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.