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


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

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, December 27, 2015


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


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


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.
make them sing

like the flight of an arrow.

For The Tuesday Platform at Real Toads

Sunday, December 13, 2015


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


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.

and hot

and ozone.

hell fire
and brimstone

on the 7 day.  Back to you, Benny.

Sports -
haikued short.

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