Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Drunken World

The drunken world leans in, then away,
like a dancer on break who confides a confidence,
then tips back laughing as if to say it was nothing, 
just a gray cat switching its tail atop a fence.

Every season must first pass through my windows--
so I like to think.
Come in, sit in the slant on the boards of the hallway
and we'll drink
as if we were pretty as petals on a rose.

I have given up, that's the truth, 
and it's such a damned sweet relief to just let everything slide.
The drunken world sways, rights itself, then moves
with us on it, choiceless, birds perched upon a train at night.

I love you. One day I won't, and it breaks my heart.
We're not new at this,
and what can be broken already is.
Please let yourself, this once, just be in my arms;
think of nothing beyond this moment's kiss
so it won't be so bad when we joke it off, let go of the barre, and part.

For my own "Touch of Gray" challenge at Real Toads.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review: "Terror In The City Of Champions"

Terror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era DetroitTerror in the City of Champions: Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society That Shocked Depression-Era Detroit by Tom Stanton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine an America just starting to right itself after an economic calamity. Imagine a changing America where racial and religious resentment lead to a sometimes polarized society, whipped up further by demagogues and religious media stars. Imagine "a low type of mentality, men easily incited by mob psychology, who have taken a silly pledge and gone through a crazy ritual apparently created by a fanatic who seeks power."

Imagine, too, politicians and police who often place political gain or personal prejudice above the common good. Imagine further a sports-crazed America, in love with the champions of professional baseball, football, hockey and boxing. Imagine Detroit in the mid-1930s, a place amazingly similar in many ways to America in 2016.

"Detroit the Dynamic" was home, of course, to the mighty American auto industry, the 1935 Champion Detroit Tigers in baseball, the Lions in football, and the Red Wings in hockey, a major sports trifecta that no other city has ever matched, making Detroit truly "The City of Champions." Add to that, Detroit native Joe Louis' rise to the ranks of the boxing elite.

However, Detroit was also home to the notorious Purple Gang, and to the secret and sinister Black Legion, a Klan-like organization that draped itself in flag-waving, Constitution-spouting patriotism, but who terrorized and murdered people simply for being black, or Catholic, or leftist.

Author Tom Stanton brings the long-ago streets of Detroit to life again, along with the outsized personalities of Tiger player-manager Mickey "Black Mike" Cochrane, his Jewish star player Hank Greenberg, Catholic radio priest Father Coughlin who drifted from bible lessons to antisemitic diatribes before being shut down by his Bishop, and the strangely disinterested FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Stanton also brings to life the mean, violent, racist members of the black-robed Black Legion and the people they harassed, bombed, shot and sabotaged.

From the bright sunshine of Navin Field and the World Series (What exactly DID happen to star pitcher "Schoolboy" Rowe's hand that caused him to lose to the Cardinals in the 1934 World Series? What led to Cochrane's nervous breakdown in June of 1936?) to the shadowy clandestine meetings of the Black Legion, to the offices of the three major Detroit dailies and the halls of government and justice, this is a truly a tour through one American city's best of times and worst of times. What really struck me the most is how little people and institutions have changed since then. Highly recommended.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

If Found, The Moon

If found, the moon
should be placed in the hands of an origami expert
to be folded into itself--an envelope--
and mailed immediately to its mother, a bird.

I say this as advice, and as instruction
for those in darkness or earthbound, overly wakeful
in hours fractured like a broken parcel, 
that no one inquires about or missing it, waits for.

Never doubt that this message is for you,
as flightless as an egg or a stone, sad as a star at noon;
if stone, bolder in rain--if bird, born to rise--
if star, then sister to the sun--if lost, Atlantis, if found, the moon.

for Play It Again Toads. I did Susie's "Taking it To The Streets."


Friday, May 20, 2016

Sappho of The Pharmacy Counter

"All I ask of you is one thing that you'll never do"--Morrissey

I got rave reviews for 
cleaning under the couch.
Museums called. 
Anderson Cooper texted, saying "keep in touch."

Well fuck all you guys.
From out my ass, brilliance,
a fine new poem
and so how about that? and you haven't even seen the best ones.

Listen, sweet Sappho of the pharmacy counter,
here I am, the mermaid--you've sat waiting for my call.
Put down those pills, but keep the glasses and white coat--
You can be my Blind Ghost of Future Love, as on the bed we fall. 

In my yard, the trees sway
with birds who could talk but don't,
because if they did,
no one would ever leave them alone.

The sun comes up, doesn't it ever think of anything fresh?
And the sky, endlessly insistently blue.
Sappho honey, parlez black words that shine like ravens in the rain
and I'll kick out this beautiful shit for you,

beautiful, fantastic, fucking feathered perfection for you.  

for grapedude's list thingggggg         


Sunday, May 15, 2016

No More Of Jerry

At some point, there was no more of Jerry
and yet, I kept walking him around anyway
no matter how he billowed and sagged,
no matter the film-melt at his hands, his feet, his face.

I kept thinking, this is Jerry, MY Jerry,
and he will rally, he will laugh it off and start dancing
even though we would both know it hadn't been a joke;
love can be that way, can't it?--illogical, like improv, chancy.

Okay, I lied.
We had got to that point of inattention where things get missed,
or recast, or denied,
and so when I walked down the street with Jerry I wore no black,
but the night lent me its share
and I wrapped it over my shoulders
and knotted it in my hair.

Look, Jer, I'm 3 a.m.--
your girl full of stars, still circling, ever faithful.
There's no more of you, but life is crammed with leftover me;
I don't know what to do, and it's lonelycold, unbearable, rainful.

'Bye, Jerry.
When dawn comes, I'll have to pretend there's a tomorrow,
and there it will be no matter what--
without me caring, without you there.

For Karin's "No More" challenge at Real Toads 



Saturday, May 14, 2016


(by coal black)

a cardinal and a rat on my feeder

dead porcelain doll in my hands.

people no one can see on the wraparound porch

like a row of ampersands.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Book Review: "The Castaways"

The CastawaysThe Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Apparently, I am the last woman in the country to discover Elin Hildebrand, but I can see why she is so popular. "The Castaways" is about a group of eight friends--four couples--who have been close for years. They all live on Nantucket Island (a character in itself) and they all are way more well-off than I will ever be, but this isn't one of those tiresome novels where it's all about stuff and glitz.

When one of the couples goes for an anniversary sail and are drowned in a mysterious accident, secrets begin to come out. Some of the friends were closer with another friend's spouse than was suspected, there may have been foul play, there were certainly lies and an undercurrent of restless emotions.

While the plot is engrossing, what I loved the best was the eight characters. They are all so human, so easy to relate to, and so marvelously drawn by the author, that loved spending time with them, and I cared about them all. There is no obvious hero or villain; they are all just human beings caught up in life. I wholeheartedly recommend "The Castaways" and look forward to reading more by this author.

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