Saturday, June 30, 2012

Zen Cones

Summer has brought forth much life.
To set one's feet in nature, is to find joy.
Do not mistake the diamondback for the gentle garter snake.
We all err; dance with enthusiasm, then lie down.

Invite a friend to play Chinese checkers in the afternoon.
Like the pieces, companionship comes in many colors.
The dragon may defeat the skunk, but the skunk will have revenge.
How pretty, the lights of the ambulance and police car.

A grain of rice may be humbly small in dry seasons,
But the boiling pot will coax the tiny one larger.
A young woman visits the Zen Master privately.
Even boiled rice is not so large; the Zen Master disapproves of her laughter.

A prettier song lures one bird from the nest.
The other uses solitude to meditate and forget.
Zen Master's dog pees all over the carpet.
Rainy days bring remembering, and a bad smell again.

_______

for Real Toads Sunday mini-challenge: zen koans

Friday, June 29, 2012

Earnest Twang

wrote a letter
to miss abby blue
and here's what the letter said--

earnest twang can't sing for you
cos earnest twang is dead.

nippin' on a carob cake
in a vegan coffee bar
earnest twang wrote his last song
about the wrongs there are

in this world, baby
down here on the ground
nothings's right
nothing's sure
except a righteous sweet note's sound.

abby blue,
he asked for you
in the hour when he was dyin'

he sent a prayer
through the ozone layer
that he was still your brave orion

earnest twang
was loved by some
and some thought him a star

but earnest twang
will sing no more
about the wrongs there are

in this world, baby
down here on the ground
but it was you
miss abby blue
he wrapped his heart around.

wrote a letter
to abby blue
but decided to call instead

earnest twang can't sing for you
cos earnest twang is dead.

_____

for Marian's music prompt at Real Toads

 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This We Prescribe

"The doctor will see you now," says the doctor's
very unusual
goth/steampunk receptionist.

The Weather is shown in.

The Weather has been everywhere.
Physicians of every stripe have applied their treatments.
They have postured.
They have held forth.
They have convened in spacious venues.

Nothing.

The doctor waves his stethoscope around,
out of doors,
turning in circles and sometimes wandering off into the brambles
as if he were dousing for water, or
simply off his nut.

The doctor's assistant, the same woman as before,
hands him, by turns,
beakers,
Bunsen burners,
an astrolabe,
and several odd specimens in jars.
Lids discarded,  jars turned on their sides,
these creatures bound away into the surrounding area.

"A closer look seems in order," proclaims the doctor,
and presently, he and his wife,
the same woman as before,
are airborne in the gondola of a hot air balloon.
The doctor employs a magnifying glass
and spouts his findings as she takes it all down.

The Weather blows them hither and yon.
Yes, 
"hither and yon." 
These are medical terms best not used by laymen.
"What is your diagnosis, doctor?" asks his lover,
the same woman as before.
He gives her his diagnosis and she is delighted with it.

Eventually, they descend.
The doctor is pleased with results so far.
His receptionist/
assistant/
wife/
lover
sighs and wonders, is all medical inquiry so glorious?

Meanwhile, 
The Weather continues to exhibit a variety of symptoms.
They occur, presenting at intervals, and then repeat, 
unpredictably.

As yet, no effective remedy has been developed,
but work continues,
and research is at times uncommonly enthusiastic.
______

for Kerry's Shakespeare prompt at Real Toads. I added a dash of steampunk, in Kerry's honor, too. The quote I took my title from is as follows:

"This we prescribe, though no physician;
Deep malice makes too deep incision;
Forget, forgive; conclude and be agreed;
Our doctors say this is no month to bleed."
_______ 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Came

Summer came, and I
Hardly cared.
I rode my dapple gray across the market lot
Past a woman in a sundress,
Loading an SUV with more shit than the Vikings ever carried off from flaming England.

She put her hand to her mouth when she saw me.
She stood between me and her child,
Between calm sanity and a wandering, moaning spirit.

I am not much to look at.
Dried blood on my cheek serves as blush.
My scent is natural.
I have come across deserts and fever-borders.

There is a cafe near where I am--
I remember it.
A girl must declare herself butch or femme, and I am neither.
I am the crimson rose, fresh from the rain.
I am the bone hammer,
And also the drum.

I have been shattered, wounded,
Laughed at,
Set on fire.

I burn still.

Is there an opium for this kind of ache?
Is there a stall for my horse?
A bed for me?
Could there ever be sandalwood, patchouli,
All the cheap, perfect aromas of dollar-store serenity?

Could there be
Your arms, bare, except for your silver serpent cuffs?
Your breasts, that my cheek has dreamed of?
Could your thigh between mine
Split me softly, like a river deep and sweet?

Summer came,
And so I traveled across the dust and ruin
Back here,
To you.
I lied before, when I said I hardly cared--

I care for these:
Your face.
Your heart beat.
I care, and I hope that all that I have done and not done,
All the places that I have been or left behind me,
Have made me good enough
To say it.
________

for Monday Melting #21


picture: Rhona Mitre



 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Liar Bird

It looks peaceful enough,
But you know the trouble I've had with swans.

The water looks sleepy, if malarial
And the clouds drape themselves, laundered white and blameless
Over her placid face
In reflection.

One mustn't flinch
At tea.
One mustn't let things slither from one's sockets
While perched stiffly at sofa's edge
Discussing the weather.

I was a mother once myself
For a few minutes.
It was long enough for my heart to slip, like ink from a pen,
Scratched by another hand onto a page I can never retrieve.

Do you see my child
Rolling up from nightmares to bob, gray and sloughing,
Choked in the crook of the swan's white nanny-wing?

I do,
And I cannot bear it.

But let's walk down by the pond just the same.
You can ask me if I'm cold,
While winding yourself nervously in a cardigan.
We can chatter,
And flit across the surface like jesus bugs.

It looks peaceful enough,
This going on with things;
But each solstice,
When I elude the upstanding rotten knot of those who love me,
I am found naked--
Bloody from breasts to thighs,
Snapping the bones of the liar bird
Who stepped up on the bank to preen.
_______

photograph by Margaret Bednar.  

for Real Toads photo challenge

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lunch

Robert Falcon Scott invites me to lunch.
I say no,
but he tosses his epaulets up at my window in the late hours...

they catch the moonlight.
they are like flying starfish.
Am I, then, his mermaid?

Robert Falcon Scott is not really my type.
He seems full of himself,
and I don't share most people's liking for English accents.

Over the weeks,
he wears me down.
I agree to meet him at La Patisserie just this once.

I take my parasol.
I have chosen a French place just to fool with him.
He is there ahead of me, waiting like a berg.

"If I had a girlfriend who prized me,
or even pretended to,
I would be with her right now, not you," I say to him.

He tells me I am adorable,
cute,
crazy.
He orders for the both of us.
His crew stands around, pretending not to eavesdrop.

"If I loved somebody,"
I confide, lulled by the afternoon sunlight through the glass,
"I would find a way.
I would dance across burning deserts on bare feet
just to drop my petticoats inside her doorway."

His crew laughs.
I'm insulted.
Robert Falcon Scott just raises an eyebrow, annoyingly.
The British,
they are unbearable.

It has grown colder.
Our white tablecloth has gone frozen and brittle.
Falcon Scott weeps diamonds from his uninteresting English eyes,

but they are not diamonds--
they are ice, and blankness, and failure.

"There is always an Amundsen," he tells me.
"No matter the gear, the teams, the will,
Someone else always gets there first."

I sigh.
It's late, I wish I were at home. 
I might have email.

When Robert Falcon Scott leans to kiss me,
I am made ill from the strong smell of rot.
His hands,
his feet,
all black and ruined, are falling from his cuffs and sleeves
like cinders from an industrial chimney.

"You think you're special," he sneers, mockingly.
"The truth is, you are no better than I am, dying for an idea.
Where is this love of yours?
Is she as rare as a flame from the last match?
As beautiful
and captivating
as the last can of beans?"

I gather my things to go.
I know when I've been made a fool of.
Then he smiles,
with a great, awful cracking sound.

His crew have left.
The wait staff stare pointedly at the pretty little clock above our heads.
I sit back down.
Robert Falcon Scott is dead,
and,
as he knew that I would,

I cover his eyes with a napkin,
my fingers trembling against the
soft
pitiless
white.
______

for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads


Message In A Bottle

whether,
by now,
i am bleached blonde or bleached bones--

whether i'm in the arms of the captain's wife
or never found my way home--

there is this,
and you,
in the slant-glance of the setting sun,
reading what i wrote in my extremity.

the ocean waters tried,
battering the glass skin i wrapped this in,
caught within its vastness--
in but not of all that flotsam and jetsam,

riding in a blown bubble of air.
the simple truth is that i couldn't bear
for my children to drown
and so i rolled them down a neck that could not speak--

here is a love poem written by a woman alone.
it is one of many--
what else did i have to do on my own?
no woman
no man
only my own two hands, and a will to be heard.

_______

for Ella's Edge at Real Toads. "SOS to the world"

 

 
 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Ballad In Shades Of Red

Am I your best girl?
Let me ask the doves--
But the gamesman's killed them, one by one;
What was he thinking of?

Am I your best girl?
Let me ask the fox--
But the gamesman's set out poisoned meat
To save his hens and cocks.

Blue morning glories climb the post,
Red roses crowd the door--
I keep my head held shameless high,
My dress pooled on the floor.

Am I your best girl?
Let me ask your back--
The gamesman brings you bright gold rings
And birds with broken necks.
_______

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Something Smug In Penitence

Something smug in penitence
makes hollow any pardon--
shown in lack of reticence
the smirking, lazy warden

Bars of pretty filigree
with padlocks made from putty
make execution jubilee
and Justice weak and slutty

See your Jesus sacrificed
to make thin soup from bleeding--
you, the puny antichrist
true penitence demeaning.

_______

for Real Toads mini-challenge

Saturday, June 16, 2012

If You Seek A Pleasant Peninsula, Don't Say "Vagina"

"If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you" --Michigan state motto

You just can't say it. Not if you want to go on to say anything else. I'm talking about the word "vagina", which some of us use in preference to "down there" or "my hoo hoo". 

Shocking, I know. Let's face it, women are out of control these days. Michigan state representatives Lisa Brown (West Bloomfield) and Barb Byrum (Onandaga) used the V word during active session of the Michigan state legislature. The Republican majority, in an effort to lassoo these wild fillies that have run amuck in our society for far too long, getting abortions willy nilly and generally being uppity, were duly trying their best to curb these wanton behaviors when Brown and Byrum offended them to their cores with their comments.

Byrum suggested that a proposed bill govern vasectomies as well as abortions. Brown, evidently a puppet for feminist anarchist devils, said, "I'm flattered that you're all so interested in my vagina. But, no means no."

We can't have this, America. And so, Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamos (R-Midland) henceforth refused to recognize the offending hussies or to allow them to speak. Below, find a picture of Mr. Stamos and a picture of a jackass. You have five minutes to identify which is which, but please do it without saying "vagina".

Never mind that Michigan is one of these United States, and therefore supposedly part of a democracy where the free interchange and expression of ideas is permitted. These things are complicated. Don't worry your pretty little head! Just let Jim and his Republican friends decide what's best for you.

Oh, I know, it's impossible to get through the Nightly News without having to see five ads dealing with "erectile dysfunction", or what used to be known as impotence, before there was money to be made from it by pharmaceutical companies. I don't suppose an ad would be effective if it began with "Meet Jim...he can't get it up." The thing is, even though those ads dealing with flagging peckers are ubiquitous, they are apparently not as shocking as the whispered word "vagina". The V word might send the entire culture hurtling off into space!

And yet, still more brazen females keep popping up out of the woodwork, instead of staying home making meatloaf like they should. Want evidence of the total decay of America? Rather than blushing, playwright Eve Ensler is flying in to Michigan on Monday to perform "The Vagina Monologues" on the Capitol steps. The jaws of Hell gape.

Before I close, let me mention another fine Michigander (are there Michigeese as well, I have always wondered? There must be! But they do not say "vagina") Mayor Janice Daniels of Troy ("City Of Tomorrow...Today!") is facing a recall after telling a high school gay-straight alliance group that she would like to have a doctor come in and speak to them about the dangers of the gay lifestyle. Speaking recently on WXYT-AM, Daniels defended her remarks. "I said that a doctor could be brought in ... and talk about the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle. Just the same as I could find a doctor to come in and talk about the dangers of the smoking lifestyle." So many lifestyles!

In conclusion, readers: in Michigan you may discuss peninsulas all you like, but do not say "vagina". 

Source: The Detroit Free Press, June 16th, 2012.  

Everyone's A Critic

Yesterday morning on my way to work, I made the sudden acquaintance of an SUV's bumper . The driver had pressing business off to his left somewhere, and did not find it necessary to look where he was going. 

Anyway, he ran over my bike, which is better than if he had run over my head. I am banged up and sore but not seriously hurt. I guess he objected to my choice of a two-wheeled lifestyle and took a moment to pray for me. It worked, as I immediately took up a new lifestyle on the fucking pavement. Or maybe he just hates bicyclists or poets. Or bloggers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sweet Things

Fox sleeps
Under a whipped cream moon
Dabbed into the sky
By the baker Goddess.

Fox curls
In her deep blue bed
With her kit's heart beating
Soft against her side.

Red fox, white fox,
Mad fox, mine,
As you dream, I'll whisper sweet things
Thirteen times.
________ 




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lack

Here is a love letter--
I send it in the fox's teeth.

It rings like a hollow steel bar struck against a church bell.
It shivers through my bones.
It flows downhill,
And makes my knees shake.

Without your summer smoke hair--
Without your Turkish coffee eyes--
The world is as blank as new snow.
I lie in it, freezing,
Trying to wet my fingertips against myself so that I can think straight...

No use.

Your name has made a web of tendrils beneath my skin--
I am dizzy with herb, desire, idiocy.
Birds feed on me,
Dreams first.

Here is my lack,
Growing rows of ache like a window box.
Here is my bounty.
Show it to me--
I am blind.

Hurry back, my only heart.
I linger, a hieroglyph in crimson pigment,
Every surface stone.

In the meantime,
Here is a love letter
Written on roseskin.
I send it in the fox's teeth,
Rolled--
Ribboned--
For my distant love, from your half-girl, waiting.
_____ 

linked to Kenia's challenge at Real Toads. She asked that we write a message to someone.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Owls





When the black-barked night trees
Withdraw their arms
Into themselves,
Like monks in concealing sleeves,

I know then,
That you have loved the Moon.

There are five owls,
One for each hour
From midnight until dawn;
And each has her special care--
Your face,
Your lips,
Your hair,
Your hips,
Your heart.

Lacking branch, my owls occupy brevity.
One note only do they speak--
Moon, moon, is what those traitors say,
Five pretty purveyors
Of perfidy.


________

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Miraculous Golf Cart (reading by the author)

At the behest of Buddah Moskowitz, I am posting another voice recording. Mosk presented his tender entreaty by bludgeoning me about the head and body until I agreed. The fruit of these negotiations is "The Miraculous Golf Cart", as read by me, Shay Caroline. I hope that you enjoy it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Double Toad Post!

I'm healed, and can type again, so I thought I would catch up by posting two poems for two Real Toads challenges. The first, "Haven", is for A Word With Laurie, the word being "dementia." The second, "Forget Me Nots", is for Hannah Gosselin's weekend photo challenge. I hope that you will enjoy them!

"Haven"

At sunset,
the starlings
establish raucous bedlam in the trees,

branches reaching
with wooden certainty
to the heaven of their angels whispering unseen.

I practice a similar lunacy.

My idee fixe
is your face--
my objects charged with significance
are the sounds that, together, create your name.

My flawless premise
is that the sun sets because you charmed the old shiner right out of the sky--
my back ward logic
is that I am starling, chattering, saying;
and that you are haven, holding me, swaying.

___

"Forget Me Nots"

They have the orderly roll me to the fence line,
Then he heaves me over it--
Woman overboard--
Into the forget-me-nots.

Here is the hard rock,
The puffy dandies,
And the tilting trees.

Once, I wore a navy dress with white accents
And a wide-brimmed hat;
I carried a clutch purse,
And my shoes, in my hand.

It will likely rain this afternoon,
And, after that, a bright mad moon.

God is a woman, I can sense it--
Near as my next breath,
And if there isn't one, She is there anyway

As relaxed as a blade of grass,
Her limitless majesty carried easy, like a posey,
Filled with old-fashioned grace,
Comforting and
Companionable.

second photo by Hannah Gosselin.

   

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Ode To A Straight Girl (read by the author)

While my shoulder heals, I hope that you will enjoy these readings. The second one I would like to do can be found in text form HERE. It will open in a new window if you'd like to follow along with the voice reading.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Paris, Au Revoir (read by the author)

To be like the cool kids Kerry and Hedge, I thought I would try voice. Here is my reading of my poem "Paris, Au Revoir" which can be found HERE. If you click, it will open in another window so you can follow along, if you like.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Will Survive!

Fireblossom is experiencing a recurrence of her occasional messed-up shoulder, making typing a real chore. But don't worry...I will be back and I will survive!




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Inconsolable

i  brought the blue up from where it sleeps--
i wrapped the deep bleed around my hands and swung it.

this is my heart,
a little flag in the wind.

this is what i do when i turn loose the words--
out of my way, motherfuckers.

i know how to make love to the words,
the words i drew out of the sharp edge.

that room?
they loved me. 
for twenty minutes,
i lured them inside my oanga bag.

after, they say
damn, girl, damn.
some of them say
do you do a lot of good drugs?

i'm cleaner than a bible salesman's virgin daughter,
but i feel everything seventy times seven.
every woman who ever ran her teeth across my heart
helped me write this shit you see before you now.

baby, i'm not crazy,
nor stoned nor privy to the whispers of the next world--
just
inconsolable.
_______

Isadora Gruye challenged us to share our old standby break-up song, the one we curl up on the floor in the dark with when things go bad. Mine is "Inconsolable" by Jonatha Brooke, here sung by a woman named Lena whose version I like even better than Jonatha Brooke's own. I have riffed on the line "baby I'm not crazy, just inconsolable." Izy wanted us to take it in a new direction. I've tried. If this ain't good enough, girl, kiss my happy ass.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Girl

Hi. I'm the new girl.

Are you gonna finish that salad? 

I heard about this take-out place, and they made salads from lettuce that grew where all these deer were coming by and crapping on it, and people got, like, botulism or something. They puked and had to go in the hospital and stuff. It was gross.

So is it working?

Well, I just assumed you're dieting. Aren't you? I never diet. I can, like, OD on chocolate pie til I'm cross eyed and never gain an ounce. I'd kill myself if I was fat. I mean, that's just me. I like fat people. They're like, jolly, and don't care what they wear, and I think that's very freeing.

Is this a picture of your husband? Wow, he looks a lot younger than you! He's really handsome. Been married long?

Does he work here? Hey, it was just a question.

I love your hair. That retro look is so popular now.

So, you probably know all the ins and outs, right? If I had been here half as long as you, I'd be running the place. But they'd probably fire me for vericose veins or something. Ha! That was a joke!

Wow, you're really not that jolly, are you?

Well, of course you've got work to do! I thought I could help you. What's this junk? Oh, was that in some kind of special order or something? Oops!

Hey look, I'm sorry. Seriously. Let's be friends. I'd really like us to--

Oh, that's my phone. I have to take this. 

Sorry that took so long. I think I've got a cramp in my ass from sitting on your desk! 

Well, I better run. Oh my gosh, you have such a pretty smile! Anyhoo, don't be a stranger, Tammy. Okay, sorry, Tanya. New girl, what can I say? 

Toodles!

(walking away) What a bitch! 

_______ 

for trifecta week 30. 314 words. key word "new."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

face

if you see my face some time
on another woman
when you have her in your arms and her smile pleases you,

if that face fits your bed,
your breast,
your dreams,

remember, she is a thief.
while i masquerade in the streets, wearing old leaves,
that woman has my face
and your love
because of it.

if you see me some time
walking in the autumn,
staring at a blue sky stranger in the surface of the canal,

i will be alone,
always,
without remedy,

in love with you, and your beauty, as evening comes
and you put your arm around the imposter,
under the pretty, lit globe of a light by the walk--

it will illuminate

what was rightfully mine,
but never had the simple grace
to find me.
__________