Sunday, March 31, 2013

bone

i am the daughter of a bone,
i was born starving.

i shed my skin like a laundered swamp spirit--
i'm naked now, so kiss me,
fuck me,
make me feel like i'm worth something for a minute.

hold me, i'm a sentient plastic bag blowing on a branch.
i make a lot of noise,
but it isn't music,
no more than screaming is singing.

see the sun.
it mocks me,
it spins across the sky out of reach,
teasing.

little things rise green out of the dirt,
snow around their necks;
the pretty rising dead, out to visit themselves upon the spring--
they stab their way into being.
they pretend to recognize the air, when all they know is suffocation.

i am the daughter of a bone,
willing to do anything just to feel wanted.
otherwise,
i will crack the moon and call it my covering,

ill-white,
pulling but never having,
glowing but stone dead and more bitter than any man could ever understand.
______

for real toads mini challenge, april come she will.

Shorthand For Cheetahs

Cheetah caught me as I was dreaming--
she wrapped around me,
quick and hot;

I kissed the black tear-tracks of her face--
her ears, and her
flash-fast paws...

If you love a cheetah,
let her know she's the only one--
"til next time," tell her, as she goes,
even though she's already gone.
_______

On loving a woman who never sits down, for Hannah's fantastic Transforming Friday challenge!


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Skully

When I first met Skully,
I was an ingenue in a silly fragile plastic body--
a nursery flat, a starter bed,
not yet Anne Of Queer Gables
magnificently not giving a shit.

Back then,
I believed that Skully was stuffed like a bell pepper,
jammed to bursting with thoughts, dreams and 
wisdom on every subject;
I didn't know, as we lay together under the ceiling fan,
that he was as vacant and distant as outer space.

He PEZed me kisses, bought me roomsful of useless junk,
and twisted me silly like a bonsai tree.
I let him.
Daydream starlets and archery targets both have curves,
and sit still for the incoming--
I spent a decade with Skully that way,
as if I'd done it with a porcupine and was proud of the damage.

Now, he sits like an unfortunate date brought to dinner--
big-eyed as a girl, smiling too much,
and adding nothing to the conversation.
Still, I can't bear to throw him out,
and so the dogs lug him around like a trophy,
scoring and striping him with their joyful teeth marks
and losing his mandible under the fold-out sofa.

My girlfriends tolerate him.
After all, he's dead, and won't start any stupid crap about threesomes.
The next door kids ask for him sometimes,
and they bowl him at empty pop bottles in the driveway.
I confess, though,
that late at night, when it's stormy, and I'm alone,
I pause before bouncing him down the basement stairs, and I say,

"Thank you, Skully,
for keeping me from having to be alone
in the years before I bloomed into my need for heart, flesh, soul,
and not just solid bone."
Then I lay one on his grinning kisser
and even add a little tongue
just to tease him
for the lack that made me leave him like a southbound bird.
_______

"pop" is a Michiganism for what I think most people call "soda".  
 
  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: "Pictures Of You"

Pictures of YouPictures of You by Caroline Leavitt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Until the last forty pages or so, I adored this book. Just LOVED it. Then it went to hell in a hand basket. 280 pages of brilliance, heart, and marvelous characters ended with 40 pages of unsatisfying, if strictly realistic, compromise. Yes, that's life, but I don't read novels to get another heaping helping of what I can get by walking out my front door in the morning. I like a little magic, and a happy ending can be accomplished without tying everything up in a neat bow, which I realize the author was trying, admirably, to avoid.

My other gripe with the ending is that there is a sudden, and to me, jarring twenty year lurch into the future, where everybody's a wonderful doctor, and they eat arugula, and adopt little Chinese children. I was dead certain this would be a five star book for me, and I was wondering why most of the ratings at Goodreads were threes and fours. Now I know. I feel like I met a handful of really fascinating, well-written, very human and complex characters that I cared a lot about, only to have them fade into Lifetime Movie Land at the end. What a gyp.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Double Post: A Poem And An Elegant Visitor !

Dear Readers,

Today you'll find here a double post: first, a poem for MZ's fine challenge, and then something special after that!

"Too Late My Hope Rewarded"

People change.
I hoped you would!
You never said
"I love you."

Even in illness,
at the end--
you never said
"I love you."

Now, this night,
you're at my door--
never the same--
nevermore.

One eye gone,
missing an arm,
you bang on my door,
groaning, "Aw rawv goo!"
______

Fifty words exactly for MZ's Words Count challenge to be a "Poe-et"!
______ 

And now, a special guest hostess!

Hello, Lambs! It's me, Babs St. Argent, from the Objets D'art blog! Fireblossom is busy right now; I think she said something about having Joel Osteen tied to a weed whacker or something. The girl makes no sense at all.

But never mind! I brought this morning's Pompano Beach Enquirer with me, which means that we can sit down together and read my favorite advice columnist: "Dear Daphne"!

Just throw away that tiresome news section and the pointless sports page. Here she is! Right on page 3C, between the Sudoku and the a recipe for vegetarian pot roast! Let's read!

Dear Daphne,

My husband and I live in a nice suburban area, but we are having a problem with our next-door neighbors. They own two large bison, which they keep as pets. One afternoon as I was out in the back yard, trimming the pansies with fingernail scissors, one of the bison smashed through the fence and dropped a huge pie right on my petunia bed.

My neighbors didn't seem to be at home, so I tried speaking in a friendly voice to the bison, but the other bison came through the gap in the fence and they began noisily copulating! So, I tried a stern tone of voice, but they just finished their disgusting behavior and then ate my pampas grass. My husband came out of the house and informed them that their behavior was unacceptable. Do you know what they did? They head-butted him through the glass wall of our patio and right through the back of an Adirondack chair we got from L.L. Bean!

I went straight over to our neighbors' house and left a note on their door, complaining about their rambunctious pets. Our city has an ordinance against eating anyone's pampas grass or going to the bathroom on their petunias, and I let them know it! My husband and I can't help but notice their poor stewardship of their pet bison.

What else can we do? It's really annoying.

PS--the wife is some kind of wild Indian.

Sincerely,

Pooped On In The Suburbs



Dear Pooped,

Nothing arouses my ire quite like poorly stewarded bison! I truly sympathize with your predicament. I'm afraid, however, that your options are rather limited.

You astutely noted that your neighbor is some sort of wild Indian; is it possible that you live adjacent to Indian land? Indian tribes have retained sovereignty over their land "as long as there is grass to smoke" or some such nonsense. Perfectly reasonable white ordinances against defecating on petunias may not apply.

Still, don't despair. I see no reason why the matter can't be negotiated with firmness and Anglo-axon integrity. Simply invite your neighbors over for a night of Indian tacos and bingo. Then, break out a piece of pipe. Or, is that peace pipe? One forgets...

Good Luck!

Daphne      

_______

"Dear Daphne" answers are written by M. Zen, senior staff writer at Baby Puppy Productions. "Dear Daphne" appears in some two hundred publications nationwide, including The Kiwanis Kink Newsletter, The St. Paul Free Shoplifter, and Compost Industry Tattler.

Ms. Zen is also the author of a number of books, among them the "Pirates Of Finland" romance trilogy, the non-fiction bestseller "Fuck! I Just Missed That Stupid Squirrel!" and "What The Bible Says About Sinks And Faucets", the latest in her wildly successful Jesus, Who's Going To Fix This? series.

In addition, Ms. Zen hosts the popular radio call in program What Is it This Time? on KUD AM "your farm report leader!" as well as playing the role of Pollyanna Bichwell in the long-running play Using My Spidey Powers To Find Your Fucking Shave Cream. Write to her at post office box 32, Pompano Beach FL.  
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

From The Sky

From the sky--
crows and doves
descended, a gift--

assembling upon
my right shoulder--
my left--

birds who bore cacophony and calm--
finding purchase and place
at each far-stretched arm--

so that, when I sought you,
Goddess of Sky--
Goddess of Earth--

I came to you in pairs--
one part snow,
one part dirt.

Here, for you, my kiss--
partly sweet,
partly salt;

from the sky, I come flocked--
love me now--
love it all.
________
________

thanks to my Sista Poet Dani at Myheartslovesongs for introducing me to this song!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Finishing School

Like a waitress holding the house specialty high,
I presented my heart,
sheathed in propriety,
nestled on a thorn bush bed.

Sleep, little angel, you could have said.
Sleep like the dead.

Instead, you put me on a chain
and suspended it above my head in one of your extra rooms.
Soon, I was snapping at everything,
pacing a groove in the floor,
and my coat grew shiny and thick, begging touch and praise.

Hungry teeth bite bigger than a lazy tongue,
that's what you told me, and it was the last thing you said to me for a month.
Step right, 
step left,
now down on one knee;
back up, head high-- 
I was taut and ready enough to make the rain come,
before you were satisfied with me.

By the time I had my heart back,
I was as jealous as the Moon, 
and as dangerous as a deferred desire.
When you jerk the lead, I sit at your feet like a perfect lady,
but lately, I forget my manners
when I'm with anybody but you.
_________

feelin' a little wild for the mini challenge at Real Toads.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Another Of My Kind

I ran with another of my kind
until the earth split,
the chasm dividing us like a riven bone.

Below, the damned, more numerous than lunatics in April.
Above, angels with hooked talons, singing for a drunken god in the stunned hour.

Sister! I called.
She answered, but faintly,
our common language already corrupted, scattering.
_______

for G Man's Friday 55 and for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Red Diamond

Perfection manifests colorless--
on light entire, the faultless cut is fed;

Your bride, intact, will give her sweet pale hand
that clasped those lilies cool enough for dead.

Give me the fortunate interstitial defect--
the flaw that splits refraction thread by thread;

My damaged, love-bitten throat commands your gaze, dear,
when I wear my black diamond choker, or the red.
_______

 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meghan

The grass that April seemed stunned,
as if winter had kicked it out of the house.

That was the year of the fiery crash
and the bullshit sermon.

Daisies came up in the graveyard,
and the spring sun went down easier than it rose.

You were Meghan of the tractor pasture,
my baby of the barbed wire ditch.

You showed me, all those times under a sickle moon,
how a Scorpio's kiss can make the earth move.

Mama said it was the mines settling,
but all I believed in, that April, was the gospel of your arms.

Summer came, and the cicadas sang, then died.
Later, we knocked pecans down from the trees,

gathering them in our jean jackets spread on the ground to be forgotten
as we got drunk on illegal beer and each other's skin.

April is always a rainy, uncertain month,
and summer, here, can put a good woman in the madhouse.

Anyway, it's only March, and colder than a banker's smile,
but I woke up thinking of you, Meghan, so I called in queer and wrote you this poem.
________ 

image: Emmylou Harris

 

Celestial Seasonings

On my coffee mug,
girl & dog.

I saw myself in her,
years ago,
when I was a woman fallen overboard,
sinking.

I was a ball of string
unwinding right down to the speechless bone.

I shall be this girl, I decided, not thinking it was anything more than a wish.
I shall have a border collie like this one, too,
named Bosco, because...well, because of a certainty I could not have explained.
He will be mine alone,
unlike my spouse,
unlike my child,
unlike anything I do or say or move through, now.

When the one who would soon enough trade me for madness asked,
"What are you thinking?",
I said, "I am thinking I will grow my hair long."

Girl & dog on my mug have faded;
alone among them all, this one has lost its paint,
and gone faint.

The company stopped making the tea it came with,
and I have gone back to coffee, and my own skin.

Look at me, long-haired, though it is going to silver;
look at me alone, back to being the poet,
and look at the black and white friend at my feet.

I made my life from a five dollar mug.
It's gone to white while I am a vivid red,
waved in front of the world like a dare.
________

 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Mime

when you pontificate
from a to
z,
i seem to agree
if tacit-
ly.

when you decide
uni
lateral-
ly,
it never bothers
no, never mind
me.

i'm not a wife
who nags or sighs;
but don't think i'm
some saintly mime--

the officer asked me,
were you
here?
perhaps in
bed?
or even
dead?

far be it from me
to bend his ear--
and so,
I haven't 
exactly
said.
_____

for Kay's challenge at Real Toads
 
 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nurse Gina

Nurse Gina is a Sister of the Creolan Mission.
She has not attended any recognized school of nursing.
She does not submit to any formal schedule,
and she does not date your doctor, fumbling in the break room like a teenager.

The Creolan Sisters have a mission on Earth,
and their mission does not include such tawdry stuff.
Here, have a hit of holiness
from the fingertips of Nurse Gina--
don't bogart it.
Don't think that this is anything but transformative.

The Sisters have seen
how you fail;
how you have fallen open like a dropped cardboard box in the rain.
They have seen how the very bones within you have drifted,
leaving your tired spirit to gasp on the sidewalk of sickness;
They come as you expire,
bedeviled,
so weary that rain stops half way to your face, as you look to the skies.

Now,
Nurse Gina appears.
She will not clip tedious notations and reports to the foot of your bed,
nor crank it to an upright position like some angelic elevator operator.
No.
She will climb in with you,
her skin miraculous and dark from the sunny cliffs at San Creola;
you will believe that a compact and very feminine sun has covered you,
and she has.

Here is a new narcotic,
one of healing,
one that sharpens perception
even as it soothes the overburdened lonely chambers of your heart.
Kiss her, and know that you are loved--
not only by Nurse Gina and the whole of the Creolan Order,
but by the Goddess herself.

She has reserved for you a holy bounty
which She created even before the seas themselves--
the seas Our Lady presides over at her sacred birthplace,
where the waves undulate and smooth themselves over every trouble
just as Nurse Gina does
in the restorative hour before dawn,
when she reminds you of who you are
and why you are worthy
of her tender attentions in the first place.
_________

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

IT'S HERE ! OUR NEW BOOK !

Hello, readers! What do you suppose three cultured, educated, lovely ladies might get up to of an afternoon?

Three beautiful, sunny lasses, with a will to work a wonder, what might they do???

Well, if they are Mama Zen, queen of the short form and a natural born storyteller; Hedgewitch, noted form maven and mistress of the mythological; and Fireblossom....um....celebrated doorstopper, they might combine to write a book. And we did!

Our book is called Gemini/Scorpio/Capricorn, and it contains three sections, one with my poems, one with Kelli's, and one with Joy's, plus a little surprise featuring each of us, at the end of the book.

I speak for all of us, I'm sure, in thanking Marian at ALL CAPS PUBLISHING for helping us make this book a reality!

Even Catblossom can't contain herself: "It will do, if there's nothing on cable. Besides, Simpson is good looking."

I have wanted to do this since forever; putting this book together with such talented friends only makes it even nicer.

Now go buy it. We need the money!
________

"carpe diem" sign created by Dani, my Sista Poet!

___________

Whoa, hold the phone! My collection of short stories, Night Blooms, is also available! 

Buy it, too! I still need the money!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Submarine Edvard Grosk

The submarine Edvard Grosk is a tiny pocket of air and humanity,
folded around itself--
an oblong envelope of warm life,
a kind of metal pita making extreme depth and enormous pressure survivable.

Aboard this vessel is Blonde Katy, the sailor's friend.

There is no official roster on which her name is recorded,
and yet, she is there,
gloriously naked beneath a rough green blanket,
on a bunk mid-way between the sun and the Earth's fiery core.

There are things she will do--
things not just anyone can do, 
things that make the windowless months less nightmarish.
There are islands,
stars,
beautiful prayers offered from blameless lips,
but do any of them exceed Blonde Katy's soft skin in life-saving magnificence?

Like the submarine Edvard Grosk, she was born in Gothenburg,
or was it Oslo?
Whatever the case, she was a rider beneath her mother's ribs,
a miniature ship in dry dock,
until she came down the greased skids as a water baby,
meeting her natural element and taking to it thereafter;
Blonde Katy, swimmer in the clear pure sweetness of a maritime calling.

Is there any priest, any beautiful figurehead,
who could claim hearts the way that Blonde Katy can?
Why, the captain himself relies upon her.
Her long fingernail trailing along his absurd hairy stomach is more telling,
more revelatory, than any computerized graphic or sophisticated sonar available.

If God were to pluck a burning star from the Pleiades or the Southern Cross,
and hold it in the darkness of His palm,
it would uncannily resemble
Blonde Katy aboard the submarine Edvard Grosk,
164 fathoms beneath the surface of the sea.

Finding yourself there,
one Divine whim away from being flung into oblivion,
would you kiss her?
Would you sleep with her,
though you be male, female, or companionway rivet?
Would you quibble over trifles, or bleat about nonsense like fidelity
or the future?
You would not.

Blonde Katy would be your reaping angel,
and the submarine Edvard Grosk your glorious flaming chariot
bound for Home,
Heaven,
or some other as yet uncharted destination that you would know by feel
as if you were a nautilus ecstatically discovering its ideal shell. 
________




Sunday, March 10, 2013

Georgia

She first noticed Antonio when he stepped out of a mob,
holding roses for her;
a bloom for every head in the rabble.

She took him on--
her personal little rooster.
He made love to her as if in timelapse--
an ardent insect skittering adoringly along her body.
She could have kept him in a jar, or a desk drawer.

The war came, then.
The sun went off-kilter, tilting drunkenly into the further reaches of the canals.
What use, anymore, for filmmakers
or their gaudy chattering treasures wearing ridiculous gowns,
smiling automatically at the invading armies?

Her last film was a dark comedy
released with subtitles and smuggled to the West
only to languish in a storage locker,
unwatched,
as round and unheeded as the lessons of history
in its circular tin container.

Her rooster was never meant for difficult times,
and he became tubercular--
within a month, he drifted through the bedroom curtains like a ghost,
and took to living with a flock of crows
as their underling,
but yet, he was flying, wasn't he?

She missed Antonio
and the competition of auditions and readings.
Feeling bitchy and out of sorts, she joined the underground.
Wearing berets and trench coats, they taught her to handle a rifle
and to shoot fat-faced officials through the heart.
It was her ingenue days all over again.

Antonio and the now-faded diva met again after the war,
on a single occasion,
at a hotel in Suwanee, Georgia.
She ordered gin through a heavy accent,
and he flipped his good wing, tiredly.
After a silence, they both spoke at once--
"Do you remember..." they began, and then laughed.

It was, by then, the only thing to say,
and it was enough.
_______

Saturday, March 9, 2013

In The Eggshell Of My Mind

In the eggshell of my mind,
we had stolen this other chick's car--
one that went to the automobile graveyard decades ago.

I was driving.
It was a stick-shift.
We could see a small strip of pavement through the floorboards,
as blurred as we were, stoned immaculate.

No one ever did for a tee shirt what you did for that one.
it isn't that you were so voluptuous--
no, you were as you are now, slender as an umbrella handle;
but we were young,
and you were perfect.

Your breasts were the size of large oranges--
I knew this because I had studied them like scripture
only the night before,
and with the urgency of the starving.

All this while--
all the time we were driving, 
falling off the sides of bridges, 
lips together like a canning seal--

I was sleeping,
softly breathing the night in,
and then out again,
filling it, Goddess-like, with the stars that are us--
or, at least,
as I imagine us, now.

Just before dawn,
I was arrested.
They wanted to know about your hair,
and whether its blackness could be used to feather cosmonauts
as they dance, weightless, like we do.

They said to show them my hands,
and when I showed them my hands,
fields bloomed and the elk ate these blooms.
They were astonished,
but held me all the same.

Would you hold me, all the same, 
you with your Gypsy blood and your hands that hold a bottle
or a crucifix
with the same sure confidence and 
the smirk you save for holy moments?

They will kill me, 
these police with their reports;
or they will wake me,
and what will be the difference?

You and I will be older, 
gone down the river of time.
Look at all our mistakes!
I love them. I do. Better than any of the things we thought were important.

I wish these fools would let me go back to sleep, or just make me disappear
the way they are known for doing.
I won't tell them about your hair,
no matter what they try.
I won't tell them that my hands knew the little bumps that rose
around your nipples
in the afternoon
when responsible people were sober, and someplace else.

I won't tell them that I loved you,
and love you still.
There are some dreams that are the more beautiful for not being tangible.
Take a letter,
though you are not here;
take my heart,
though yours was never really mine.
Take all the gorgeous things I dream,
before they bash my brains in.
It is the least you can do
for the sake of our souls lost in the ether
like Fox and Carrot-Top.
_______

Note: Fox and Carrot-Top (or Lisa and Ryzhik) were the "Soviet Space Dogs" who made a sub-orbital flight in the summer of 1951.

"stoned immaculate" is from "Texas Radio & The Big Beat" by The Doors.

This is for Izy's Out Of Standard at Real Toads. She says to take three words from a job we hated, and use them in a poem that is NOT about that job. I once worked at a specialty grocery store, many years ago. My words are eggshell, oranges and canning. I might add that I showed up for work drunk as a seaside whore one day, and so my words could also be stoned, bottle and mistakes. 



Friday, March 8, 2013

Sea Change

I was a gatherer of rhythms and tides,
weaving the unspoken into every wing.

I knew the language of the high grass, and was wife to the Sun--
I was opened and lined with light;
in return, I bore the whole green world from within myself.

I gave everything to the flow of currents,
until I was nearly erased, a shore-stone smoothed and smaller.

I let myself lie in the curve of the lunar crescent, then;
I became a kind of egg; a cocoon. 

See how I am now gathered and spread, myself,
on a loom of silvered night-water--

Sea-changed, I kiss only the Moon. 
I am both mother and child, a surface rising.

I embody what some have called betrayal,
but what I know is just the cello-round within me, humming.
_______ 


for Margaret's challenge at Real Toads