Monday, December 29, 2014

Love

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love never fails.

But, I do.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Ex

My ex Stacy
is crazier than me.
Take her out and see
six new shades of lunacy.

She waylays me
at Starbucks and the mall.
It's like I'm being stalked,
and she doesn't know that she's an ex at all.

Ecstasy in 5 Minutes or Less for Play It Again at Real Toads

Friday, December 26, 2014

Doubting


"I think the world really boils down to two types of people - those who see shapes in cloud formations, and those who just see clouds."
Danae Pace


There were buds in the funeral bouquet
closed tight as her casket.
One opened on Christmas Day -

and, I googled it.

I'd begged God for a sign.
Something small, anything at all.
But when that stem showed signs of life

I googled it.

There could have been comfort in that bloom.
Rest for an uneasy heart.
Instead, I put fingers to my wounds

and googled it.

For Margaret's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

If You Don't Know The Words

Hum, Bug, if you don't know the words.
It's honey suckling time
let me climb your D-fences.
You can take your sweet spriggin' thyme,
just don't blow
off my kisses

like you're wishing on some dandy lion -
my pride's

in my teeth.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Monday, December 22, 2014

Marie Aquanet

Marie Aquanet
of Paris, Texas made a bet

with a girl
about a boy.
We'll call the joker "Floyd."

When Marie couldn't get
Floyd to let her drive his Vette,

she lost her head of hair.
The Glee Club buzzed her bare.
But when people stared, Marie just hollered

"Eat my cake!"

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Silver Tells

I look like bad road, country bad road;
at least forty miles.
Oh, how the season
has aged me.
I grab make-up
and some lip plump -
go camouflage style.
But I can't do a thing with my hair.

Silver tells.
The silver tells.
I'm getting grey hair
for Christmas.
Not a sprinkling.
The whole damn thing.
Soon I'll be old lady grey.

I've got wrinkles
and I tinkle
when I laugh hard or sneeze.
My knees pop and crack their own rhythm.
I've got Depends,
Spanx with sequins,
and handfuls of Aleve.
But I can't do a thing with my hair.

Silver tells.
The silver tells.
I'm getting grey hair
for Christmas.
Not a sprinkling.
The whole damn thing.
Soon I'll be old lady grey.

A bit of parody for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads.  Hope this qualifies, Kerry!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Fast Dogs / Slow Rabbits

This year of fast dogs
and slow rabbits
we've all taken the teeth
and bruise.
But with the Good Lord and a few
bad habits,
we've managed to get ourselves through.

I burned with resolutions
till I used them
to feed fire for you.
In a year of fast dogs
and slow rabbits,
I did the best
any rabbit could do.

For Marian's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Still Here

I made deals with the devil
and peace with God -
flattery and fear.
Mama's still here.
Mama's still here.

Then I settled for each second
as it came along
and held each one dear.
Mama's still here.
Mama's still here.

There were riots in the streets
here in America
where it matters.
Some terrible disease
came to America
where it matters.
But my world
was a small world -
just a mother
and a daughter
this year.

And Mama's still here.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reflecting on the past year and I wrote this draft.  I was thinking about how the world was falling apart right outside my door, but it didn't matter and I didn't care.  My world was the whoosh of an oxygen machine.  Mama was still here.

After a long illness, my mother passed away yesterday morning.  Some of you know me quite well; I thought that you'd want to know.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Red Wheelbarrow 2014

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William Carlos Williams in binary code for Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Waning

There they are, the moon's young, trying
Their wings
--- Beginnings, James Wright
 

The moon
wanes weak
in heaven's wet, hollow eye.
Black iris night
steals stars
from her beside.
I'm
being orphaned
by a swallowing sky.
Who will I
be
in the morning?

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ekphrasis

 
 
It's been a week since my last poem.
I have a picture of a pretty pink lake.
I'm thinking of cheerleaders
 
and full immersion baptism.
Cotton candy choirs and bubble
breasts breaking the surface
 
like Cold War submarines . . .
. . . giant stomach shaped holes
full of Pepto Bismol.
 
Meccas for the mildly
nauseated . . . puddles
of prehistoric piss
 
left by the last
pink elephant . . . a bulimic
Disney princess riding a unicorn
 
in a blender . . .
It's been a week
since my last poem.
 
I have a picture of a pretty pink lake.
 
I'm thinking.
 
For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Deadhead

I don't deadhead anymore.
I leave leavings for the birds.
There's beauty in decay
if you look at it that way.

I don't deathbed anymore.
I crawl up right beside you.
There's beauty in the way
we still fit together.

No, I don't deadhead anymore.
Dust gathers on the vinyl.
There's beauty in what stays
and what lets you go.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Godspeed, G-Man.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Got

Miranda on the radio.
Glass of sweet ice tea.
Bird dog at my feet.
Open windows.

Red dirt in the sunset.
Smallmouth on the line.
Green tomatoes fresh to fry.
Kids catching minnows

to let go.

Cucumbers in vinegar.
Ham hock in the beans.
Knees ripped out my jeans.
Cherokee eyes.

A truck that's almost paid for.
Most everything I need.
God for in between.
Kids catching fireflies

to let go.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, December 6, 2014

See Mom Run

Run your hose.
Run to the bank.
Runny nosed kid.
Run over the sink.
Run out of coffee.
Run out of gas.
Run, Mama, run!
Fast!  Fast!

Run yourself ragged.
Run yourself raw.
Run one to school.
Run one to the mall.
Run yourself down.
Run yourself dry.
Wave to yourself
as you run by.

For Flash Fiction 55 at Real Toads

Friday, December 5, 2014

Elf On The Shelf, Terrorist

Dexter Elf
babyrabies.com

I feel felt 
scrape my thigh,
but I stay still
eyes closed tight,
faking sleep,
thinking he might . . .
just go away.

But I lose my last shred of hope
when a cinnamon stench fills my nose
and my wrists are wrapped in mistletoe;
"hush!" I hear him say.

"I've been whispering to your child
gift ideas so crazy wild
that you'll never, ever find them
to put beneath the tree.

I promised her a reindeer.
Then I vandalized the manger.
I would have sodomized the savior,
but he broke in 2003.

And I'm just getting started
with my holly jolly party.
I've a dozen days and a million ways
to give you holi-hell.

Now sleep and dream of sugar plums,
but don't forget, when morning comes
and you're up staggering before the sun,
you gotta move this fucking elf!"

For Shay's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Night Bloom

Bird in the belly of a worm.
Blue of a dead man's dreaming.
Initials in a heart
carved in a hangman's tree.

A Breeze through broken glass
teasing tatters in a suicide's window.
Home is where there's horror;
I bloom in unnatural things.

For Suzy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Like Apples

Bond of Union, 1956, by M.C. Escher


God peels us
like the apple we ate.

Peels us with snakebite
and birth.

Through fruit flesh rotten
and sweet

to heirloom seeds
for the garden.

For The Mag

Monday, December 1, 2014

Blackberries

Wild fruit won't wait
for your hands to harden.
A little flesh for the thorns is fair.
Reach deep
back where the birds haven't gotten
before ripe runs to rotten,
and Fall claims its share.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Simpletons

Past TENSE -
the language of our stories.
Present TENSE -
our anxious little lives.
Future TENSE -
words we give our worries.
Simple tense -
frightened all the time.

For the mini-challenge at Real Toads

Friday, November 28, 2014

I Don't Feel Right

I don't know if I was born ambivalent
or became that way when my brain
broke in the street or my daddy
beat feet or, or, or . . .

but, I don't feel right anymore.

Joy might be a boy
dark haired and dumb
who doesn't call.
Grief tastes
like the novels
I haven't read.
I have all these signs,
sounds, and symbols
in my head;
but what are they for?

I don't feel right anymore.

My take on Corey's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving In Flyover

The menu skews southern,
as does the company,

gathering like clouds
in a November sky.

Football on the living room tv,
NASCAR in the kitchen -

tight, small circles
and swapping paint.

We gossip sinners from saints
while we're waiting for the crescent rolls.

We plan futures and funerals
while the ice tea brews.

Finally, it's time for blessing the food.
Grannie gives us pure, born again Baptist,

but Mama always slips
a little Native in there.

I share a grin with my little sister
and mutter my own prayer.

Oh, Great Spirit, 
work the wishbone in my favor.
I cheat like a white man, 
but my sister cheats better!

***

For Grapeling's prompt at Real Toads.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sleeve

Peering at her dinner plate
my only child intones
mournfully,
"You have died of dysentery."

If Emily were here and me
I wonder, would she know
how to make poetry
from the beautiful misery

of a snot smeared sleeve.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fruit

"Still Life with Fruit," Severin Roesen, 1852.  iPhone image by M. Bednar.


When none of the fruit was forbidden,
I tasted as I pleased,
but none of it pleased me.

It was too easy.

And when some of the fruit was forbidden,
I got tangled in my choice
for the choicest piece

and couldn't eat.

But when all of the fruit was forbidden,
I fell fast to the feast.
More left me hungry.
Less left me replete
and choking to chew and swallow
another sickly sweet
seed and slice

of rich, ripe vice.

I'm no wiser than Eve.

For Margaret's Artistic Interpretations prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Use Your Words

A four-year-old Baby Puppy pretending to be me

"Use your words," I tell her.
God knows I use mine.
Long, stretched out sentences
with places I can hide
and syllables to squeeze between till I
get lost inside my mess/age.

"Use your words," she tells me.
"The small ones are the best.
Yes, no, stop, go,
love you more, and bless.
If you keep the truest ones,
you won't need all the rest

to dress up your MESSage.

Mama, talk like me.

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads.  Hope it fits!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Driving



Driving teaches the shit and skin of it.

Road rage guy blows past.
By the next red light you're sitting side by side.
I get it.

But getting it doesn't grow the lotus.

For The Mag

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blackbird

I choked on the bones of a blackbird
you'd baked into a pie.
You pried my locked jaws open,
held me in your vise-like thighs,
and slinked your fingers down my throat
till they willowed; now they won't
unring the bell.

Star scorned ribs
Sugar skin.
Hammer heart
with the nail half in
the hickory tree dressed in a noose
swinging -

I turned that blackbird loose.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The World According To

The world according to a fly
is the picnic you insisted I
join you on
spread upon
the shores of Getsome Lake.

The world according to a worm
is churn and turn,
turn and squirm
through my eyes
buried in the berm
between the lake and the interstate.

For Kerry's mini-challenge at Real Toads

Friday, November 14, 2014

Going To Water

For every moon,
there is a dance.
For every dream,
there is a sickness.
Words are a witch's womb and water.

To fill your eyes with fire and sunrise,
face the east.
To get clean,
get naked.
To walk the wet depths,
release your father's fear of drowning.

Go under.
Go under.
Go under.

There is more than one way to breathe.

Note: Going to Water is the name of a Cherokee purification ritual.

Inspired by Freddie Mercury, Marian offers up some thought -provoking prompt / questions at Real Toads.  I chose to work with "how you think about your stage and how and why you have put yourself on one."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bad Day

Because I'm feeling generous,
I'm going to assume
that the school counselor was having a bad day.
I'll give her the benefit of the doubt
that dragging middle-schoolers out
in the blazing August sun sounded fun.
But telling them to scream and throw stress balls at each other?
"It was supposed to be a metaphor," explained my daughter.

Really?
Lady, leave that
to the poets.

***

Just ran across this in my drafts.  It really happened!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Day Before Veteran's Day Observed

On the day before
our veteran's day
of free haircuts
and Main Street parades
Captain America called the cops

to negotiate.

He had taken a gun
and a hostage to
a locked corner office
with a downtown view,
but if everyone did
what he told them to do,

there was no need to be afraid.

I just want you to put me away
in a quiet place
for the rest of my days.
I'm not the man I was before,
and I can't live with me anymore.

As a grateful nation
held its breath
and the Captain's handlers
quickly left,
the SWAT team stoned
a hero to death.
Hey, all give some -

some give all.

---

Process Note:  I know this is really rough, but I wanted to work with it while my feelings and impressions were still fresh.  On the day before Veteran's Day, a veteran in my community stormed a random building and took hostages.  Details are still pretty sketchy, but his only "demand" was to be taken to jail so that he could spend the rest of his life in solitary confinement.  We claim to hold our soldiers up as heroes (our real life Captain Americas), but we do a damn poor job of giving them what they need when their hero work is done.

No one was injured in Monday's incident. 

"All gave some; some gave all."  --- Howard William Osterkamp, Korean War veteran

Written for (and highly influenced by) Kerry's prompt at Real Toads.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Curly Haired Boy

I caught a curly haired boy in a dream and called him mine.
Taught him history and tear gas;
dressed him down in prison stripes.
Churched him never look the devil
straight in the black and white.
Now, he strides

soft and sober as a deacon,
but I

still don't sleep at night.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, November 8, 2014

If All The Stars

If all the stars
of a constellation fall

but one,

will that single star wrestle back
the black of night

alone?

Will it fire its fragment of heaven?
Will it shine in the remade sky?

Or without its constellation,
will it die?

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, November 7, 2014

Id Witch

image by Mark Byzewski

My id witch rubs against the rocks
and leaves them smooth and wet with longing.
She works at night -
eroding me sure as sunrise

till some small thing that I've buried
in a hurried cat scratch hole
has a cathedral to call home.
I grow

more hollow all the time. 

A rough draft for Hannah's Antelope Canyon prompt at Real Toads.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Charming Man

Such a charming man
singing, swaying with his sword
lily in his hand.

Lily in his hand -
sharp enough to pierce a heart -
doesn't give a damn.

Doesn't give a damn.
He's a jumped up pantry boy.
Never knew his place.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Circus LIfe

I juggle stars and deal cons-
tellations from the soft side
of the deck.
Where there are elephants,
there is elephant shit;
watch where you step.

I once had the knees for the flying trapeze,
but I fell
and couldn't forget.
Now I order the world
of the come-after girl -
needle and thread for her net.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ground

I tried to pass through the looking glass
and busted my nose.

I think I'm stuck here.
Don't think I belong here.

The clouds are cramping down
too heavy, too close.

There's no sky at all.
Nowhere to fall.

I'm flat on the ground.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Control

I am in control.
You're a shadow hanging back
and recording your observations
of the sugar in my sap.
Measuring the heat
held deep in my ceramic bones.
Watching clouds creep clockwise
to make my stormy mouth their home.

You are just a variable.
You're an ex in search of why.
Record your observations.
Hypothesize.

A Flash Fiction 55 for Real Toads

Friday, October 31, 2014

Medicine

There's a lawman on my step,
filling my door with white worries,
bending my ear with white noise,
but hesitant.

Three little girls, just little girls, messed with, murdered down at the camp.  We got the son of a bitch that did it

I am wrinkled and old and I piss myself.

sure as shooting, he did it, but no one saw nothing, no one heard nothing. All the evidence was circumstantial

I am blind, but for my dreams.

and he was acquitted.  Got off scot free.  And, well, there's been talk that he used the Medicine.

Liquor swishes sweet in a bottle.  Tobacco press prickles my hand.

And, we'd like a little, too.

***

I could have told the lawman to take his white
worries and whiskey and leave,
but I didn't.
Yes, I am old and wrinkled and I piss myself.
I have one ratty room, government cheese, and no teeth.
Dead white girls are nothing to me, but the Medicine . . .
the Medicine is my last breath,
and blasphemy is a blackened lung.

***

There is no dance; I'm too old for that.
There is no chant; I haven't the voice.
That's all just tourist trap trappings, anyway.

It's just will

to be wind,
smoke 

to be smoke,
and letting

the leaving
stop the breathing

and stop a heart.

I start.

***

And in other news, accused killer, Joey Elkhart, was found dead in his home last night.  Elkhart, as you may remember, was tried and acquitted for the grisly murders of three young girls at Camp Morgan last year.  Elkhart died of an apparent heart attack.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Process Notes:  This piece is based VERY loosely on the 1977 Girl Scout Murders that took place at Camp Scott here in Oklahoma.  The prime suspect in the killings was a Cherokee Indian named Gene Hart.  Hart eluded capture for ten months, and rumors began to circulate that Hart was using Cherokee Medicine to elude capture (he was eventually captured in the home of a Cherokee Medicine Man).  Hart was tried and acquitted of the crimes in March, 1979.  

At the time of the trial, a local (different) Medicine Man that had been assisting the police prophesied that the Great Spirit would strike Hart down if he were guilty and acquitted by the white man's court.  On June 4, 1979, Hart suffered a fatal heart attack.  He was only 35 years old.

For Shay's prompt at Real Toads.  Happy Halloween!   

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sleeping Dog

Sleeping dog, I'll let you lie
if you'll do the same for me.
Don't wake me with your whine soaked breath;
don't pretend you need to pee.
Don't wet nose my ear
or take my covers in your teeth.
Sleeping dog, I'll let you lie -
now, do the same for me!

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crybaby Bridge

I had scarcely made it home, wet with rain,
shivering, cold,
when my lover's longed for steps
creaked across the porch.
Hurriedly, I dried my eyes,
smoothed my hair, grabbed the wine;
then, took a breath and took my time
strolling to the door.

I'd met him not that long ago,
but it was before I'd begun to show,
and his travels quickly took him
safely far away.
So, he never saw the belly.
I never felt the need to tell him
that another man had had me
and had me in the family way.

He's a gentleman of quality;
wealthy and above me.
No trick with a mewling bastard
could ever wear his ring.
So I hid myself away
from prying eyes; no one could say
that I was anything less than a lady
or hint at impropriety.

I labored and delivered
all alone in early winter.
Christmas brought his letter;
he'd return on New Year's Eve.
Infant at my breast,
I counted myself blessed
that I'd get what I deserved - the best!
Just like I'd dreamed.

But what of my mistake?
I knew he'd never take
me and some farmboy's leavings
to his mansion on the hill.
Should I weep and beg forgiveness,
or, knowing there's no witness,
should I resolve this ugly business
in whatever way I will?

I waited for a wicked night
to keep all ears and eyes inside,
and when the countryside was quiet,
I took the ice kissed road
and made my way to rot wood bridge
just the other side of the ridge
took my sacrifice to the edge
and let it fall to the dark below.

Now, the future's at my door.
Everything I've waited for.
Nothing binds me anymore.
I slowly turn the knob.
But standing there instead
of my love is old Sheriff Ned;
hat pulled from his head, he says,
"I'm sorry for your loss.

Found your man's rig in a ditch
just t'other side of the ridge.
He was standing on the edge of the bridge;
I tried to talk him down.
But he didn't seem to hear me.
He kept hollering about a baby.
Then he jumped, and he went under
and, God bless the man, he drowned."

Of course, they ruled it suicide.
No one else heard a child that night,
and none was found though they dragged
the river edge to edge.
But late at night ever since
I went mad and he went in,
you can hear that brat wail witness
beneath Crybaby Bridge.

Process Note: Nearly every state has at least one Crybaby Bridge, it seems.  Versions vary, but the tale usually involves some sort of accident on the bridge that results in the death of a child.  The cries of the child can then be heard on dark, stormy nights, etc.  This is my take on the Crybaby story for Grapeling's prompt at Real Toads.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fey

Sunrise sweetens the old ash tree;
brightens the blonde autumn fall of its leaves;
lightens the face living heartwood deep
till I swear I can hear a laugh

drifting past
playfully
four winds free.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Grain Of

A grain of need
nestled
in the oyster.

A grain, a seed
that germs
a sick soil weed.

A grain that bleeds
blue black
cloistered commerce

and feeds hunger
to swollen hunger
to harvest greed.

Written for Kerry's Mini-Challenge and submitted to Open Link Monday at Real Toads.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Greek Slave



Beauty makes me angry,
the way it crawls inside my head,
the way the things it leaves unsaid
echo.

She

stands like a summer full of shine,
all thighs and fine
sinuous lines;
a soft, curved belly,
fed well breasts -
blemishless.

There's no suggestion

of stink,
starvation,
an itchy cunt,
a blunted scream,
or anything
to shame a deep pocket
or blink an appreciative eye.

She

is flawless,
voiceless,
and naked,

but not by choice,
so it's all right.

Process Note:  If you're the less cynical sort, you may believe the Greek Slave's back story.  Powers claimed her to be a Christian woman stripped to be sold as a slave by infidels.  Viewing her nudity is not scandalous or immoral because she is not naked by choice.  However, you may take a more jaundiced view and believe that Powers doth protest too much, that the Greek Slave was accompanied by such an extensively thought out tale only to provide moral cover for prudish Americans who wanted to look at a hot, naked woman without feeling any guilt, and that the notion that it was okay to look at her naked body because she wasn't naked by choice is deeply disturbing on more levels than can be named in one sitting.

I'll let you decide which side of the feminist bed I woke up on this morning.

For Margaret's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Climate Change

I thought the angst of my 30s was long gone,
and I was feeling mighty fine.
Looking at 50 and soaking up the sun,
forgetting

there's a storm for every season.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Worse

Barricaded in a basement with beer belly guy
(he hopes "that the dark meat gets et first"),
two smokers, and seven
upstanding members
of Rev'rend Revelation's
End Times Church -

the zombies are bad,
but this is worse.

Holed up in a house with a half can of decaf
and a blonde with a yippy little Pom in her purse
that she baby talks
until each "puppy wuppy"
scrapes and scalpels the stretch of my nerves -

the zombies are bad,
but, damn!

This is worse.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Freak Flag

Got my freak flag wrapped
round me like a cloak
of visibility.
Can you see me?

I'm a mutiny
of sexes and shades

on the periphery,
but steady making my way

to that righteous place -
that sweet spot

in the center.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rut

"Buy One Pair,
Get One Free!"
"Do You Know Roy Random
or Suzy Who?"
No lust.
No thrust.
No throbbing member.
Even my SPAM is boring.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Oklahoma Made

Prairie grass hair.
Storm season eyes.
Flatland meeting sky;
you can see forever.

A pulling unit heart
steady, slow, and strong.
More guts than brains -
can change quick as weather.

I'm Oklahoma made
and made better.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Kittens Coming

Poor little thing!  How sad you seem!
Not a runt, but sick in some part.
Perhaps, it's an ache in your heart.
Let's nap here
in the quiet dark.

I have kittens coming.

Child, I've watched you prowl at night,
and test your tentative milk teeth bite.
You're not quite like
the rest of your kind.
More like

my kittens coming.

I think I'll curl in the soft of your side.
Steady myself on the steel of your spine -
the strength that you have yet to find,
but will.
Now, feel

the kittens coming.

Process Note: The summer I was 9 or 10 years old, I was sick and had to stay in bed for what felt like an eternity (it was probably 2 or 3 days).  One of those sick day afternoons, I woke from a nap and found my cat Tutu curled up at my side and giving birth.  If you know anything about cats, you know that this behavior is pretty much unheard of.  I've never forgotten the wonder of it, and I've always felt that Tutu honored me with an incredible gift.

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads

Monday, October 6, 2014

Peel

This poem is an impossible thing;
a hummingbird hover,
an orbiting sun.
Peel it to find
the fruit of my heart.
Peel it to find
the worm.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Faithless

I will pray with you.
I will speak
in the tongue you taught me.
I will stitch supplications
from stars and half-remembered psalms.

I'll offer the alms,
and bait the switch.

I'll be faith
in your faithless night.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Blues Singer

Got a shiver scream that shatters the scale-
a banshee wail rising up from the blues,

but it's the breath behind the beat
that havens truth.

So, I give gravel and guts to the girls up front -
I've walked in their high heeled shoes.

And the barefoot sigh on the B-side,
I save for you.

A Flash Fiction 55 Real Toads

Friday, October 3, 2014

Explorers

We stumble into a marriage of wind and teeth
and call it discovery,
even as we're tripping over altars
and Buddhas left behind.
We love to find.
We love to name.
We've claimed the moon,
and soon we'll claim heaven;
displacing God,
parleying with the saints,
and sending all the angels to reservations.
Repentance and reparations
are for after the smallpox.
Today, we are explorers,
and every world is new.

For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Watermelon Festival

Royal Sweets and Black Diamonds
under every shade tree.
Sticky faced kids and
hallelujah bluegrass bands.

Spit your seeds to win a
prize. Flies on the
rind;
I still want a slice.
Nothing beats a home-
grown melon come
summertime.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Upon October

Once upon October
(she lets me be on top),
I lean into her full moon lips
and lose September in her kiss.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

To Keep The World Turning

I'm cleaning the clouds from the sky we share
so you can feel the warmth of the sun still there
and burning.

Is that enough to keep the world turning?

I'm scrubbing the stars from each near miss night
till the moon nestles close
and its light falls full on your face.

Is that another day?
If not,

I'll do it again.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mother's Tongue

My daughter speaks her mother's tongue -
a sugar syrup southern drawl
that softens words that shouldn't be said,
shouldn't be said at all.

A sugar syrup southern drawl
that hints at lemon in the tea,
but softens words that shouldn't be said;
she learned that from me.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Migration

My chakras are migrating south,
and I am fall
                     i
                       n
                         g.

My third eye is in my throat.
My heart is in my toes.

I'm sinking to the ground.
Winter is call
                      i
                        n
                          g,

My crown is on my knees.
My roots are out of reach

and growing numb.

Inspired by Ella's Poetic Exercise (Chakras).  Submitted to Play it Again at Real Toads.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Universal Truth

is a book
of painted savages
and a view of the river.
Whispers
and the taste of a new tattoo.
It is American;
pregnant, pretty, and dead
but for the love of a woman.

It is fever and frailty;
a marriage of convenience.
It is martyrs and bankers and mid-life's God.
It's a birthright
and a diploma.
It's a bottle of Job's tears,
shaken, not stirred.

For Corey's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Telling Time

seconds skitter
minutes rush
she is an hour hand now

winding down
unwound
winding down.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Blue Sky Mind

I keep looking up
for something on high
to bless me with
a blue sky mind.
Cloudless and clear.
Doubtless and clean.
Then, I'll know what I think,
and I'll say what I mean

out loud,
inside,
and outside-

if I had a blue sky mind.

I keep looking down
for relics and roots.
Real as red dirt
native truth.
A sure as spirit sign to follow.
A shaman's sugared pill to swallow

to seed me
and lead me
to the holy ground

I'm looking for when I look down.

Looking out.
Looking in.
I'm substantial as cirrus
and steady as wind.
Tell me, friend,
how do you know
you're who you are;
will you show

the trick to me?
Then,
show me again.

I'm looking out to look within.

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Why I Clean On Wednesdays

Wednesday mornings I sweep
my prescriptions into a drawer,

black folder my lists
and rituals,

make happy beds,
and strip the couch

so my maid can clean
without seeing my dirt.

Monday, September 22, 2014

To

To feel girly,
I wear pink pretties
beneath my practical pants.

To seem smarter,
I buy heavy books;
I have educated shelves.

To summon a smile,
I pretend
that I'm much more than I seem;

more
like anybody else.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Saturday, September 20, 2014

This Place

I'll not offer you this place
of darkened mirrors and pictures too
pale to be seen.

I'll not offer you this place
of creaking stairs and walls
prone to talk.

This place
is a skeleton key on a ring
that severs the finger.

This place
shames you
when you bleed.

For the Mini-Challenge at Real Toads

Friday, September 19, 2014

Checks And Imbalances

I check the front page
for sightings
of Jesus.
I check the classifieds
for directions from the Lord.

I never miss the weather;
there's words inside the thunder
crashing like a deadbolt -
six times -
to lock a door.

For Kerry's prompt (superstition) at Real Toads

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dahlias Dying

I dream of dahlias dying;
wake up half past late
and a quarter from crying.

Every joint is grinding.
Every bone is an ache.
I dream of dahlias dying.

I have a fear of flying.
I hesitate to medicate
till I'm a quarter from crying.

I have a fear of flying
and becoming what I hate -
a dahlia dying.

The work of untying
all the knots of me you've made -
all the talking and crying

I'm finding
to be a waste.
I dream of dahlias dying
and wake a quarter from crying.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ceasefire

When no one is neglected
but myself
and everyone is satisfied
but myself,
I sometimes call a truce
with myself.

Ceasefire.

Only then do I notice that my thighs
are trembling silk,
and my eyes capture green
in certain light.

But my ardor for me cools
quick as shower wet skin,
and, hair wrapped like a swami,
I can easily crystal future hostilities.

Self and love is an uneasy alliance,
and even temporary tenderness is an art.

I'm no artist, yet.

For Grapeling's Get Listed at Real Toads

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Privacy Of A Dog



Today,

I was photographed and fingerprinted at the bank,
videotaped buying tampons at the grocery store,
and tracked by GPS through my iPhone.

I left emails floating like angels in the cloud.

I received recommendations from Amazon,
suggestions from Netflix,
and friends from Facebook.

I must be safe and somebody, now.

Eyes covered -
the privacy of a dog.

For The Mag

Monday, September 15, 2014

Soft Science

Sampling the cells
of your sweet science.
The chemistry of skin.

The sweet heat calorie
of a kiss-

wet equation of a wish.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How To Bear The Blue

Squinting is impractical.
An eye-patch is doubly impractical
unless you are a pirate.
Not a pirate?
Then spread yourself wide as the drum major's cape,
and let trumpet trills
thrill you / fill you
with fat, unmuted September.
Leave August shades to the flute section
and the threat of October to your dreams.
Don't be that awkward stillness that stalls the wave.
Throw your head back and scream.
It's the least you can do
to bear your share of the blue.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ratna Dweepa



Can't hear rumors of a modern world -
mud in my ears.

I dig all day to eat -
mud in my teeth.

Dig for bits of colored glass -
mud in my ass.

A share of nothing there -
dead on my feet.




Note: Ratna Dweepa (Island of Jewels) is the Sanskrit nickname for the island of Sri Lanka.  The wide variety of gems found on the island have been mined for at least 2500 years.  For the most part, the mining process has remained unchanged.  Even today, most mines are small, community efforts. Miners work from dawn to dusk in exchange for food and an eventual 3% share of  any stones found.  

For Margaret's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Coming Out

I told you I loved you
and assured you that it didn't matter.
"Your skin is your own,
and a heart beats as it will."
But I could feel

you curl back from your truth,
and I'm afraid
that you mistook

the ghosts in my eyes
and all that's wrong with me
for something wrong
with you.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Nerd Gene

for my daughter

Girlie got a Gameboy
Gen One Pokemon
8 bit sing along
double jointed thumbs

Girlie got a retro
throwback way cool
vintage vibe old school
is her idea of fun

It's in her genes
her helix strings
the nerd is strong in this one.

Monday, September 8, 2014

How To Serve Woman

Don't truss her or fuss her;
open her and let her breathe.
Simmer gently until tender.
Whip to increase volume.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Dig

We uncovered sacraments
of a strange God -

peppermint candles
and sacred texts
left behind by ancient prophets -
and we learned

to banish foul smelling darkness
and troubleshoot a toaster.
With bread,

we fed
the electric Lazarus.

A third Great Awakening began.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

White Dog / Black Dog

It's a game,
just a stupid video game,
but the white dog is more powerful than the black dog,
and my daughter notices the difference.
"That's racist," she says.

Is it?  I don't know.
I mean, it's just a stupid video game.
But she's eleven,
and she notices.

Maybe there's hope for us after all.

For Flash Fiction 55 at Real Toads

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Second Flood

The second flood is coming; we must gather
them by twos and twos against the rain.

The men of sweat and diesel.
The women with calloused hands.

The makers, menders,
builders, and tenders of fields.

These are our workhorses and hunting dogs.
They can live on mud and remake fire.

Maybe they'll save a few of our worthless kind
with their duct tape and baling wire.

Inspired by Marian's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Intelligent Life

I go out at night
in search of intelligent life
only to find
myself empty-headed.

The dumber I become,
the less me and more like someone
I can't be for very long,
the more I'm wanted.

So I soothe my synapses to sleep.
Drown my dendrites in another drink.
Another smart girl ashamed to think.
Another dumbing down.

I go out at night
in search of intelligent life,
but I'm afraid
to let myself be found.

A little dichotomy for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Charmed Work

Calling down the fireflies
female in the grass

in my hands
homespun glass

charmed work
of wet, nested fingers.

Monday, September 1, 2014

And Wait

My metal turtle has tinted skin.
I can see out,
but you can't see in.
I guide from the belly
and inch chase a place in the shade.

And wait.

The school pick-up line
is society small.
Should I act civilized
or middle finger it all?
Be a beast in a tank
or the lady my mama raised

and wait, and wait, and wait?

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mother River

We found her blue-faced as a pict.
I became "Gall," my sister, "Bile,"
linguistics, the lace of our fingers.
Blood

is the mother river,
bone banked and senseless.
Pulse is census and legends of Lazarus
recited as I wade in

hoping to be counted.
Hoping to swim.

A rough bit of something for mood wings

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hiway 9

The Road to Somewhere

When you're young, the road is wide.
Wide enough you walk side by side.
When you're old,
it gets narrow as your veins.
On your way to the drooling chair.
White coat Jesus gonna meet you there.
Just follow the steeple sign
to Hiway 9.

Let our friendly, helpful staff
drip the morphine in your mask.
Rest your cyanotic skin.
Wet your lips with Ativan.
Inner peace is PRN.
Ring the bell, I'll be right in.
Just follow the steeple sign
to Hiway 9.

When you're young your lungs are wide.
Air's a sweet rush without trying.
When you're old,
they narrow to a strain.
On your way through the symptoms list,
pray for miracles you might have missed.
And follow the steeple sign
to Hiway 9.


***

PRN - "as needed"

Inspired by mood wings' word list and Kelly Letky's photography.  Submitted to Real Toads.

Fearing that y'all really think I don't know how to spell, I added the bottom image. That's the cheesy, tacky feel I was going for.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hundred Mile Wild

The first step into a hundred mile wild
sets you trembling like a child.
It's a pathless place that pulls you along.
Look back - the way you came is gone.
It's gone.

The first breath into a hundred mile wild
sings with the smoke of a thousand fires
drifting dark from the bridges you've burned.
The wildfire wind, it never turns.
Never turns.

The first day into a hundred mile wild
you take bones for bit and bridle.
The spurs that shred your skin are your own.
You bleed the lie that you're not alone.
Bleed alone.

The first night into a hundred mile wild
the constellations gather round
to whisper back all the wishes you made
on falling stars you couldn't save.
Couldn't save.

The other side of a hundred mile wild
is the missing verses of the Bible,
the lover you can't live without,
the sermon come down from the mount.
Come down.

It's the only way out.

For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, August 28, 2014

First Trip To The Beach

Hawaii, 2005

I tried 
to hold you high above the tide;
I tried.

Terror tasted salt and blue.

Once you were dry
and satisfied with solid ground,
I cried

for seashells lost
and the best I couldn't do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stoplight

I've left my little girl unchurched, but we pray
everyday
at the corner of 24th and Main -
a stoplight prayer
for God's grace
and a green light.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Me

Baby me bright
as the sunniest night
oh, radiant redhead of mine;
you know my kind

doesn't sleep much anyway.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Directions For A Photo Album

Admire the pictures of babies and brides.
Tender touch
pressed funeral flowers.
Then turn to the pages in-between;
everything's in the nothing much hours.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Fecundity

Got a one word letter from a man
who shouldn't have sent me a letter at all.

FECUNDITY - didn't know what it meant,
but it dirtied me.

Instead of looking it up, I looked over my shoulder.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Unfolding




Folded

the birds are singing
the sun's on its way
not a cloud in the sky
what a beautiful day

Unfolded

the birds are singing

Death likes to whistle

the sun's on its way

interrogation light

not a cloud in the sky

heat will beat down

what a beautiful day

for a riot

***

Note: I'm trying to get across the idea of an accordion fold where alternating lines are hidden until the paper is unfolded.  Is it coming across at all?

Inspired by Kerry's Jorge Luis Borges prompt at Play It Again, Toads

Friday, August 22, 2014

8 Shades Of White Girl

"We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle."
---Marilyn Monroe

Katy Perry in her cloud.
Ugg boots on her feet.
Venti in her left hand.
She's a star; watch her twinkle.
Pinterest is next to godliness.
Rhythm's a one cup beat.
North Face in a shopping bag;
real face rarely seen.

Kind of a wacky list poem for Shay at Real Toads.  Forgive me; I'm suffering from sudden immersion in middle school girl culture.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Class Of

No one I came up with
grew up to be anything
but older.

Nobody made good
or did bad enough
to get on the news.

We didn't get famous,
and no one will name us
reciting history.

The Class of Whenever -
whatever
the best we could do.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Year Of Lithium

I was born in the year of lithium
and "let the sunshine in."
It was 1970, and the scorecard read
National Guard -4
Kent State - 0.

The Beatles broke up, and Yoko got the blame.
For the bargain price of a 6 cent stamp,
you could Dear John your sweetheart soldier
dry humping his hand and killing Commies
on the other side of the world.

The earth shuddered and shook
and took 50,000 lives in Peru.
Manson testified that it was Helter Skelter time
(do you, don't you . . . )
and X'ed himself out.

Jimmy died.
Janis died.
The blues contracted,
quiet, on a November night,
and I was born

in the year of lithium.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jane Q. Poet

I don't hear
angel wings.  My mind's full
of things to do.  No one's doing with me
what spring does with cherry trees.  I'm small words, quiet
needs; this world's loud, tall.  I canary
out of the coalmine -sing
what I saw.

A very rough triquain for Kerry's Sunday challenge at Real Toads

Friday, August 15, 2014

Constellations

We've killed the constellations -
all but one.

Scorpius slid down Detroit's slurry throat.
Leo dimmed over Tokyo.

Aries, Libra, and the rest
were strangle shined to death;

Only the Little Bear is left,

hibernating, here,
in my right hand.

I want
shattering,

rending,
end to the beginning,

but there's none.

Just a silent suffocation,
flicker,

gone.

And, we've killed the constellations -
every one.

For Corey's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Rancher's Widow Hires A Hand

Ridin's all in the hips;
don't be bouncin' in the saddle.
Ropin's in the wrist;
keep it loose, and let it roll.

Here at Desperation,
you don't touch a gal's tequila
unless you're gonna eat the worm -
it won't kill you, son!

Just suck it slow.

For Grapeling's word list at Real Toads.  Check out M's beautiful tribute to Robin Williams.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Husk

I'm tired
of all these needy people.
I've been sucked to a husk
of mean eyes and sharp tongue.
Gone is the skintight of my shadow.
It drags reluctant six steps behind.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bastet

I approach her like a penitent -
palm open
to be sniffed or scored.

I murmur baby talk
and prayers
in praise of her beauty.

She twitches an ear - or not.
Switches her tail - or not.
Goddess choice:

reward me,
ignore me,
or take me to task.

Bastet - Egyptian protector deity represented as a cat.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Where I Am Not

I cannot be
where I am not;

a simple thought,
but true.

I cannot be
where I am not,

so I cannot be
with you.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Where Night Falls

From streets lined with bed bound zinnias
to back roads of broomweed and clay -
where night falls

a woman waits for a lover.

From wine wisp sips of the iris
to a scissortail smoke in the hay -
where night falls

a woman waits for a man.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, August 8, 2014

Alas . . .



Alas, poor Tigger!  I knew him well, Piglet; a fine fellow of infinite bouncie; of forever trouncie; a thousand times he hath sung of his rubbery top and springy bottom; I can still hear the song!  "Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!"  But, where is the fun now? Where? It's gone.  The most wonderful thing about Tigger was Tigger was the only one.


 
 
For Margaret's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Never Was

Once upon a time
that never was,

I wore white gloves and danced
with a gentleman from France.

Once upon a time
that never was,

I loved a lady from Peru.
And, we danced, too.

Heads, I lie;
fairy tales, I'm true.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shadows

A Hiroshima Shadow

August sun.
One Little Boy.
Ten thousand shadows.

Note: On August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb ever used in war on Hiroshima, Japan.  Nicknamed "Little Boy," the bomb exploded with the force of 16 kilotons of TNT.  An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 people were killed instantly by the blast and a resultant firestorm so intense that "shadows" of some victims were permanently etched into stone. 

At Real Toads, Izy has asked for an incomplete poem.  Well, I'll be damned if I can tell if this is complete or not!  Help me out, fellow Toads; how does this come across?  Does the irony of a killing machine having such an innocent name strike you as much as it strikes me?  Is this horrifying, moving?  Or, is it just disaster poetry of the worst kind and completely useless without the explanatory note?  Help!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Friend Fishing

Line in the water.
A nibble on the bait.
I'm slow to set the hook -
another gets away.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Orbit



In the noose's
twirling orbit

is a picket fence
with pretty girls

climbing over
digging under

the goddamn dog days.

For The Mag

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sundial

Walking from my mailbox back to my door,
I could be plodding an elephant path.
I could be wading through wild, white water.
I am a sundial striding.

There's cottonwood fluff beneath my feet;
bee sting and birdsong behind my ear.
My six o'clock hands are sieves for the sand
spilled from my hourglass eyes.

55 words for Shay at Real Toads

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ishmael And Isaac

Ishmael has a shovel.
Isaac has a spade.
Can't share the land of Canaan.
Rather share a grave.

Brothers of the Book.
Seeds of Abraham.
Rather share a grave
than share the Promised Land.

A simplistic view of a complicated conflict.  Written for Marian's prompt at Real Toads.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Girlfriend

Just
when I thought
I'd never laugh
again,
you call
and then -

thank you.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weird

I saw a stegosaurus in a barbed wire yard.
Scrap metal art.
A Jurassic trailer park.
A Clash song later,
I saw a rocket car.

Shit is getting weird.



Turns out, I'm not crazy.  The "rocket car" was actually Oregon State University's solar race car.  It was being driven cross country for a race.

If you're interested, you can view the scrap metal dinosaurs just north of Rush Springs, Oklahoma!




Friday, July 25, 2014

Sister To The Sky

Photo Credit: Zulo

Kept sinking
till I swore off gravity,
stopped thinking,
and realized

that falling
is flying without wings;
the ground
is open wide

and sister to the sky.

For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Miss Terri

Miss Terri tells the time
by the wine left in the bottle.

Miss Terri knows where all good wishes go.

Miss Terri is the wick and waste
of an unlit candle.

Miss Terri is the shadow on a soul.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Creation

 
 
It seems solid enough to the naked eye,
but brought up close and magnified,
the smallest sliver of ancient life
has more holes than the theory of creation.
 
Having successfully meddled in healthcare, our good friends at Hobby Lobby have turned their attention to building a Bible museum in Washington, D.C. and designing a curriculum for the Oklahoma City Public Schools.  Jesus wept.
 
For Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

If We Had

If we had evenings
in companionable silence;
if we had nights
of discarded lace;
if we had mornings
as others have mornings,

think
of the poetry erased.

Monday, July 21, 2014

At The Drive-In

At the drive-in,
Schemer and Dreamer
are a stuck zipper away
from more than foreplay.
He's panting and printing
yellow grease on her bra.
There's popcorn in his teeth;
he's belching beer through a straw.
And her favorite romance novel
is a wishbone in her craw,
buried deep
as the gearshift in her back.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Mother's Voice

In my mother's voice, I tell her
of the rabbit and the rain storm;
of God and green things growing;
of the cloud and thunder song.

And in my voice she answers,
"I''m glad for grass and garden,
but the sky is surely shattered;
must it last so long?"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

This Poem Is No / Because I'm Your Mother / And I Said So

This poem is no.
This poem is because I'm your mother.
This poem is and I said so.

No.
No, you may not wear makeup.
No, you may not ride alone.
No, you may not have an iPhone to hide behind
or cliff jump with your friends.
This poem is no.

Because I'm your mother.
Egg-bearer.
Birth canal.
Other end of the umbilical cord.
Bringer of you, baby.
This poem is because I'm your mother.

And I said so.
I bribed gods to get you here.
I breathe prayers over you as you sleep.
I swore that I would always be an adult for you.
This poem is and I said so.

This poem is no.
This poem is mother.
This poem said so.

My attempt at Hannah's Boomerang Metaphors for Real Toads

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Other Me

Every week or so, I meet the Other Me
for catch-up, compromise, and coffee;
it's how we keep the road not taken out of the weeds.
She holds a juris doctorate.
I hold a poet laureate
between dishpan hands.
She has skyscraper eyes and heels to match.
I have red dirt between my toes.
We are have and half.

Every week or so, I meet the Other Me
for catch up, compromise, and coffee.
I have my bones in a briefcase.
She has a baby on her hip.
It's how we keep the road not taken out of the weeds.

For Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quality Control At The Young American Factory

We're red, white, and graying fast,
baby booming past
any balance
of labor and leisure.
We need her

and her and her and him
to come here -
come in -
work-
spend-
but we send them back;

the blend's too brown,
too close to black,
down at the border.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Yellow Brick Stone

Give me a yellow brick stone
to mark the end of my road.
Don't bother with dates or a poem -
just  If

she'd only had a brain . . .

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stumbling Stair



Joy was a sit
on the stumbling stair with
a cigarette lit
by your lips
by your kiss
back when everything meant
everything meant
everything.

For Magpie.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tokens

Frippery,
finery,
all sorts of shinery -
tokens of pinery
are most welcome here.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Here, The Land

Here, the land
is a woman

soft curved in sleep
beneath switchgrass sheets.

Shale spined,
and prairie fleshed -

red skin
veined black

with rich rot dreams.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, July 11, 2014

Mudslide

Abalone in a buzzard's beak.
Crab's just a dollar, but the buzzard's cheap.
Donkey spends his days keeping coyotes from the sheep.
Elephants polish guns.

Foreigners follow fading stars
to bring gifts
and clean houses
where the illnesses are
jumping in the blood
like kangaroos licensed to fly.
Meanwhile,

the mud keeps sliding.

Nuts are cracking open, and the odor's strong -
patches and the quick fix left too long.
Three footed rabbits and a siren song.
Excuses on the tarmac again.

So, I'm watching CNN in my underwear.
Embracing vertigo till I just don't care.
There's Beyonce's new wig
and yak jamming xylophone.
The zoo feels like home,

and the mud keeps sliding.

For Corey's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Dinner Game

It's my turn at dinner
with the dead and famous;
it's a game I play to lose.
I don't need to know why Poe wrote rhyme
or what hand soap Pilate used.
The answers to my questions
were knotted in a noose,

and I'll never know
why you let go.

Why didn't you call me?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Obsessive Compulsive

You like things tidy and neat.
"I'm a little OCD," you giggle.
No, you're not.

Until you've ground
yourself fine and sifted
the dust, you're not.
Until you've ritualed moons

for a fresh thought or a forward
link in your chain, you're not.
Until you've burst your eyes

to find a white space
in the small print
that follows you close
as blood and bone,

you're not.
You prefer tidy.
You prefer neat.  But, you can
defy either.  You're not

OCD at all.

For Michael's word list at Real Toads

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Right And Left

My right hand tinges
each word blue -
the hypoxic truths
of a hangman's heart.
But, my left hand laces
letters for you;
that's where the poetry starts.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Eagle, Eagle

Eagle, eagle,
bumblebee.
Hive up high -
aerie on my knee.
Can't hatch honey,
so I set the feathers free.
Eagle, eagle,
bumblebee.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, July 6, 2014

These Homes

Home is where
the heart work is;
the washing of feet
turned tentative;
the argumentative patient;
the bargains struck with time.

And, home is where
the guilt grows large
and wash piles up
beside the machine;
where weeds green the garden
and tomatoes rot on the vine.

The ties that grind -
these homes of mine.

For Flash Fiction 55 at Real Toads

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day

When I was a kid,
it never rained on Independence Day.
Ice cream didn't melt.
Burgers didn't burn.
Mama made left turns in traffic
without swearing.

The fair rides were free -
no lines.
The bathrooms were clean -
no lines.
The band stayed in tune -
glorious fine,
and the fireworks were water fire
lasting forever.

For Margaret's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Für Therese

I'm sorry, my dearest, I'm sorry.
Sorry as I can be
that these fingers cramped by the bow and staff
pen notes clear to hear, not to see.
Sorry that the sweet slant and curl of your name
will be lost to history.
I'm sorry, my dearest, I'm sorry.
I don't even know an Elise!

Despite the title of his song “Für Elise,” Beethoven didn’t even know an Elise, at least according to most historians. Beethoven had hideous handwriting—to the point that some scholars speculate the song was actually written “for Therese,” one of several women who turned down a marriage proposal from the notoriously lovesick maestro.
- - - Mental Floss

This amazing and interesting fact brought to you by Izy at Real Toads.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I'd Rather Be

on a boat in the water
hands silvered with shad
my eyes on a line -
nothing on my mind.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Love Angry

I
love
angry

and damn the weakness
that keeps me slinking back to the stick
like a cowed dog
waiting for the driest bone,
the faintest word of praise,
the touch of a salt lick hand.
Damn as weakness
all my fine fetching,
my seven howls,
my traitorous belly
exposed
and quivering
for your fingers.

I love angry,
but you murmur soft nonsense
into my sore silence, and

I heel,
sit,
stay,

and seethe
behind my blunted teeth.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Can't

Another bowl of cold cereal.
Coffee burnt to the pot.
Monday's shirt on Tuesday, Wednesday
pit-stained and wrinkled.

Buying diapers
for the woman who diapered me.
Diapering
the woman who diapered me.

Sleeping in snatches
of conversations
between medications
and limp, dead weight.

Prying at fear's thick fingered grip
with words, words
I'm good with words,
but I can't.

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, June 27, 2014

Goodbye Mandolin

Goodbye, mandolin.
I wish for you
soft white hands
and a seer's soul.
For fingers pressed
against your frets
as close as my ghost.
For chords
ringing rich
ever binding
and finding
harmony.

For Marian's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Night Owl

I want to be someone else.
No, something else.
A bird.
An owl.
A big-eyed owl with wet silver wings
and talons that can pluck out an eye.

I want to nest up in the rafters
of that Deep Deuce jazz club,
the one that opens late and closes early.
I want to hoot when the horns move me,
and screech when I'm feeling the swing.

And, when I'm flying low with a contact high
and spy the Monday morning mouse,
I want to whisper,

"You've slept a dozen deaths.
Welcome to the resurrection."