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.