Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I was born in this tree,
and the sun and stars circle 'round it

When I marry, I shall be wearing
a berry train braided by bridesmaids

To me has been given
this tree, these fruits, this scorn for you,
intruder who dares

approach my bower.
God has given you all the empty air
below--stay there.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Paradox Of Rails

Travel by rail has always been my favorite.
Look Ma, no driver, at least none that can be seen.

In this way, the double rail makes sense to me,
guided as I am 
by faith on one hand

and intuition on the other, 
like a pair of Gypsy rings.

Over time, and with the blessing of both dove and crow,
I have taken to wearing sweaters as loose and full as folded wings.

My homing instinct is strong, seeking the pulse at your throat
and the curve at the small of your back;
mistaking your dark hair

for the cricket black
of the best September nights.

I love you. You know that. I always will, 
despite the uncertainty of schedules and
the paradox of rails each depending on the other

to be there, despite knowing
that they will never meet--

like separated lovers, or 
the perfect synchronicity of wingbeats.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Poet In Fuckyou Face

the poet in fuckyou face.
grocery list
sex story
American sentence.

I guess you know what you may do with your very rude comment,
suggesting that I do not understand the English and how she is spoke.
the poet in fuckyou face.
gnashing of teeth.

haiku haiku.

That's better.
You may now kiss the hem of my




oh yeah.

for Real Toads mini-challenge: Ekphrasis. "The Artist In His Studio" is by Rembrandt.

My computer seems to be working for the moment. Hopefully, it won't flake out again right away. We shall see. 

Monday, August 24, 2015


On the Moon, a girl can be what she wants.
Strangled critics turn blue and bounce away.
White cat on the sun side, black on the dark.
It's all avec fromage at restaurants.
She can spend all day on a roundelay,
and next to nothing on a place to park.
On the Moon, a girl can dress as she please--
skirt to her ankles, her hips, her knees.
Moon ring, moon pendant, moon necklace, moon cuff.
Black leggings with five-pointed stars and stuff.
She is Queen of seas that hold no water,
and boats with sails that nonetheless brought her.
On the Moon a girl can swing side to side
in a silver hammock to charm the tide.

A silly sonnet for your Monday.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cherokee Kiss

Saint Creola,
patroness of crows and Gypsies,
hear my prayer
and bless our Cherokee kiss

in the asters and black jack--
like anything--
like this.

For Play It Again, Toads #20 at Real Toads. I did Mama Zen's. (well no shirt, Shitlock.)

Sounds kind of like a song. I wonder who should sing it? ;-) 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Don't worry, Pookie.
There are no dinosaurs on the beach here,
no longboats crammed with Vikings,
no Roman legions trying to conquer the sea.

Wear your flip flops.
Take your paperback.
I made you coffee, because
I am as loyal as Sancho Panza, and as unobtrusive as Dulcinea.

I'm glad we came here.
Once, as a child, I went rolling down the dune--
someone took a picture, and in it there is nothing but me and white sand,
so that I seem to be falling through pure light.

Emily Dickinson is dead, though she's spoken to me since.
John Lennon is dead,
and my favorite dogs, too.
My mother is dead,
but Pookie, there's me. There's you.

No pterodactyl will come pluck us from the beach.
My brother won't come, and make it up with us.
No old lovers will rise out of the surf and say they're sorry,
but there are starfish
and a nice sunrise.

Here is your coffee. Your book. Where is my beach hat?
Let's not miss another wave.
Let's get out of here, like flirts in an old movie.
Let's be silent, let's do Pure Michigan.
Let's hold hands and make out and not act our age.

Let's be beach bums, feeding the gulls;
forgiving how we got here,
forgetting the way back.

for Susie's challenge at Real Toads. Photo at top by Douglas Salisbury.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Book Review: "Insomnia's Ink"

Insomnia's InkInsomnia's Ink by Susie Clevenger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read her first volume of poems, "Dirt Road Dreams" in 2013 and having loved it, I was eager to read this follow-up volume and it didn't disappoint! The book is divided into two sections, "Midnight" and "Birdsong", with the theme throughout being insomnia and renewal.

Susie Clevenger's poetry is so genuine; she strikes no poses, but that is not to say that the writing is simple because it isn't. She tackles the most difficult stuff, from life and death to finding one's own voice in the world.

From "Currency Of Dreams" where she talks about "my voice fragile as a faded alphabet" to "Blood House" in which she ponders family of origin and writes, "Somewhere in the puzzle I am a verse" the first section is as shadowed and contemplative as a sleepless night. In "Fence" she comes up with this: "Gossip has a choir eager for a new song." On every page I found lines I just had to underline.
"Kool-Aid and Brimstone" and "Change of Heart" deal with living under the religious preoccupations of others and how stultifying that can be.

In the second section, she seems to come through the fire with a new strength and wisdom. There is the redemption of "Moon Fed On Imagination" and the lighter than air feel of "Pickled Thoughts Without Fins." In "Pictures of the Silver Lining" she describes her daughter as a "tigress with comedic timing" (!) and in my favorite poem in the book, the victory anthem "I Will Dance On Your Silence", she writes: "Pour salt in my wounds/ and I will best you by healing."

Absolutely recommended.

View all my reviews


Note for my blog readers: My mother passed away this morning. Our relationship was tricky to say the least, but this book of poems, and all it has to say about pain and redemption, meant a great deal to me on this day, especially. I will sleep better tonight for having had the opportunity to read it.