Friday, September 30, 2011

The Boring Lover

Madeleine's lover becomes boring--
She longs to simply push him off the balcony,
And watch him fall like an old cherished hope.

Once,
Madeleine felt as close to him
As the pomade on his hair.
Constantly, she whispered in his ear
Words of devotion as sweet as any lozenge.

But now,
Though she searches her heart as if it were The Golden Shoulder Bag,
She has to admit that he has become work-a-day,
And no different, really,
From any other man;
He has become the proverbial
Ordinary Brand.

When she suggests that they go dancing,
He looks slightly shocked
As if she had proposed that they drown the cat,
Or go downstairs together to seduce the doorman.
Sometimes she spreads his good tuxedo out on the bed
And lays her head on it, silently.

Madeleine knows
That Death could free her from him--
That if he had to clutch something in the last instant,
It would be his tiresome drug store cigar and not her hand.
Not even the pitiless pavement below
Could make him give it up.

Madeleine imagines
That if she pushed her dull lover off the balcony,
A detective would arrive and step out of the elevator as if he were a vended soda.
He would come in and sit in the chintz chair.
He would ask, "Why did you kill?"
"He smoked," she would reply.

The detective would set down his tea cup,
Put away his pen,
And say, "I know that these things happen.
I know you are a good person."
Then he would add, kindly,
"I know a nice little place where they play a mean rhumba.
Would you like to go?"
And she would say,
"Handsome,
I thought you'd never ask."

_____

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tea For The Devil

Tell Madame Mooshka.
Confide in her.
Pretend you are a pretty silver bell, and carol to her sweetly;
She will not point out the deception.

For how long
Will you let yourself be a hollow tree,
A rotten hotel
For so many sets of eyes that are not your own?
They peer out and tremble at sight of Madame Mooshka;
She demands of them their names,
And they howl...
They keen.

Do not waste Madame Mooshka's time.
When she asks to examine the facets you hide like guilty contraband,
Offer them up,
Daintily,
One at a time,
Like PEZ.

What they say about Madame Mooshka
Is that she has no patience for baked clay dolls,
Fingerless, in love with the piano and throwing themselves,
Weak and blubbering,
Across her smooth white keys.

If Madame Mooshka kisses you,
Don't sit there tilting in your chair like an old sack of flour.
Dance your tongue along her teeth, little swan ballerina!
Call the saints down from Heaven, to gasp;
Serve yourself to her on a silver tray
As if you were tea for the devil,
In the fair and fetching form
Of Madame Mooshka.

______

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Love Poem In Extremis

Go down by the graveyard, darling;
I'll be there,
Carrying my patent leather heels in my hand.

Meet me where the headstones lean.
Wear a veil.
Come out of a cloud of crows, like a black sun.

My feelings for you stun me, always.
I am gripped with heart attack.
I fight for breath.

I wore a hussy's black lace for you,
And lied like a viper about where I was going;
Look around, everyone is dead. There is no one to sniff and deplore.

I am on my back in the decaying leaves,
Beneath a weeping angel made of stone.
Come to me, I beg you.

Under lowering clouds in late-day dusk,
Let's fuck as if our lives depend upon it--
Because they do, sweetheart,
They do.

______

La Loba Habla

Let me in.
Let me in now, in the morning,
While the early autumn chill has frosted your blabbermouthed busybody neighbors' lips shut.

All right,
Go ahead, play it coy.
Spread out on the musty cushions of the old glider.
Wear last night's gauzy white dress that loves your skin as if it were whipped cream on coffee.
Throw your man's red-checked hunting jacket around your shoulders.
Pretend to read that sin-black bible of yours,
All the while with your finger to your lips
Like a saloon whore.

I can wait.
I'm a glacier, stopped at the picket fence.
I'm a pair of eyes and a set of teeth.
You know I'm here.

Let me in.
Let me in now, before virtuousness sours you.
The dance goes like this:
You set down that bible,
I raise my eyes,
You raise the rifle.
In that moment, sweet honey, I know one thing:
One of us
Is never gonna be the same.
_____

for dverse OLN 11

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Country Angels, And Their Mercies

Here in a September field,
I am thinking of time--
I am thinking of Spring, and the sun-seeking wheat,
Reaching up for her face like babies.

I am thinking of beginnings,
And how things start,
And of you with the sore and sorrowful heart.

Here in a September field,
I am thinking of time--
I am thinking of the scarecrow-ess, who needs to nurture,
And so kisses the birds who eat the wheat.

I am thinking of endings,
And how things are,
And of you with the sad and sorrowful heart.

In time, the time of angels comes,
And even the oak leaves finally fall;
Enfolded in frost-sweet brown-feathered wings,
You will sigh, and not think of time
At all.

_____

for dverse poetics, hosted by my dear friend Joy Ann Jones

Pollyanna's Doggerel

Remember the rain;
the gray, the cold the wet...

Remember the rain,
But baby, keep watching for the sun.

______

Friday, September 23, 2011

Before, And After

Men in hard hats with saws
stood looking at my maple.
They had not come
to tell her how beautiful she was.

I have watched her
over a thousand morning cups of coffee
or while outside with my dog
as she grew where her nature naturally took her.

Now, there is a big piece of her missing
from her center, where the power lines run.
Their closeness was dangerous, I know,
especially in seasons of storm or snow.

I would have hated to see her
Blackened and burned, ruined and bent,
or my neighbors' cozy kitchens and dens
gone suddenly dark,

But it hurts my heart to see her this way,
split and altered for safety's sake.
My morning coffee tastes unfamiliarly bitter
as I think of how beautiful she was.

_________

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Proverb

The wrought iron railing doesn't care
if it rains or shines.

All around,
the storm makes colors go deeper,
branches bend,
and the earth go soft and shifting.

Come rain or shine,
the wrought iron railing keeps its pretty, unchanging curves;
lovers may lean against it til the weather breaks,
but they spread their blankets
beneath the trees.


_______


for Thursday Think Tank

Guess What Today Is?

Today is...

National

Elephant

Appreciation Day.

No, really,

It is!

_______

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Harness & Whip

The harness and the whip
are never in short supply.

Beauty needs
someone to tell itself to.

Beauty needs
someone to think that it is so;

To make the harness less heavy
and the whip less harsh.

Stupid ugly girl me
with nothing better to do than to curl herself around beauty
like a dull brown shell,
believing beyond all experience and reason
that there is something valuable and worth protecting
there, within
her solitary embrace.

_______

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Meow

The bitches at the grocery store discuss me--
They say, "get a load of her broad nose,
And short hair;
She's fucked up
Beyond repair,"
Like they all just won pageants or something.

I smell like the trees I live in--
The ones I drag their boyfriends up into
After I close my jaws
Over their faces
In a fatal kiss.
Just a little revenge,
A touch of mischief,
But I do think, as I snap their squeezes' greasy bones,
Discuss this,
Bitches.

Then again, a gal could turn herself hard that way.
She could start to hate
Store clerks,
Hyenas,
And the like,
If she dwelt on them and the vile sounds
They send out into the world.
There are better things to think about
For such as me--
For such a pussycat,
Such a remarkable,
Sweet honey-eyed
Killer of a girl.

_____ 

linked to dverse OLN #10

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Mad Love

My mad love
makes it rain coffee indoors,
right into her cup
cos she say so and it do...

Cream rises
cos it likes her lips.
Hell yeah, Bo Peep,
me too.

My mad love catch a blue jay, scold him good...
wraps deep night around a bell;
wears hand-stitched western boots
and's going straight to hell.

Don't say a word if she
lays pearly stones across the road,
or sits beneath the moon
to count the thorns upon the rose...

My mad love sigh,
and ruin me bad, half past first light...
I'm weak for
crow tar gypsy eyes,
sweet-gone with dark delight.

________

( written with a little assist from Coal Black! )
 

The Clown

A poorly chosen joke is like an exploding clown--
At best too loud and
Unwelcome on the ear;
At worst a frightening portal
Through which chaos can gain entrance to the ordinary world,
Where innocents stand
With eyes as unwary as marshmallows.


Before telling any joke,
Have a dentist examine what you are about to say
With their little silver mirror.
Check nearby clocks for timing--
Talk to clergy about your motives--
Allow for windage.


Lastly, keep in mind how your failed joke may affect
Barely surviving circus acts,
Ventriloquists,
And mimes.
Think of their families, living in squalor and shame,
Before you open your big fat pie hole
And let the clown out.


_____


This is not for any prompt. I'm such a rebel. 

The picture is of silent film star Clara Bow.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blues In Two Parts

You can't outrun the devil

though there be 500 miles of endless track

You can't outrun the devil

though there be 500 miles of endless track

The only way to beat the devil

is to stare him down while he stares back.

_____


September 29th I will have 26 years continuous sobriety, Goddess willing.

This is a blues in two parts. Find the other part at Coal Black's.

for dverse poetics

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Perilous Adventures Of Saint John Bosco

Saint John Bosco walks diagonally across a weedy playground
next to a defunct school that looks like a smashed shoebox.
Saint John Bosco is wearing a cassock and a funny little hat.
Behold your divine visitor, Detroit,
behold and be glad.

The basketball boys watch Saint John Bosco.
A white man here is about as common
as a dik-dik
or a dugong.
Saint John Bosco is the patron saint of boys:
unwanted boys,
neglected boys,
like the basketball players once were themselves
and their younger brothers are now.
Saint John Bosco loves them
when no one else does.

The basketball players usually while away the days
with dapping and bullshit.
Today they refer to Saint John Bosco not as 
Saint John, or
Giovanni...
They use the traditional multi-syllabic epithet.
What, they wonder, does the motherfucker want?
Is the motherfucker lost?
Crazy?
High?
What would be, they speculate further,
the optimum and most entertaining way
to fuck up the motherfucker?

At the far corner of the rusted, sagging fencing,
appears what might be an American bison,
but it is not quite so large;
or, perhaps, an enormous Brillo pad,
but it has legs!
amazing legs which laugh as they lope across the ground
In great joyful bounds.
It is the dog that follows Saint John Bosco,
protecting him.
It is the canine servant of the Divine,
ensuring that the humble saint's beautiful mercies continue.

"Shit!" say the basketball boys.
"Woof!" says the dog.
"Thank you, Father," says Saint John Bosco,
"for sending me your blessing this day
in the form of an angel."


dedicated to two of the world's three greatest dogs...Bosco and Chinook.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Foolish Breeze

(This poem reprises the Witch of Waxahachie, first seen HERE.)

Breeze, Breeze
Late summer lady wearing a necklace of ice,
Don't rock across the cat's tail--
Don't steal down beneath the railroad bridge
And wake the Witch of Waxahachie.

Well now, stupid girl,
You've gone and done it.
She is 116 years old
And wakes up meaner
Than the dog you stole the bacon from.
Howl howl
Snarl and shatter--
One year older.
One year madder.

The Witch of Waxahachie
Married five men
(one at a time...she is decorous, if dangerous),
And they are no more to her now than
Five drops in a bucket.
But, Breeze,
Silly Breeze,
She kissed one woman
And never knew such sweetness
In the afternoon,
Nor such a bitter emptiness
As she felt that evening looking down the Grange Hall Road--
The very one her darlin's feet set on fire when she left.

Breeze, ridiculous thoughtless Breeze,
With your sun-deep skin and your
Dead white smile,
Now you have woken her.
Now you have reminded her.
There is just the one way out, and it goes due west--
I would take it if I were you.
_______ 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Here's a cute video that I keep coming back to. Maybe you'll enjoy it, too. It's made from clips of old black and white movies, and has a very catchy song by the Corrs to go with it.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Full Moon

I want my hands to be
two crescents--
one each, warm upon
your face,
and, also
your hip.

I want to lay with you,
as close as fur to the fox--
I want to say,
I love you sweetheart,
and, also
that there is only one sky
and one earth curved close against it.

________

Written on the night of the full moon, for STWIASD

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Damn The Swans

(the phrase "damn the swans" first appeared in my poem "The Witch In Springtime")

 "Damn the swans,"
I used to say.
They were soft as petals on the water,
And so hard my hatred.
I came from the muddy banks
Where the cat-tails grew--
I knew the knobby branch
And the stormy afternoon.

"Damn the crow,"
Said the housewives,
In fear for their clean sheets
And the shining white roofs of their sensible rides.
I would tap on their kitchen windows
Sudden and harsh with my beak--
Behold the broken dish--
And the mouths open without speech.

Damn the wide empty sky.
Damn the dawn
For the way it favors the beautiful.
I have grown blacker every spring
While dreaming of snow,
Unbroken and implacable.

Bless the one
Who broke the spell;
The one who whispered well, "You are beautiful...
Here...and here...and here."
The swans, by then,
Had turned first to gray stones and then to dust
Leaving only ripples on the surface
Like a broken mirror.
_______

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Allegro

8 stairs
To my door--
You said, 8 minutes, baby,
Not one more.

8 long kisses,
Fix your lips, and then--
8 letters in "I love you",
Then you're gone again.

_______

for A Word With Laurie

The Baby

Real blood
deserves better
than to be spread across a lens
until it thins into
a tv movie event
or talk show fodder.

Real blood
should be buried.
Real grief
Should be private.

Real blood
spread like sweet jam across the pop landscape,
becomes changed
becomes cheapened
becomes rotten on the face
of an unnatural, festering monster.

_______

for dverse poetics

Friday, September 9, 2011

St. Creola

St. Creola keeps canaries
and doesn't care if they crap on the
good
back-snapping
for-show
furniture
that's been rolled in here like coffins at a starting line.

St. Creola keeps cats
and that, dear little pie-eyed pilgrim,
keeps the birds from getting sedentary
or old.
Behold,
another miracle of the beautiful St. Creola.

So,
has rain afflicted your world until
great monsters leap from the guttering?
Does the devil
sleep with your girlfriend,
help herself to your make-up,
your feather bed,
and your little funky vintage Renault?

Tell St. Creola,
like she could care,
like the jelly buttered muffin would stop at her mouth
and she would say, her eyes filling with blessed tears,
oh,
angel...

Pffft,
sweet canary,
land here,
learn.
Today St. Creola has called the moving men,
so muscular that they ripple while standing still.
They will roll the coffins off the cliff at San Creola,
birthplace of Our Lady;
Honey, she will live forever,
as will her parasol,
as will all who love her,
cleansed in the spray of the coffins returning like swallows to the sea.

St. Creola is serene.
She offers her hand--
kiss it!
Tonight you will share her bed, and in the morning
sleep right through services.
Let your softness leave her boneless, beatific, even a little bruised;
certainly in no condition to notice how
when you pray now,
your gaze is always up
where the birds chirp and flutter
like excited virgins.

______

"Nothing is as vulnerable as entrenched success."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rain Jar Juju Taxi

Mantis skull dancers
romance their mummy women
down where the rain jar juju taxi waits...

Sitting on an ice stool,
the cat-hearted dharma hustler
deals out the Rimbaud, the strawberry, the one-eye...

Kiss the ghost for me,
I'll miss you, but
the empty hangers sounded just like church bells at my back
early this morning,
when the stairwell slipped its skin and called my name.

______

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beep Beep

Caroline loved Megan.
Loved her olive skin.
Loved her in her suede boots, coming in the door.
Loved her, next to her, sleeping.

Caroline loved Megan, but,
Megan's crafts turned cruel.
Who knew that the big wind would come?
Who knew that knitting needles, left out,
Could become arrows?

In the emergency room,
A young intern who had been on duty since Tuesday
Laughed, because
Caroline looked like Wile E. Coyote
With a knitting needle through her head;
But Wile E. Coyote
Never looked so terribly confused, and lost.

After the accident,
Caroline changed.
She began to dream of stars, like children make,
With points.
She began to see the world like an old tv
With horizontal lines rising, rising, rising,
And she sees the flag, with its stripes
Promptly at 2 a.m.
Every night.

Caroline asks Megan,
"Take me to the salt flats."
There,
Megan holds her hand,
With silent tears running down her dusky cheeks.

Once, Caroline loved Megan,
But now she can't remember.
A little blank,
She looks around.
Another storm could come, you know.

Caroline smiles her weird vacant smile,
The one that Megan can hardly bear.
"Beep beep," she says,
Looking at the sky.
As Megan turns away, she says it again,
Like a broken blonde doll.
"Beep beep,"
But she can never catch up with herself,
Or the teasing after-image of contentment
In the foggy broken clock of her mind.

______


for OLN 8