Saturday, January 31, 2015

Book Review: "Olivia"

Olivia: A NovelOlivia: A Novel by Dorothy Strachey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Olivia" is the story of a teenage girl away at boarding school, and her intense feelings for one of the two women who run it. In some (good) ways, this reminds me of Nevada Barr's "Bittersweet" and Sylvia Brownrigg's "Pages For You", which are both favorites of mine, and both concern girls whose first loves are (somewhat) older women.

First love is gorgeous and awful and all-consuming and unforgettable; Olivia finds all that out first hand. Don't be misled...there is no sex and very little physical contact in this story, but the emotions burn red hot. It has the feel of a classic tragedy, and also of a really good YA novel of today.

The story is loosely based on Marie Souvestre's Allenswood Academy, attended by both the author and Eleanor Roosevelt, among many other notables of the first half of the 20th century. But this is not about anyone, really, except Olivia and Mlle. Julie. There were times when I had to set it down and just let a scene wash over me. It's very smoothly written, full of heart, joy and sadness; it simply blew me away. Highly recommended.

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Midget At Large

Thievery comes naturally to you; you like it--
don't imagine I missed that smirk.
Yes, you better turn tail and run!
(or will those charms always work?)
Rotten rat--
always grin and tease like that--
Young one,
so adorable and sneaky smart.
You won me over, you little bandit--
puppy love from the start.

for Flash 55 at Real Toads. I took on the added form challenge as well. This poem is for my little wild girl Skittles, who cannot read, but what the heck. She's a puppy!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Neptune's Time Share

Neptune sold his time share.
Now he runs a riding stable in upstate New York.
Venus can't pull off those young fashions anymore
without looking a little desperate,
and Janus got a gig as a doorman in Miami--
he can scan both sides of the street for a cab.
Diana and Egeria are lavender girls, if you know what I mean;
best friends, my ass.
Survey says, Vulcan and Vesta can't keep burning it up forever,
but somebody's got to make up for Minerva,
always studying for another Master's.

Remember when we used to chant:
Boys go to Jupiter
to get more stupider;
girls go to Mars
to get more candy bars.

Ceres is knocked up again.
I guess going vegan didn't slow her down a bit.
And Apollo, wellll, Apollo....
who knew he could lie like that?
He had us all fooled and now he'll do a dime up at Jackson.

I bought Neptune's time share
from the silly fucks who got it from him.
Now I get my two weeks,
but it won't be like it was when your skin was dark and shining.

The lake is frozen,
you spun some shit about having to work,
and so what do I do now--
now that I know that even an off-season goddess
is just another dumb girl after all?

for Hannah's challenge at Real Toads. "Lavender girls" (and "twilight girls") was pulp novel code for lesbians, back in the day.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Was Old When I Fell In Love

I was old when I fell in love.
You should have seen the local teenagers--
so respectful as they removed my heavy groceries,
my shoulder bag
and my house keys.

My blood had gone sluggish in my veins,
like the biddy who holds up the drug store line,
blindly picking ancient coins from a tiny purse.
Is that a penny or a dime?
Systolic or diastolic?
How much was it, again?

Oh go ahead, laugh.
I was old when I fell in love,
like the bird that goes bright after blundering into a window--
red as a June rose, 
sliding slowly down the pane,
as elegant as a silent-era diva expiring in the fourth reel.

And my beloved?
She bakes, and goes up in the trees 
searching the branches all morning long.
In late afternoon when I begin to nod,
she tells me there is a future for everyone.
Then she offers me cake,
fluff filled with holes,
made to rise with crossed fingers, oil, and eggs.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wandering Eye

How could I have a wandering eye,
when mine are always demure,
almost falling into my tea like sugar cubes?

I claim nothing;
no opinion, no item, no gesture
as my own--
I borrowed this hat,
these gloves,
this face with its serenely docile expression.

However, underneath 
like a forgotten marker,
is my skull, twinned with socket-blanks
and the moths that emerge and expand by wing and instinct.

Relax, dear Master.
Everyone admires your wool suits,
your silk cravats,
and your cashmere sense of entitlement.

On the other hand,
no one sees or suspects the devouring flutter I unleash from concealment
without a word,
without fanfare,
without blinking.

for Magpie #255 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

X Factor

Don't fret, little one,
over what doctors or devils say.

They don't know how strong my angels rise
at sight of your 

for Play It Again Toads #13. I did a Twitter poem (140 characters.) 

The image was found on

My puppy has some internal problems. Mommy's gonna make it right.



Saturday, January 24, 2015


Hi, I'm Skittles. I've been dognapped by a crazy poet lady and held here for months now! I only have a few dozen toys, and sometimes she even stops petting me. Now today I heard her talking on the phone about a trip to see the doggy doctor. Someone save me! Put my picture on a milk carton! Helllppp!


Skittles the puppy