Sunday, December 29, 2013

Neptune's Daughter

In the time
of the end
of the world,
I walked--

with a lily in one hand 
and a double blade in the other,

searching
to the ends
of the earth
I walked.

in the surface
of the stones
on the drown side
of the river,

I saw
you waiting

with a tethered bird in one hand
and a rose ring in the other

in the time
of the end
of the world
you came.

I have the blade to set the bird free.
You have the rose to blood the lily.

there is no time
to save the world
but with the drown side of a kiss,

in the time
of the end 
of the world

there is the ever-rising river.
there is us.
there is this.
__________

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Surf Blue

Do you remember
my brother's little cars with the real rubber tires?
We would load our dollie in the back of his ambulance
and leave it on the tracks.
Ding ding ding, dollie--
you think you feel bad now, just wait til old number 7 comes through.

Later, we took out your grandfather's Plymouth
with the push button automatic.
The radio played Golden Earring
and the back seat was bigger than our first apartment.
We fishtailed through those years,
and though you said you knew where we were going,
you lied just as sweet as ever.

How I loved your fingers.
There aren't enough rings in all the second hand shops of the world
to do them justice.
I remember them, and how they found their way,
slick little devils that did the trick every time.
I told you not to take that job in radiology.
I hated to see you lose those tapered beauties one by one.

Sometimes I think the only clear view comes through a cracked glass.
If I could find that Plymouth, I would sit in it
and recall how you told me I was a better kisser than any movie star.
Now, my teeth have gone soft in my head,
I live on pancakes and don't give a damn if the mail or tomorrow comes.

I want to sit on the tracks in a long white bed,
and dream of how we used to be.
The train system is run by computers now,
nobody to feel guilty if I get spun like a carousel,
an old doll in a gas tank bomb of a car,
crashing headlong to feel you restored and handsy

touching my face so tenderly
as if I were made of blown glass and what they used to call
surf blue with eggshell white.
________

for the mini-challenge at Real Toads.

 

Date With The Reaper

I've got a date with the Reaper.
Oh don't give me that look;
when girls don't call, I'm forced to go
where the fishin' is easy.

I hope he's got a sharp black ride,
silver hub caps and cuff links.
Open the door for me, Spike
cos I'm not the kind of lady who rides in the back
like your other dates do.

You see, I had this dream
that I was walking down the fourth floor hallway
of a fine old hotel.
My hair was red and thick like it used to be,
and the door to four seventeen 
opened easy for me.

April is the cruelest month, so the man said.
One day I found myself alive, and one day I'll find myself dead.
I hope it doesn't rain, but if it does,
then maybe I'll slide out of this life easy,
talking shit right up to that lonesome bell.

I've got a date with the Reaper.
Just like I knew I wouldn't stay married,
I have always known I wouldn't milk it in the nursing home,
planted in front of game shows in the day room
not knowing my own name.

So open the hearse door for me.
Be a gentleman, but if you want to cop a feel as I get in,
why, do what you have to do, Buck.
Where I'm going, I won't be needing the wrappings anyway--
I'll shine just like a new poem
where the words are right and everybody leans in.

April seventeenth I'm gonna die.
So said my dream and the Reaper says "true dat".
I'll slip right through that fourth floor door,
like magic, like anything,
like a good lookin' red-haired rabbit 
Coming up smiling from an old top hat.
_______


I really did dream, a couple of nights ago, that April 17th will be it. Then again, I once dreamed I was making out with Emmylou Harris, so I don't know that these things can be counted on as gospel.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: "Entering Normal"

Entering NormalEntering Normal by Anne D. LeClaire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Bless me, Father, for I have procrastinated. As I have confessed before, sometimes a book will sit on my shelf long enough to start asking for the car keys before I get to it. This novel shows a publication date of 2001, but actually takes place in 1990, and so it has a rather antique feel to it, with people listening to cassettes and not having cell phones or caller ID, and fetching their dinner by hunting mastodons. Okay, I made that last bit up. That said, this is still a really enjoyable read.

The story concerns Rose, a woman in her late fifties and married to the very steady Ned, who asks her every morning "So what's on your agenda today?", as if one day differed very much from any other. The one day in Rose and Ned's life that was shockingly, horribly different was the day five years before, when their teenage son and only child died in a road accident. Ned is waiting for his Rosie to come back; Rose doesn't really see anything to come back to.

Enter Opal Gates, a twenty year old single mother of a five year old son, a believer in signs, a doll maker and a southerner, who moves in next door to Rose and Ned on their street in Normal, Massachusetts. Opal, whose name used to be Tammy Raylee Gates before she legally changed it, threw a die and when it landed on three, she decided to drive three tanks of gas away from her home of New Zion, North Carolina, and stop there. She was aiming to get away from her boring ex-jock boyfriend (the father of Zach, her son) and also from her overbearing, hyper-critical mother Melva, who apparently never made a mistake in her life. Step aside Jesus, here's a *really* perfect person, and she's not shy about hammering her very different daughter over the head with that fact. Oh I love it when I can identify!

At first, Rose thinks that Opal is basically trailer trash, and is horrified at Opal's casual attitude toward her son's little mishaps, saying, "Boys bounce." Rose knows that, sometimes, they don't. Circumstances, however, will bring these two women together (just like in a novel!) and they will find that they need each other's help and kindness to get through when trouble comes to both their doorsteps in the form of a heart attack suffered by Ned and a custody suit brought by Zach's father, backed by--you guessed it--Melva.

I found myself caring a lot for both of these very believable, flawed, likeable women, as well as Ned. I was amused by how well this woman author depicted auto mechanic Ned and the way he thinks. I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good human story.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Opening the Spider Box

opening the spider box
reveals a soft egg supported
on eight shades of darkness.

its fingertip venom kiss
is the slowing of all senses,
memory, hope, everything.

all i can tell you is,
set your hands to anything, move your feet anywhere
the box is not, and it will buy you another morning to think it over.
______

image found on weheartit.com

From the Big Book of War Haiku : the War on Christmas chapter

Divine plan in place
and reward at God's right hand
but first: thorns, tree, dice.

your Santa's too black
mine, too much gay apparel
no free stuff, you bum.

something you don't want
I scored it on Black Friday.
next year re-gift it.

Christmas brag sheet comes
everybody kicking ass.
good for you, assholes.

the milk jug Santa
my ex's crazy friend made
on my door each year

see Uncle Billy
lose the wad again. Really???
must be here somewhere.

I so hate haiku
but love the haiku prompter
though she be evil.

Top photo: Catblossom places herself beneath the Xmas tree as Catgod's gift to humanity!

For Words Count with Mama Zen at Real Toads. She goes out of her way to torment me.

Merry Christmas to all my readers. Just to prove that my view of the holiday is not entirely jaundiced, I leave you with my favorite carol; and yes, I like Celine Dion sometimes. She's a little over the top and sings her heart out. Kind of like the silly chick who runs this blog.

 
 
 

 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Winter Queen

I met a woman in winter,
with ice in her hair, like dreadlocks of black and white.
She was frozen to differing depths,
a January pond in shifting weather.

She knew the number of the flakes, 
stretched infinite before us;
she knew the hour of the storm,
and the measure of the movement that each wind makes.

Here is the thing, the odd thing--
she smelled like summer.
There was heat in her, but cloaked,
like the bird who can--but will not--sing.

I looked at her and lit myself for her.
I went up: white, orange, red, black, off into the leaden sky.
Gypsies wear red and gold, black and emerald.
Irish Gypsies tell stories as they burn.

In ice storms, the birches wear silver shirts;
they bow low as if winter were royalty.
My love wears branches of scars spread in inflicted composition;
she carries a cold hollowing within her, a saving space for blood and dirt.

I brought her lilies, her snow-twins sweet...
in spring, black tulips to stir her lips to smile.
Though she warned me, I couldn't leave; when she kissed me I couldn't breathe--
a Gypsy burned without her tale complete.
_______ 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Calling All Angels

On a night when the moon went dark,
and I spilled unchecked from the broken glass of my life,
from my knees I whispered,
calling all angels
calling all angels
if you can hear me,
send me a sign.

In my hour of no hour left,
in the minutes when the indigo stars scorned my name,
from my knees I whispered,
calling all angels
calling all angels
in my extremity I called to them,
and the angels, in their mercy, came.
________

for my Calling All Angels challenge at Real Toads. 

at the lowest point of my alcohol addiction, when I thought I was worth nothing, and that the future held nothing, I prayed. Every day since, that prayer has been answered, and I am astonished and humbly grateful.
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The True Story Of A Most Remarkable Bovine

Prunella Parkman Pennington Ping
taught a two-headed cow to sing.

With dainty horn and delicate hoof,
she became a star of the opera bouffe.

The cow was green, her milk was blue,
and she wore a polka-dot tutu.

Combining moans with burps and farts,
she harmonized heads, singing both parts.

It's true.
Moo.
____

55 words of udder foolishness for the G Man.

Ellipse-stick

Crows quilt the clouds until they've stitched a story.

^^^There's my beginning. Pretty, right? Almost Amish.
Crows have no time to embrace or deny,
and what I love about them--
they never lie.
They cannot lie. 

Please stay still while I fire hose some crows inside you,
like filling walls with insulation.
You look good this way--
real women have crows moving around inside them.
You can trust a woman who has crows in her mouth.

^^^There's my next section. A little macabre. Even violent.
It's over the top, I'll have to change it.
I'll use the heel of my hand like a big eraser--
Oops, I smeared it; now it's morphed into art.
It needs more crow. 
back to the start...

Crows quit the clouds once they've ditched your story.
How did you compromise them?
The crows, in their dark majesty,
how did you get to them?
*smacks forehead*
Of course! With your same old nickel-for-a-dime.
With lies.
________

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

monster

Verse

See the crone that comes
through the thorn-walk and the breaks,
with a ribbon for the coffin key
and a dead-scroll curled with snakes,

she will never die.
she will never die.
roll her bones through the catacombs--
she hasn't the grace to die.

Inverse

My eyes were tired, so I set them soft
in the cotton-bedded heart of a pale red box;
deep under the earth with the coldsong quick,
was nothing--and nothing--I reveled in it.

Verse

Hear the crone who lies
with a dead tongue, poison-sweet,
words chopped blind with a kitchen knife
tourniquet-wrapped and awfully neat.

her teeth in the flesh
her teeth in the flesh
slips gangrene dreams through the finest screens
making rot-milk sold as fresh.

Inverse

My soul was sick, so I intertwined
its feminine face with androgyne,
to speak itself twice in a language of thorns
to bleed--to bear--where vermilion's born.

Verse

Bury the crone who's filled
with a paste of hate in her hollow bones,
a candle kept in the bag of her gut
to wax the devil a hag-head stone.

she will never die.
she will never die.
resurrected, insane, infected,
she hasn't the grace to die.
________  

Monday, December 16, 2013

dog years

I love you in dog years, seven for one.
I love you in predictive quatrains and in the secret language of twins.

My love is revealed in weather anomalies,
sea changes, and the Rorschach of sunspots.

Here is the reason for my fingertips:
your hair, your skin.

Here is the sure sign of intelligent design:
your dark eyes, the smile at the corner of your lips.

In the madhouse, men think they are God.
Churches become madhouses for doing the same.

I am mad enough--I want to say to you, girl,
fuck my brains out, make me beg to get inside you,

marry me, tie me up, get me pregnant,
make the room reek of us and then write poems about it.

Kiss me in the middle of the mall, hold my hand.
Duplicate my desire in an uncontrolled environment.

Love me in dog years, seven for one.
Viva la revolucion.
______

 

 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Smile

Dude,
don't judge.
I woke up with these teeth in my mouth,
pretty spots that just won't stop,
and the hunger to do
what a girl's gotta do.

Sometimes,
when the sun is just right,
I can fall asleep in a tree with one paw hanging down
and dinner just jumps up to me,
presto!
Those are the days when this kitty's life
is the bee's knees baby.

Don't ever think
that there isn't a Goddess for cats.
Fifty million Egyptians can't be wrong,
and one of these days I'll be back where I belong--
running the place.
See if I don't!

Admit it.
You want to scratch behind these ears,
and under my chin!
Make the rumbles start.
Don't you know I'm half natural born killer
and half marsh-mallow pushover heart.

Smile!
If you were me, you would, too.
Some us are born too cool for the zoo,
too coo coo for a box of crackers,
with just one thing to do:
smile.
_____

written for my dear Mosky, by request.

 
 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

snow day

I am an outdoor girl,
woven into the wind and weather like warp and weft.
December knows my name and has wrapped herself around me--
she sends me seven chills in sequence,
each seeking a deeper place in the bone.

Today I was a lucky leaf, 
brown but blown under a doorway into sanctuary.
Even so, I had to sit on my feet to keep them still;
it was only icy roads and weariness that kept me indoors,
and my coffee was only half the comfort I thought it would be--
I didn't know what to do with the day
the way I know what to do with dark.

A friend called. She said, you needed to rest.
She said the errands can wait, like the hardy crows you consider sisters.
She's right, and her kindness made me smile
but ten minutes later I was swaying in front of the window again
as if I were one of the small bare trees on the other side.

Where are you today, my love?
Where is your voice, the only thing that can calm me when I get this way?
December is here, and knows my name,
but it isn't at all the same as when I hear it spoken from your lips--
no matter what you say to me,
you warm me as nothing else can.
Today I missed you from the moment I woke up;
I stood in a day that should have been a blessing,
watching the snow fall and shivering like a girl who hadn't expected to be alone.

__________

XXXmas

 
I am a cadaverous catastrophe of a girl,
with no credential other than a pulse and a willingness to shuck and jive,
reel 'em in and spit 'em back out,
a lady with a degree in gossip and doubletalk.

Yes, I am what is vulgarly referred to as a seasonal employee.

Look, you need this shit here.
These gadgets piled to the rafters are not just amusements--
they are the natural exclamation point to your whisper of a life,
a lavish, lopsided, overpriced carnival of crapola 
designed to wake you the fuck up
and make your spouse and brats think you're some kind of hot shit like they used to do.

Here, check out this asshole of a doll.
She has natural blonde hair down to her little plastic shoes,
and she is in a veritable frenzy of eagerness to be your BFF and bestie.
She talks all sorts of irrational bipolar bullshit,
and possesses an internal system of hydraulics which enable her to binge and purge like a teenage actress.

Every useless-ass oddity you can imagine, we've got it right here.
We take out full page ads in the Sunday paper, on line 
and on a glossy fold-out in the middle of your bible;
we crow about it from billboards and it's written on my hat as well.
We have a full staff of madmen locked up in the cellar, coming up with copy.
Buy this shit! Now! Oh man, I love Christmas.

Aw, Pookie, I can see that you're overwhelmed.
Come over here, let me cram you in a cubby and spout soothing silliness.
I'll spritz you with calming scents--
let's get your chi as smooth as my counter top.
That gibbering lunacy coming out of your pie hole is solid gold, babe;
best sellers and Oprah book club selections have been built on less.
Let me write it all down with devilish dedication!
I'm prepared to really earn my nine bucks an hour,
and when this is over I can go back to scribbling goth poetry in the coffee shop.

As for you,
you can remember my help forever
and mate feverishly with all this junk you bought!
________

a short tour of the seasonal asylum for Get Listed at Real Toads. I used all 23 words; only three were burned out from last year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

panther box

On my dressing table, I keep a panther box.
Oh, I have combs and brushes
and lots of luscious soaps and such,
but the panther box is my passion and my prize.
I don't guess that surprises you much?

You, the one who likes to stretch on my bed and sigh--
you know how I can get and how ordinary matters
send me into a catatonic coma
from which the only escape and opening seems to be
to take up my outre and exotic panther box.

Close the door, lover mine.
Plug in the lights for a garland of stars to grace my mirror,
then wrap yourself around me from behind--
I have tempered time like a pet and bought fine new locks
that we might be alone when we open the panther box.

_________

Sunday, December 8, 2013

doll trio

Mama's mama's mama
ran a boardinghouse.
She had more once;
her own home with new glass in the windows
and a man who filled a tuxedo quite pleasingly.

Mama's mama's mama
stashed the credenzas and the china cabinets,
the oil paintings of pheasants and fruit,
and all her fine blue-edged china 
upstairs in the attic, above the second floor lodger's rooms.

She didn't lock it,
choosing to believe that people can be trusted,
despite her handsome husband taking a birch branch to the temple
five years before from the angry husband of her best friend Rose.

Mama's mama's mama
used to fix snap beans and talk to her little girl
about the man she would meet when she grew up
and the house they would have
and all the fine furniture upstairs that would be hers one day.
"There will be a guest house in the back with an apple tree for me.
You'll throw wonderful parties and use the punch bowl with the etched swans on it."

Mama's mama's mama's lodgers
cleaned that old girl out.
Every stick gone, except for three ceramic-headed dolls
sleeping on a bed of straw inside a box. 
Mama's mama's mama
gave her those dolls and she mostly wanted to spit on them every time she saw them,
as if they had ruined her dreams themselves
and only stayed behind to gloat.

Mama's mama's mama
died when her girl was 22.
Mama's mama never took very good care of herself,
never cared much what dress she wore or for how many days in a row.
She did learn to make ceramic figures, though,
and yellow giraffes and brown stallions filled the kinck-knack shelves
of her California bungalow.

Mama saw how fragile the figures were,
how easily they could fall and shatter on the floor.
To such a serious and somber girl, 
creating anything like that seemed like asking for it.
Her mama had given her the three dolls and she saved their lives
by never taking them out of their box.

One summer, mama's brothers teased her
cos she wouldn't jump from the tire swing into the river.
Finally, they got her to do it and she landed wrong,
in the shallows,
and the bone sticking out from her leg 
looked white as porcelain.

Mama was a careful woman.
She showed me the three dolls one day,
laying them on the bed where they lay in their casket box.
Mama was a woman who believed that nice things should last forever,
and in 1996 she still had the chairs and table 
given to her as wedding presents
in 1939.

Mama wasn't going to make the same mistakes her mama's mama had made.
She saw the shady side of everyone,
and told me who to beware of
as I rode in the back, trying to keep my feet still
so as not to get dirt on the seat in front of me.
I always knew that mama's things were more important than I was,
and when she finally gave me those wedding present chairs, 
I carried one out to the back yard
and took my husband's sledge hammer to it.

Mama never gave me the three dolls, though.
I expect they've gone some eighty years pristine and perfect,
never being played with once.
On the other hand, I had several of my mama's mama's figures--
I loved them, and through life and moves and hurry,
all but one have broken and now there is just the yellow giraffe left.
One of her legs has a flaw, like mama's does,
but here is the difference between them:
Grandma Hammond made them both,
but even as a child I knew the hand-made giraffe loved me.
______

"doll trio" at top by Jennifer MacNeill

for Artistic Interpretations with Margaret at Real Toads

My grandmother made me this horse. The horse is actually the lone survivor; my favorite, the giraffe, broke years ago.
 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

No Eskimo

First, warm with words
(not too many. discard old or extra.)
add 2 lips
to 2 lips.
put them in the steamer.

add a cup of kindness
and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper.
whisk in a whisper.

take a head of baggage,
then cut away most of it with a sharp knife.
add two cloves of Mata Hari
and a dash of Roller Derby Queen.
shake it.

mix one finely grated anticipation
with hey batter batter from the softball girls.
place over a low flame for 20 minutes or until her voice thickens.

fold in one set of clean sheets,
slowly increase heat.
Marlene Dietrich til it reaches an internal temperature of 160.
Bettie Page any excess.

finally, sprinkle devilish looks over the top,
add ground temper for seasoning.
sweeten with oh honey.
temple whore to taste.
no eskimo.

(serves two)
_______

for Izy's out of standard challenge at Real Toads. 

 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

angel for brick birds

i'm an angel for brick birds,
and a healer for the crack-toothed cats who catch them.
i'm a tall-shelf girl with the boardinghouse reach,
fetching orphans each a blanket and an anthem.

i stitch long blue feathers for my brick birds' backs,
and dog star tails when they fan them.
my oven bakes the bricks til they're light as morning mist,
then the ashes circle sun and moon in tandem.

i'm a weekday angel
whistling for the wrong,
the bruised, the broken,
the disowned in the dawn;

i mix a sweet healing balm,
turn the jar into a song,
roll it out into the street
and then i'm gone.
________

written for Magpie Tales #196, and dedicated to Kelli and Joy, who both like it when I rhyme.
 

Spotter

I have written often about astronauts,
and yet,
there are very few of them in my neighborhood
and none
in my bed or at my breakfast table.

I wonder if the loneliness of the moon
stayed on them and around them
like a gray empty dust,
keeping them from kissing anyone?

I have often wondered, too,
at the way they only endure my tender attention to their visors
with my lavender-scented cloth
and my blush.

Here you are, made of stars, taking my breath away
with just the swirl and fact of you.
Knock knock--
it's me.
There were dogs sent up before me,
and you loved them;
why not love me now?
I have the same easy eyes
and goofy logic.

"She's a space case," they say about me.
"She's way out there!"
but I'm not,
I'm right here,
standing on the bright red X of my heart,
up on the tips of my toes, searching the skies,
trying to flag you down
win you
spin you
guide you in.
__________

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Girl With The Arrow Through Her Head

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry;
'Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy'

I am the girl with the arrow through her head;
people treat me like some sort of cartoon,
a joke,
they think it's a get-up.

I can't wear hats,
or walk down the street without my neighbors Bob and John
telling me I should have ducked
and then laughing like dickheads.

Dear Excedrin,
I write,
I love your product.
Thank you for making it.
They send me coupons, which pleases me,
and I use them immediately.

I was Custer's girl.
I was there when he died;
it was awful.
He was blond, and brave, and beautiful.
I tried to stop them from desecrating him, 
but the Indian women tossed me aside like a dandelion flower
and I had to walk home.

That was in 1876.
I was twenty.
I don't know why I don't die;
maybe the arrow changed me in some way I can't account for.
I have dreams that manifest in my life the next day.
I dream that I am a girl with an arrow through her head,
and that Bob and John find me endlessly hilarious.
Then I am,
and they do.

I have to sleep on my back
because of the arrow.
I lie down in my yard at night and look at the stars.
They turn,
and I turn,
which makes the arrow turn, too, 
and I feel just like a new clock, right on the money every time.

Then I remember--
Autie is dead,
and I am a girl with an arrow through her head.
Tonight I will dream of eating a pomegranate,
and then an orange.
I will turn them in my hands,
and they will turn me with them;
something will be different,
and when I wake up, it will all happen as I dreamed it--

The pomegranate will heal my heart,
and the orange will contain endless sections, juicy and sweet.
Bob and John will not be home when I walk by;
the arrow will fall out,
and I will be free.
__________

quoted lines at the top are from "The Goblin Market" by Christina Rossetti.

for the Real Toads birthday in December--Christina Rossetti. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

kindness

Kindness--
I aspire to it.
Think of the martyred saints secure in Heaven with their reward!

If it had been me,
I would have pulled the arrows out and made bones of them;
I'd have stood up out of the fire pit and made somebody pay.

I picture myself sanguine,
mild as milk,
but sometimes I get tired.
The day goes on and on as if it were The Train Of Infinity
hogging the crossing on some devil-hot day,
and at times such as those, it may become necessary 
for me to pat you on your head,
replacing the bloody divot I have taken out of it.

Look at my hands!
Soft and harmless, now, as unbaked dough.
I only ever have the best of intentions,
and that has served me well in my job with the Highway Department.

Do you think you could trust me again
some day,
in some bright future where mobs are made lazy 
by a surfeit of love and patient understanding?
Or will you will yourself to die just to get the ear of God
and talk shit about me?

Kindness
is my watchword and my natural way.
That's what I'll be explaining, hoping for acquittal,
pro se, having to do everything myself--
getting the pencils and pens,
getting my own glass of water,
getting the maximum,
getting the legal pads, the table itself, the chair.
________

 

Friday, November 29, 2013

lo tech

you smirked and whipped out the sun,
dangling from a chain like the celestial watchdog.

go ahead, try to hypnotize me with it.
try to blind me.
i will blink at the last possible moment.

your vision for us thus confounded,
and my own barely saved,
here we are--

two sundials telling time by shadows.
________

for G Man's Friday 55!