Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: "Thirteen Reasons Why"

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I purchased Julie Anne Peters's new YA novel "Lies My Girlfriend Told Me" from Amazon, they recommended this book, and it sounded good, so I got it. All I can say is WOW. It blew me away.

If you've ever felt alone, discouraged, or overwhelmed, read this book.

If you've ever loved someone but felt you didn't have a chance, read this book.

If you are a parent, read this book. If you can't talk to your parents, read this book.

If you've ever wondered how a young person could not want to live, read this book. If you've ever felt that way yourself, read this book. If you need a reason to hope, read this book.

If you've ever had a "safe place", read this book. If someone has ever taken that place away, read this book.

If you don't think little things matter, read this book.

If you want to read something you'll never forget, read this book.

Read this book, read this book, read this book. Read it!

I would give it ten stars if I could.

View all my reviews

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Neighborhood Babe

Wise man say:
Quit with the pidgin already.
If you can't put together a simple declarative sentence in the English language,
the best I can offer you is a gig with the railroad.

The Neighborhood Babe leaves her rugrats at home for the evening,
and attends a night class.
Pretty soon she can dance like Ginger Rogers
and do her own taxes,
but she needs more, you dig?

Up, up the mountain she goes, that chalk-fingered Babe,
to the tippy top.
Survey says:
Location, location, location,
but there he is anyway,
the Shell Answer Man,
chewing on a Krispy Kreme.

I want to be a poet, she tells him.
He says:
Jot down a bunch of gibberish.
Everybody'll love it and toss roses at your feet,
and even if they don't,
just call your sloppy nonsense poetic license and smile indulgently.
Then come back here and fill in for me;
I need to see a man about a dog.

So the Neighborhood Babe finally arrives back home,
spouting zen koans
and making the rugrats dig a koi pond in the back yard.
At night she dreams of China--
the Great Wall turns into an undulating snake,
and she rides it, waving her hat like a cowgirl and shouting hoo-wee!
Fortune cookie say:
Though shrouded in mists, lofty heights await.
Sometimes she actually knocks her pillow onto the floor.

for Hannahballistic's Transforming Friday challenge!



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Real Doll

I was a real doll,
dressed to the nines,
and cuter than ten puppies in an Easter basket.

I had button eyes.
My doctor shone a penlight at them and declared,
"flat affect" and started me on a prescription.

Pretty soon, my stitched-on grin
was making me popular!
Invites everywhere, filling up my screen.
Oh hell yes!
I'm telling you, girl,
I was so surprised I could have shit and fallen back in it.

Me and my doll friends wore striped stockings
and cute dresses we changed twenty times a day.
And boyfriends?
Mine came and went like the weather--
I kept pushing their hands away from my hem,
spouting some crap about saving myself for marriage,
but I was worried what they'd do 
when they only found smooth plastic.

That's when things started to go tilt, a little bit.
Like at the beauty college,
where the Barbie with a ring in her nose took way too much off.
"It'll grow back!" chirped the cashier,
but, hello, it's yarn, it won't.

And, no matter how much Aveeno I slather on,
I'm about as soft as a baseball bat.
I turned to booze, but unlike some, I can't pee.
I tried smoking dope, but my mouth doesn't open.
I even tried hard dope, but the needles always break.

You know what? I never went back to that doc.
Now I spend my days splayed on some little girl's bookshelf,
next to a Beanie giraffe.
Sometimes she takes me down and dangles me by my heels, 
squeaking, "Oh noooo! I'm falling out of the ski lift! 
Save meeeeeeee!"
Don't laugh, Toots, it's a plumb part.

I'm a real doll,
dressed to the nines,
and cuter than kittens in a cereal bowl.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Paleontology For Couples

450 million years ago,
at Angelo's,
before they remodeled,
I told you something.

I had been saving it,
relishing the moment when I would unveil it,
reveal it,
astonish you with the joy of it.

You never heard a word I said.
So, for 450 million years, I never spoke again--
here, but not here,
turned to stone instead.

59 words for Mama Zen at Real Toads.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Review: "Paper Wings"

Paper Wings: Novel, APaper Wings: Novel, A by Marly Swick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After recently reading Marly Swick's "Evening News" and liking it, I ordered "Paper Wings" and liked it, too. The year is 1963. Suzanne's family had just moved into their brand new house in Madison, Wisconsin, three years earlier, and things were looking rosy. Her mother had campaigned hard for John F. Kennedy in 1960, and between that and the move, seemed to be blossoming at last. Then Suzanne and her classmates are let out early from school one fateful day in November--you know the one--and she comes home to find her mother sitting on the floor crying in front of the television set, her hair half washed, and every channel showing the same news.

"Paper Wings" is a really skillful depiction of a time and a national mood, as well as of a particular family, all on the edge of changing forever. Suzanne's mother reverts to being moody, unstable, and depressed. Her optometrist father becomes more and more frustrated with her, and when she takes Suzanne on an ill-advised impromptu trip, in the middle of winter, to her hometown in Nebraska, a lot of disturbing history reveals itself.

Nothing is going to be the same for any of them, or for the nation at large. This story is about innocence--and balance--lost, all through the eyes of a young girl caught in the middle of forces beyond her control. I liked it a lot, and recommend it.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 21, 2014


I ate a strawberry.
You wouldn't believe
how fresh,
how delicious,
how cool and sweet it really was.

The thing is,
it was the last of a particularly fine batch.
I could have offered it to you, I suppose,
but i didn't--
in fact, 
the thought never crossed my mind.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Poem Is the War Bird, the Cat, and Ashes

This poem is the war bird, tethered.
This poem is the cat, crouched, waiting.
This poem is ashes, flame's dark warmthless daughters.

Once-soft Goddesses wearing gauntlets
hurry new dawns into a red sky unready;
The bones of songbirds make trinket jewelry
for these light-drunk chippies, unsteady.
It is not the war bird who is tethered to these dime store deities--
they desperately tether their silly selves to him,
his talons,
his keen eye,
asking him in a rush, blathering,
to tell them of rising, of honest blood, of sky.

Quiet becomes rare currency
in a plaza sick with ambrosia barkers.
Weaving between pillars and the busts of noble dead,
comes a common cat, traversing the markers.
It is not the feline who lives at the edges and margins,
but the noisome voided screechers calling themselves master--
wearing bibs,
insensible to the common cat, crouching,
stalking the dull bird under their ribs.

Here is what we did and what we were,
here and here and here. Weep for the beauty of it,
write poems and songs and marble art,
to present to these defectives--our citizens--steeped in shit.
Everything skips a generation, so the wise ones have said,
before we cored them and tore out their tongues,
all the while
pasting on a laurel wreath.
See our favored girls, pampered and scornful,
smiling ice from rot-sweet teeth.

This poem is the war bird, tethered.
This poem is the cat, crouched, waiting.
This poem is ashes, flame's dark warmthless daughters.

for Hannah's mini-challenge, "boomerang metaphors".