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.