Thursday, December 31, 2015

When I'm Lonely



When I'm lonely,
when I'm lonely,
I let my fingers
find your song.

When I'm lonely,
when I'm lonely,
I love your lyrics
with my tongue.

Nothing compares to the rush
when you dare
to hold me.

Too dizzy to care for the cost,
I'm lost
in you only.

You know me.

You're my melody
when I'm lonely.

For Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Watching

the moon glint gold
and low in the oak -
a firefly

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bottleneck

I'm 19
and up to my knees in vinyl

looking for Dylan
to smudge this place with grace

and baptize me
in the melodies of denial -

convince me that there's virtue
in all pain

and that the poet's way
is to bleed and pray
till the bottleneck breaks.

I'm 19
with Kerouac and a Bible

looking for some scripture
for the stone

I've knotted to my ankle -
it's a Woolf revival.

I'd do Plath,
but the goddamn oven's broke.

Ain't it the poet's way
to bleed and pray
till a bottleneck breaks?

Revisiting A Word with Laurie for Play It Again at Real Toads.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Book

There's a finely bound book on the counter
with my name in gilt on the cover.
Its empty pages flutter
in a wind that isn't there.

The floor is thick with scattered
verses, curses, haphazard
lines, and rhymes that I've gathered.
My name is guilt in the air.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sleigh Ride

Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.
                                                                --- Sleigh Ride
It's a chore to wrestle the moonlight
from an untroubled southern sky
when the moon's in a phase to slumber and laze
dark to the northern eye.

I've promised my darling a sleigh ride,
and a kiss is the promised prize.
So it's my chore to wrestle the moonlight
and gather some stars on the side.

For Karin's prompt at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

#111

I was one of those that forgot to die.
     Cut out her eyes
     to see what she sees!
Regrettably, my memory's lies
are particular to me,

and outside of me
are sounds without song;
dirges, dances, toneless tunes;
strangled birds, bashed in bells;
     Cut off her ears
     and we'll hear, too!

Now dark and deaf within my dreams,
the future fast around my neck;
strapped tight to the ticking now
and skin and bones from the ghosts I'm fed,
my head

opens to what's unsaid -
not how do we undo what's been done,
but how do we profit from what's left?
And rather than answer,
I swallow my tongue
so you, too, can taste death.

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bow

The woman/child I named
takes her place in the sway
of black and white.
Her thighs clutch the belly of her cello (3/4 size),
and her hand trembles tight
around a horsehair bow held at concert attention.
Little one, did I ever mention
that I, too, once held a bow?

I pulled it from a post oak.
Stripped it till the bark bled smooth.
Seasoned it with summer.
Cured it in the corner of my room
till I could string it with twine or fishing line;
I had to make do, but you . . .

you, I named for finer things.
Bach instead of barn cats and blue stem.
So pull your bow across the strings -
make them sing.
Daughter,
make them sing

like the flight of an arrow.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Pearl

I promised you a pearl,
but I fear my promise hollow;
I've a castle's worth of sand,
but I can't make the oyster swallow!

For Kerry's mini-challenge at Real Toads

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Under The Mistletoe



Under the mistletoe,
Eleanor Smith
waits to be kissed,
waits to be kissed.
Dressed in her finest,
a smile on her lips,
Miss Eleanor waits
to be kissed.

A rose of the prairie
at sixteen's first blush,
she waits to be kissed,
waits to be kissed.
But the bloom on her cheeks
is the fever from flux.
Miss Eleanor waits
to be kissed.

Now Eleanor sleeps
'neath the cold prairie sod
and waits to be kissed,
waits to be kissed.
Under the mistletoe,
white bride of God,
Miss Eleanor waits
to be kissed.

Due to a lack of flowers in winter, early settlers often used mistletoe to decorate graves.  In 1893, the Oklahoma Territorial legislature adopted mistletoe as Oklahoma's official floral emblem.

flux- bloody dysentery

For Hannah's prompt at Real Toads

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Two Minds

I gathered up my courage
and I didn't plan the next thing.
The next thing came along, of course,
as sure as the sky is blue.

Sometimes it's good to be of two minds;
a little left brain, a little right brain.
As long as you're of two minds,
you have a mind to lose.

55 words for Hedgewitch at Real Toads

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Last Days Of A Circus Girl

mydarling:

Circus girl smokes while rehearsing her stunts. 
Nina Leen, 1949.
Circus Girl Smokes While Rehearsing Her Stunts; Nina Leen, 1949


My highwire
became a plank
floating over
brine that stank
of lost applause.
Our sails hung limp,
and the albatross rattled its bones.

So long, I'd worked without I net;
I had no fear of getting wet.
Throat of a lion
or gut of a whale -
either suited me well as home

with its boredom

and three rings of alone.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Poetry News

If I read the news,
I'd blues my way through
the shootings and senators.
Delta stomp the drug busts.
Holler the house fire on 44th and Vine.

Weather time,
I'd go for couplets.

sunny
and hot

allergy
and ozone.

hell fire
and brimstone

on the 7 day.  Back to you, Benny.

Sports -
haikued short.

Everybody
is winning this game, but  you
and you and you and

That should cover business, too,

and leave plenty of time
for human interest

if there is any.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Love Poem Is Waiting

A love poem is waiting
on the other side of the stars,
but I haven't the heart
to hurry
through night's humid hush.

Why must we rush?
Let's just stay
awhile in the porch swing's sway
and let silence have its way
with the two of us.

For Bjorn's prompt at Real Toads
Also submitted to Poetry Pantry

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dread And Fear

If nothing else, I've learned this year
the difference
between dread
and fear.

Fear is the "maybe"
and the "might"
that gives shape
and shadow to the night.

While dread is steady,
sure, and certain -
a beast
that is, itself, a burden.

Fear lends itself
to faith and prayer.
Dread is proof
God doesn't care.

Flood a fear with light;
it might not last.
If it does, it's dread;
fear come to pass.

This still needs a lot of work, but I just couldn't miss Fireblossom Turkeyday at Real Toads.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

People

People are interesting,
but only at a distance.  Too close
and I can't see
the forest for the me.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, November 23, 2015

Stranger

painting by Rubens Peale

I come as a stranger.
I come as a thief.
I come as a magpie
in search of a sweet

something to swallow
instead of my pride.
I come as a stranger;
will you let me inside?

For The Mag

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Needle And Thread

Push me pull me
like a needle and thread.

In and out of your life.
In and out of your bed.

Used to be fine fabric.
Now it's wearing thin.

Nights spun of whole cloth
don't mean nothin' when

I can't mend you.

So love me leave me
like you always do.

Chase the star shine
see where it gets you to.

Compass rose
let her spin and spin.

Where you go
doesn't matter when

I can't go with you.

A relationship poem (Kerry's Ingrid Jonker challenge) for Play It Again at Real Toads. Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Cat



When she died,
I had to arrange the funeral,
sort stuff,
and find a home for the cat,
the goddamn cat

that chewed through oxygen tubing
and slept like a cockleburr on her chest;
the mean-ass cat

that had nothing but claws and teeth
for anyone but her;
the wretched cat 

that I couldn't keep
and couldn't keep out of the shelter;
just a fucking cat,

but her cat.
And I mourn it like a second death.

For The Mag

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Small And Fine

Small and fine
we grind the days.
The best, the worst of everything
all fodder for a deepening
love, true and persistent.

And when darkness brings its gentle weight
(creaking these old mattress springs),
mouth to mouth and thigh to thigh
small and fine
we grind the night.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Migration

The migration snakes and meanders
in search of generous mouths.
Our lips
are thin, white,
and morgue stitched shut.

The walls we've built are slick
with brains and blood.

We are unaware of angels and too fearful
for Jesus.

For Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Wish We Were Dead Poets Society

Remember that spastic thing you used to do when we were out scaring civilians?

I'd smoke, and you'd swear -
leaves caught in our hair
and graveyard dirt
on the cuffs of our jeans.
We were the Wish We Were Dead Poets Society,
you and me.
Embarrassingly, endearingly earnest;
certain that the world was about to end
and churning inside to write it all down
right then.

Can't go back again.

When I told you that I'd become a teacher
(all these years later)
it was if I'd confessed to hosting a game show in hell.
Sell out, sell out, sell . . .
unsaid the Burning Man just back from Burning Man.

I understood.  But, understand . . .

I still poet and rage
just like the old days
against the sorry state of this world.
I'm the same/not quite the same girl.
It's just that everything
is not personal
anymore.

Remembering for Karin's prompt at Real Toads.  Tough exercise!  I'm still not quite happy with this, but maybe it'll clean up later.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Bridesmaid


The Bridesmaid

Oh, how my mind is frolicking!
Lord, give me a good walloping
should I forget     the groom's roaming hands
are soon shackled by    gold wedding bands!

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

False Dawn


Peace is but a false dawn
in the endless night of war.
Foxfire for forgetting -
just letting our tombstones settle before

a bugle call

sounds "add more names to the wall
and more poppies

to the fields."

For The Mag

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Founders Day

I guess I'm not really grown,
cause I still dream
of setting the Founders Day picnic on fire -
the bandstand burning,
apple pies charring,
Mason jars of Everclear bubbling, becoming

bottle rockets ready to fly
straight to the socket
of a mascaraed eye
I still wish to hell
I'd blacked
way back then.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Saturday, November 7, 2015

God's Country

We grieve with casseroles and pies,
celebrate with parted thighs,
live between with Sooner pride and Cowboy up.

Saturday - might drink a few.
Sunday comes; we're in the pews.
From your outside point of view, you call us dumb.

But when Jesus comes      back again,
he'll grin and call it heaven.

For Kerry's Eye of the Beholder prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Cost

If I hadn't gone here and here and here,
I would have never been there or there or there.
How could I bear

such loss?

But because I went there and there and there,
I never got here or here or here.
It's clear

there's cost

everywhere.

My slightly off kilter take on Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Feelings

From the garden,
from the orchard,
from the little corner store;
a bag, a bag, and one bag more
to feed my feelings.

For my Christian sense of duty
that clings like a case of cooties
to a second graders hair -
a pear.  Of course, I'll share.

For my unrequited lust,
my lady parts that gather dust,
and the dreams that wreck my slumber -
a cucumber.  I wonder . . .

And finally for my friend,
my boon companion till the end;
for my Fear when nothing's scary -
a big raspberry!  Thbpttbbt!

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Terrors

My terrors
are familiar
as a black cat on my lap

kneading me,
needing me,
claws unsheathed - that

is a love
that fits me
like a black with buckle hat

calling
to coven
to cairn.

A bit more Halloween for Poetry Pantry.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Naming Night

Ramshackle raw,
seed and salt,
this need I caught
on naming night

for the stretch of syllables,
yes, my syllables
slip/sweet
from your tongue.

All that I am
and all I can be
you gave to me
on naming night.

A warm, slow ferment,
temper and torment
I can't cure
and wouldn't wish
undone.

55 words for Kerry at Real Toads

Friday, October 30, 2015

Clearance Rack


Just as I was giggling
at the clearance rack and wondering
what kind of certain age woman
wears Marilyn Monroe,
wouldn't you know -

there she was

with a knee high leather boot strut,
ripped jeans on her mom butt,
and Marilyn sprawled
proudly across
the work of Dr. Gus.

Uh . . .

Because I am a poet,
I tried to see the poem,
really tried to see the poem,
but all that I saw was

a message -

some things are bigger
and blonder
than the best of us.

Written by a certain age woman currently dressed as a witch and wearing Marvel Comics Toms . . . for Margaret's Artistic Impressions at Real Toads.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stop / Motion

I'm a little jerky frame to frame;
a little stiff,
a little lame,
but I can't stop.

My animation's a trifle blurred.
Impressionist?
It will have to serve;
it's the best I've got.

A body in motion
stays in motion.
A body in motion
stays in motion.
A body   mantra
prayer   emotion.

Can't stop.

For Midweek Motif ~ Animation at Poets United

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pit Pony

When the words spur(n) me,
I'm like a pit pony pushed to the light; I blink
and drink in the riot 

of the leaves 
changing.

Outside
the cancerous cage of the mine, my mind,
there is air to spare -

it's amazing to me

all the grace that awaits
when I stop chasing 
some damn turn of phrase

and just open my eyes.

A work in progress for The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, October 26, 2015

Weather

a bare branch trembling
a north wind leaf shuffling ache
under the weather

For Haiku Horizons

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Rewrite

photo: Daniel Murtagh


Today

I
sewed a Halloween costume
fashioned garments for gods.

picked up my daughter's new glasses
brought sight to the blind
and made
tomorrow's lunches
manna fall from heaven.

I
washed clothes and dishes
conquered creeping chaos
and kept
father / daughter from fussing
the world at peace.

I am
exhausted and frustrated
the stuff of scripture.

I am
bored and angry
the mother of myths.

I am
a cautionary tale
a sonnet 
of sainthood
unfolding.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hazzard

Didn't want to be Daisy Duke.
I dreamed of being Bo or Luke
cause they could drive.

65, 85,
just like
taking flight
drive.

Faster and faster,
through fences,
through pastures,
they'd drive.

Southern devils and souped up saints.
Sure, Daisy looked good,
but the boys got to getaway.





When I was 8 or 9, my two favorite things in the world were my go-kart (it's a wonder I'm still alive) and the Dukes of Hazzard.  These memories brought to you by It's Ma Thing . . . Nostalgia and Play It Again at Real Toads.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fetching Lies

Storytellers fetch lies from the eyes of the world
and offer them to little girls
like ice cream
with chocolate swirls,
but I know better.

I can read numbers,
letters,
palms,
the weather - the leather
on my Bible is near worn through.  It's true.
So, I don't need you

to once upon a time me,
fairy tale find me,
or kiss me
off my cross -
I'm not lost.

The bread crumbs behind me weren't to guide me home;
they were tossed

by me
for the birds to take
while I went wandering with wolves
wide awake.

Still not entirely happy with this one, but I'm submitting it to Marian's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

$100,000 Pyramid

blonde . . .
bomb . . .
fawn . . .

playboy bunnies named Bambi!

long . . .
gone . . .
John . . .

break-up letter, good-bye letter!

on
and on
and on

words that sound like someone yelling Mom when you're trying to take a shower!

ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Last Day Of Summer

Autumn stole the last day of summer
and left a promise of winter in return
in a thin kiss of frost on the window
and a paler sun.

I thought I was safe in September
from the sting of solstice's breath.
But autumn stole the last day of summer
and promised death.

A bit of fall for Karin at Real Toads

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ladies Of Longhand

Writers are retro as rotary phones.
Ladies of longhand,
our Rosetta stones
hunt hieroglyphics
through blood, ash, and bone,
but the pyramids have fallen
away.

For Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Needs And The Wants Between

I breathe,
eat,
drink,
fuck,
sleep,

and dream of pretty things.

I cover myself,
keep out the rain,
and climb when the waters rise.

I sharpen sticks,
fence and brick
and boundary

out the wild things.

Feed the fire -
Feed the fire -
too tired

to self-actualize.

A little fire for Poets United

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Edges

these slant spaces
in our faces
scare the crows, my dear
bone grin edges
airing out the gut

of bloated midnight
and the corpse of cusp

leaving dead men
still staring at the sun.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, October 12, 2015

Thousand Storms

George Tooker, self-portrait

dance delirious
to the thousand storms

inside your head
not yet born

inside your shell
torn from the sea

inside a girl
a girl like me

For The Mag

Sunday, October 11, 2015

If You Want

If you want to see
my summer house
unlaced and lyriced
just go down
between the rows;
honey, suckle,
and let yourself in.

For The Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hoopskirt

I like my heroes tragic,
my nights misty,
my bodice ripped,
and the way you kiss me
rough and hard;
you take my breath.
Now, get me out
of this goddamn dress.

Up Close and Personal in 10 lines or less for Kerry at Real Toads

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Graveyard Hymn

Naught, naught, naughty -
graveyard grin
hampered by the hook and eye
that holds my hallows in.
A finger for the feed dogs
keeps the reaper grim.
Naught, naught, naughty -
graveyard hymn.

For M's Get Listed at Real Toads

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Frog House

I choose to make myself blue,
I know,
when I dig up these bones -

the little creek I'd sneak to
with gum and string
to catch crawdads
and escape things
I didn't have names for.
A door in the blackberry
only I could see.

By the water,
I'd stick my feet in the mud
as far as they could go,
then pile on more, smoothing
and patting and shaping,
making a frog house.
The barest twist of an ankle.  Slowly

wiggle out a foot.
Lots of times, the mud was too thin
and the roof caved in.
But other times it held firm
long enough to dry in the sun
and stand so fine

I could almost live there.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, October 5, 2015

Measured And Cut

At the nexus of threat and promise,
where Fate winds her thin, tender threads,
I was measured and cut,
pressed and filed flush,
till a square could have stood in my stead.

Still I share a heart with a hunter.
She's the eyes in this skin/skull house.
And one day I swear,
I won't leave her there;
I'll bid her come and call Fate out.

At the nexus
of here and now,
I bid her come
and call Fate out.

For the Sunday Whirl

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Six Days In Oklahoma

Annual Fair
(to the tune of Animal Fair)

Trump went to the annual fair.
The news and police were there.
He stirred up hate
and swore he'd make us great
with a wave of his magical hair.

The rednecks they got drunk
and cheered long and loud for Trump
till he flew away
in his private plane, saying,
"What was the name of that dump?"

Friday before last, thousands converged on the Great State Fair of Oklahoma to hear Donald Trump speak.

Killer Cocktail

"We make a killer cocktail,"
insists my sovereign state.
Then they lethal an injection
with potassium acetate.

Chloride! Chloride! Chloride!
should have read the order sent.
They're not cruel and unusual;
they're just incompetent.

Last Wednesday, Richard Glossip received a 37 day stay of execution when it was discovered that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections had procured potassium acetate, a food preservative, rather than potassium chloride, a heart stopping agent, for Glossip's lethal injection.

For Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Thinnest Ice

It's too late
for thinking twice
when your feet have found
the thinnest ice
where the wine sweet shine
of spring's first thaw
has loosened
winter's grinding jaw.

It's too late
for turning back
once you've heard
that sharp, clean CRACK
and far too late
for wondering then
just how deep
and cold the swim.

55 words for Kerry at Real Toads

Friday, October 2, 2015

Rain

She's my stars strung bone to bone.
Weather walking east to west.
Everything the gods know -
blessed.

She's the cross clasped to the breast of night.
The smudge smoke for appeasing saints.
The stone I sleep and dream upon,
and when I wake

she's the rain.

Still I drove a dozen dawns
to seek counsel on the mountain.
Climbed until my hands were raw
just to hear a wise one say,

"Be still and know that I am dog -
stars beyond your ken and counting.
Worlds beget more worlds,
but some truths never change.

The only cure for drought

is rain."

A rough draft for Hannah's prompt at Real Toads.  I've had a sick kid all week, so I haven't got much brain left.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Comes To A Football Town

The band brasses through the Star Spangled Banner.
The PA crackles a prayer.
The whole town is there
sweating blood
in the stands.

Cheerleaders "Go Team!" and tumble
through kick-off, passes, and fumbles.
Half-time brings
the homecoming queen
to be crowned

and kissed
hard and hot
on the mouth

by the quarterback -
Touchdown!

Somebody finally scored.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Tell Me, Tiger

Tell me, Tiger, what the hunter dreams
when he falls asleep at fire
careless
of the kill purr
in his throat.

sharpened stick
in his slackened hand
soft breath
rising, falling

He dreams of wearing tiger skin,
but he won't.

Inspired by Tiger by Mohammed Jamil and submitted to Real Toads

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Real Surreal

My little girl is eleven.  That's

three years away
from my first beer
cigarette
lover

four years away
from my first misdemeanor
and the felonies that followed

five years away
from me choosing to waste
the brains
the good Lord gave me

and six years away
from those other mistakes
I've spent myself trying
to take back.

For Midweek Motif ~ Choice at Poets United.  Also submitted to The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hollow Space

In the birth of the day
is my hollow space for burning.

Coffee first, then words
wrung wet from the night.

My equinox.
My rocking chair.
My returning

to I am,
to giving a damn,
to life.

For Poetry Pantry at Poets United.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Not Fit For Poems

If I couldn't find poems
in blood riddled sputum
and vision
in cruelty's caul,
I'd go quite mad, I think.

Or, at least, I'd drink.

On my very best compensatory behavior for Karin at Real Toads

Friday, September 18, 2015

Author

The author lies back in a hammock
of her finished, folded pages,
takes a lemonade from the waitress,
and slips her a dollar or two.

The waitress smiles a little brighter.
She feeds tips to her fire.
Tonight, she's just a writer,
but she'll be an author soon.

For Open Link at dVerse

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mary Says

Mary says the games are rigged;
barkers got
no skin in the game.
The teddy bears are stuffed
with dollar bills
fools threw away.

The carousel is a dead horse
beaten round
as the calliope plays.
But the bumper cars
oh the bumper cars!
are a beautiful bash to the brain.

A response to and/or inspired by Mary Karr's County Fair, a poem I love and relate to quite a bit. Written for Ellas's prompt at Real Toads.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Toads

Toads in the garden,
we're all toads in the garden.
Pardon us;
we've just got to rhyme.

Toads in the garden
ribbitin' and bardin'
poetry
shine to dark to shine.

For all the Toads in the Garden!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Blue Norther

Last Blue Norther came
I walked naked to the wind
arms wide open.
Christ up on my cross
funeral frostbite
driving in like nails.

Skin dead to the touch.
Nipples blackened nubs.
Feet frozen in my steps.
This is my love.

Next Blue Norther came
I stayed
and melted by the fire.
Watering your whiskey.
Dampening desire.

Crown of thorns and ice.
Robe of robber's blood.
The sin of sacrifice;
this is my love.

This is my love.

For Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Portion

More formaldehyde than flowers,
these hours blooming
in the break
of our shared rib;

I tend them and call them comfort.

I'm terrified and I cower
at the ruin
ghosting beneath your skin;
still, I intend

to take it as a lover

and claim
whatever portion's mine.

Just the same as you -
whatever portion's mine.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Confronting My Muse

Another poem?  Really?

How about something longer

     with witty banter
     a killer clown
     terrorists
     and sex
     car chases
     electric girls
     nudity
     and sex
     explosions
     a car chase
     product placements
     and sex
     annnd . . . a possible sequel?

Come on, what do you think?

Throw me a popcorn movie plot.
These poems are a waste of ink.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Tulsa's Burning Baltimore

We forgot,

and now Tulsa's burning Baltimore
and everywhere in between
is tindering with remembering -

the shimmer shine of sweat
bruised and bloodied faces

Jim Crow and the Klan
southern segregation

riding the back of the bus
marching the front of the draft

the snarling dogs, the hoses
free at last, free at last

the plantations and prisons
projects and parole

the handcuffs, the foodstamps
felons without a vote

protests and riots
suburbs to the slums

Tulsa's burning Baltimore -

we forgot how far we'd come.


This is a poem that I've been working on since the Baltimore riots.  At that time, my daughter's sixth grade class was reading Tulsa Burning, a fictional novel based on the Tulsa race riots of 1921.  I started the poem because I was struck by how we can seem to make so much progress and find ourselves right back where we began.  A big thank you to dVerse and poet Loyce Gayo for inspiring me to finally finish this thing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Now Starring On Body Cam

This body of work
battered and naked.

This broken glass set -
address redacted.

These lines on a loop -
dead on delivery.

This body of work
is still mine.

Airing my privacy concerns for The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, September 7, 2015

Herding Stars

He follows me into the night to rest his head in my lap while I meditate. He nudges against my silence when it has left him out too long.

I rest my hand on his head and stroke his ears in time with my breathing.  A mantra made of touch. When my eyes close, he sleeps.

herding stars
into constellations
a good dog dreams

My first haibun for the first Haibun Monday at dVerse

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Lion

I loved a lion.

Braided mane.
Savannah eyes.

A lion

with a thorned paw
and a fear of fire.

My lion

laid me down a lamb,
and I woke

a lion.

For Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rejection Letter

By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support 
the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it.  I replaced the nail with a spike
and went on writing.
--- Stephen King

Next rejection letter I get,
I'm gonna answer, Dear Sir:

I'm not surprised that you find my lines
unfit for publication.

Rhyme and making sense both seem
beneath your education.

And a reading of your own work proves
you've a little infatuation

with high art
that makes you look smart
and leaves the heart

alone.

55 words (excluding the quote) for Kerry at Real Toads

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Out In The Cows

Cows are good listeners
and quite picturesque
silhouetted by sunrise
or a west Marlow sunset.
Out in the cows,
I almost forget

that I'm
a carnivore.

For Open Link at dVerse

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Scissors

I have scissors.
I have shame.
I snip a lock
for each thing I'm not
and let my faults fall thick
upon the floor

till I'm surely shorn.

But my mirror tells a different tale.
Instead of skull, thin skinned and pale,
I see tresses thick and black
long buried beneath the veil of lack-
luster borrowed hair I'd wear
to help me hide and disappear.

And (my God!), I finally see
what a beauty I could be
if I could finally free myself
from trying to be like someone else.


A watershed moment . . . for any woman (or man) . . . submitted to Midweek Motif at Poets United.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Blur

Take the terrible.
Blur it bearable.
Call it beautiful.
That's the art -

the stitch and sorcery
mend for misery -
the soliloquy
of a hurting heart.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nothing Left To See Here

It's lonely in the future.
It's lonely in the past.
The present is just boring,
and it lasts and lasts and lasts

forever and this heartbeat -
single, slow, and small -
between nothing left to see here
and already seen it all.

For Poetry Pantry

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Blank Canvas Face


I had a blank canvas face,
unlined
till it happened to me -
time.

My eyes were right,
bright, and clear
till it happened to me -
pass of years.

I've found I'm just like the rest.
Born for what comes next.
Of life, there seems so little left.
It'll happen to me -

death.

For Bjorn's prompt at Real Toads

I wanted to let everyone know that it might take me a while to get around and visit.  I'm having some health issues.

Edit: It just occurred to me that announcing health issues immediately following a poem about death might be bad juju.  Have no fear; it's not that serious.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Go

Pixie stick
hips
in a cotton candy
t-shirt
and sugar center
mini skirt -
go home.

Pop rocks
in soda pop
sweet tooth
brain rot
jailbait
lollipop -
go home.

Playing with modifiers for Meeting the Bar at dVerse

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bread And Water (after "The Summer Day")

Who made you?
Who made you imperfect?
Who made you imperfect,
but failed to flaw
the swan or the bear
or the grasshopper
perched there on the arm
of my lawn chair
content to spit tobacco or jump
completely unrepentant and unimproved.
He is a prayer
so full of gratitude as to move
any god to grace.
Like him, I will sup on sugar and drink dry this place
of every flame and flower.
Tell me, what else would you have me do
with these gifted hours?  Deny?
Tell me, when it's over, will you have loved
your bread and water life?

For Corey's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Calling Myself

I never wanted to be an astronaut
though I craved the stars.

Didn't dream of dance;
still, I learned to tiptoe.

I call myself a poet,
but I'm just a vessel

channeling spirits to breathe life
into my own.

For Midweek Motif at Poets United

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Leather Tongues

Curious devices teach the young
and numb the mothers.

Fathers
gather
economies of scale.

Tales are often told
of the older and the better

by leather tongues long
disregarded.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Would You / Do You (A List Of Answers)

yes
yes
no
yes

absolutely not

yes
no
yes (in the dark)
yes

A Fireblossom Friday inspired List for Play It Again at Real Toads

Friday, August 21, 2015

If My Mouth

If my mouth were mine, I'd ask the dream
why my hands crumble
before I can touch,
why I welcome the dust -
a chrysalis shroud -
and why waking tastes
so foreign now.

For Open Link at dVerse

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First Car Wreck


I saw the stop sign.
I just didn't stop.

Didn't even try
               to look in my mama's eyes
               when I lied about it
               Police car in the driveway
               red and blue lights

to hit the brakes
               mistake, officer,
               I hit the gas by mistake

or explain
               the urge
               the surge of adrenaline
               the raw, fleeting joy.

They said I must have been chasing some boy.

I saw the stop sign.
I just didn't stop.


For Susie's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Grain Of Salt

I took my silence with a grain of salt -
it grew an ocean.

Waves ate the sands of my cerebellum; my amygdala swims free.

My head is a slosh of white noise
and whale song.

The tides are still.  There's no higher ground for me.

For Midweek Motif ~ Silence at Poets United

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Yes

Peppermint tea.
Stars through the branches.
A fire.
No dishes
in the sink.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Longest Road

The longest road
I've ever known
brought me here
and away from home.
Stole my borrowed dreams;
made me craft my own.
Turned me from childish things
and left me grown.

The longest love song
I've ever sung
ended old,
but started young.
Kingdom born,
kingdom come.
The longest love song
I've ever sung.

The longest days
burn into nights.
Darkness gathers,
then gives way to light.
Ain't no wrong time.
Ain't no right.
The longest days
burn into nights.

For Karin's prompt at Real Toads

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sundown Town

I'm the wrong kind of bride
for this moth / must church,
this trip-ya-twice gown,
this sundown town

where they roll up the streets
and pull the shades down
till the sun's back up -
this sundown town.

I'm the wrong kind of wife
for a white picket fence
keeping outside out
and inside in;

for two shiny kids
and a new Frigidaire
(just fifty dollars down,
bought in sundown town).

I'm the wrong kind of widow
for coffee and books,
weeping once a week about losing my looks.
Withering and waiting till they plant me down
in my half of the plot
here in sundown town.

For Poets United

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Skinner In Love

Shock,
box,
sugar rock -
beautiful, terrible things.

Rewarded at random
and consistently punished,

my pigeon flaps its wings.

Lock
unlocked.
I wonder what
my pigeon will do if its free.

Rewarded at random
and consistently punished,

my pigeon flies right back to me.


For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Paper Dragons

Close to broken, I fold poems -
paper dragons lacking fire-

tinder for the burning box
with sonnet locks.
A poet's pyre.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, August 10, 2015

Working Girl Wisdom


Every hen house
has its good eggs and bad eggs.
Every cathouse
has tail, teeth, and claw.
Every nuthouse
has a member of the family.
And every poorhouse
has a begging in-law.

For The Mag

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Women And The Moon

"Women believe in the moon"
                                          - Judith Wright

Is there some spiritual,
mystical,
feminine divine
connection
to that great glowing clit in the sky?
As a woman,
am I naturally
lunar aware?
No, I believe in the moon
cause I can see it right there.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads.  Also submitted to Poetry Pantry.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

When Ravens

When ravens hung the sun,
nested the moon,
and brought forth fire,
I walked on many legs
through not quite creation.

Not formless,
but faceless -
I was the smell of rain.
Not LET THERE BE,
but the mud-vased seed
of an apple.

For Artistic Impressions at Real Toads

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gravity

We swam the humidity to the moon.
Left Earth behind, all doomed and blue.
Set up shop
for astronauts,
but I've only seen
two or three.

Now every what-might-be late afternoon,
you quote The Waste Land (like you do),
and I pretend to understand it (like I do).
Here, even Eliot
lacks gravity.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Edge Of Seventeen

Toes on the ledge,
book in my hand;
a prayer to the gods
and an offering for man.
This ain't the edge
of seventeen anymore

when I fledged and I flew
too close to the light
on fraudulent wings
thick feathered with lies,
and everyone said
"girl, just one more -

or

 we'll let you fall."

55 words for Kerry at Real Toads

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Starbucks



Starbucks, Starbucks;
why don't we go to Starbucks?
They write your name right on your cup,
and I won't have to explain

that though I'm pretty good with faces
and we've shared our private places -
groomed and roomed in each other's spaces -
I can't recall your name.

So . . . 

Starbucks, Starbucks;
let's just go to Starbucks.
They'll write names on both our cups
and spare us both some shame.

Inspired by the Dustin cartoon in today's paper and submitted to Marian's prompt at Real Toads.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

2029


It was a doom filled day in '29
when our superheros lost their lives;
when Batman fell from a perilous height,
and Superman succumbed to kryptonite.

When Captain America took the field
and left it carried on his shield,
and Wonder Woman
finally died
of hypothermia.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jungle Without A King

Inside shook and echoed
with the roar of a left foot lion.
Outside
was a jungle with no king.

Bottom land and pasture -
barbed wired, but barely captured.
Blackjacks growing
nearly wild as me.

Down by the creek, I'd dream
up dragons from the stars
and feed them
my weakness and fear.

By the storm split tree, I'd scream at things
for being what they are
for a cicada girl
in her 13th year.

A bit of Cadence in Free Verse for Play It Again at Real Toads.
Also submitted to Poetry Pantry

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sunrise Ruins

Sunrise ruins a dream
of speaking

shimmers of heat
and fear/offering

so much of me

that nothing needs
or wants to feed anymore.

It's sad, sorry, spineless relief
this being kept and becoming meat.
Losing tongue / keeping teeth
and silence

saltybittersweet

For M's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Salt On The Rim

Too quiet means there's trouble,
as every mother knows.
A little salt on the rim of paradise
preserves a humble soul.

Got wine to cleanse the palette.
Vinegar for scrubbin' the floor.
Honey to draw the flies to your fingers;
duct tape for the old screen door.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, July 20, 2015

Chasing Rabbits


I fed my head a photograph
hoping for some second sight.
Insight.
Hindsight.
Or, whatever else might shed some light

on who you were
outside of me,
where you've gone,
who I'm to be.
Is there a story left to tell
or is the bottom of the well bone dry?

I fed my head.
Just like Gracie said,
I fed my head.

For The Mag

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Woman Of Faith

When I lost my mama,
I wept in the arms of a woman
who had just lost her only child.

My grannie is 82 years old,
and she is a woman of faith.

She stayed with mama
right up to the end.
Nursed her.
Soothed her.
Came when she called in the night.

My grannie is a woman of faith,
and she bears what she has to.

Yesterday, I called her.
She had spent most of an unusually warm
January day cleaning out her flower beds.
"Clear away the dead, and there's already new
trying to come up.  Can you believe it?"

My grannie bears what she has to,
even my doubts.

For Karin's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wolf And Wheel

I was born breach and reaching
for a Bible and a break-up song.
It's eight months to the day
since I last saw you.

I've weaned myself of counting breaths,
redeemed myself by wanting less;
it's only when I dream
that I break and call you.

Sunrise sees me clothe the bones,
grease my braid, and carry on.
Summer's come and almost gone -
wolf and wheel.

Let autumn steal my time to think.
Winter, chill my blood to ink.
Spring is soon enough for me
to thaw and feel.

For Kerry's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Country Road

I pull verbs
from your summer
sticky
black-
top.

Nouns
from your ditches
deep with weeds.

I string them
like barbed wire
through the fence
posts.

My sentence -
This heart
cannot
leave.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, July 13, 2015

From The Missed


Rising from the missed my
goddamn train like a totem on the track,
I'm soot black and swearing blue -
Casey, can you turn it back?

I'm a first time suffragette.
Haven't kissed a sailor yet.

Haven't broke my temperance vow.
Haven't had a chance till now.

I'm not plain, but I'm not pretty.
My best hope is in the city

far away from this endless prairie.
Otherwise, I'll have to marry.

Good Casey, if you'll turn around
and whisk this totem off the track
away from all I've known and been,
I'll never miss a train again.


For The Mag

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Expiration

Shivering and straining
from  the bottom of the belly.
Muscles rivering behind the breath.
Dizzy at the edge of an eye and hot,
but for the cool, blue clutch of her hand.  I am

keeping vigil
for the next wet
exhalation

The next weak whisper.

Expiration.

For Poetry Pantry at Poets United

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Wanting Not, I Waste

Devils scream.
Angels whisper.
Whore/moans keep me up at night.
Daylight's just a fracture
in the blackness.

I write it down
             to erase,
Cut out my tongue
             to kill the taste.
And, wanting not,
             I waste
my peculiar madness.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pasture Princess

Lips
honeysuckled.
Fingers tipped
with trumpet vine.
A pretty rock
mine and secret
as the language of the fireflies.

4 o'clocks
slowly pursing
purple petals
to a kiss.
I'm brown and barefoot;
pasture princess
of all of this.

For Ella's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Night You Came

I walked circles
sacred and profane
under a full moon
sacred and profane
and I told you things
sacred and profane

as all of me
gathered
to push.

For Midweek Motif at Poets United

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Bipolar Poet

Writes happy sentences
that end in black periods.

Swings from exclamation!
to ellipses . . .

and is often (an unwilling)
parenthetical to herself.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Southern Gothic

I buried a book
under a cypress tree.
Watered it with whiskey
and sweet tea.
It took seven years
to grow Tennessee;
now he twines through my half-breed hair.

Over there
is a fine Sunday suit

for dressing up all of Saturday's sin.

Over here under the cypress tree root,
Southern Gothic

rising again.

55 words for Kerry at Real Toads

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Stacks

"I can see he's not in your good books," said the messenger.
"No, and if he were I would burn my library."
--- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Our eyes met in General Works.
We shared a smile in Child Psychology.
Halfway through Religion,
I learned his name.

Social Science was flirtation.
Language; infatuation.
By Geography, I knew
I'd never be the same.

We connected with Technology,
but I was Art and he was really
just looking for a little
Recreation.

In English Lit,we let go.
We're History, I know.
Philosophy and Porn -
my consolation.

Revisiting Kerry's (Very) Old School Challenge for Play It Again at Real Toads

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Girl Is Born

to spit fire,
Mother.
To turn from some worm
of a man.
To be claw and beak
not his sweet, dark dirt
to flow through.

To bite the hand,
Mother.
To bite the hand that feeds her
in two.
To spit fire,
Mother.
To be fire,
Mother,
like you.

For Words Count at Real Toads

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tiger Tale

I chased you like a tiger chases her tail,
and now I know
when a tiger catches her tail in her teeth
she can't let go.
Dizzy, spinning around the sun
all appetite and pride.
When a tiger catches her tail in her teeth,
she eats herself alive.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Monday, June 22, 2015

My Voice

photo by Bert Stern

My voice
cracked on the high notes tonight,
but I danced fires in the floor.
The ballads swooned sugar and noir.
The door
more
than covered our bar tab.  My voice

carried the horns tonight;
my tits held the hecklers in key.
Now, back in room 123-
another drink
and a laugh.
We weren't good,

but we weren't half bad.

For The Mag

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Poetry Is Not Dead



Guess what book topped the Oklahoma Best-Sellers list last week?  Oklahoma Poems and their Poets!  And, guess which poet you know has a poem in that book?  Me!

Pick up a copy on Amazon (and check out the other books on my sidebar while you're there; just saying) and spread the word.  Poetry is not dead!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sunday Afternoon

Everything that needs doing is done
for now.
What might come rests
in stronger hands.
There is just enough light through the blinds
to trick a dream.
Just enough dark in my eyes
to succor sleep.

For Karin's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pictures Of

A borrowed dress,
a church,
a man -
something blue.

Packed myself in a penny dreadful -
called it something new.

No one flies as the crow flies now -
or so I'm told.

A borrowed dress,
a church,
a man -
something old.

For Shay's "Pictures Of" prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ghosting The Nightingale

Falsetto ghosting
the nightingale.
I'm a mockingbird.
My song's for sale.
Fledge feather flesh,
a borrowed tale;
a layman's lament
for a worm.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Resolution

image by Sarolta Ban

resolution
re-solve
an old problem
he called
I answered
he crawled
inside me
inside me

re-solution
resolve
not to answer
next time he calls
but he's a cancer
I've caught
hello?

For The Mag

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Date

Our first and last date.
The wind blew.
I didn't.

A not-quite haiku inspired by Marilyn Chin.  For Grace's prompt at Real Toads.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hole In The Mountain

A girl can dream in this dark, dry womb or die
husk in a husk.  The rush
of day / night is tempered here
to a brush

of wings, a scurry
of small things, a sticky web
in the wind. I just came in
to get out

of the weather,
but I stayed
when the sky grew kind.
A girl can find

her own bones
in this heart hewn tomb
and die
to herself
inside.

A quickie for Corey at Real Toads

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I Ask

I ask the sullen sky
where he is
a dozen times.
"If God is good,"
it replies,
"where he should be."

I ask the first fat drop of rain
when will I see him again.
"If God is good,"
same refrain,
"no sooner
than you need."

Oh, why

must God

be so good to me?

55 words for Kerry at Real Toads

Friday, June 5, 2015

Normal


By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower.
--- Rabindranath Tagore

He cupped my pussy
when he taught me to drive;
countryside blurred at the windows,
and my skinny legs straddling the stick.

Quiet,
calm,
he talked me through the shifts.

"Good girl, good girl, that's it."
1st gear, 2nd gear, third.
All perfectly normal,
if normal's just a word.

For Susie's prompt at Real Toads

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Fear

Fear has a smell - hops caught
in the teeth.  Got a hymn
to the hymen.  Got
dark, dim

hands that splay-finger shade
and go where the girl goes
to first blood her glade;
it flows where the girl flows.

Here lies
the truth of the first cast stone:
fear never dies
it just changes its tone

and its look; a hay field or manicured lawn,
it goes where the girl goes. The fear's never gone.

For Bjorn's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Alive

From this green grass cradle, I
touch
the blue of the blackening sky.
Watch
the stars disrobe and shine.

It's a milk and mudcake night.

There's a poem on my lips
from
my heart and from my hips.
From
my toes, my fingertips;

It's alive.

So am I.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Weed

Red State Walmarts sell no weed.
Not a stem.  Not a seed.
You can buy all the beer and Big Pharma you need.
But Red State Walmarts sell no weed.

Couldn't resist passing a little weed over to Susan at Poets United.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mama's Place

Guidance
and good reads.
A bible
with a female lead.
Coffee
and smoke - clove sweet
and clinging

to ghosts hived
in jasmine pages.
Paper riddles
soft and sacred.
Words loved
loose, naked,
singing

here.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Read This

Tully & Toril collaboration "Four Good Eggs

Alone.
Aloud.
All the way through.  Then

crease the corners,
craft something that flies.  Or

beat the line breaks
till they bruise

blue
as your robin's egg eyes.

Revisiting Artistic Interpretation's Art with Toril for Play It Again at Real Toads

Friday, May 22, 2015

Alpha Bitch Can

Alpha bitch
can get things
done.
Every closed door is a broken window.

Alpha bitch
can find
feral words while
growling through her lipstick
while helping pups with homework without
batting an I (can't take this anymore!).

Alpha bitch
can kill with kindness,
love lick,
mother,
nurse -
one handed and half-brained.

Alpha bitch
can feed on pain

and never needs
peace or
quiet or
rest or
sleep;
never stands on the threshold of an ugly cry,
a very ugly cry,
wishing she'd never laid eyes on these people,
wishing she was still young enough to run
somewhere
anywhere
anywhere but - NO!

exhale / inhale

Alpha bitch can

exhale / inhale

keep her zen and her shit

exhale / inhale

together.

An alphabetical (look for it!) to do list poem for the Birthday Girl at Real Toads. Inspired by the FOUR HOURS I spent last night building a car out of pipe cleaners and duct tape.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just Like I Remember

your rain
wet
kiss

just like I remember

your here
& there
hands

I couldn't forget

2
a.
m.

I surrender

yes

god, yes

For Insta-Poetics at dVerse

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Common Law

She never said yes.
She never said no.
She can't remember the Friday
he didn't go home
and didn't go home
and didn't go home,
didn't go -

common law wedding.

No flowers, no dress,
just a long drawn out mess.
What's hers.
What's his.
What's theirs.
Leave the rest.
Leave the rest,
leave the rest,
leave the rest,
leave the rest,
just leave -

common law divorce.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Saturday, May 16, 2015

These Things

I write these things because I must
keep the truth for prying eyes
and lock lies in my rusted trust.
I write these things because I must.

I'm the bluff, and I'm the tell.
A silhouette spread 'neath the sheets.
Call or fold me in farewell.
I'm the bluff; I'm the tell,

the knell,
the need
to write these things.

For Karin's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, May 15, 2015

King B

King B gone to glory,
Lucille at his side.
King B gone to glory,
Lucille at his side.
Sting in all his fingers;
honey in his slide.

We're weepin' in the hive and singin'
mournful, soft, and slow.
We're weepin' in the hive tonight
mournful, soft, and slow.
World done lost a Blues Boy - oh!
the places he did go.

For Marian's prompt at Real Toads.  I had written something different, but when I saw that B.B. King had died, I had to go there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Feed Me

Feed me a poem
more bitter than sweet.
I have sensitive teeth;
they ache when you sugarcoat.

Bleed me a poem
salty and sure.
Impractically pure.
Poison.  Antidote.

Cure.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The First Mother's Day After

"Don't forget Mom," the ads say -  as if I need to be reminded.

Grief has a startling clarity and is cobra quick in its strike.

A poem, a picture, a story, or song; breathing, sleeping, awake.

I remember, I remember, I remember her gone, and I ache.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sliver Kids

She held herself like a catchpenny bird
of dime store glass.

"Why worry?
The wind will have its way,"

she said,
and when it did

the two of us
were kids

stuck sucking at the slivers
in our fingers.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fragments (For Me Alone)

I see signs in every fragment.
Rain is the murmur
of insistent gods,
and the starquilt sky
stitches words for my eyes
alone.

All alone
with my fragments -
my mosaic eyes
to the moon murmur
sky-
I serve and sacrifice my insistent gods.

Cruel gods!
They left me in the garden alone -
with a starquilt sky,
fragments,
murmurs,
and clay for eyes.

I curse these eyes
and their peculiar visions of gods.
I murmur
like an Israelite to be left alone -
fragments
gone and sky

just sky.
I bless these eyes,
fill them with fragments
left by the gods
for me alone.
Murmurs,

murmurs,
a starquilt sky
for me alone.
Mosaic eyes,
gods
in fragments

for me alone.  Murmurs and words for my eyes
in the sky for me alone. Insistent gods
and the signs I see - for me- alone - in the fragments.

A weird little offering for M's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Coming Of Age

The coming of age
went largely unnoticed
because I was busy

tending the dying,
the living,
and getting by.

Now, when I glimpse
this grayer me in the mirror,
I'm surprised -

and a little grateful (I can't lie)
that I still don't have the time
to really look.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tough

I've got whip stitch lips and a sea salt tongue;
I'm a girl too tough to cry.
Ugly as the baby bird
the old tomcat left behind.

You can love me with the lights off.
Then you can leave me in the dark.
I'm a girl too tough to die
from a silly broken heart.

55 words for Kerry at Real Toads

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Life Is More

Someone once told me that life is more
than eating, fucking, and sleeping.
Foolishly, I failed to ask for proof.
But now, having held death
and smelled death a time or two,
I know the truth.
Life is nothing more
than eating, fucking, and sleeping
from the first breath to the last;
beyond that
is beyond that
that we can grasp.

For Izy's prompt at Real Toads

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Corpse Flower

Alone.

I haven't slept alone in over a decade
except for naps, and naps
don't count.  Even napping,
my body doubts,

behaves,
stays in its space,
and wastes
empty acres of bed.

Head aligned with my spine,
arms tight at my sides,
I lie
stiff

and still as a corpse
in a drawer
at the morgue -

all bones and bud tight skin.
A flower
that won't bloom again

until it's alone.

Submitting this to Real Toads and hoping that Magaly will forgive me for stretching the prompt!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Damage

Her back
is smooth and straight
unblemished by the weight
of 20,000 settings of the sun.
Her hands
are soft and clean
uncalloused by the mean
work of scraping by
to be someone.

Beautiful and young.
She's not yet the damage that she's done.

She puts her hand in mine,
and I wrap her in the life lines lived
and left unforgiven.
She sees wisdom in my wear,
a sage that I'm not sure is there,
but for her I'll take care to keep pretending.

So beautiful and young.
She can't know the damage that I've done.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pink Sheer Curtains

The sun
crossed the sea
just to paint
you, I think
with light
through my pink
sheer curtains.

The earth
turned just so
and held
to hold.
She was bereft
to let go
I'm certain

of you
through my sheer
pink curtains.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, April 24, 2015

Whole

Daughter,
my wish for you
is that you be whole.
Not just a hole
to be filled by some dullard's dick,
dumb ideas, or distressing
lack of imagination.
Not in a hole
shoveled by your sex;
a six feet under start.
Whole.
From your cells to your stars
whole.
Holy.
You.

integrity - the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished

For Ella's prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Last Legs Of A Long Night

On the last legs of a long night,
I hold myself awake counting
breaks in my bones.

On the last legs of a long night,
I rock myself to sleep singing
home is where the heart blood flows.

On the broad back of the morning,
I know just what to say.
On the swayback of the evening,
I fall apart like rain.

On the last legs of a long night,
I hold myself awake counting mistakes.

6, 7, 8.

On the last legs of loving you,
I hold myself awake counting
sins.

On the last legs of loving you,
I rock myself to sleep singing
ways to make us good again.

On the broad back of the morning,
hope's a fickle star.
By the swayback of the evening,
I'm wondering where you are.

On the last legs of loving you,
I hold myself awake counting
sins

I won't forgive.  9, 10.

On my last legs for Karin at Real Toads

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Must Be Love

it must be love
this free-flowing vein
this pen prick pricking and picking
my brain
this blank paper bliss
bleeding on paper this
must be love -

cause it damn sure don't pay

Written for a friend and submitted to The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Half

Half
of all poems end

howls untethered
from the throat

tree blued, sky rooted

undersexed
and under glass.

For Karin's prompt at Real Toads

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Clumsy Haiku

Stars above my head.
Sharp stones scattered at my feet.
Stiff neck -oh!- stubbed toe.

For Hannah's haiku prompt at Real Toads

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Caliology

Birds Nest by David Hess

The male robin sings.
The female gathers

twigs and grass
and waits for rain.

Then, with mud in her beak,
she weaves and spackles,

sculpting and shaping -
her nest taking

the curve of her heat,
the weight of her wings,

and three blue eggs.
The male robin sings.

Caliology -the study of bird nests

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Woman's Folly

I am creating
a wholesome man
of calcium and clay.

Like God did.
Like my mom did.
But mine will never stray

from the garden;
once he hardens,
he'll belong to me.

I am creating
a wholesome man
for my unwholesome Eve.

Some folly for Hedge's prompt at Real Toads

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Burying Pete

It's a cool and grey
wind in the dead leaves day
today.

There's a bite to the breeze
leaning the trees to the East.

Rumors of rain
whisper of rot in the hay
that lays

in the field

while we bury

Old Pete.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, April 12, 2015

All Afternoon

It was evening all afternoon.
                            --- Wallace Stevens

It was evening all afternoon,
so I worked at the craft that calls me.
No blackbirds outside,
just robins lying of spring
and the swing of the sun.

I thought the piece
fit to release the hounds
upon the heather.
But my weather eye had gone blind
from my scratch
at the red dirt I come from.

For Grace's prompt at Real Toads

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Still Life

It's still
life outside my window.
Everything
straining toward something.
Degrees turning.
Time burning.
Nothing
is still.
Life.

How I hold on to hope.  For Sherry's prompt at Real Toads.

Friday, April 10, 2015

To My Mixed Race, Lesbian Great-Great-Great Granddaughter

As I write this, you
are not even a glimmer in anyone's eye.
When you read this, I'll
be long gone.
Please, bear with my archaic words.
I mean, "mixed race?"  We're all coffee and cream, right?
And, "lesbian?" No one stares or cares anymore.
But that's why I'm writing.

To remind you.

To remind you that we wiped out measles once . . .
and let it creep back.
We won our reproductive freedom . . .
and lost it bit by bit.
Hell, we were the free fucking world . . .
until we stopped paying attention.

Pay attention, child.
Pay attention.

You don't want to be fluent
in grandma's dead language.

A letter to a future descendant for Real Toads

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Feather Dance

eagle_dancer
Eagle Dancer by Woodrow Crumbo

Any Indian who shall engage in the sun dance, scalp dance, or war dance, or any other similar feast, so called, shall be deemed guilty of an offense, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished for the first offense by the withholding of its rations for not exceeding ten days or for imprisonment not exceeding ten days . . .
--- 1882 Courts of Indian Offenses

I am a Hawk -
feathers
fanning
from my fingers.

An Eagle downed
in the Mysteries
of my Mother.

I am an owl -
swift and sharp.

I am a water bird -
carrying
the heaviest
of heartaches.

A Scissortail riding
the smoke
as it floats away.

A Flicker
in the dark.


Notes: A variety of feathers are held sacred by different Native American tribes ( I've used red-tailed hawk, American bald eagle, cormorant, scissortail, and flicker) and are used in rituals, dances, and ceremonies. It is believed that the wearer takes on attributes of the bird.  

If the law forbidding dance strikes you as archaic, consider that an Indian could be prosecuted for possessing eagle feathers as late as 1978 (the year the American Indian Religious Freedom Act became law).

For Ella's prompt at Real Toads