Saturday, July 22, 2017


"Why?" she asked,
holding a headless sparrow
that the grackles had killed.

The sun was out,
but could as easily not have been.
I could have been someplace else.
She could have never been born.

Here, it is like
stepping off of the unfurled tongue of a devil.
For hell, it's cold.
People work here, collect checks like anybody else.

Once, she was spinning.
I caught her in my arms.
It could have been someone else,
but that day, the sun was out.
That day, the sparrows were thick around the backyard feeder.

At a certain age, she started locking
her bedroom door. There I'd stand, blind in the hallway,
holding laundry warm from the dryer against my arms.
Here, they let you look, their faces a question.

His eye is on the sparrow, so they say.
I was someplace else, collecting a check like anybody would.
I came rushing through the front doors,
from a window to a hallway to an elevator, one level down.

Someone caught her in their arms.
Now she's here, oh Jesus.
Oh God oh sweet Jesus, yes that's her.
My knees buckled, the floor came up. It could as easily have been someone else.

"Give her some water," someone said.
"Is her husband on his way?" 
Oh oh oh oh no no no no.

Every day of her life has run through
every day of mine. Once, she was spinning,
dancing to some song in the living room. 
She was smiling. Her arms might have been wings.

For the Real Toads mini-challenge. Write about a building. I wrote about a morgue.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


So I thought: I'm gonna agitate the gravel,
make like a banana and peel.
I musta had static in the attic;
Daddy's gonna flip when he sees what I done to the Roadmaster.

Oh geez, my leg's stuck under all that mess of metal--
I guess I'll have to leave it and come back or something. 
Not leaving my bags, though, oh hell naw.
Oomf, gawd they weigh a ton.

This sweater is cashmere, used to be yellow, now look at it.
And my head keeps boinging over to one side--
I must look like a real dope.
Mom's gonna have a cow. Whudja do to ya hair? Lookit ya clothes!

Maybe I should go knock on some square's door.
Hi, I'm dead, can I use your phone?
I gotta get somebody to come pick me up.
First ghost on the right! Oh girl, don't start actin' like a nosebleed.

So I wonder if Mom'll have me stuffed into a real churchy get-up
and have some Clyde get up there and say, yeah, she was an angel girl,
everybody loved her, life's gonna be a drag now.
Then cheesy organ music and shufflin' feet and dropped programs and stuff.

I wonder if it'll rain at the cemetery like it always does in the pictures?
My ankle biter little sis'll pitch a rose down on my coffin,
and crank crank crank down I'll go, like a big fat flower bulb.
In the spring maybe I'll pop up again, Ta da! Queen For A Day, what'd I win?

Johnny might write some retarded song about me, sit strummin'
with a tear in his eye, get a new girlfriend in about five minutes, if that.
My social life is over. At school I'll just be The Dead Car Wreck Girl.
Daddy's gonna blow his stack, Mom's gonna have kittens.
*sigh* Guess I'll start walking. Er, hopping. I really should've worn flats.

for my Fireblossom Friday challenge at Real Toads: Bang, You're Dead.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Wild Memories

Wild memories!
Scat sermons!
July under a Full Buck Moon!

Police at the PTA!
Sunday gun running!
Milkmen amok in the Monday dawn! 

Wild libraries!
Potluck Jezebels!
Crash test dummies up for mayor in the Fall.

for fragile, natural, wild with Magaly at Real Toads. 

The phony pulp novel covers are from BOOKTRYST.


Friday, July 7, 2017

The Lock

When you put the lock on my tongue,
that was some medieval dentistry;
performed before I knew
about informed consent, 
mental disorders,
and all the usual childhood stuff.

So, I became a telepath,
screwing with the antenna tv, broadcasting my thoughts,
burning the toast,
giving the garage door St. Vitus Dance,
and dispatching police and fire to our house with my brother's scanner.

Our neighbor three doors down
was the Chief of Police,
and he took me aside with the customary rubber hose.
The lock on my tongue precluded objection or outcry
and besides, I thought it was all normal
how he grunted as he swung,
and then holstered his gun in his face and blew his brains out.
I'll never tell.

You have three choices, you said,
of what to be in life:
a nurse, a secretary, or a hotel maid.
That's when I panicked and started the electric mixer with my mind.
What about hooker, homicide, hag, harridan?
What about paramour, prostitute, pill-popper, parasite?
Who knew I could make the kabob skewers fly through the air like that? 

I stood mute during my trial. 
Let your lawyer do the talking, they told me, 
just as I learned to do at your knee.
Still, I couldn't restrain my nervous habit of jangling the lock on my tongue
during dull moments
like summation and sentencing.
Such a quiet girl, said the warden.
You don't see girls like her very often anymore,
especially doing a quarter at this facility.

It's been years, now.
The other women call me Metal Mouth
and ask if the cat's got my tongue.
They don't know that I learned how to pick the lock last week--
they only know that the guards are having trouble
with the system that seals the doors,
and that the toilets flush by themselves all night
without even anyone's head being shoved into them.

Wait til I can talk, mama.
You always wanted to know what I could have been thinking of--
well, that was it.
Now I'm gonna use my words,
my hour come round at last:
Look, ma! Top of the world, 
and all that silence packed behind one long gorgeous scream. 


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Raucous Bird

I've got a million morning dreams, 
but in the way of casual cruelty,
despite trying to tuck them to me like a marked book--
they scatter and leave no sign or scent to help me look
for my lost dreams.

I've got a million folded paper notes
floated on the morning pond, bent carefully into boats--
but in the way of casual cruelty,
they love a water lily more than me
and do not return.

I've got a million songs that line my throat,
pin feather sharp, short-lived, half-grown,
but in the way of casual cruelty,
my cricket legs won't carry me to that place I've dreamt of passingly
where I'm a raucous bird. 

for Get Listed at Real Toads.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Graduate Studies

She kissed me, but she 
did it symbolically,
as part of her final exam with Professor Goodbar,
known far and wide 
for his success with electricity, molasses, and girls who wear glasses. 

She attached a papier-mache head to a wheel, and 
turned a crank;
never did a lump of dailies and glue
express such dumbstruck speechless desire for me.
It came around, leaned in by means of a flexible metal vetebra,
and laid one on me.

Oh the hours
we had spent
deposited across her bed like rag dolls,
discussing emotional boundaries,
primitive impulses among Thai villagers,
and deflecting each other's endearments and tender fumblings.

This is when something went wrong.
Just as my Inner Wanton was awakened
by the kiss of her oscillating manufactured surrogate,
in walked Professor Goodbar and oh,
the smile she gave him.
Oh the sugared data.

There's a limit, you know,
to what a girl can take, 
even in the name of course completion.
I realized I had been a dupe,
a foil,
a representation
of fetish and fantasy, of foolery and fuck-headedness,
trotted out like a show pony with a little engine hidden in its tossing head.


For months, 
we had learned symbology, transference, 
normal and abnormal expression, data collection and interpretation.
But when I brained the Professor with my darling's papier-mache double,
THAT was real and he fell face first into her lap
like unexpected erratum,
mumbling some other woman's name
and it felt good, yes so good, to walk out of there and become a 

guitar shredder or a softball pitcher instead.  

For Play it Again, Toads and Hedgewitch's Get Listed challenge.



Friday, June 30, 2017

Paper Wings

Here are candy hearts,
paper wings,
sailing charts, and a thousand things

I made for you
in hopes they'd do--
oh can't you hear

how my paper bird sings?

For Karin Gustafson's "Flight of Write" at Real Toads. The artwork is hers. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Be Careful What You Pray For

Be careful what you pray for
send away for
wait all day for,

Cos maybe God just wants you to peez shut beeg fat mouf. 

Ever think of that?

For the "Peanuts" prompt at Real Toads. We could choose our own comic strip, so I chose my favorite one, "Pearls Before Swine" by Stephan Pastis. The crocs are always trying to eat their zebra neighbor, but are too dumb to catch him. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Retired Poetess

And lo, the heart doth open on golden springes,

Oh how fucking stupid. Lo. Really? Lo dee oh doe. La la la. Down shoobee doo down down. I wonder what Neil Sedaka's doing these days? He might be dead or something. Never mind! Write!

The heart, bedded neath its blanket of care, opening on golden--

No! It sounds like a burrito or a pill dispenser or something. I can't work hungry. What's in the house?

~one trip to the store, and fixing lunch, and eating lunch, and a nap, later....

heart cart fart part K Mart

Maybe if i walk the dog, my head will come up with something. Don't forget poop bags. 

~one dog walk later~

Lo, the

I wonder what's on Face Book? Ha! Talking cats, I love those. LIKE. Oh here's that silly woman asking to be friends again. She actually posts pictures of her bunions. That's low...

Lo, the springes of the heart open under Psyche's...

Psyche? Circe? Mars? March! I'm gonna march you down the aisle! April! You're the Easter bunny when you smile! Yeah, yeah, my heart's in a whirl--

Spring-ed heart, lo the ...cart? chart? Convenient Food Mart?

I'm hungry again. Then bed. Zac's tired. Wait, there's an "ER" re-run on. Oh wow, the guy's in a coma. That's rough. They say that waking up is hard to doooooo, I know it is, I know that it's truuuuuue... What about the poem? *yawn*


for Metafiction with Kerry at Toads.  




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Old Woman & The Sea (Of Mail)

A bit belatedly, here are 3 pix of some old bat leaving to deliver her mail route for the last time, 3 weeks ago. ;-)

Bye! Bye! (Won't she EVER leave?)

Yeah. Byyyyyeee. 31 years to get rid of that chick, jeez!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rotten Fruit

Here is your rotten fruit
taken from a gorgeous vine--
the lush one, the lovely one
in its season--mine.

Roll the dough, crimp the crust,
spoon the rotten fruit inside--
bake it well, then go to hell
where with these sweets you may abide.

for Poetry Pantry #358.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hates Haiku , Flies Solo

This is the sort of thing that has those bitches snickering behind their hands--
I burned the bed, including the one in my mind,

but I took one of them outside first,
so I'm not as rash as they say.

I have shelves and shelves of poetry--
my own and everybody else's.
"My love is like a red, red rose," like this, and like that,

What a load of crap.

Now I sleep on the couch, in case there's suddenly something good on,
or I feel like steeping myself in a trash novel all night
like some sort of nocturnal tea bag.

I'm always brewing something.

So fuck you, you with the soft lips; you with the strong arms. 
Here's the list, you're on it, get lost.

At 3 a.m. there was a show about dinosaurs.
They had shrimpy brains and big spikes and some had clubs on their tails.
Half of them were girls, all they cared about was
laying eggs and eating.
I watched that shit until the sun came up.

My friend says, "You could still meet somebody."
It's true, I could.
Here I am flying through space with my big bright tail.
Here I fly, with my shitty track record and my poems and my passion.
Here I come, down through the atmosphere, 
not looking for you, but on my way anyway.

for Sunny's "sleep and insomnia" prompt at Toads. I love to sleep. I never have insomnia.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Witch's Instructional

This is what it means to be La Bruja, the witch--
(swab honey on your ears before I speak, or they will curl like dry leaves.) 
It isn't like people think,
from storybooks and bullshit they've heard.
It's like this--
a candleflame-colored Moon rising 
through dreams and trees
into night sky, and not nearly so distant as it seems.

If you are La Bruja, you must barter with every wild thing-- 
taking some of each, as they keep some of you.
Sorters appear,
you know the ones...
made of hair spray and bibles, scared of the dark,
rattling on about their birth right.
You will kill them,
whether you choose to or not; whether you feel good about it or not.
Ah well.

There will be those who come into the trees,
even into your dreams,
to avenge what you've done while you were sleeping, 
walking the stick path,
or baying at the moon.
All I can tell you is, wear a long cloak,
keep moving to the stone-feather pulse inside you,
and know the Moon saves her favor for you, not dwarves or fools. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

What I'm Made Of

Sugar and spice
and all things nice;
red strawberries and
shards of ice.

North wind, south wind,
night bird's call;
prayer and peaches and

Some from the heart and
some for show;
wouldn't you, honey,
just love to know.

for "I Am Made Of..." at Toads.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Minutes of The Marvell-Herrick Society

Everybody talks about
mass death
like it's a bad thing.

Gray skies are gonna clear up--
put on a bird-mask face
with roses 
under your noses--
yeah that's the way.

Everybody talks about
heads with crowns
like that shit really matters.

Kiss me, honey,
Old Time is still a-flying.
It's not love
but it's not bad,
and what's the dif if we're dying?

Gathering rosebuds while I may, for Mama Zen's "Words Count." And yes, I really drew the Death card. You expected I would get the six of cups?



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Bell The Cat

Bell the cat, bolt the door, burn the welcome mat.
Shade the sun, don't tell anyone, and when you're done with that,
Tongue the bell as magpies coin the language she'd have licked
the honey from, til day is done and drowsed and silly and sick;

Promise her you love her more than Terpsichore and then
her fading scent will pay the rent when she has gone again.




Sunday, June 4, 2017

Emilie Sagee's Complaint

I was framed.
I don't care what fifty people said--
that I marched right up to the pulpit and kissed the priest;
then laid one on the nun as well.

I skipped Mass that day and took a nap.
Why do people lie?
Besides, no twin would bother 
aping one so very dull as I. 

for flash 55. 


Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Ambitious Waste Basket

The ambitious waste basket perhaps read too much into it
when it was given a clean white scented trash bag to wear.

"He's going to marry me!" thought the waste basket, mistakenly.

Instead, every time he filled her, he emptied her.
He attached a miniature basketball hoop and did not desire
her molded plastic body at all.

The ambitious waste basket grew bitter,
and took to leaving itself in the hall and on the stairs.
Finally, her anger set her waste paper contents ablaze.

Her prince arrived and, calling out the most endearing obscenities,
splooshed a bunch of white foam into her, delighting her.
"He wants me to have his child," she concluded, erroneously.

Her heart and body melted, the ambitious waste basket could not even react
when she found herself inside a larger container and felt them both being rolled to the curb.
The trash truck arrived and she fell into it without a thought, because

The trash truck clearly wanted her, and held her tight,
though he smelled pretty bad and didn't talk much.
"It's just l'amour fou!" said the ambitious waste basket, quite correctly this time. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

My Other Hand

They tell me--I mean the throat clearers in their white coats--
that my extra hand is a blighted twin,
and that its presence on the right side of my back is not threatening.

The fools.
Hungering for love like anyone else, I gave in
to someone's touch. In mid-declaration, he found the hand
and jumped away as if electrocuted when he saw what he'd touched.

In church, wearing my customary black,
I pray, and in my prayer, I lie, giving thanks.
The horrid hand crosses itself at the moment of deceit,
and my skin crawls so badly that I nearly scream right there in the pew.

The worst part is that I can't really see it.
I twist painfully, my back to the mirror, but it curls away 
like some unholy creature avoiding teeth, or fire.
I curse it, sobbing with frustration, the hand mirror smashed.

At night, the hand traces letters against the skin of my back,
but the language makes no sense except to devils and Gypsies.
My mother brought the doctor, then the priest, upon finding me
blood-drenched and wheezing on the floor in the morning.

Who could blame me, for the knife?
Who could forecast that the thing would defend itself,
at cost of three fingers, one of them mine?

The same doctors performed surgery that afternoon,
pronounced the thing removed and benign,
but I know better, and carry the scars to prove it.

for my own Fireblossom Friday challenge at Real Toads: "It's Only A Paper Moon."


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It's My Last Day !

It's my last day schlepping the mail after 31 years of "through sleet, snow, avalanche, alien invasion" etc. Yay!

A little music to exit the building by.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Book Review: "A Great And Terrible Beauty"

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book starts out really well. It deals with a young woman who grew up in India attending an English boarding school and is up to its crumpets in wild goings-on. I liked the first half very much, dealing as it did with the social politics of a group of girls. I also really liked the narrator, Gemma, who is fiery and independent but not sure of herself for all that.

However, the second half of the book veers--not without considerable entertainment value--into a world of runes, caves, magic, other realms, etc. etc. Unfortunately, that kind of fantasy stuff isn't really my thing. Still, I give the author kudos for snappy pace and skillful storytelling. On the whole, not bad, but a bit too magic-themed for me.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Busy Oak

Here is the street door to where you are not.
The red bricks remain--
together they make a wall, a building, 
The old Busy Oak restaurant and the apartments above it.

Here are the winter cars out in the street, the noisy buses
sending up dust and old leaves, none of them carrying you.
Here are the mailboxes, none of them yours,
no way to fold in a note; here are dark stairs leading up,
but they lead to curt strangers in your place.

I'm not sure I miss you, but I miss being young,
full of desire and hope, uncertainty and kind intentions.
I miss the way your walk made me feel to see it,
something like being drunk in church, naked and faith-struck.

Here is the place I lived to find, then found.
Here is the Busy Oak, turned realtor's office and recruitment center.
The places we love come and go, the young come and go,
it all passes and fades, but something brought me back here

Once more, today, to this place
and you.


for the mini-challenge: people and places.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Deaf Angels

"He's an angel, not a saint." --Michael

Deaf angels aren't much for music.
No matter the beauty of the harp, 
they're oblivious
and bored.

Deaf angels aren't much for prayer.
Unaware of kneeling priests in robes,
lofty Ladies, 
loquacious Lords.

But when you find you cannot speak--
the break too ragged, raw and deep--
Deaf angels come with silent arms
and balm not found in notes nor words.

For Rommy's challenge at Real Toads.