Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kiss The Scarecrow

Kiss the scarecrow.
Go on,
you've waited all year for this.

Through mincing, droolmouth springtime.
Through a summer of blindlight hiss.
Girl, go kiss that scarecrow.
For the hit, for the high, for this.

Mama found nine black feathers
in your sheets, your skin, your head.
She slapped you smart with an open fist;
next thing, Mama's dead.

Kiss the scarecrow.
Go on,
step quick between the stalks.

Start from the porch where the black bell hangs.
Cat's cradle noose in the dark.
Girl, go kiss that scarecrow.
Til it tremble, til it burn, til it talk.

Image from Inspiration from mood wings.


Bosco Speaks!

English: "Woof!"

Bosco language:

Last five minutes of your movie? Miguel Cabrera up to bat? Last ten pages of your novel? Just got comfy and half-asleep?


Just started doing dishes? Coloring your hair? Writing a poem?


Alternate version:

Bosco: woof!

Translation: "I love you, Mom!"

Shay: Awww. I love you too, Bosco! What would I do without you, huh?

Image from

For Mama Zen's Words Count at Real Toads. She asks for a little personal weirdness. I have regular conversations with my dog Bosco. I often handle both ends of it.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Froshus Bear!



(dun worry, Teddy.
I save you!)

a little bit of Monday fun from Shay's Word Garden.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


That June, I was on my back in daisies,
happy, high as a goldfinch on a space station.

Wait, what June?
There was no June like that.

Having begun with lies, let me continue,
but this time with bigger better lies, whoppers, impossible bullshit...

I played autoharp at Woodstock,
and made out with June Carter Cash.
On my back in daisies, out on the fringes of Yasgur's farm,
happy, tripping on chords I scored from Joni Mitchell on stage the night before.

Well that's all crap.
I was studying maps of South America in grade school,
braces on my teeth policing every word I said.
But I could sing "Jackson", both parts. So eat shit.

If I were still the debutante I once was,
poised at the top of the staircase, holding a wheelbarrow,
eager to collect my portion of gilded horse manure from the polo pasture of old Birmingham,

I wouldn't be so coarse.
June wouldn't have turned to October,
whites and yellows to browns and deep reds.

When the sun goes down, 
I like to sit in the high weeds next to the Walter P. Reuther expressway.
I am the girl guitarist of the goldenrod,
wailing blues for Toyotas and Subarus,
those invasive species that killed Detroit.

Here is the truth.
I have about reached the limit of how much shit I can take.
If Pontiac and Mercury can disappear, what can be depended upon?
A dog. Goddess bless dogs, but a morsel can distract them.

I'm wondering what can be depended upon,
when June Carter Cash must be about a hundred years old, and Johnny's gone altogether;
Carlene Carter isn't blonde anymore,
and even Emmylou Harris can't get Graham back.

Here in the goldenrod, I'm sober as a Baptist raccoon in a church attic,
six hundred miles and forty-five years from Woodstock,
but I can't help wondering if there might be a mulligan god,
whipping out second chances
and bootleg versions

of Pontiacs and Mercs,
old country singers,
and debs who kicked off their shoes
and barefooted it all the way from Birmingham to You Are Here, USA.

from a word list provided by mood wings.

note: June Carter Cash died in 2003. Young me always thought she was pretty dishy.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Athena, On The Down Side

When a girl springs, fully formed, from the forehead of a God,
certain things are expected of her.
At Wellesley, they wouldn't let her keep her owl in the dorm,
so she made the first of many fateful decisions and told them to stick it.

Athena sits inside the bus kiosk on 8 Mile Road,
the one that some drunk smashed one of the windows out of with a trash barrel.
She hasn't got the fare,
and her crappy Payless shoes aren't making the walk seem very appealing.
Beside her on the bench is a beat-up backpack.
Behind her, doing a brisk business, is a fish market that must be some alley cat's dream.

For a while, she had a waitressing job at a Coney Island place in Detroit.
Her name tag said "Minerva", and she was on her feet for twelve hours at a time,
setting down plates of gyro petas or feta omelets
for fat truckers and hip hop fakers
while Seger sang about Main Street from the speakers in the ceiling.

Athena is tired, and none of the old Olympian crowd ever calls anymore.
The number 17 Gratiot Avenue bus goes by,
heading east and spinning old plastic grocery bags into the air behind it.
Athena does not smoke or drink, at least not anymore.
She's not a bad gal; 
when she's got a dollar she buys cat treats for Shopping Cart Bonnie's little stray,
but today Bonnie's off her meds and is having a screaming match with nobody anyone can see.

Athena thinks about packing it in,
mostly because her feet hurt and her looks are gone
and 8 Mile Road is so trashy it makes a girl feel she's failed just by being there.
Three things will decide her future:

the condition of the stars tonight; their nearness, the perfection of the constellations, or their absence because of clouds or impenetrable indigo--

the number of headlights heading west on the 8 Mile Road overpass, as opposed to those traveling east. Even numbers denote harmony, odd numbers warn of injury and loss.

the activities of her owl; if the bird returns in the dawn with jewels, gorgeous poems, or small animals with fur as soft as mercy, then she will kiss his feathers and believe that she is still a woman to be reckoned with, the Keeper of the Bolts; but if the bird never comes back at all, or returns wounded, trailing a leg or a wing, she will know her own days are numbered.

It is getting dark and the fish market is closed.
The last 420 bus to the State Fairgrounds has already passed by,
and Athena is still sitting inside the kiosk, 
no place for a lady to linger for long.
She's looking for the stars,
the lights,
and the bird associated with her name when she was Somebody--
Not like now.
Not like this.
Not on a bet.

for Fireblossom Friday



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: "Goodnight, June"

Goodnight JuneGoodnight June by Sarah Jio

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I love Margaret Wise Brown's classic children's books, and so when I saw this novel by Sarah Jio in the book store, it sounded made for me.

It's about June Anderson, a New York city banker, who comes home to Seattle to dispose of her recently deceased great-aunt's book store, Bluebird Books, which she has inherited. It turns out that her aunt was close friends with Margaret Wise Brown, and not only had she saved her correspondence with the late author, but she actually (in this novel) had a lot to do with the creation of "Goodnight Moon."

Add to this an estranged sister, a new love interest who runs the restaurant next door, and a creepy rich woman who's after something, and it sounds great, right? Well, not so much, unfortunately.

Let me start with what I *did* like. The series of letters between June's great aunt Ruby and "Brownie" were wonderful, and the high point of the book, to me. I can also say that this is an easy, fluffy read, and despite what follows, I did enjoy it to some degree.


How did this book fall short? Let me count the ways. Let's start with Gavin, the restauranteur next door. He's handsome, he cooks, he likes kids, he's way understanding and supportive, and after running into June out on her morning jog, he is instantly smitten. Seriously, he goes from "So, are you from around here?" to "Let's get married, combine our businesses, raise kids together, and oh by the way, I brought you dinner" in about three days time. Naturally, she feels the same, and even though she never gives the poor guy more than a kiss, he's madly in love. Also, he grins a lot. A LOT.

What else? There's June's younger sister Amy, who has done something wicked and evil to her, to the point that June wants no more to do with her, ever. This has gone on for years, but it's all solved in about two paragraphs, and a festival of hugs and tears not only makes everything all right again, but June adopts Amy's newborn baby after Amy expires of cancer a few pages later. Look, *I* didn't write this crap, that's really what happens.

Ditto for June the shark banker lady who, after a few days in Seattle, bopping around the bookstore finding the letters from Ruby to Brownie, decides to quit her job, sell her NYC apartment and save the bookstore she had come there planning to sell off. Every decision this woman makes, every major life change, is arrived at nearly instantaneously, and pretty much painlessly. There are no gradual changes, no believable progressions, no long internal struggles. Nope. In about three weeks, this chick completely changes her life and world view, snaps up the Perfect Boyfriend, adopts a newborn, makes up with her tragically dying sister, and--ta da!--saves the book store, complete with cameos from Bill Gates and Clive Cussler.

Did you think that was all? More than enough, maybe? There is still the cherry on top, the most barf-worthy scene in the book, where June's creepy adversary, May (May and June...cute, right? Hurl.), who has done everything from spying on June, to breaking into and ransacking her book store, walks in just as June is discovering that they both had the same father, and so they are sisters, and oh gosh, hug cry kiss, that turns out wonderfully, too! And then unicorns dance through the room and...okay, I made up the unicorns, but geez. Skip this.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

From The Mouths Of Crows

From the mouths of crows came a second sun,
pinned to the sky by a minor bureaucrat filled with holy half-light.
Marie Antoinette stepped out of a suitcase and asked, where is the other one?
The first one, and why is the jug painted blue and the sky painted white?

Did I say crows? They were not crows.
They were emblems made of ash, blowing themselves into new glass.
This is the kind of mistake I've been making, wearing the wrong clothes,
and going around selling blank subscriptions, riding on an ass.

I wept because there were pear blossoms.
I wept because it rained and a splintered bench curled green stems from itself.
Crows memorized my face, for reasons of their own.

Under a second sun, a second spring,
false, crafty, from which I hid in the shadows between ivy leaves.
A city worker collected blood from the pavement. I heard a cardinal sing.
See the light in bands, refracted. See how the night, resurrected, weaves.

I wept because wandering dogs were removed by ordinance.
I wept because they had blessed my cold sleep with their simple comfort.
In the morning, the crows in their kindness gave me back my face,

then flew away
forming circles
like smoke rings.