and timely -

but unblinking.

For Peggy's prompt at Real Toads

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Break-Up

We were a secret
so when it was over,
I didn't have the luxury of a dramatic broken heart.
There were no gatherings of girlfriends
to coddle me and curse you.
No group vows
to cut you in public.
Just the curses and vows I made alone,
and they left a bitter taste.

We divided our possessions equally.
You got our friends, our places, and our life.
I got principles, silence, and a coal in my throat
that I've never quite choked down.
Even now,
its heat curls my tongue and tempts it to run
wildfire wild until I swallow
hateful and hard.

I have no faith in firebreaks and water;
I know I'm the one who would burn.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, October 6, 2013

For M

May death
come on cat feet
so stealing and soft
that you're dead
before you know
you're dying.

For Poetry Pantry

Saturday, October 5, 2013


A beaker,
a book,
a bluestocking girl.


For A Birthday in October (Denise Levertov) at Real Toads.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Johnny Walker

Johnny walk her home
in the high, dry heat of summer.
Johnny walk her home
in the teasing wet of spring.
Johnny walk her home
when leaves rustle like a rumor.
Sure as winter snow,
he's the company she keeps.

For Corey's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, October 3, 2013


I can confess in a foreign tongue
and make sin sound sweet to the ear.
I can keep a promise in a cool, dry place
so it lasts at least a year.
I drift along with the planet's spin
and still end up where I ought to be.

But when I put the leaves
back in the trees,

it's still November.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I keep a ragweed garden
in a window box
just to hear my neighbor
sneeze and cough.
He has a cat
that taunts my dogs
by strolling atop the fence.

And when my poor dogs
do the natural thing
and bark
and I'm accused of "poor stewarding,"
I just offer a handshake,
a tissue,
a "bless you,"
and water my weeds again!

For Patricia's Word List at Real Toads

Monday, September 30, 2013


Deadhead all the flowers
and pile them in a pyre.
Part path for the pendulum
to swing the darkness higher.

Level with the sun
and equal in desire,
for a breath -

then summer's fed to fire.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, September 29, 2013


If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.

--- from The Secret Life of Bees
If a man
offers you a hand
take it so he can
shine for Jesus.

Even the strong
have times when it all goes wrong
and need someone to come along
shining for Jesus.

So understand
there's no shame in a circumstance
that gives another a chance
to shine for Jesus.

And, the time will come
when you're the one
doing unto as you would have done
and shining for Jesus.

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.  Please note: for maximum enjoyment, sing this like you're Aretha Franklin.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Table

photo by Margaret Bednar

Each day the cells divided
I was a little less mine,
and I bowed my head in horror,
but kept my cup held high
above his polished table;

God forbid, I leave a mark.

Dark ripened to dawn
spilling its reflection
like a wound across the wood
(the very vein for vivisection?),
and I wondered if I could

tear the entire hell apart.

Since I couldn't break the water,
I started breaking glass
and gouging gashes in the table,
trying to splinter past
my well-groomed poverty of person
slimmed by the slight repasts

of a miser's feeding.

Then, yes!  The leak of lineage
wet inside my thighs -
smelling copper as the coins exchanged
for the potion to deprive
the dog his wish, his whelp,

and his bitch for bruise and breeding.

And, leave me spread,
a feast of failure on his table -
a graveyard for his seeding.

This was supposed to be a "place poem" for Margaret's prompt at Real Toads, but it went a little wild on me.   I'm hoping that the focus on the table keeps it somewhat with the parameters.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Thank You Note

Twas an old cyber sea-dog
that prodded me down the plank
towards the quill and the vellum,

and it seems only right that I thank
the bloke who schooled me
to fish or cut the bait

and to say what need be said
without rambling on.

So, thank you, sir,
and now my poem's done!

Everybody knows G-Man, right?  Well, if you don't, you should.  He hosts Friday Flash 55.  Not only is he generally one of the coolest people I've never met, he is unfailingly encouraging to writers.  I used to think that I wasn't a "real" writer because I didn't write long pieces.  G-Man (among others) helped me see my natural brevity differently.  I'll be forever in his debt.

Anyway, this is for Izzy's prompt at Real Toads.  And, fittingly, it's 55 words for my G-Man!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


We support our troops.
We know freedom isn't free.
We all wear our flag pins
for everyone to see.
But, when it comes to hungry mouths
down at the commissary?
We'd love to help you, soldier,
but freedom isn't free.

On Thursday, conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to cut 40 billion dollars from the food stamp program over the next ten years.  Among the 3.8 million Americans that will be affected are 5,000 active duty military families and as many as 170,000 of the 1 million veterans that receive food stamps each month. Doesn't sound very patriotic does it?

For Poetry Pantry

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Flint/strike consonants
kindle my tongue
till flames lick the vowels
and my lips burn
with your name.

At Real Toads, Dr. Hisashi Nakamura is sharing his thoughts on the writing of tanka.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lady Of The Longest Light

My Lady of the Longest Light,
you've stretched out the noon
to the edge of that awful acre
between the night and moon

where darkness creeps the silence
like a dream slips into sleep
and takes the flesh of sunset
firm between its teeth.

My Lady of the Longest Light,
you fret the unthreshed row.
You worry the wheat, worry the chaff;
but, you can let it go

and leave these labors to the living
harvest of your years.
Rest easy; for you, lady,
night shall hold no fear.

A harvest moon ballad for Real Toads and dVerse.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wrath Of A Minor God

River, run a little deeper.
River, run a little faster.
River, take the teeth I give you
and chew the bank to bones.

River, eat the sand that's offered.
River, sip the sorrow proffered.
Then River, by my will and water,
let the faithless sink like stones.

For some reason, I've always found the entire concept of minor gods hilarious.  How can a god be minor?  Anyway, the Celts had a plethora of local gods (god of this lake, god of that tree, etc.).  This is written from the point of view of a minor river god with a major attitude.  And, it's for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Six Of Seven

Six of seven sunshines
blind me.
Six of seven midnights
find me
but crooning to you anyway

for if the sixth of seven notes
should carry
on wary winds
round the very curve of the earth

it would make it worth

the noise I make.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mud Mouth

I prayed to the moon.
I prayed to the trees.
I prayed till the skin
sloughed right off my knees,
and my tongue hung like parchment -
bleached of its blood -
a wick for the river,
a wick for the mud.

For Grace's challenge at Real Toads

Friday, September 13, 2013

By Contrast

I'm rough and rooted,
weather wounded -
I make you look beautiful.
I'm a darkened corner lending you its light.

I'm scarred, but steady
through each ebb and eddy
of your single, fragile season.
It's true that you're more pleasing to the eye.
But, I've watched flowers bloom and die

since God was a little girl.

Inspired by Hannah's prompt at Real Toads.  And, if my migraine drugs don't deceive me, it's 55 words for my G-Man.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I wish that I could remember what I remember,
rather than what I've heard;
but words have set up shop in my brain
and stain all of my recollections

with suggestions
of other people's truths.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Last Weekend At The Lake

She swam like a fish.
Called her brother "little turd face" every time they spoke.
Danced to Katy Perry up and down the beach.

Her parents request that everyone wear purple or pink
and bring bubbles.

She was eight,
and she swam like a fish.

Note: Inspired by an actual obituary.  I bawled like a baby.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chambray Blue

Chambray blue and bloodshot
eyes reminding me of my
soft and foolish days
before you went away the first time.

Chambray blue and buckshot
spine reminding me my kind
blooms best in decay
and rot will have its way

when reluctant hands hold the knife.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Clock

Since I hit you guys up for editorial help with this last week, I thought you might want to see the finished piece.  My apologies to those I've already tortured endlessly with it. You know who you are.


I swallow the last of the birdsong slow
and shatter the cup for the noise.
I hitch up the dead horse to drag in the sun;
I shoo stars away with my voice.

But, still the light falls fixed
and the turn holds taut.

The clock
I once set by you
has stopped.

For Open Link Monday at (extremely patient) Real Toads

Saturday, September 7, 2013

When A Wolf

When a wolf beds down with a sea salt rose,
her tongue's drawn like a tide
to the moon/bloom between her sand sphinx paws
until she wakes with tender jaws -
and bleeding petals.

For Dr. LolaMouse's challenge at Real Toads

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Studious Zombie

The studious zombie resolves
to read the classics from A to Z
and adhere to a strict diet of smart people.
She starves midway through A Tale of Two Cities.

It is, indeed, the worst of times.

For Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Clock

I swallow the last of the birdsong,
and shatter the cup.
Just for the noise.
Just for the noise.

Then, I hitch up the dead horse
and drag the sun till it comes up;
shooing stars away
with what's left of my voice.

It's another morning for me
to carry in.
Another night
buried beneath the still hands

of the clock
set by you
and stopped.

For some reason, this one has given me fits.  Here's the revised version:

I swallow the last of the birdsong slow
and shatter the cup for the noise.
Then I hitch up the dead horse
to drag in the sun
and shoo the stars away
with my voice.

It's another morning
for me to carry in.
Another night buried
beneath the still hands

of the clock
set by you
and stopped.

Any thoughts?

For Peggy's prompt at Real Toads

Monday, September 2, 2013


I've never cared for silence.
It's strict, stern-faced, and harsh.
I prefer the disheveled quiet
of spent lovers and gentled hearts.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Harvesting Hips

Hold your hurry
till the heat
Ready rose hips
to a touch.

Getting Imagist (?) for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Case Of

It was meter that fed my fever.
It was lilt that led me astray
and had me drooling like Pavlov's poet;
I couldn't keep my pen away.

The verses' pure potential
tempted me to the crime.
But, everyone knew when I did what I do
and edited every line!

It was me!  My confession for Corey's Whodunit at Real Toads

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I'm gonna read the right book
and self-help myself to bliss.

I'm gonna look in the mirror
and my hair won't give me fits.

And, someday -
some way -
I'm gonna kiss you.

Some obsessions for Verse First at Poet's United.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Be still and bear witness
as the witness bares herself

an awkward thing.
Rusty and disjointed.
A Pleiades of padlocks
circling her hips.
Lips thinned and tight
lest she bite
the fruit that failed to fall
far enough from the family tree.

She is and is not me.
She is what is left

for me to work with
now that all the gods are dead or dying
and there's no point in trying
to be a good girl anymore.

So, be still and bear witness
as the witness bares herself

to herself
and for herself
to free herself

For Open Link Night at Dverse

Monday, August 26, 2013


Two scarred knees
from a bike versus tree -
you were eleven

or, maybe, ten.
I know all about them,
but I don't

know if you
sing Springsteen when you're alone,
or if you

read the paper
in the bathroom every morning,
or what kind

of lame job
bought your beer and gas
in high school.

All I know
is that you have two
wicked scarred knees

and a kiss
that never fails to bring
me to mine.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, August 25, 2013

When To Fib

the truth
gets messy
and there aren't enough
syllables for a bigger lie.

A syllabic Fibonacci for Hedge's mini-challenge at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


The barbed wire bit deep
into the palm of my hand.
Blood smeared the blue black rose

I didn't even know was there.

And, I can't unsee it -
her name
on you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Busk

Silver finned fish swimming shallow
caught in the swallow of a hand.
Green corn gourd shake women follow
ribbons, and a man

bloodlets bygones be bygones
as fasting turns to feast
and Stomp Dance - those sacred steps
carried secret from the east.


Process Note Longer Than The Actual Poem:  The Native Americans had names for the full moons. These names varied from tribe to tribe, of course.  The August full moon is known as the Full Sturgeon Moon, the Red Moon, and the Green Corn Moon (among others).

Among the southeastern tribes (Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee, Seminole, etc.) there is a ceremony known as the Green Corn Ceremony.  It is sort of a celebration, thanksgiving, religious cleansing all rolled into one.  Details vary widely from tribe to tribe, but, in general, there is fasting and purging (the Busk), gourd shaking, ribbon dancing by the women and children, Stomp Dancing by the men, and feasting.  Some tribes do ceremonial blood letting by scratching the arms and legs.  Some tribes forgive all crimes (excluding murder) committed the previous year.

As I'm sure you all know, the southeastern tribes mentioned above were "removed" to Oklahoma in the 1800s.  Tribes still perform the Green Corn Ceremony here.  However (as far as I know), these ceremonies remain secretive and closed to the public.

My poem combines elements from different tribes and is not intended to be historically accurate.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My First Miracle

Before my first miracle of the morning,
I stretch and scratch my ass,
pour myself a cup of coffee,
and try to let my brain catch up to my feet.

And, I let the dogs out.

I feel my eyes, my nose, and my lips
to see which face of the moon I'm showing.
I check my weathervane heart
(still beating and blowing).

I let the dogs back in.

Then, and only then,
do I think of you.
The miracle is that I waited
that long minute or two.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, August 19, 2013

Catching Up

I'm still seeking comfort
in my body.
I'm looking for that place
between a dive bar and a shrine.
That place you once swore to me is beautiful.
I think I could be kind
to me there.

I'm still reading tea leaves
in the cups of strangers.
And, I still restart my diary
till I get it right.
But, I held on to the page with your address sketched in pictures;
I bet I can still find
my way there.

Would you mind if I try?

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, August 18, 2013


I will be pretty.
I will wash my face
and replace these blackout eyes.

I'm tired of ugly
seeping through my skin
and rotting my insides.

I will be pretty.

I will be pretty.

For Susie's challenge at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Stroke his brow.
There's no need to hold him down.
Just tell him how he will sing
high and pure
for Pope and King -
a man made angel.

Don't mangle, battle, or bruise him.
Soothe him
until the poppy loosens
his thin, clenched legs.
Then, dredge deep
and cut quick.
Pit the boy like a cherry.

If he dies,
we'll sing him dirges
in falsetto.

A castrato (Italian, plural: castrati) is a type of classical male singing voice equivalent to that of a female.  The voice is produced by castration of the singer before puberty. Demand for castrati voices peaked in the 1720s and 1730s; at that time, upwards of 4,000 boys were castrated annually.  Italy made the practice illegal in 1861.  The Catholic church banned the use of castrati in 1903 (from Wikipedia).

For Marian's prompt at Real Toads.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Case #3294 - Ferrero, Maria

I didn't outright call her a liar, but I was firm.

"Listen, Maria.  You are going to be a mother soon. It's time to be responsible and tell the truth.  No more stories. Give me facts.  His name.  Give me something I'll believe."

Maria gestured gently at the cross around my neck.

"I already did."

Fiction in 55 for my G-Man!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


For years, I was martyred by moonlight.
A pale prisoner of midnight.
I tried cures from liquor to lullaby.
But, only jasmine helps me sleep.

A touch,
but not too much,
behind my seashell ear.
Rubbed -
here - a little rough -
till my blood flows freer.
Dark rush;
then the sweet hush
of rest as long as jasmine's near.

Many years I was martyred by moonlight.
A pale prisoner of midnight.
I tried cures from liquor to lullaby.
Now, my jasmine helps me sleep.

Kerry has us writing Romantic songs at the Garden today.  This is a type of chanson called the virelai. The height of the form's popularity predates the Romantic Era by a good bit; however, it was still used by some Romantic composers.  Anyway, it's a chanson and I learned a new word, so maybe Kerry will let me slip by.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Broke Down

My soul broke
down in the middle of Everywhere,
so I called my sister.

"Sister," I say.
"How do I stop
the bleeding?"

And Sister, she get common
in her sense and say,
"Quit opening the skin."

Damned if Sister ain't right again.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dog Star

The dog star shines
on thrift store stages -
pages from her Book of Days
heart-chose, hand rolled, and smoking
between her wet wound lips.

She works for tips.
Flattens the fields and fires the rich man's ships.
Skips stones at collared crows
and slender slips
her fingertips
across the bellys of plum ripe girls.

She rips
remedy from every careless curse.
Finds comfort
in knowing she's disturbed

with her words
a world that's spinning fast
out of her hands.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, August 10, 2013

All Is Reflection

Just the other side of the heat shimmer
there's a Mexican pounding nails
on my neighbor's roof.
We exchange universal language waves and nods,
but I wonder

if he can really see me well enough
(under the shade of my porch)
to tell that I'm one of the good ones.
Can he sense my identification with the struggle;
perhaps even glimpse my non-latte holding hand
raised in solidarity?

I'm sure that he can,

and as he turns back
to his sweat and shingles,
I bask
in his imagined regard and congratulate myself
on having not become too privileged 
to think of others.

This was inspired by Hannah's Salar de Uyuni prompt at Real Toads.  Salar de Uyuni is a salt flat in Bolivia.  When it's covered with water, it's one of the world's largest mirror.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Burn This Poem

Burn this poem after you've read it.
Smudge your head space and forget it.
Sage away the stink of rage from the page.
Art will infect you . . . if you let it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


a sugar snake
slither slither.
3 kisses from a dead man
bitter, bitter.
Broken fingers
and a bent gold promise ring.

woman feelin' poorly.
woman - she will surely
find her health is better
once she's left New Orleans

and left being HISs woman to me.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Bird Bath

I made a bird bath
from an old baptismal font
I picked up at St. Stephen's rummage sale.

I painted it and placed it
in my backyard,
but it's wasted.

Who knew birds could be
as contrary as me
about religion?

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, August 5, 2013


Summer drunk on burn rot wine -
I'm a worm curled slick inside a plum
to await my wingless resurrection.

Come November,
I'm undone.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, August 4, 2013


There are crowds enough
to tilt the world
for the golden lioness,
young and fair.

But for the aging ewe -
white wooled,
half blind -
only the butcher cares.

For the Birthday in August (Sara Teasdale) at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Friday, August 2, 2013

When I Was Millay

I can still remember the day
I pretended to be Millay
and (lacking a ferry) drove all the way
across the state just to bring you . . .

insert lame excuse

and we spent the whole night
trying to do her poem right -
apples, pears, a little firelight,
and a hilltop view.

What ever happened to you?

A poem within a poem for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads.  The poem I'm referencing is Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Recuerdo."

Update:  put under the scalpel to make it 55 words for my G-Man!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Willow went a walkin'
bare root by the water.
She saw her own reflection
and couldn't turn away.

I watched the creek mud climb her thighs,
but I didn't sympathize.
Willow grew a beauty,
and I was planted plain.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Highway 1 Revisited

All across the nation
there's a certain vegetation,
the tender cultivation of
will get you one to five.
But rooted deep in our tradition
and gaining strength from prohibition
is the bootlegger's commission -
the scarce we shall supply.

So, get the dragnets woven
and fill the cells to overflowin',
but till it rains on the just and unjust alike
the fear of one last felony
will be eroded by necessity
in those parts of Little Dixie

where even the crow won't fly.

The Sunday Whirl words for Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cyclops Sky

image by Diana Matisz

moon eye.
Cyclops sky.
Earth forge turning,
grinding, and burning
rough pieces of the night.
Starlight put to the hammer;
the matter mixed with the flux and fix,
then quick cooled by the rush of the tides -
till she is eastern born, the blacksmith's bride.

An Etheree for Hedge's challenge at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I feared the loss of fire
so I curled coal on my tongue,
and I swallowed.
Now, I fear the water.

Sucking lemons from the rind
seeds and all
grew a grove inside of me.
Now, I fear harvest hands.

I built cities of my bones,
skinned the streets,
and named them for my daughters.
They fear their mother, now.

So, I wrapped my womb in wire
and called it Art
For the Busy,
Modern Man.

For Cory's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ark Types

When pussy's runnin' loose,
a dog is gonna bark.
When there's pussy runnin' loose,
a dog is gonna bark.
There's a dog been scared of pussy
since pussy roamed the ark.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


We wore our summer days
trimmed in typical;
NORMAL bold and blue
across our barely budding chests.
Surface dressed to impress as equally blessed

but for our wrists
tender cut
by shrill friendship strands.

Or, not.

For Get Listed at Real Toads

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Buck

The buck, throat cut,
bleeds dry about six.
Half-hidden in nightfall,
I redden a stick

and dampen the doorway -
a Sunday school lesson

pass over
pass over
pass over.

For Open Link Night at dVerse.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Locked Room

Our messes mesh well, don't you think?
Dirty plates in the sink and slates on the brink
of never being clean.
Your scrips for day and mine for night -
no unaltered time
to think

or be driven to despair
by a longing to repair
our tears and tatters.

These things don't matter

in a locked room
without a key.

The Sunday Whirl words for Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Penny Said

Penny said to Pocket Cross,
"I've an offering for your plate.
Lincoln always loved the Lord,
but I kept a separate state.
Still, in this khaki cavalry,
I've come to love your ways.
So, I'll be yours for all I'm worth,
if you don't make me change."

For the Sunday Mini-Challenge at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Friday, July 19, 2013


image by Margaret Bednar

A real woman rides

Cinnamon thighs
and hair 
Sun chasing.


Split skin.
Bared bones.
Red dirt teeth
and tongue.
Heart racing.

And, comes back

day and night
on her hip
and tasting

of solstice.

An Artistic Interpretation (summer) of Margaret's photo for Real Toads with a little rhyme, alliteration and synesthesia throw in for dVerse.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

For Papa

It was a ratty ass rent house,
but I wanted you to see
past the hip high weeds,
the crime scene carpet,
and the lack of working a/c
and be proud of me,
all grown-up and independent.

But, it was such a scorcher that summer . . .

that when you showed up
(all gravelly and gruff)
with a pizza and a window unit,
I got willing to settle
for cold air
and knowing that you loved me.

Talking heat for Poetry Jam.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not Yet

I swore I wouldn't fall 
for the banana in the tailpipe
this time, but I did
cause he was just a kid -
stalked and shot like he was some wild jungle panther,
and what could be the answer to that

Sometimes, race cards are what you're dealt.

But, we're too politically correct these days,
afraid to call a spade a spade
(or a cracker a cracker).
No, we stand our (willfully blind) ground
and seat an all-white jury
that sees shady character under every hoodie
and criminal potential in an individual
just out, about, and walking black

even if he's the victim.

So, go ahead and take back your Skittles and signs (of the same old same old times).
We ain't all Trayvon Martin, yet.  Not yet.

If we were, these assholes wouldn't always get away.

Process Note:  I don't usually do these type of notes, but I thought that I'd go ahead and belabor the obvious; the wordplay here is deliberately offensive. My point is that in this country, we like to point to our moral outrage when someone like Paula Dean admits to using the n-word back when dinosaurs roamed the earth as evidence that we are a post-racial society.  Meanwhile, our racially biased criminal justice system incarcerates (and subsequently disenfranchises) blacks at nearly six times the rate of whites.  But, that's not sexy enough for news, is it?

Anyway, this is for Izy' s movie line prompt at Real Toads.  The first lines of my poem reference Beverly Hill's Cop (" . . . and we're not gonna fall for a banana in the tailpipe.").  The last line references the statement George Zimmerman made to a 911 dispatcher before shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In Cognito

The priest was a dilettante and dabbler.
The watchman - a babbler and thief.
The painter poxed the light and sketched shadows.
Prayer and poetry were both left to me.

I crafted her curses to verses
until the ink pot ran dry,
but the lines for confession held nothing
but spit in her father's eye.

Rank saved her skull from the hammer.
Blue blood bought a gentler hell.
And, the name of her love in Cognito
is a kiss, shared swift, beneath veils.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, July 15, 2013


I'm gray
and sane
as stone.

the downs.

I traded
such highs
and lows

not to burn
when you come

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where We're Kept

Bottled like wine.
Labelled like specimens.
Tossed in the attic
like a knock-off Van Gogh.

Shelved like a book
that's too rare for reading.
Urned in fine dust
too dry to take seeding.
A semi-stitched wound
that dare not risk bleeding.

is a loss of control.

For Fireblossom's "Passion" mini-challenge at Real Toads.
Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Blinded Proper

Poor thing.
So unstructured.
What could he have been
if he'd been
blinded proper
like me?

Poor thing.
So cluttered.
She can't go where I've been.
She's chained
to her map,
but can't see

the equator snake off the side of the page
as the latitudes loop
and the longitudes stage
a laughing rebellion
that plays out
beneath the notice

of those who won't know us
and our wild, wondrous strange.

For Marian's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Scarlett's Pantry

My stash of dark chocolate
is in the pantry
between the applesauce I bought for the child
(wrong flavor, but kept anyway)
and a little jar of instant coffee
(in case of emergency, break glass).
There -
behind the candy canes
(ghosts of a Christmas past)
and the marshmallows
(big ones like I used to roast before everything burned).

I learned from my Mama to make something
out of a half pound of nothing and a can of mushroom soup.
Lord, that woman could Shake and Bake!
I was years gone into on my own before I could face
another tuna casserole.
Now, my tuna is stacked neatly can on can
next to a sample of something or other a nice man
at the grocery store gave me for free.

Let's see; bottled water, marinade, enough hot
sauce to give a full city block the trots . . .
baking powder, flour . . .
got chocolate chips,
but I don't bake anymore.

I just settle for one of those rice cakes
(every flavor known to man)
that I tell myself are just as good
as bread (they taste like a dead man's hand).
I've got the celiac, you know,
and it's an unbuttered bitch biscuit,
but I can still suck/lick
black olives from my fingertips
or slip into my chocolate stash for a bite or ten,
and as God is my witness,
I will never be hungry again.

A Rhapsody attempt for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads.  I don't have to tell anyone that those last lines are from Gone with the Wind, do I?  Didn't think so.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

True North

We go together
like buttermilk and bourbon.
I'm a mossy girl
from both sides of the tree.
You can slip your fingers in the folds
of my map
or spin my compass.
You'll never find true north with me.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Monday, July 8, 2013


Firefly, firefly
caught in a Mason jar.
Firefly, firefly
the night only goes as far

as the glass
you can't get past
no matter how you flicker.
The glass
you can't get past
though you flicker on and on.

I can candle you some company.
I can firelight you a friend.
I can coax a star to share its shine
or invite the moonlight in.

But all you ask
is broken glass
with every flicker.
So I fade back
into the black
and watch until your flicker's gone.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Experiments With Kissing

We experimented with kissing
in every patch of shade,
combining and twining our elements and tongues
into an alchemy of almost

that left me trembling
above you like a cesarean sky
and begging you
to break the water.

But, you were scared of storms
and always fled me
for the safety, shelter, and shackles

of respectable,

A Nerudan style sonnet for Kerry's mini-challenge at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Touring Holland

via Photobucket

"Don't all these tulips
make you want to stick your finger in a dyke?"
Baby giggles hot and wiggles hotter,
but I just let the comment pass.

She always turns to sassafras and ass
to get past
my evidence of God.

For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Disney was "Dumbo or die!"
Here, we quest for dragons at dawn.

For me, a vacation
is just a change of location
since my obsessive inclinations
tag along.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dr. Appleseed

The celiac vampire is always hungry.

"When I sleep, I dream of flour," she tells her therapist.

He suggests that she take up gardening.

The celiac vampire rises like bread dough
and rips the Adam's apple from her therapist's throat.

Now, she dreams of orchards.

Friday, June 28, 2013

To My Unborn Children

I feel you -
little snakes in my belly.
Not always,
but enough
that I gather my guts
between rough hands
and reason:

The nights are too long;
my days are too few;
my needs are too many.
But the truth

is I was afraid
of having a favorite.

For Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Thursday, June 27, 2013


We put our heads together,
but it didn't help our hearts.
We painted peace signs on each other,
but didn't toss away our arms.

You set your hands and face against me,
curse, and claim me stubborn as the time.
Still, I won't eat your shit and sawdust
and call it berries from the vine.

Tirelessly re-written and savagely edited into 55 words for my G-Man!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Match

Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine, 1949

You can't work the wilderness
without fire.
It's instinct to crave
heat and light.
In this wilderness without fire,
we all need a match.

A Magpie Tale

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bride Flower

In the third year without wildflowers,
I circle swept a space
in the graceless dirt
and fell
before the hollow hives of the bees.

My confessions called nothing
and nothing.
And, my penance,
it produced nothing.

A stroke of my hand
broke open the dry, brittle hive
like two halves of a heart,
and I held them high -
invocations falling ripe
from my lips.

But, my pleas were heard
by nothing.
And, my prayers were answered
by nothing.

So, I parted my petal thighs
and returned a piece of the hive
to the honey-

and I became swarm
warm, winged,
and alive . . .

I became the sting and the bride flower . . .

I became a Queen
humming pregnant
with hive

and nothing.

For Open Link Night at dVerse

Saturday, June 22, 2013

When The Music's Over: Exposing The Cult Of St. Jim Of The Bathtub

"Then, suddenly, it came to me -
if he already has a fire,
why does he need a light from me?"

- - - Case Notes of Alana G., Age 64

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, June 21, 2013

2 AM

She labors to breathe,
and I coax her next heartbeat
hour upon long hour

as if this sinking
ship will shore if I can keep
all the rats above water.

My really profound thoughts for Real Toads in a vaguely sedoka-like form for dVerse 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Crow Boy

I see you
as a Crow boy
with red feathers in each hand.
My head tells me nothing's real,
but my heart insists on better than


For Verse First at Poet's United

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beehive Bouffant

Beehive bouffant
backcombed since Kennedy.
Preserved like an heirloom
from happenstance and the whimsy
of the weather -
whether it be wind or rain.

Pearls and a clutch.
Pajamas and slippers.
She waits by the front desk;
surely, he'll come and get her
by nightfall.
Can she call him again?

Then, her low, muttered monologue
soars to a scream,
and her transparent eyes
stare right through me
and she bites like a wildcat
until we're both bleeding
cursing and wailing and raging and pleading
and her beehive bouffant
backcombed since Kennedy

as her memories.

For Get Listed at Real Toads

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Lesson Learned

The Promenade by Marc Chagall

Next time
you ask me to a dance,
I'll bother to wear
some underpants!

A Magpie for Open Link Monday at dVerse

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Kindness

My time in the womb
was a waste of us both -
forming me feminine
and disappointing all of your hopes
for a son.
I've come to see there's a kindness done
when the spider just scuttles away.

Inspired by Kay's  Mini-Challenge and submitted to Open Link Monday at Real Toads.

Friday, June 14, 2013

There's A Girl

image by Merri Melde

"Hell is now in session in Abilene." --- Topeka Commonwealth, 1868

There's a girl
in San Antone.
And, if I ever
make it home
I'll take up prayin'
and buy her a ring
and never breathe a word
about Abilene.

Cause there's a girl
in Abilene
sweet as spring water
and sweet on me.
She lies in clover.
and don't say no.
She don't give a damn
about San Antone.

But, there's a river
that runs between,
red dirt muddy
and rolling mean.
If I go under
between the banks
give my love
and give my thanks

to San Antone
and Abilene.

Note: Abilene, Kansas was an "end of the trail" town for the Chisholm trail cattle drives.

Some Cowboy Poetry for Margaret's prompt at Real Toads