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 -

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
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

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


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 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'
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


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
     and sex
     car chases
     electric girls
     and sex
     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


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


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


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