Thursday, July 2, 2015


Let's be together. We'll take pictures for proof.
Fill our mouths with those heart-shaped candies
and say the words, those melting words--
a dollar hidden in your hat brim, an amulet tucked inside my shoe.

Pretty wildflowers grow
fed from the slack-jawed smiles below--
blackbird, bluebird,
cowbird, crow.

Here is our memory book, let's fill it and call it a life.
If you need anything, ring this little bell;
I'll blow in to say the words, those healing words--
like the cutest little Christ-girl, your do-the-devil wife.

See the sunflowers, tall and fine
lining the road from our prairie cottage here--
sun burn, sour churn,
your lies, mine.

"Ghost Maiden in the Meadow," 2015, by Angela Deane

A little scribble for The Storialist.   

Monday, June 29, 2015

When Eaten By Sharks

When eaten by sharks, try to stay calm.
If possible, write down the genus and species;
call your old professor if you think she can help.

Don't automatically assume that being eaten by sharks is pure disaster.
Imagine that smug know-it-all relation of yours. 
Imagine his face when you greet his latest pronouncement by leaning out from rows of enormous teeth,
waving at him from between shreds of seal, 
laughing at him from your unassailable new address.

When eaten by sharks, try to remember which shark took what portion.
By doing this, you may be able to reassemble a prototype,
from which a full replacement may be constructed.

Most of all, try to acclimate yourself as soon as possible.
Inside these perpetually swimming creatures, travel is yours.
If limbs remain usable, hit the inside of the shark's belly with an open hand;
the resulting bass beat will astonish nearby boaters.
"Listen," they will say to each other, "that's Morse code."

Send letters, long, short, long, describing being eaten by sharks.
Query editors. Self-publish. Above all, work quickly.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Diary Of A Long-Haired Girl

“In you, I see the heroines of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
You, unhappy lady, were
never saved by anybody.”
Marina Tsvetaeva

I had long hair then. Jules had just made clear her indifference,
her wild desire for me to leave, and so I did, on the Greyhound.
The Soviets launched Laika the dog-
we sent rhesus monkey Sam into space;
I took pills from a baggie John pressed into my palm to stop me crying,
and I swung ahead without moving, dreaming of pissing on the whole Earth.

In Oregon, I met a guy. He said he liked Gordon Lightfoot,
"You've Been Talking In Your Sleep." I had never heard it.
He told me about himself, and I wondered, how do you know
I don't have a bomb in my boho bag?
How do you know I don't go around blowing up buses,
bulldozers, abortion clinics, banks?

When a woman broke my heart, sometimes I used to let guys fall for me.
It assuaged the hurt, kept me looking pretty
like a cut stem in a glass of sugar water that will die anyway, but more slowly.
It was riskless--I wouldn't love them;
I was just a hive of honey left out for the ants, a crust on the counter,
a sweet '56 left to rust and become art.

I cut my hair last spring. I gave up on love in 2009.
Look at my yard, I can't bear to clear the trash trees.
John put a shotgun in his mouth years ago, and I don't get high anymore.
I wonder if Laika slept at all,
I wonder if she dreamed of the alleys and garbage cans of Moscow?
I wonder what made me think of that guy on the bus through Oregon?

"I heard you softly whisper..."
I have given myself body and soul to half a dozen women and one man.
I live alone. The moon rises and sets.
Sometimes, in the morning, she is still there in the sky,
pale, beautiful, and if I spoke in my sleep, if I confessed anything,
she would never betray me, not from such a distance,
though I die in orbit, howling.
For Play it Again, Toads 18. Image at top by Margaret Bednar. I chose Kerry's challenge.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Finishing School

Susie brought a pineapple
or perhaps a hand grenade--
Bernice barks and continually tries
to spit in the lemonade.

Linda likes to play 
with matches
and to sprinkle her gruel 
with sand and ashes.

It's not that we want to disappoint--
oh mother, teacher, lofty god;
but Susie is violent, Linda is mad,
and I am feral, mute, and odd.

60 words on the nose for Mama Zen's Words Count at Real Toads. I avoided using "thou" and "ye". You're welcome.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Woman Of The Year

Sylvia Hawthorne-MacNaughton opened a can of whoop ass,
but it must have been expired, or something, because
nothing happened.

There she was, in the girls' bathroom, quiet as a church,
still as a mountain spring at midnight,
and boy, did she feel stupid.

She went on to be given a swirly by a pimple-faced girl with stick arms.
She went on to become a lexicographer.
She went on a long trip to Tibet, having lost her faith in the order of things.

Who is Sylvia, what is she, the peace movement's fairest darling?
The number one non-violent nun of the year,
the fruit that fell from the fuck-up tree?

All her life, Sylvia Hawthorne-MacNaughton resents that moment,
when the can of whoop ass let her down.
Seven presidents and prime ministers attend her funeral at age 92,

Droning on and on about what a beacon she was, and blah-de-la.
She would have gladly traded it all to have stuffed stick girl head-first
into the trash basket, when she was fifteen,

With her own plan for her life, before God hijacked it
and turned her into Woman Of The Year, holier than Jesus, nicer than Santa Claus.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

In Autumn

In Autumn, when my love, my unparticular love
with a dozen faces was leaving--as she is always leaving--
in Autumn, when my heart is forever about to fall--but never falls--
I bought the scent of the season of endings, like an acolyte believing.

Blue, blue, songs are like tattoos, as the lady said.
In Autumn I coccoon myself wrapped in pages where I hope to find
the Neruda or the Dickinson that will assuage this feeling
that seeps like leaf-smoke through my dreams, my grief, my mothy mind.

Now, it is rain-green June, and the vines climb outside my window
as if they saw God above them, or hungry devils below.
My heart is easier when the light is longer, though solitude is still solitude;
darkness waits as it always waits, though I love to fool myself just now, just so.

And my Knight in his armor, plucked from a rank of defenders
off the shelf at Target? He is still here, stoic and ready, aromatic and constant.
It is always Autumn inside him, a high wind residing unseen behind his pose.
Together we make two seasons, skeletal, but telling each other we are verdant,

Each filling the indifferent air with our manufactured ode;
me ever the lady and pregnant, hefting that bale, hauling that load.

Karin Gustafson over at Real Toads, urges us to write an ode to the quotidian. I can't imagine many things more quotidian than a can of air freshener. She suggested looking around at one's desk, and my eyes landed on my dear and treasured Woodside Library can of Glade scent. Leather & oak, it says on the side. So, I put my hair up in a bun so tight it makes my eyes cross, donned my glasses, and began shushing people so that i could write this poem.

The line about songs being like tattoos is from the Joni Mitchell song "Blue", written by her.

Fun fact to know and tell: women have a keener sense of smell than men. It's science!


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pictures of Heartbreak, Poems in the Spokes of a Wheel

Here is how I imagined my heart:
blood compromised, made thin and blue by work schedules,
thoughtless words,
kindnesses forgotten,
mad-making obstacle dreams and stale air
arriving at the right atrium like someone stumbling in out of the snow;

Received like a guest, served coffee and cookies,
surrounded by the biological greenery outside the atrium,
this blood eventually slipping through the delicate leaflets 
of the tricuspid valve into the guest room quiet of the right ventricle.

Shall I go on? Isn't it obvious, the druggy dream of the pulmonary artery,
the bloom of new love in the left atrium,
the free fall through the mitral valve into the left ventricle
with its clocks and chimes, and finally the aorta into the unknown?
This was my concept, my imagining.

Reality was this:
An endless rain, the filth of the floodwaters bringing
boards, bodies, houses, livestock and death on a black surge,
an ink to begin my poetry with.
Within my chest, the wheel, the weird carnival,

All I had ever consumed or breathed gathered in ceremony,
children being born and let go but never let go,
the shout above the wind, the wonderful stupidity of the church tower
or widow's walk in a lightning storm,
the stanzas, the strophes, the angeldust afterbirth of all I needed to say.

Go ahead, tell the one whose love you need the most
that you are dropping out of med school,
that you are bisexual,
that you have knocked over a bank and shot the President;
they may forgive you, or at least pretend to.

Finally, tell them you are a poet and watch them walk away.
Feel the flood, the fever and fire--
then, dear heart, start writing.

for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads