Thursday, May 31, 2012

On Leaving Pennyfarthing-Sevier's

At Pennyfarthing-Sevier's I learned
To wear the corset and say "yes Ma'am"--
To stay my tongue and bank the fire,
Which, strangely, heightened bound desire.

Will you take my ticket, sir,
And hand me up the stair--
To find my red crushed velvet seat
On the noontime train to her, dear sir,
The westbound train to her.

I've my hat by hat pins held
And my traveling suit cinched nice--
Beneath these layers, two roses rise
As if caressed with ice.

My boots have heels to make me tall,
My sleeves are freshly starched--
My Mistress will accept me wet,
But will not have me parched.

Won't you take my traveling bag
And help me down the stair--
I'm ever the faint and feminine thing
Til I catch sight of her, dear sir,
I break and run for her.

_________

a second installment for Kerry's steampunk challenge.

 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Horrors Beyond Naming, and the Forbidden Door Thrown Wide

The learned and august Professor Linwood Dinwiddie-MacCuthbert III
showed his horrible,
unspeakable,
unnatural handiwork
to me.

The first one, released,
was some sort of semi-human beast;
when the cage door opened, it scrabbled to my feet--
smiling horribly,
quivering disturbingly,
it recited these words:

"My penis
dwarfs all creation!
Every person, idea, and nation!
Such a splendid sword is mine,
that--"

Stop this, I cried.
You're a monster, MacCuthbert, I accused,
to compel another human being
for your purposes used
so cruelly
and awfully abused.
Um....are ALL of his poems like this?
I inquired, about the loathsome creature in our midst.

Yes! Each and every one! cried Linwood Dinwiddie MacCuthbert III.
All sixteen thousand two hundred and three
which I have so far heard
contain some variation
of the P word.

I was revived with salts.

Next, the fiend showed me a woman so altered,
she could write of nothing but bunnies and flowers.
I'm shocked at you, Linwood,
to think that you ever could
create such wretches here in your study
spouting preposterous poetry so cruddy
that I scarce can believe
such things exist at all.

He had saved the most terrifying abomination for last.
MacCuthbert moved to a door and threw aside the latch,
revealing a wraith dressed in bustle and corset
claiming to have arrived on the most recent train from Dorset!
It speaks! I gasped.
It seems deranged!
Has it got a soul? A brain?
I hardly dared ask...a name???

Linwood Dinwiddie MacCuthbert III ceased at that hour
to be my old friend at all, but a lion to devour
all that is good
and right,
and orderly in the world.
Its name is "Fireblossom" he drooled.
MacCuthbert the blasphemer!
The madman!
The unhinged, unreasoning ghoul!

Leave her to me, I said sternly,
and he relinquished the hellish girl to my keeping
at Miss Pennyfarthing-Sevier's
Correctional
Finishing School.

We have become uncommonly close.
_______ 


for Kerry's spifftastic steampunk challenge at Real Toads
 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nice Girl

I'm a nice girl
Most usually,
And ain't nothin'
That you done to me...
But if you hurt the sun, the moon will know--
I'll chill deep blue and sink down low
To fuck you up bad
And cut you cold.

Do you think I'm joking?
Did you think that if you broke her heart
That I would sigh and just forget?
Did you think I'd not use blade and fire
To leave you just this side of dead?
I'll fuck you up hard--
That's what I said.

I'm a nice girl
Most often times,
But if you cross my sister
And make her cry,
I'll use every magic,
Every edge,
Every blasphemy
To make you see and feel me
Much better than you ever did for a girl you could never deserve;
Do we understand each other, sir?
I'm going to fuck you up wicked,
So bite on this
And I'll begin it.

_______

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gypsies

There must always be Gypsies.
There must always be
Stones rounded by the river,
And the Sun
Must always lift her skirts and run.

This is the fiat of the window glass
In the morning.
This is the parable of the rising biscuit,
And the sweet icing stolen
At the tip of a finger.

There must always be your glasses
At the edge of the blonde wood table.
There must always be your book,
And your lips against
White linen.

There must always be silver cuffs
And hoop earrings to balance the universe.
There must always be a yellow moth
On the dry side of the rain-leaf,
And barefoot children
Wandering.

I feel certain that God would like
For Romany to survive and be spoken;
And if God does not,
Then God is wrong.

There must always be Gypsies.
There must always be your face,
Because without the yearn of this spoked wheel within me turning,
Life would be too terrible
And still
To endure.
_______

Thank you to Hedgewitch, who introduced me to the poetry of Gabriel Garcia Lorca, which always inspires me.

Linked to Real Toads Open Link Monday.
_________
 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Little Scribble and an Honorable Mention

At flashy fiction, RJ Clarken asked, "what color are you?" I combined this with the largely blue mosaics of Isaiah Zagar as photographed by my very dear friend Daryl Edelstein at Real Toads mini-challenge, and here is the result, a humble little poem to have come from so many ingredients, but I hope you'll like it.

The second poem I wrote some weeks ago, and entered in a competition in which I am told it received honorable mention. Everyone's a winner, baby. At any rate, now I can post it here. The labels at the bottom are for the second poem.

"Thin Air"

I am gold
behind the cat's eyes.

I am silver
inside a drop of rain.

I am red
in the heart of a strawberry.

You can't see me
though I am right in front of your eyes.

I am blue...
blue...
as an empty sky.

___________  

"Offering For The Moon"

After the last time,
I said that I was done.

Lies had slept in the mouths of every lover I ever kissed,
And so I have leant lazy against silence, since--
Like a cat tail drowsing easy at lake side.

To give one's self, naked, to someone else
Is to lose one's balance,
And falling down the sharp shale wash
Is not flying--
I have become, now, more basin than bird.

Still,
We have known each other for a long time,
As each star knows both light and darkness.
The moon may be mad, but never lies,
And so, for you,
I trust;
For you,
I love;
For you, my heart offers itself
Beyond falling and beyond time.

________

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Jaguar Black

Jaguar black
Is the rain-beat pulse
At my wrist,
At my throat,
The animating ghost my body is cage for;
A cat's whisker
Searching in the dark for your hand.

If I had golden eyes,
If I were sandalwood incense burning
Beside you,
Rising,
I would move through the stars like silver grasses;
I would borrow moonlight for my coat,
To make myself beautiful
So that you would love the very skies
I fall from.

Jaguar black
Is the trees at night
Whose hard embrace holds me,
Whose canopy carries my almost-human cry,
In darkness
In hopelessness
That my desire would ever be haven for
A touch returned
That can never be mine.

_____

Using two of Shawna's Monday Melting words, "jaguar" and "incense."

Test For Freshness

There had never been so many cops in Sam's Thrifty Saver before,
And certainly not all clustered in the produce section.

Everyone had always found Norma to be pleasant enough,
If a little stiff.
She had a great respect for men in uniform,
Presidents,
Priests,
Policemen,
And the members of our armed forces.

All her energies went into her family,
Though there was just one left at home these days.

Her Ed had moved out after twenty five years together,
Heading for sunny Cali-for-nigh-yay
And the blonde former classmate who had looked him up
After he'd appeared on a game show
As a lark.

Norma's two sons were out on their own,
And doing relentlessly well;
Both of them married,
One to a good Christian angel
And the other to a little hussy that Norma didn't approve of.

So how did she end up splay-legged and dead as a Thursday afternoon
on the checkered linoleum beside the bananas
@ 79 cents a pound?

All Norma had ever done
Was to love her family
Within an inch of their lives,
Because there are neighbors, you know,
And standards to be kept,
And everything
Everything
Reflects back on her in the end.

"Who are these bunch you've been running around with?
Who are their parents?"
She'd inquired of Asha--
Asha The Quiet, Our Lady Of The Easy Startle.
"They're my friends," she'd said to her mother,
But she may as well have said "They're orangutans"
Because Norma would have snorted just the same.

"I should teach you how to cook,"
Norma had offered, off on a new tack.
"Lord knows you're not pretty enough to get by on your looks."
Asha had pointed out that Norma always kicked her out of the kitchen
As if she were carrying The Scourge.
"Well honey, you always seem to make mistakes
And I haven't got time to do everything twice.
Do you see?"

One of the cops picks up an orange
And even begins peeling it,
Before the sergeant barks at him and he jumps.

"Have you applied for any more summer jobs?"
Norma was not about to have Asha knocking around the house all summer.
"And have you gotten that dog of yours his shots yet?
He could get rabies and bite someone and what could I say then,
If that happened?"

Indian had been a stray,
And he curled his life around Asha's
Like two castaways in a boat.
Each of them brought a gift of joy to the other,
And they would have cheerfully died for each other,
Had it ever come to that.

As they passed the lettuce heads, 
Asha whispered, for the kajillionth time,
That she couldn't afford the vet.

Outside, glinting in the sun, was Norma's brand new full size sedan,
For which she had paid cash.
Now,
Who would attend to the scheduled maintenance?

"Well, if you can't afford that dog of yours,
Then maybe you shouldn't have him!"
Power feels good.
Mrs. McKendall, who'd been choosing tomatoes nearby,
Told the officers that that was the moment
When Asha the Quiet had picked up a pineapple by the leaves,
And swung it hell for Sunday smack into Norma's skull.

The business end had whipped around hard,
And whatever loving advice Norma may have been formulating next,
Never got from her brain to her lips.

There had never been so many cops in Sam's Thrifty Saver before,
And Mrs. McKendall fluttered her hands and told them
How awful it was,
What a sad and shocking world it had become,
When a girl can murder her own mother like that,
And with such an expensive piece of fruit.
______

for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads
 
 
 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bear

Imma be a bear,
not bathe,
take any picnic table I want.

Say somethin.
Be my guest,
Screw with me, my hand is as big as your head!

My mama say,
you filthy.
you hair all matted.
Imma bear.
BAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!
What was you sayin', mama?

Imma try for sports teams.
I pick myself.
Imma eat the Fritos you left in your car.
Car looks good
tipped over that way.

Gimme salmon!
Stand by the riverside all day,
pick 'em out.
Haw! Calories,
I don't count them.

My kid the coolest kid.
I woke up, had one.
Berries!
Eat 'em all.
Stay away from my baby, hikers.
Me pop you heads off.

Imma bear.
I like summer!
Start getting sleepy about September.
I never clean the cave!
Ask me if I care.
Imma fuckin bear.
_____

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ghost Tax

Just because you're dead,
doesn't mean all bets are off.
Yes,
I'm talking to you, the hazy figure
hanging by hemp above the staircase.

You lost your love?
Well, suck it up, Bo Peep.
No need to be shoving guests down the spiral,
breaking their damn necks
just to make a point.

Every night
for five hundred years,
the sound of a carriage on cobblestones 
wakes the household promptly at four.
Some of us have to work.
Did you ever consider that?

Today the postal carrier delivered
a dunning for the ghost tax.
I had to sign for it
with a cheap pen,
and all the neighbors staring.

Now, spirits,
render up a specified portion of your grief,
a legally apportioned fragment of your unrest,
until the incorporeal marrow 
forms a bone flute;

Hear, in the fog of morning,
how its notes serenade the empty wastes you call hearts,
following, like bad credit reports,
those worthies you loved and died for
in a daylight world now auctioned off and handed over.
_______ 

The Relentless Tides Of Time

Hello, poetry lovers. Nurse has kindly wheeled me in front of one of these new-fangled cornpooters so that I may talk to all of you today. Do you like the tender scene in the picture above? That little boy is my younger cousin. I was already in high school by the time the dinosaurs appeared.

It's sad. Boy scouts are no longer content just to take my arm to help me across the street. Oh nooOOoooo. They call 911 and have the paramedics unfold a gurney. When I do drugs, they come out of a little plastic box with compartments for each day of the week. Fuck it,  just take a few of everything and wait to see what happens.

At this mummified stage of my life, my biggest thrill is watching infomercials for scooter chairs and reverse mortgages. I have recently been added to the municipal register as a historic building. Scientists are always pestering me to let them carbon date me.

Yes, it's my birthday today. I have only one wish: for Emmylou Harris to declare herself a lesbian, get rid of her husband (if she has one...I'm not sure), move to Michigan and support me in the style I wish to become accustomed to, while fulfilling my every erotic fantasy. Oh, I know, that could never really happen. I mean, why would a fantastic gal like Emmylou ever want to live in Michigan?

I'd settle for Laura Petrie. Couldn't she learn to go "Oh Shayyyyyy!" instead?


Sunday, May 20, 2012

To Those Learned And Level, Proclaiming From Shore

photos by Zena Holloway
Just
because
you cannot
imagine me,
you deny me, I who have always been.
_____
a tetractys, for Real Toads mini challenge.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wheat & Lavender

The sky is always in motion
As are the swaying heads of wheat or lavender,
Whose very roots are carried with the turning earth
Moving, like the blood within our veins,
And our passions born there.

My darling, you are always near me;
Even when we seem to exist apart, please believe
That soon enough, you will hear me
Coming back again, through wheat and lavender,
To hold your name as close as skin to breeze.
_____

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wasted Words

You were hiding this from us. I think that means you're not very proud of it. 

You're the last to know. What does that tell you?

If Bethany hadn't told us, we still wouldn't know.

I asked her to keep my confidence. Clearly she didn't.

You should never have asked her to! She was crying. Jan made her tell us.

And you're all reacting just the way I thought you would.

Why do you spend so much time with those friends of yours? Did they talk you into this? Or was it someone on line?

No one "talks you into" this.

It all happened after you stopped going to church.

I stopped going to church because I no longer felt welcome.

Because it's wrong! No one in our family has ever been...like that.

Don't be so sure. Anyway, now someone is.

People will wonder what I did wrong as a mother.

Is that all you care about? What people will think?

Yes, partly! I care what people think!

You never had a clue, all the time I was growing up?

No. Never. I wish I had not lived long enough to see this day. 

I'm sorry you had to hear it through the grapevine. But you asked me to come talk to you today, and I'm here.

I didn't think you would have the courage to face me. I think you know what you're doing is wrong.

I have more courage than you think I do, and I'm not doing anything but trying to save my own life. 

I never want to see you again.

Oh mama... you never really have.

_______  

for Mary's Mixed Bag at Real Toads

I was well beyond my teens when this conversation took place. Nevertheless, I want to include this picture...