Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gemini

NASA does not, unfortunately, seem to make anything to wear
that could be termed slinky;
no little black dress.
This is what you get when you leave men in charge--
we look like kitchen workers,
or R2-D2.
Still, I am determined to win you back.

There are certain advantages to my chosen profession;
look into my visor and see yourself and everything around you expanded.
This is how I see you all the time--
bigger than you really are,
and as curved as the horizon.

Sit down, baby.
Talk to me. 
My knees buckle like poorly tested rivets
whenever I hear the pop of static that precedes your words of love.
Look at me.
Really look at me,
here trying to please you.
The peas on my plate lift right up,
they float around the room,
and I spin slowly above my chair like some stuporous Ferris wheel.

Give it one more try.
Recalibrate us, unscrub the mission,
get us on all the fucking networks; make it 1969 again.
I'm not an anomaly, sweetheart.
Remember?
I'm girl with the right stuff,
the happy ocean you can splash down in;
the Ultimate Instrument for finding your way
from a decaying orbit smack onto the landing pad of honey-I'm-home.
_________

With tongue only *slightly* in cheek for Kerry Says Can You Hear Me at Real Toads.


Monday, July 28, 2014

The Fiddler's Cat

The fiddler's cat
keeps one claw in a treble clef--
keeps one eye on the mouse that's left--
the fiddler's cat--
white but not deaf.

The fiddler's cat
caught the note she drew from you--
knows polished maple from driftwood, too--
the fiddler's cat--
can scratch and scratch she do.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book Review: "Thirteen Reasons Why"

Thirteen Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When I purchased Julie Anne Peters's new YA novel "Lies My Girlfriend Told Me" from Amazon, they recommended this book, and it sounded good, so I got it. All I can say is WOW. It blew me away.

If you've ever felt alone, discouraged, or overwhelmed, read this book.

If you've ever loved someone but felt you didn't have a chance, read this book.

If you are a parent, read this book. If you can't talk to your parents, read this book.

If you've ever wondered how a young person could not want to live, read this book. If you've ever felt that way yourself, read this book. If you need a reason to hope, read this book.

If you've ever had a "safe place", read this book. If someone has ever taken that place away, read this book.

If you don't think little things matter, read this book.

If you want to read something you'll never forget, read this book.

Read this book, read this book, read this book. Read it!

I would give it ten stars if I could.



View all my reviews



Friday, July 25, 2014

The Neighborhood Babe

Wise man say:
Quit with the pidgin already.
If you can't put together a simple declarative sentence in the English language,
the best I can offer you is a gig with the railroad.

The Neighborhood Babe leaves her rugrats at home for the evening,
and attends a night class.
Pretty soon she can dance like Ginger Rogers
and do her own taxes,
but she needs more, you dig?

Up, up the mountain she goes, that chalk-fingered Babe,
to the tippy top.
Survey says:
Location, location, location,
but there he is anyway,
the Shell Answer Man,
chewing on a Krispy Kreme.

I want to be a poet, she tells him.
He says:
Jot down a bunch of gibberish.
Everybody'll love it and toss roses at your feet,
and even if they don't,
just call your sloppy nonsense poetic license and smile indulgently.
Then come back here and fill in for me;
I need to see a man about a dog.

So the Neighborhood Babe finally arrives back home,
spouting zen koans
and making the rugrats dig a koi pond in the back yard.
At night she dreams of China--
the Great Wall turns into an undulating snake,
and she rides it, waving her hat like a cowgirl and shouting hoo-wee!
Fortune cookie say:
Though shrouded in mists, lofty heights await.
Sometimes she actually knocks her pillow onto the floor.
______

for Hannahballistic's Transforming Friday challenge!

 

 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Real Doll

I was a real doll,
dressed to the nines,
and cuter than ten puppies in an Easter basket.

I had button eyes.
My doctor shone a penlight at them and declared,
"flat affect" and started me on a prescription.

Pretty soon, my stitched-on grin
was making me popular!
Invites everywhere, filling up my screen.
Oh hell yes!
I'm telling you, girl,
I was so surprised I could have shit and fallen back in it.

Me and my doll friends wore striped stockings
and cute dresses we changed twenty times a day.
And boyfriends?
Girrrrrl.
Mine came and went like the weather--
I kept pushing their hands away from my hem,
spouting some crap about saving myself for marriage,
but I was worried what they'd do 
when they only found smooth plastic.

That's when things started to go tilt, a little bit.
Like at the beauty college,
where the Barbie with a ring in her nose took way too much off.
"It'll grow back!" chirped the cashier,
but, hello, it's yarn, it won't.

And, no matter how much Aveeno I slather on,
I'm about as soft as a baseball bat.
I turned to booze, but unlike some, I can't pee.
I tried smoking dope, but my mouth doesn't open.
I even tried hard dope, but the needles always break.
Fuuuuck.

You know what? I never went back to that doc.
Now I spend my days splayed on some little girl's bookshelf,
next to a Beanie giraffe.
Sometimes she takes me down and dangles me by my heels, 
squeaking, "Oh noooo! I'm falling out of the ski lift! 
Save meeeeeeee!"
Don't laugh, Toots, it's a plumb part.

I'm a real doll,
dressed to the nines,
and cuter than kittens in a cereal bowl.
________

 
 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Paleontology For Couples

450 million years ago,
at Angelo's,
before they remodeled,
I told you something.

I had been saving it,
relishing the moment when I would unveil it,
reveal it,
astonish you with the joy of it.

You never heard a word I said.
So, for 450 million years, I never spoke again--
here, but not here,
turned to stone instead.
______

59 words for Mama Zen at Real Toads.
 

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Review: "Paper Wings"

Paper Wings: Novel, APaper Wings: Novel, A by Marly Swick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


After recently reading Marly Swick's "Evening News" and liking it, I ordered "Paper Wings" and liked it, too. The year is 1963. Suzanne's family had just moved into their brand new house in Madison, Wisconsin, three years earlier, and things were looking rosy. Her mother had campaigned hard for John F. Kennedy in 1960, and between that and the move, seemed to be blossoming at last. Then Suzanne and her classmates are let out early from school one fateful day in November--you know the one--and she comes home to find her mother sitting on the floor crying in front of the television set, her hair half washed, and every channel showing the same news.

"Paper Wings" is a really skillful depiction of a time and a national mood, as well as of a particular family, all on the edge of changing forever. Suzanne's mother reverts to being moody, unstable, and depressed. Her optometrist father becomes more and more frustrated with her, and when she takes Suzanne on an ill-advised impromptu trip, in the middle of winter, to her hometown in Nebraska, a lot of disturbing history reveals itself.

Nothing is going to be the same for any of them, or for the nation at large. This story is about innocence--and balance--lost, all through the eyes of a young girl caught in the middle of forces beyond her control. I liked it a lot, and recommend it.



View all my reviews

Monday, July 21, 2014

Strawberry

I ate a strawberry.
You wouldn't believe
how fresh,
how delicious,
how cool and sweet it really was.

The thing is,
it was the last of a particularly fine batch.
I could have offered it to you, I suppose,
but i didn't--
in fact, 
the thought never crossed my mind.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

This Poem Is the War Bird, the Cat, and Ashes

This poem is the war bird, tethered.
This poem is the cat, crouched, waiting.
This poem is ashes, flame's dark warmthless daughters.

Once-soft Goddesses wearing gauntlets
hurry new dawns into a red sky unready;
The bones of songbirds make trinket jewelry
for these light-drunk chippies, unsteady.
It is not the war bird who is tethered to these dime store deities--
they desperately tether their silly selves to him,
his talons,
his keen eye,
asking him in a rush, blathering,
to tell them of rising, of honest blood, of sky.

Quiet becomes rare currency
in a plaza sick with ambrosia barkers.
Weaving between pillars and the busts of noble dead,
comes a common cat, traversing the markers.
It is not the feline who lives at the edges and margins,
but the noisome voided screechers calling themselves master--
vomiting,
wearing bibs,
insensible to the common cat, crouching,
stalking the dull bird under their ribs.

Here is what we did and what we were,
here and here and here. Weep for the beauty of it,
write poems and songs and marble art,
to present to these defectives--our citizens--steeped in shit.
Everything skips a generation, so the wise ones have said,
before we cored them and tore out their tongues,
all the while
pasting on a laurel wreath.
See our favored girls, pampered and scornful,
smiling ice from rot-sweet teeth.

This poem is the war bird, tethered.
This poem is the cat, crouched, waiting.
This poem is ashes, flame's dark warmthless daughters.
_________

for Hannah's mini-challenge, "boomerang metaphors".

 
 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Monsters of Me

I'm not so sure I would want to face
the monsters of me
that might have been, under different stars.

How heavy and foreign, how bizarre,
the clunky telephone and the safety glass.
What to say to the hardened, lined face on the other side?

Taken further, what about the locked ward,
what about the chilling disturb of the rolling lawn
with its markers and dates?

Then again, maybe Goddess spared enough angels
to save the other me, too.
Maybe the bars, the taverns, the prisons, the asylums,
and yes, the graveyards, had to do without me there, too.

What if, on that different Earth where the same sun seems to rise,
and where coffee brews the same, warming the hands, the body, the soul,
I should find something even harder to see?

What if there were a white-painted porch in early daylight,
a soft gray throw, and a pair of dogs at my feet on the painted boards?
What if a face as familiar as my favorite poem appeared...
what if she had lips for mine,
her body close and known?
What if I had her close at hand, there, in that other life?

What if, looking on, I didn't even know her name?
What if, having seen, I had to go back?
I wonder,

if that might be the hardest of all to bear.

_______

for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads

 
 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Partisan Oz

Yellow brick roads are fine,
but funding has to come from somewhere.
We can't just open the vault every time a twister 
blows up your skirt--
musses your hair.

Somebody ought to stop all these Munchkins and monkeys
from flying across our border like they do.
You must be THIS TALL to vote, with a picture I.D.--
this means singers and simians.
This means YOU.

Dorothy, don't think for a minute that your vajayjay is your own;
don't make eyes at Glinda Good Witch, we've got interns keeping logs.
We're the men behind the curtain--
no guilds
no gals
no dogs.
_______

for Susie's Yellow Brick Road challenge at Toads

 


 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Spiny Demon

A spiny demon fell out of the chandelier and into my decolletage,
just as the aperitifs were being served.
There is only one thing for a lady to do when this happens,
and so I went to the kitchen and boiled him in a pot
like an artichoke.

The chef in his toque
and his staff in their amazement
gaped at me for crossing an unspoken boundary line,
but I was raised by wolves
and educated at Smith--
I can snarl with accent or without.

By this time I could see the spiny demon's breath,
though it may have been steam,
or just hot air.
Concerned for my manicure,
I plucked him from his impromptu bath with tongs,
and demanded to know if he had come
to try to collect my soul.

He clammed up, so I went next door,
holding him gingerly by the tail,
into the neighbor's house,
the Land That Time Forgot,
and played stoopball with him against the inside stairs.
I used a Babolat racket
and a wicked serve to make him talk.

Borrowing the jack from someone's Audi,
I opened his gob and got the truth out of him.
He had been spitting night into my stellar disposition,
while I slept,
innocent as a kitten.
I stashed his loathsome spiny self in the dishwasher
and, departing the neighbor's house,
I kicked off my Jimmy Choos, letting my bare feet sink into the wet grass.

The sun was coming up,
as yellow as a taxi cab,
so I started all over, despite my age, and despite convention.
What the hell, Bo Peep, I said to myself,
live a little, bring down a moose,
win a Pulitzer,
get a girlfriend.
Why not?
________

for mag 228

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Book Review: "Lies My Girlfriend Told Me"

Lies My Girlfriend Told MeLies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Julie Anne Peters is da bomb, and that's all there is to it. With several young adult novels to her name already--including my favorite, "Keeping You A Secret"--she has now come out with "Lies My Girlfriend Told Me." Teenager Alix has been in a relationship for six weeks with a charismatic classmate named Swanee, and is head over heels in love. Then Swanee suddenly dies of a heart attack while preparing for a track meet, and Alix is naturally inconsolable.

That's just the beginning, though. While going through Swanee's room looking for some of her things she'd left there, Alix finds Swanee's cell phone...and the dozens of text messages from another girl. It soon turns out that Swanee wasn't all that Alix--or the other girl--had believed that she was. They soon discover that lie had been piled upon lie, and that they had both been duped by Swanee, adding a heavy dose of betrayal to their grieving.

But wait, there's another surprise! Alix and Liana (the text message girl) find themselves attracted to each other. Is it a rebound thing? Revenge? Or could it be something better than Swanee ever offered either of them? You'll have to read the book to find out!

On a personal note, this novel's storyline was a spooky bit of deja vu for me. Ten years ago, I fell hard for a woman who was a whole lot like Swanee. People like that, they seem so magnetic, but they're hollow. Alix, you deserve better!

Highly recommended.



View all my reviews



Friday, July 11, 2014

History and the Future Made Easy

Not dressed like that, said mama to teenage Joan
but it's just whistling in the wind when a girl gets that traveling jones.
She carried a cross and a blade--
that runaway, that country simple Jeanne, the Maid.

Some people ya just can't please no matter what you do--
they'll sell you out for money, and to the fucking English, too.
There's only so much a girl can take,
and that's why she said, as they tied her to the stake--

Choose me or lose me.
This half hearted half way stuff doesn't move me.
I'm the coolest bad ass girl you were ever lucky enough to meet,
so choose me or lose me--
don't try to sell me bones and call it meat.

Ms. E wore a wide-brimmed garden hat and not much else,
living off the fat of the land and smiling quietly to herself.
She say, Adam you must be the biggest fool in the room--
I didn't come from a rib, but you came from a womb.

Wind come up, sky turned dark--
snake up in the tree was double looped and double parked.
You can't handle the truth, said Ms. E as she caught a cab,
and added something about a fool not knowing what they have.

Choose me or lose me.
This half hearted half way stuff doesn't move me.
I'm the coolest bad ass girl you were ever lucky enough to meet,
so choose me or lose me--
don't try to sell me bones and call it meat.
________

for Corey's challenge at Real Toads


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review: "This Old Heart Of Mine"

This Old Heart of MineThis Old Heart of Mine by Merrill Joan Gerber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Merrill Joan Gerber's book "This Old Heart Of Mine" is a collection of her Janet & Danny stories which were originally published in Redbook magazine between 1964 and 1991. Although some of the stories are obviously a little dated (cloth diapers and safety pins! pay phones! record albums!), there wasn't a single story here that didn't draw me in, and there wasn't a single story I couldn't relate to.

Gerber has a really sharp eye for the tone and cadence of domestic life, and her stories take us through the years through Janet's eyes. In the first story she is pregnant with her first, and in the last, she is dealing with empty nest syndrome. It's like listening to a friend you've known for twenty years talk about her life.

In "Baby Blues" Janet is disturbed to find that she feels more for one daughter than the other, and she also has an unsettling encounter in the hospital with a woman whose child was stillborn. In "The Ultimate Friend", she discovers that her best friend really is the man she married.

In "Poor Katie", an unsupervised, obese, somewhat spooky and needy neighbor child gets on her nerves, even though she feels bad about feeling that way. She finds herself blaming this girl for things she may not even have done. It is Janet's oldest daughter who has a warm heart for Katie and wants to be her friend.

In "I Am...The Queen...Of England", Janet gets some kind of super flu. At first she is annoyed with her husband for ignoring her (after she asks him to leave her alone so she can rest), but then later, when he comes in to ask if she needs anything, she wonders why he can't just leave her alone. All the while, he takes care of the three girls as well as Janet, without complaint, but he doesn't do it the way SHE would do it. I found this one pretty funny. Poor Danny!

In "Touching Is Good For Living Creatures", the death of her daughter's pet quail has Janet swearing that there will be no more pets that she just ends up taking care of and then burying. Enter a stray kitten who is NOT allowed in the house...until Janet breaks her own rule and sneaks it in while everyone is at school or work. Instant flea infestation! Do I really even have to say that kitty stays, in the end?

"Hold Tight, My Love" was the most poignant story, to me. A boy, a classmate of her teenage (and youngest) daughter, dies. Janet sees the article in the newspaper and blithely mentions it to Myra. It turns out that they were close, and Janet realizes that her daughter has a whole life that has nothing to do with her; friends she doesn't know, interests she wasn't aware of, and strengths she hadn't given her credit for. A similar theme is explored in "How Can She Get Along Without Me?", which is about Myra leaving for college, and Janet's difficulty in letting her youngest go. "Bye Bye Baby" is set a couple of years later, when Myra brings a serious boyfriend home.

"This Old Heart Of Mine" is full of 25 wonderful stories running the gamut of emotions. Gerber is a talented writer, and all her stories ring true. I loved them. 



View all my reviews




Monday, July 7, 2014

Book/ Lover

I was keen to find God,
but books were closer at hand;
so I kissed words through indigo, blue, azure, 
and on until daylight.

If only your shirt were on the chair,
and your body next to mine in the soft dip of my bed;
honey, if you were close at hand,
then I wouldn't need books at all. 

 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Assclown Removal Kit

Frustrated? 
Annoyed?
Surrounded by assclowns?

You need the Assclown Removal Kit!
Includes everything to remove assclowns in one easy application!

The Assclown Removal Kit removes:
chatterboxes
slow, overcautious drivers
blowhards
pious fuckheads
whiners
passive-aggressive dipshits
know-it-alls
drama queens
personal space invaders
and more!

Kit contains fire hose, PPOs, duct tape and launch pad.

Order NOW!!!
_______

for Flash 55 at Real Toads! Feel free to grab our cool new graphic designed by Lily at Poetry of the Netherworld, at the top of this post! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wampus Cat

They said I was sneaking around,
soft-stepping,
silent as a grudge,
listening in on their conversation.

It's their council fire, you know.
They discuss lacrosse,
and similar such like.
They imagine that women burn to know what they yap about.

The shaman set aside his jerky,
and rose up.
My half-grown niece has more magic in her Juju dolls
than ten medicine men working the mystical expression.

Anyway, they think they turned me into a wampus cat
as punishment for my wicked spying.
Rare, the wampus cat
that I already was, already was, already was.

Many's the dawn when I saw white man's angels coming down;
many the feathers in my wampus cat mouth
by the time I was finished fooling with them
and the sun rose high.

Lacrosse player,
where is your wife?
Soft stepping with the wampus cat
to a place where fallen pine needles are welcoming and warm.

They said I was sneaking around;
I was.
They said the shaman turned me into a wampus cat;
too late for that.

Good thing, I think,
when men get solemn and injured like they do,
that a wampus cat, like any cat,
cannot smile and is sly enough to keep her eyes downcast.

_______

for Margaret's challenge at Real Toads! 

 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Canada Day! (repost)

Oh Canada,

Our home and native land

True patriot's love

At all thy son's command.

With flowing hearts,

We see thee rise,

The True North strong and free.

From far and wide,

Oh, Canada,

We stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land

Glorious and free

Oh, Canada, we stand on guard for thee

Oh, Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Happy Canada Day from down south in Detroy-it, eh? :-)
_______