Friday, May 30, 2014

Early To Rise

Remnants of rain.
Birdsong and breath.
Wet grass.

A sketch poem for Margaret's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I've never had the stillness for sunsets.
My lovers watch alone

while I streak gold
across my palm,

cover an eye,
and move on.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Antidote And Curse

I coven
and compound
an antidote and curse.
The swaybridge
between them
a rotwood of words.
"yes, darling"
and the sweet sip is yours.
Or, strangle
on silence
and fall.

For Izzy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Generic Invitation To Time Travel

Dear ____________

You are cordially invited to experience
the ancient wonders of 10 minutes ago.
Please join me on a journey
to that magical time before

(a) I revealed what I really think of ___________ .

(b) I confessed that I've been ______________ .

(c) I mentioned that you _________________ .

(d) Other ______________ .

Looking forward to seeing you
back then!


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Future Of The Farm

Got a government mule that I can't beat,
a hundred year drought, and rust in the wheat.
There's widowbirds wild in my Monsanto seed,
and I can't get a loan for more.

So with three generations of mouths to feed
and forty acres full of turnips that just won't bleed,
I set catnip in the corn and Buddha in the beans
and the kids to cooking meth in the barn.

It's the future of the family farm.

Note: Buddha is the name of a popular strain of marijuana . . . so I'm told.

Revisiting Marian's Dirt Farmer prompt for Play It Again at Real Toads.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Zatarain's Man

She calls out at night for the Zatarain's man.
Ativan; she means Ativan.
I fumble
to keep her flying.

I'm doing the very best I can
Hello?  Jello?  Pillow?
but it's hard to understand
her dying.

I'm here.
I'm home.
I'm trying.

For Marian's make you cry prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


That cloud has mothered Rain
a dozen daybreaks.
Her quiet girl
just this side of a storm.

She hides her behind lightning
and the noise the thunder makes -
pretending falling's not
what Rain is for.

Some pathetic fallacy (I hope) for Kerry's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I have a silver shamrock
salvaged from that Irish bar
they tore down
to make way for a dorm.
And, half a dozen postcards
that he mailed to me from Europe;
I didn't get them
till after he was home.

I have a blurry picture
of me wearing white and terror
just before I took
vows and a ring.
I have a dark-eyed daughter.
She has a hearth and father.
And, he and I, between us
have 13.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pheasant Hunting With Daddy: A Confession

When I threw up cold coffee and milk
all over that Kansas cornfield
and had to strip down to my little girl long johns
and wait in the cab of the truck,
I whined, but inwardly blessed the good luck
that saved me from shoot or disappoint him.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

That Day

"What are you doing,"
my daddy asked me that day.
But I was only six,
and I couldn't explain
that each doll had her place,
and there could be no mistakes;
otherwise, I might go blind.

That day
I learned
how to lie.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Future

The sky fell -
bits of robin's egg blue.
The sea gave up its salt.
And, I stopped loving you
just like I said I would.

I guess this is the future.

People will tell
where they were today
when the oxygen ran out,
and the moon got in the way
of the sun
just to let your star move on.

I guess the future's here.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Friday, May 9, 2014


Flowers are blood bloom eyes.
Flowers are the eyes of God.
Flowers are the wounds of Christ;
their stems, the cross he hung upon.

Fruits by Seraphine Louis pintora naif francesa

Fruit is famine in the basket.
Fruit is rot wound round a seed.
Fruit is still life till I've passed it;
then it splits sweet and clings to me.

Trees are trysts between the leaves.
Leaves are gossips in the wind.
Wind's the hymn the angels sing
to sheave the screaming in.

Over at Real Toads, Fireblossom has us working with the art of Seraphine Louis.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pillow And Bone

Woxie Haury (Cheyenne) in native dress and in Western dress on her wedding day.

It took a stitch of Sundays,
but good work has been done.
Tirelessly, our sisters pillowed
braids against the bone.
Twisting, twisting, crossing
until the leather let go.
Homespun prairie lace -
almost white as snow.

Notes: As part of the effort to "assimilate" Native Americans, off-reservation boarding schools became very popular.  Starting in the 1880s, thousands of Indian children were taken from their homes.  At these boarding schools, the children were forced to give up their language and customs and adopt Christianity.  The above picture is a"before and after" shot intended to demonstrate how much the schools were "improving" the Indians.  Here's a couple more:

Tom Torlino (Navajo) arriving at Carlisle school in 1882 / Three years later.

Three Lakota boys arriving at Carlisle / A short time later.

Pillow and bone is a technique of making lace.

For Susie's lace prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Personal Challenge

Just after she finished blowing us all away with her personal challenge write, Margaret Bednar passed the challenge baton to me.  My mission: find a painting or portrait of a woman and let her speak to me (offer advice, comment on my life, engage in conversation, etc.).  I looked at a lot of beautiful paintings, but it was this portrait of a young Virginia Woolf that spoke to me.

Sweet Briar

I'm rooted
in a sweet briar climb;
it's twining my thighs
and thorning.

by stones in my sleeve
and language
lost to rust.

by apple rain
and the sweet, wet rot
of the river.

to wash
the mud from my eyes;
I see too much.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Execution

43 minutes to die
injection site blown
poisons seeping
into soft tissue
in the groin
heart limp/lurching
on and -
close that goddamn curtain!

something's wrong

43 minutes
to die

On April 29, the state of Oklahoma used an untested 3-drug cocktail to execute Clayton Lockett.  Something went wrong.  After struggling for life for 43 minutes (25 of those minutes behind a closed curtain), Lockett finally died of a massive heart attack.  At least, that's what we're told.

For Open Link Monday at Real Toads

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Door

"I get so scared sometimes;
I just want to see your faces,"

she said, and I was surprised.
I hadn't realized before

that there's goodbye
on both sides of the door.

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, May 1, 2014

4 O'Clock

I have a 4 o'clock conscience.
It blooms late
in afternoon's fade,
and it keeps me awake all night

nectaring monsters.

Note: 4 o'clocks bloom in late afternoon, release an extremely sweet scent throughout the night, and close in the morning.