Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Custer

"It is a good day to die." --Sioux warrior, 1876

General George Armstrong Custer comes to the door,
looking dusty and dazed.
"Trick or treat," he says.

Life is full of awkward moments;
times when one wishes for the right words,
a bit of extra kindness,
and a sincere hope that one's face does not say too much.

This visitor is too tall to be a child,
and even a teenager would not appear at an adult's door this way,
bleeding from his arms, side and ears.
The visitor is too western to be Jesus,
having somehow located his cavalry boots and pulled them on;
he wears the boots, and nothing else but his golden curls.

What to do?
Invite him in?
Give him a seat on the davenport,
a nice mug of China black,
and the use of the telephone?

Who would George Armstrong Custer call, now?
His beloved Libby, dead since 1933?
She passed in the springtime, a widow for more than fifty years.
Theirs was a love match, and it was through her brave and tireless efforts
that his legend was created.
Custer! Hero!
And yet, now here he is, requesting candy like a five year old.

It would be easy to spout maxims.
It would be easy to regurgitate cheery bromides, such as "God never gives you more than you can handle."
What about Sioux?
What about Sans Arc?
What about all of Custer's brave men, scattered across a Montana prairie?
Perhaps it would be better just to sit with Custer for a while,
hold his hand,
even kiss him, if you can bear it, and say, tenderly, that the kiss was from Libby,
saved lo these many years.

In the end,
Custer will have to be turned out into the night.
Don't look at me like that, I don't like it either,
but he is dead
and was never meant to command again,
or love,
or even scratch the dog behind his ears...
King refuses to enter the parlor, and stands with his hackles up, growling,
no respecter of rank or reputation,
and knowing meat too old to be eaten when he smells it.

Goodbye, dear Custer,
"Autie",
American icon that you have become.
Please, take the porch flag to wrap yourself in.
Lie down in the garden with the mums,
and someone will play "Gary Owen" for you one last time.
Then, the lights must be turned out,
the candy put away,
and Halloween will be over,
leaving only a steady cold wind across what might be the Black Hills
or only Monroe, Michigan
on the chilly last night of October.
_____

for Ella's challenge at Real Toads 
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Freaks

Behold the human tragedy of the discarded runway model--
This is not the cheap bathos of crying clowns, painted on velvet and sold to women named Madge at tawdry flea markets.
This is true waste, genuine suffering.

Do you think that high cheek bones are a guarantee of
Joy?
Adoration?
High-paying shoots in glamorous locales?

Listen--
They are a predictor of sorrow.
Consider this...
Being exceptionally beautiful places one outside of the norm just as surely as exceptional ugliness does.
Removed from one's fellows, one becomes
A perpetual foreigner,
A beautiful mote floating within one's own smooth skin,
Another panicked dot--albeit a gorgeous one--lost on the streets of an inner Tokyo,
And everyone around you
Is, in some manner, a hungry Godzilla.

Welcome to Beauty.
But wait. There's more.

No one cares about your soul, honey.
No one cares about your wa, your essence--
Stow that shit.

You are the blank screen upon which the visions and perversions of others are projected.
In London, Rome and Paris, you are nothing but virtual reality, a mecha dream girl,
A dumb donkey to haul the loads of otaku motherfuckers who can design this season's rage,
But cannot tie their own shoes or order a sandwich without desperately consulting their tablet--
That severe and tiny god.

The runway model is a brand ambassador for the Divine.
She is what we would be,
If we were not so twisted, so marred, so comically fucked up.
Why, then,
Is she reduced to shilling for overpriced underwear?
Why does she not destroy us all, an angry Athena not to be trifled with, confiding in her owl,
Leveling fools,
Bringing fire and flood?

Perhaps I overestimate the power of beauty
As I prowl the soup kitchens and freeway ramps for discarded angels,
Loading them into my dented van,
Adding them to my holy army.

I am the hideous crone at the head of a sexy shock wave--
Here we come, the Different Ones you never understood.
Kiss our asses and hand over the cameras;
It's our world now, and you shrunken Godzillas
only 
live in it.
_______

My sincere thanks to Flipside, who provided me a word list to work from, and to my co-worker Tanya H., who shared with me some of her impressions from having worked as a runway model.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book review: The Kiss That Counted

The Kiss That CountedThe Kiss That Counted by Karin Kallmaker

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Karin Kallmaker is an old hand at the lesbian romance genre, and if girl-meets-girl is your thing, then you really can't go wrong reading anything she's written. In this one, CJ Roshe is a successful businesswoman with a past that may be gaining on her. She is careful not to make any connections that can't be broken at a moment's notice. Then she meets Karita Hanssen, femme goddess extraordinaire, and all bets are off, especially after sharing one very special and unexpected kiss. Can love conquer all? It's a romance novel...what do you think?!



View all my reviews




Saturday, October 27, 2012

La Gitana

La Gitana
has wheels, not roots.
She has, also, a blue babushka with white details--
it makes her hair seem like an October night
filled with stars.

La Gitana
calls to el gato,
but el gato does not answer.
In summer, at dawn,
he would bring her fat mice as though they were jewels--
then, on the seventh night of the seventh month,
he kept one for himself alone,
and his joy was such
that el gato never came back at all.

La Gitana
shakes out her hair
like a night wind blowing open a black gate.
Beyond it lie the fields--
La Gitana is a November flower,
never chosen, soon gone,
calling across the frost grass for el gato
who has already forgotten
her bangled, hopeful, empty arms.
_______

photograph by Mama Zen, whose work appears regularly in Fun With Gourds, The Amalgamated Exotic Baptists' Union Newsletter, and Now What Did I Do With My Glasses? Ms. Zen is adored by her adherents, who worship at a shrine they have built and dedicated to her glory, outside of Walmart.

La Gitana--a Spanish Gypsy woman
gato--cat

linked to Real Toads mini challenge 

 

 

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Simple Guide For Gentlemen Of A Certain Age On How To Avoid Summary Execution While Visiting My Favorite Sandwich Shop

  • do not pontificate
  • do not discuss the lottery. you are not going to win it. ever.
  • do not discuss people you worked with twenty years ago at the plant. do not try to puzzle out whether they now live in east bumfuk or new slagheap.
  • do not describe your old sports injuries. do not display them.
  • do not share your thoughts about any of your ex-wives.
  • do not discuss automobile parts/engines/makes/models
  • do not hold forth about sports. any sport. 
  • do not jingle coins in your pants pocket
  • do not shout a conversation with your buddy five tables away.
  • do not stand in the doorway with the door open during winter months while wrapping up your convo with your friend for fifteen minutes.
  • do not tell war stories.
  • do not complain about the price of a cup of coffee. do not announce that another shop sells it more cheaply. just go there. now.
  • do not hold lengthy discussions of how best to get to east bumfuk or new slagheap if you are not going there immediately. 
  • do not play "let's remember".
  • do not discuss bow hunting. 
  • do not turn to the mail lady who is trying to eat lunch, read her book, and catch thirty minutes down time, and ask if it is hot or cold enough for her, how much stamps cost, or whether she knows your cousin's friend's neighbor, who works for the east bumfuk post office (or maybe it's new slagheap). 
Use these life-saving tips. You're welcome.
_______

for Mary's Mixed Bag...pet peeves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kind

The snake curled around my arm is not jewelry.
Go ahead; touch it.

Oh dear. I should have warned you
that I sometimes give terrible advice.

Never mind. Let me suck out the venom,
even if never quite enough--

and if my lips taste bitter as I kiss you, darling,
I apologize.

Please, while there's still time,
be kind
by whispering me your forgiveness--
my love so saturnine.
_______
 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Recitation

There is one book I want to read
above all others.
Please keep it at your finger tips as you sleep,
on the far side of the bed,
so that I must reach across your warm bare skin
in seeking it.

I admire crows
more than any other bird.
You have stolen them,
all of them,
so that your hair against my face
becomes a night composed from a million dark wing beats.

There is a house,
a small house,
I have seen in my dreams.
You were there, my love,
asleep in a cloud of small swirling bodies,
the most beautiful woman I have ever seen--
with a book half open at your finger tips
as if it might, at any moment, speak your name.
_______

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Catalonian

Never let a botanist paint you.
Never look to a Catalonian for fun--
he'll invite all his old college chums over and make a castell in the front yard,
while you lean in the doorway sipping green tea,
and hoping with jaundiced eye for a strong wind.

Do me in oils, is that so hard?
Worship me like a deity.
Take me to India to ride in a gondola on the back of an elephant.
Shower me with orange saris and ornaments.
Stop vendors in the street to tell them,
breathless,
that I am your girl and how lucky can one man be?

Instead,
you lean over your microscope like a Times Square boy,
getting hot about molecular structure.
If we went to India,
you would leave me by the dusty roadside with the luggage
while you go off collecting needle-flowers
and plant-borne rashes.

Never love a botanist--
you will only be a bright accessory.
Posing, naked,
a sweet rich-souled gorgeous woman in her glory;
all he will see is your face as a sampaguita flower,
your raised arms as bracts,
your faint-making perfect nipples as odd berries,
and all of it to be collected and catalogued
rather than ravished.

Never share a miracle with a botanist.
Never expect garlands and gifts for your news,
or Hosannas for your hormones.
Unless you couch it in terms of locules and leaf buds,
he will give you that blank, myopic look
and you'll have to hold up the plastic branchlet you've just pissed on and say,
"Pink, daddy. Get it now?"

Always leave a botanist,
before you turn into a trifoliate of disappointment, frustration and murderous intent.
Extracted from Catalonia, he is an invasive species,
and he will destroy you, the fading native.
All botany is a ritual of seed and pod,
but you can reclaim your animal nature and run.

Take your child, now,
while they're busy with their stupid castell.
Raise her right.
Nurture claw and canine,
speed and cunning,
and teach her which creatures
are inedible,
bitter,
and best left alone.
________

Catalonia--a region of northeastern Spain. Catalonians are said to be very practical-minded. 

castell--a human pyramid. This is a popular sport among Catalonians.

This poem written using words given to me in a special edition of Flipside Flotsam!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Girl

I am just some girl--
the leopards in the tangled garden know it;
they stalk and strut and do as they will--
respectful of the nasturtium,
but careless of the quiet jonquil.

I am someone with just one desire--
the crows in the glassless greenhouse know it;
they pose, clothed black as priests entire--
denying me the morning glory,
but free with the thorns my rose requires.
_______

Nasturtiums--victory in battle
Jonquils--returned affection, sympathy
Morning Glory--love, affection, mortality
Red Roses--deep romantic love, passion 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You

When you're gone,
the leaves do not turn gray upon the trees;
and if the downstairs people's cat should jump up on their piano,
it still makes music when he walks across the keys.

Nonetheless,
knowing I can tell you about it brings a shine to everything I do.

Welcome back, sweetheart. Welcome home.
How glad I am to see your face.
How different my life is when you're away,
and How I missed you.
______

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reaper Blues

Death ought to be personal.
Am I less than a corn husk doll?
for a corn husk doll may be wept over,
and the dog who destroyed it, shunned
for an afternoon.

Even an apple
can be remembered fondly
for at least as long as its sweetness stays wet
on someone's fingertips.

Now, Death is "liked" on Facebook.
Tweet Death @fadinglite and "friend" Death on social media.
Scan this image with your phone and receive funerary discount coupons instantly.
"Follow" Death and buy fan gear.

Death's handlers issue statements and offer "spin".
Deathcorp is the leader in agri-business,
harvesting every growing thing flat,
in mere seconds,
remotely, by mechanized drone.

One's life no longer bleeds away--
it is suppressed by superPACs.
It is legislated away by party agenda,
or simply denied by one's HMO, after program-generated cost benefit analysis.

Join us--
we are the corn husk dolls,
hoarding real apples.
Get the word out,
if you can get a word in.

Ya gotta tell 'em...
this blue screen is people.
_______________
 for Izy's Out Of Standard challenge at Real Toads

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ode For A Young Beauty

An ode for you, my swan-necked sylph
grown tall and fine by afternoon--
a gamin grown where asters bloom;
precocious, prideful, pretty elf--

Expediency is your diadem;
your flower's face an asterisk--
the reaper's scythe exposes quick
your thin, deceiving, hollow stem.
_______

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Everything

A nickel isn't enough for a soul--
no way...
No.

and even though you said
everything is negotiable--
with your microscope out on the table
and a lotus in a bowl,

everything cannot be just academic--
so open up a window and
go, man
Go.

You've got instruments for calculating
everything you know,
while I wrap my lonely skin around
cello and bow

in an empty room with curtains like sails.
What am I supposed to do with the least of you
in all the little details?

In your sleep, you hum and whistle
what philosophers opined,
and spoke of so intelligently,
then intelligently died.

A nickel isn't enough for my soul--
no, baby...
No;

so open up a window and
go, baby,
Go.
_____

for Flipside Flotsam 16 !
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Magnificence

In order to photograph the natural world,
one must love that world.

In order to capture the essence of a wild thing,
one must allow it beneath one's skin and never flinch.

Only an amateur,
only a poseur, a human monkey with thumbs,
disrespects his subject.
Let such cardboard-souled dabblers eat scorn and vomit shame.

I have been waiting for hours,
flexing my fingers to restore blood flow,
stamping my feet as quietly as I can,
training my telescopic lens on a mountain side,
hoping to capture an image of the rare and beautiful snow leopard.

Today, she has left her injured mate behind,
and she hunts alone, looking for the nimble mountain sheep.
I am nearly as electrified as the leopard when she spots one,
downwind and oblivious.

I should have left the gin alone last night.
I am finding it hard to maintain concentration,
a recurring fault my ex-wife would be happy to tell you about.
I blink hard and refocus...
Yes, there she is, nearly upon her kill!

Too late to double check my settings,
no time to choose a better angle;
I can almost feel her empty belly in my own body,
and I know how badly she needs this meal.

I put my fingers slowly to my mouth,
and let out a shrill, sharp whistle that echoes off the rocks.
The mountain sheep jerks his head up, then bolts,
and the snow leopard misses him by a body length,
or at most, two.

She turns in a quick circle,
beside herself with furious frustration.
I take several dozen shots at high speed--
Yes! I can demand twice, even three times the going rate
for the best ones.
The cover of a glossy monthly will not be out of the question!

The snow leopard disappears among the rocks high up,
and I put away my gear.
The injured leopard may die tonight. The huntress will not eat.
That's a shame, but I can't keep the grin off my face as I stow the last of my equipment.

This could make my reputation,
and pay for a lot of Tanqueray
and eager whores.
________

for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads: the unreliable narrator.



 
 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Kimberly & the Atomic Bomb

When Kimberly saw the atomic flash,
she didn't really care;
it just meant no more Gas N Go,
no more washing her hair.

No more filling out college apps,
no more diet fads and
no more having to hear that one sucky song til she pukes.

She thought of the times her mother had told her
how she came before she was due--
so tiny and fragile and blue--
but she said she had known her Kimmy was a fighter and would prove all the doctors wrong by surviving.

When Kimberly saw the atomic flash,
she sat on her bed and looked at the backs
of her hands as if she had never seen them before,

And the moon glowed red over the Gas N Go
like a rose on fire in the night.
_____

for DOLN #65.

The Wind

The wind lifts me--
cold mother of smooth white skin...
in her arms and at her breast, I become once again
her darkling child with feathers of rhyme.

I scream,
but my scream
is one of joy--

and my talons
flex...
flex and
shine.

_____

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Girl Who Liked Hemingway

I didn't win the pageant
because those bitches wouldn't know beauty if it beat them over their 'do's with a porch plank.

My Mediterranean sultriness was not what they were looking for;
them with their politeness and their narrow-lipped smiles holding back the churning reflux that their hearts produce.

They are not human.

As a baby, I was different.
I spoke within minutes, asking for a mirror before milk,
and sharing Portuguese brandy with my father in the library before the month was out.

Let others become checkers at Target.
Let others slave in the shamba under a broiling sun.
They do not have my sculptured cheekbones,
and so must scramble and struggle while I laze under an awning in a cafe,
accepting the dazzled worship of waiters named Jean-Guy.

But look, it hasn't been all roses and honey, just the same.
I stayed barefoot until I was twelve, by choice.
I whipped all the local boys,
and was the terror of the American compound.

I first considered pageants when I was caught siphoning gas from a diplomat's car.
(I had wanted to burn down Amber Rae's house; she was a stumbling calf
with a big mouth, and a throat just made for my reply.)
The diplomat took me inside and stood with his back to me,
gazing through his wife's sheer curtains at the stucco buildings across the street, and said,

"There are other things
you could be doing."

Soon I was shivering,
my arm dangling boneless over the edge of the dining room table,
smiling at the patterned copper ceiling.
I had still been in command of myself when he lost all his polish and said things to me that were not diplomatic, but rather,
the shouts of a drowning man finding shore.

So anyway,
these bitches looked at me critically, as if I were a steer at auction,
each of them a little complacent fat cask of petty.
I knew I couldn't win,
and my mind turned, as it always has,
toward ways to rain down destruction upon my enemies' heads.

I have a little French cahier
that I write down my dreams and plans in.
If the gendarmes ever find it, I'm so fucked.

But never mind.
The world of pageants plateaus early--
you're done at twenty, turned loose in the streets to blink big-eyed
at the onrushing autobus that will flatten you dead.
Does this sound like me?
Does it?

I am a girl who will never need a raincoat,
because it never dares to rain on my perfect creamy shoulders.
I own no pearls,
but I have six different sets of Ben Wa balls,
one for each day of the week, and then I go to Mass on Sunday.

I didn't win the pageant,
but I escaped to Algiers and met a man.
In the morning, we start out together for Kilimanjaro--
I shall be barefoot, in my element once more,
and McComber will have some sort of accident and leave everything to me.

Heft those trunks, bush guides,
I forgot my mirror and am keen to retrieve it
so that I may kiss my image as one would Cerberus,
if he were female
and as pretty as me.
_________

for Flipside's word list 15: Mediterranean, siphon, brandy, destruction, cafe, cahier, raincoat, narrow-lipped, barefoot, pearls, sculptured, mirror, critically, casks, plateau, politeness, awning, curtains, shivering and shamba. (words taken from Ernest Hemingway's "The Garden Of Eden")

Also linked to real Toads open link Monday.


 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Difference Between A Stampede And A Short Story Can Be Slight

I didn't come up here for any kind of nature shit.
I just wanted to be in a place where a girl can go about her business--
fluff her hair,
fix her face,
without half the magistrates in Canada wanting to know her particulars.

I thought that if I left Calgary and headed north,
that that dumb RCMP fuck would not follow me,
shoving his desk through the snow like a sled dog.

Why can't a girl listen to Tchaikovsky of an evening?
And if scarves get tied to the four poster,
is that anyone else's concern?
If money changed hands and then I had to change the locks,
does the world have to know?
May I no longer wear white? Will my nanny jobs dry up?

Listen--
a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do.
If a cabinet minister expires on the premises, 
and I don't wrap him neatly in a maple leaf flag,
tell me,
is it fair to drag me before the courts?
He couldn't handle some five star pussy, that's all.
It's not as if I assassinated Gretzky.

Anyway,
I thought that if I came up here, my pursuers might give up.
I hoped they might tire of pine boughs snapping back in their faces,
though some of them have paid me well enough for similar.
I thought they might get sick of stepping in moose shit,
and going without Timbits for days on end.

I am Bo Peep of the Far North.
I keep moving as best as I can, though my boots are not really made for this,
and I never got a chance to change.
Jack London, listen to me honey--
Save my happy ass, and I'll make it worth your while.
No Esquimo squaw can make it good for you like I can,
and very few of them possess
a whip,
and a pretty, painted
Japanese fan.
________

for Hannah's Transforming Friday at Real Toads

confused by Canadiana? Find the Calgary Stampede HERE and Timbits HERE.

RCMP = Royal Canadian Mounted Police