Sunday, August 31, 2014

Three

Chloe the serial killer is having the devil's own time dragging the tv pitchman's body into the weeds.

How's that for an opening sentence? Eat my dust, rubes.

She had had her thumb out--
cute as a box cutter in an angel's hand,
chin up
hip cocked
standing in the harsh shine of the rising sun.

She hadn't given a damn about limescale.
She hadn't cared how many ShamWows he had in his trunk.
Now his shitheap Hyundai is parked crookedly on the shoulder,
and one lonesome long-legged caffeine junkie is trying to stash him behind the hollyhocks.

It must be the Bohemian in her.

She has almost got him to the center of the cloverleaf when she hears something.
Shit. She's not alone.
Chloe turns in a slow circle. 
Then she sees a dark form nearly obscured in the shade of a trash tree--
it is the Queen of the Vampires in black panther form,
and she is crying.
Have you ever seen a cat cry?
They do it silently, but with their whole soul.

"Here is the place," she says to Chloe,
"where Athena, Artemis, Hestia and I used to hang out.
In those days, we killed all the developers before they could draw their first breath.
Artemis used to turn guys into jackalopes; no construction crews.
Hestia would build a fire,
and the four of us would pass the Mad Dog around.
I liked us better then."

The tv pitchman forgotten, Chloe sits down in the tall grass,
as the Queen of the Vampires resumes human form.
She continues:
"Now Athena is some muckety muck with the power company.
She lives in a condo,
and her owl is just some detailing on the door of her fucking Audi.

"He used to hunt here, swooping down from the trees,
and Artemis loved him so much, just as if he were her own.
She would coo to him like he was Head Baby at the Adorable Factory.
With a mouse in his talons.
And those big eyes.

"Arty lives with some woman who wears an ankh and runs bullshit workshops.
She's gone vegan, and doesn't even remember Orion at all.
Chloe....?" She falters.

"Yeah, hun? Tell me." 

The Vampire Queen lets out a shaky sigh.
"She...she spells woman with a Y."

"Oh, hun." 

"I know, right?"

They are silent for a long time, the tv pitchman stiffening up beside them.
"What about Hestia?" Chloe asks, putting her arm around her friend.

"She runs a B&B,
making English muffins for couples from East Candyland,
chatting them up, then washing another god damn load of sheets in the afternoon.
What happened to us, Chloe?
We were cool. Why do we suck so hard now?"

Just then, there is a rustling in the grass.
Chloe looks up, the sun seeming to traverse the lenses of her shades.
"Look what the cat dragged in!"

It's the Succubus, fluttering her black wings lazily.
"What's this?" she asks. "GSA troop 17?"

Chloe explains, shrugging a shoulder at her friend sitting next to her.
"She's feeling old and uncool."

"Fuuuuuck," says the Succubus wisely,
as she and the charming serial killer lift the Vampire Queen to her feet.
"What you need is some coffee, lady.
And guess who's sitting in your favorite booth at Danny's as we speak?"

The QOTV sniffles and wipes her face with her sleeve.
"Uh...Emmylou Harris maybe?"

"Nah. Even better. The Dark-Haired Chick."

"She not in Toronto?"

"Nope."

"Not in Chicago?"

"Nuh uh."

Not in L.A.?"

"She's at Danny's, waiting for you, you silly shithead. C'mon. I saw a Hyundai we can steal. We can be there in fifteen minutes."

So the three of them step over the dead tv pitchman and in fourteen and a half minutes,
they are at Danny's Coffee Shop,
once again the cool queens of caffeine.
_____

black night hollyhocks
Although I only used one word ("queen") from the list, it was mood wings's word list that inspired me. This is also for the Real Toads mini-challenge. Kelly Letky's photograph "Dance With The Ghosts of Tomorrow" made me think of the spontaneous scrub that springs up in unused patches of land, like next to freeway interchanges. The top image is hers. 

Athena, Artemis and Hestia are the "maiden goddesses".

Diana the Huntress (Artemis)
Dedicated to cool girls everywhere.  

 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Creola the Kind

Hive-heads, you human honeycombs of disordered thought,
drip yourselves out of day rooms across the complex.
You have been made to feel like ants in a land of bustling giants,
each one of them wearing enormous, iron-soled clown shoes,
and I'm here to tell you--
things are about to change.

Come out to the green paradise of the asylum courtyard,
where morning glory and clematis vines climb the catatonics.
Which the cleric, which the classic presenter?
Come to where the learned diagnostician finally shuts his yap
and sits the fuck down 
on a pretty, donated bench depicting tiger swallowtails in flight.

Feel that? Inside your poor flood-damaged skull?
It isn't the medication.
This is real.

Even if you aren't Catholic--
though the mind reels at such easily remediable error--
Creola the Kind can help you.
See her enter by the main gate, with a cheetah on a chain.
The tethered cat is emblematic of the mind caught up in the Play-Doh sludge of encumbering madness.
Enter the healer.
Enter the liberator,
Creola the Kind.

As she joins you in the garden, 
she brings with her the sea breezes characteristic of the Creolan Mission,
though this institution exists landlocked,
blighted,
sandbagged into torpidity by a ballast of text books and dogma.
At the touch of her hand on your cheek,
you begin to feel something nearly forgotten,
as if she carries in her fingers a series of bees
who introduce peace, and a spreading sweetness.

Forget about your doctor.
Her nervous condition has become acute,
causing her to build elaborate nests out of prescription pads.
To burn sacred candles there would only result in disaster.
Instead, my dear florid crazies,
lean into Creola's offered remedy like infants at the breast.
Watch the clouds float by like milkships,
honeyships,
sending nets over the side and into your stormy constellation of symptoms,
plucking you new and gleaming from the tempest.

She is a fisher of men, and more particularly of women,
sent here with your own personal Bonus Round from God.
She is Our Lady of the Falling Piano,
Creola the Kind.
________

written with inspiration from a word list invented by mood wings!

image: the ridiculously cool Cristina Scabbia

 
 
 
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kiss The Scarecrow

Kiss the scarecrow.
Go on,
you've waited all year for this.

Through mincing, droolmouth springtime.
Through a summer of blindlight hiss.
Girl, go kiss that scarecrow.
For the hit, for the high, for this.

Mama found nine black feathers
in your sheets, your skin, your head.
She slapped you smart with an open fist;
next thing, Mama's dead.

Kiss the scarecrow.
Go on,
step quick between the stalks.

Start from the porch where the black bell hangs.
Cat's cradle noose in the dark.
Girl, go kiss that scarecrow.
Til it tremble, til it burn, til it talk.
______

Image from weheartit.com. Inspiration from mood wings.

  

Bosco Speaks!

English: "Woof!"

Bosco language:

Last five minutes of your movie? Miguel Cabrera up to bat? Last ten pages of your novel? Just got comfy and half-asleep?

I'M STARVING FEED ME LET ME OUT!

Just started doing dishes? Coloring your hair? Writing a poem?

OUT! NOWWWW!
_________

Alternate version:

Bosco: woof!

Translation: "I love you, Mom!"

Shay: Awww. I love you too, Bosco! What would I do without you, huh?
_____

Image from weheartit.com.

For Mama Zen's Words Count at Real Toads. She asks for a little personal weirdness. I have regular conversations with my dog Bosco. I often handle both ends of it.

 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Froshus Bear!

Beware:
froshus
bear!

Froshus
bear?!?
Where?!??

(dun worry, Teddy.
I save you!)


a little bit of Monday fun from Shay's Word Garden.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

June

That June, I was on my back in daisies,
happy, high as a goldfinch on a space station.

Wait, what June?
There was no June like that.

Having begun with lies, let me continue,
but this time with bigger better lies, whoppers, impossible bullshit...

I played autoharp at Woodstock,
and made out with June Carter Cash.
On my back in daisies, out on the fringes of Yasgur's farm,
happy, tripping on chords I scored from Joni Mitchell on stage the night before.

Well that's all crap.
I was studying maps of South America in grade school,
braces on my teeth policing every word I said.
But I could sing "Jackson", both parts. So eat shit.

If I were still the debutante I once was,
poised at the top of the staircase, holding a wheelbarrow,
eager to collect my portion of gilded horse manure from the polo pasture of old Birmingham,

I wouldn't be so coarse.
June wouldn't have turned to October,
whites and yellows to browns and deep reds.

When the sun goes down, 
I like to sit in the high weeds next to the Walter P. Reuther expressway.
I am the girl guitarist of the goldenrod,
wailing blues for Toyotas and Subarus,
those invasive species that killed Detroit.

Here is the truth.
I have about reached the limit of how much shit I can take.
If Pontiac and Mercury can disappear, what can be depended upon?
A dog. Goddess bless dogs, but a morsel can distract them.

I'm wondering what can be depended upon,
when June Carter Cash must be about a hundred years old, and Johnny's gone altogether;
Carlene Carter isn't blonde anymore,
and even Emmylou Harris can't get Graham back.

Here in the goldenrod, I'm sober as a Baptist raccoon in a church attic,
six hundred miles and forty-five years from Woodstock,
but I can't help wondering if there might be a mulligan god,
whipping out second chances
and bootleg versions

of Pontiacs and Mercs,
old country singers,
and debs who kicked off their shoes
and barefooted it all the way from Birmingham to You Are Here, USA.
______

from a word list provided by mood wings.

note: June Carter Cash died in 2003. Young me always thought she was pretty dishy.


  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Athena, On The Down Side

When a girl springs, fully formed, from the forehead of a God,
certain things are expected of her.
At Wellesley, they wouldn't let her keep her owl in the dorm,
so she made the first of many fateful decisions and told them to stick it.

Athena sits inside the bus kiosk on 8 Mile Road,
the one that some drunk smashed one of the windows out of with a trash barrel.
She hasn't got the fare,
and her crappy Payless shoes aren't making the walk seem very appealing.
Beside her on the bench is a beat-up backpack.
Behind her, doing a brisk business, is a fish market that must be some alley cat's dream.

For a while, she had a waitressing job at a Coney Island place in Detroit.
Her name tag said "Minerva", and she was on her feet for twelve hours at a time,
setting down plates of gyro petas or feta omelets
for fat truckers and hip hop fakers
while Seger sang about Main Street from the speakers in the ceiling.

Athena is tired, and none of the old Olympian crowd ever calls anymore.
The number 17 Gratiot Avenue bus goes by,
heading east and spinning old plastic grocery bags into the air behind it.
Athena does not smoke or drink, at least not anymore.
She's not a bad gal; 
when she's got a dollar she buys cat treats for Shopping Cart Bonnie's little stray,
but today Bonnie's off her meds and is having a screaming match with nobody anyone can see.

Athena thinks about packing it in,
mostly because her feet hurt and her looks are gone
and 8 Mile Road is so trashy it makes a girl feel she's failed just by being there.
Three things will decide her future:

the condition of the stars tonight; their nearness, the perfection of the constellations, or their absence because of clouds or impenetrable indigo--

the number of headlights heading west on the 8 Mile Road overpass, as opposed to those traveling east. Even numbers denote harmony, odd numbers warn of injury and loss.

the activities of her owl; if the bird returns in the dawn with jewels, gorgeous poems, or small animals with fur as soft as mercy, then she will kiss his feathers and believe that she is still a woman to be reckoned with, the Keeper of the Bolts; but if the bird never comes back at all, or returns wounded, trailing a leg or a wing, she will know her own days are numbered.

It is getting dark and the fish market is closed.
The last 420 bus to the State Fairgrounds has already passed by,
and Athena is still sitting inside the kiosk, 
no place for a lady to linger for long.
She's looking for the stars,
the lights,
and the bird associated with her name when she was Somebody--
Not like now.
Not like this.
Not on a bet.
_______

for Fireblossom Friday

  

   

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: "Goodnight, June"

Goodnight JuneGoodnight June by Sarah Jio

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


I love Margaret Wise Brown's classic children's books, and so when I saw this novel by Sarah Jio in the book store, it sounded made for me.

It's about June Anderson, a New York city banker, who comes home to Seattle to dispose of her recently deceased great-aunt's book store, Bluebird Books, which she has inherited. It turns out that her aunt was close friends with Margaret Wise Brown, and not only had she saved her correspondence with the late author, but she actually (in this novel) had a lot to do with the creation of "Goodnight Moon."

Add to this an estranged sister, a new love interest who runs the restaurant next door, and a creepy rich woman who's after something, and it sounds great, right? Well, not so much, unfortunately.

Let me start with what I *did* like. The series of letters between June's great aunt Ruby and "Brownie" were wonderful, and the high point of the book, to me. I can also say that this is an easy, fluffy read, and despite what follows, I did enjoy it to some degree.

BUT...

How did this book fall short? Let me count the ways. Let's start with Gavin, the restauranteur next door. He's handsome, he cooks, he likes kids, he's way understanding and supportive, and after running into June out on her morning jog, he is instantly smitten. Seriously, he goes from "So, are you from around here?" to "Let's get married, combine our businesses, raise kids together, and oh by the way, I brought you dinner" in about three days time. Naturally, she feels the same, and even though she never gives the poor guy more than a kiss, he's madly in love. Also, he grins a lot. A LOT.

What else? There's June's younger sister Amy, who has done something wicked and evil to her, to the point that June wants no more to do with her, ever. This has gone on for years, but it's all solved in about two paragraphs, and a festival of hugs and tears not only makes everything all right again, but June adopts Amy's newborn baby after Amy expires of cancer a few pages later. Look, *I* didn't write this crap, that's really what happens.

Ditto for June the shark banker lady who, after a few days in Seattle, bopping around the bookstore finding the letters from Ruby to Brownie, decides to quit her job, sell her NYC apartment and save the bookstore she had come there planning to sell off. Every decision this woman makes, every major life change, is arrived at nearly instantaneously, and pretty much painlessly. There are no gradual changes, no believable progressions, no long internal struggles. Nope. In about three weeks, this chick completely changes her life and world view, snaps up the Perfect Boyfriend, adopts a newborn, makes up with her tragically dying sister, and--ta da!--saves the book store, complete with cameos from Bill Gates and Clive Cussler.

Did you think that was all? More than enough, maybe? There is still the cherry on top, the most barf-worthy scene in the book, where June's creepy adversary, May (May and June...cute, right? Hurl.), who has done everything from spying on June, to breaking into and ransacking her book store, walks in just as June is discovering that they both had the same father, and so they are sisters, and oh gosh, hug cry kiss, that turns out wonderfully, too! And then unicorns dance through the room and...okay, I made up the unicorns, but geez. Skip this.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

From The Mouths Of Crows

From the mouths of crows came a second sun,
pinned to the sky by a minor bureaucrat filled with holy half-light.
Marie Antoinette stepped out of a suitcase and asked, where is the other one?
The first one, and why is the jug painted blue and the sky painted white?

Did I say crows? They were not crows.
They were emblems made of ash, blowing themselves into new glass.
This is the kind of mistake I've been making, wearing the wrong clothes,
and going around selling blank subscriptions, riding on an ass.

I wept because there were pear blossoms.
I wept because it rained and a splintered bench curled green stems from itself.
Crows memorized my face, for reasons of their own.

Under a second sun, a second spring,
false, crafty, from which I hid in the shadows between ivy leaves.
A city worker collected blood from the pavement. I heard a cardinal sing.
See the light in bands, refracted. See how the night, resurrected, weaves.

I wept because wandering dogs were removed by ordinance.
I wept because they had blessed my cold sleep with their simple comfort.
In the morning, the crows in their kindness gave me back my face,

then flew away
forming circles
like smoke rings.
______

 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Goodnight Kitty

Excuse me.
Please lie down on this plate.
I will watch over you while you sleep.
If anything happens, just jump inside my mouth.
I will rock you on my big pink tongue.
Wear these bread pyjamas.
Just trust me.

Believe me,
despite our differences,
I am here to protect and serve you.
Say goodnight to the cameras, it's past your bedtime.
Goodnight stars, pop-popping in the street.
Goodnight moon, goodnight air.
Kitty's here.
Kitty cares.
__________

for the real toads mini challenge. my absurdist take on the nauseating, paternalistic, entitled, baffle 'em with bullshit, tone deaf authorities in Missouri, USA.

apologies to Margaret Wise Brown, author of the beautiful and beloved children's book "Goodnight, Moon".

 


 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hands Up Don't Shoot

Can someone please tell me


what in the hell

is going on

in America right now?

When one person is denied justice

we are all denied justice.

Hands up, don't shoot. Justice for Michael Brown and all human beings.



 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Devils

Devils stole my face before I drew my first breath,
and so the laughter of devils became my lullaby.

Mothers were scarce, though I searched for them
sang for them; I was a mermaid with a tail of shame.

I had no face, so I stole other faces.
I never realized that they had been left by the devils, for me to find.

My faces were kissed, but the lips weren't mine.
My faces were mocked,
stabbed,
turned to nightmares;

I went to a wedding in a false face, and the wedding was mine.
The devils congratulated us.

I drowned a hundred faces in every spirit I could lay my hands on.
They grinned, vomited, and ate words the devils gave them.

I would have died, you know;
many times, I wanted to die.

In the time before my first breath,
in the time before devils,

I was loved. Someone told me that, and from then on, inside my head,
was a church made of those words.

Mothers were scarce, and so I turned to the Mother of All.
I said, I have no face. She said, use Mine.

Devils are everywhere, on top of skyscrapers,
wrapped around the wheels of city buses,

killing the best of us, killing the spirits of the brightest of us,
whispering in my ear like a flock of empty crows;

but someone told me that I was loved
in the time before my first breath; in the time before devils.

Someone told me that, before the beginning, I was loved,
and in a church made from those words, I kept living.

Here is a poem. Here is a little light from the Mother of All.
I said to her, in tears, I have no face.
She said to me, wandering child, use Mine.
__________


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Comic

Genius rides in the sidecar of a driverless black motorcycle
which is really a dark bird flying across the sun.

Look Ma, no hands.
There is really only one choice to make
if you are afflicted by the relentless beauty of angels--
suck it up, Bo Peep, and wave to your lovers and assorted vampires,
or make a daring leap onto the berm
and begin instantly wishing you were back on the road with sunspots in your eyes,
and who cares where the whole thing is headed.

Making funny out of don't-touch-me
can leave a person buried in a breathing graveyard,
calling for one's self, but one's self has left, or gone mute.
It's barbaric, but that is the price the muses demand,
that the genius ride that sidecar,
blindfolded,
cracking wise all the way.

All I can say is,
don't murder your angels
just because the imp in your head says to do it.
It is the angels who would have guided you home.
_______

for Get Listed at Real Toads

 



Monday, August 11, 2014

From The Curve Of A Blue Womb

From the curve of a blue womb,
the one at the far reaches,
but as close as the next breath or the first,
the last,
spun from the flung white shine of a million stars,
into this space as narrow as a letter slot,
delivered by a Divine hand into a bone bowl,
blinking,
sitting here, writing this poem.

From the curve of a blue womb,
by way of the jaws, the wound, the perpetual shriek
of the keeper, the watchman, the madwoman,
set into a ready cage,
stripped of language and sex,
set out to dry and called art
by blind idiots with broken hands holding dawn in a coffee cup.

Something has been making its way up the stalk of my spine,
by increments, by prayer, by instinct, by race memory,
an insect, an emotion, a soul-flag strung on a line,
lifted by animus, by glory, by reflex, by holiness,
a mouth on a face on a body on its way
from solar plexus and on out through lips as an anthem or a gasp.

I'm telling you these things in your arms, in confidence,
in darkness, in fear, in recklessness, in sound mind,
in breakdown, in nakedness, in touch, in aphasia,
everything that curls and weaves and strikes within me,
this storm passing over the island of your body-sanctuary,
and losing strength even as strength is gained,
leaving bootprints in blood all the way from the start of the circle
to its end, a path out of myself,
through an impossible gauntlet of everyday 
spiraling up from the half-lit heavy pool of me,
aiming for an element only dreamt of in fevers and in ecstasy,
promised by absent angels speaking from the aviary of flesh and spirit combined.

From the curve of a blue womb,
I come spouting rot, nonsense, paperback scripture,
recipes for holy observance, bank holidays, disaster, doubletalk,
finding only in your kiss a distillery for spirits and the restless dead,
the quick, the clever, the blessed, the crazy, the torn apart, the unsatisfied,
the wise, the wept, and simple coneflowers
tossing like anti-aircraft gunners in the breeze
at the foot of your steps,
inviting me to at last fall into them, 
into you,
into some kind of peace I barely remember,
and which only comes back, for a gorgeous moment
when I am loving you.
_______ 
 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Realtor

Just a little sprucing up
is all this place needs.
Just some spray cleaner and big black bible to wave around,
and everything here could be restored to its original middling banality.

Come in, come stagger down the staircase clutching your left arm.
We'll throw a party, 
invite the mayor,
the cognoscenti,
and EMS.

Feel free to collapse on the piano bench.
Just blow that dust right off the keys and play!
I've always liked Percy Grainger's Country Gardens,
but if you don't know it, just bang away at the keys with your elbows
and we'll manage a dance.

Peach, I can see by the look on your face
that you think this is wasted effort.
Trust me. Just spit on the sleeve of your dress
and use it to wipe a circle of clarity on one of these lovely old windows.
Let the half-light and fog in,
as you fall to the floor in one of your fits.

I've been at this business for a while,
and I always bring spare keys and smelling salts.
Look at the ad!
"Motivated seller, no reasonable offer refused".
Let me call their agent.
We can be at her office in half an hour--
me at my professional best,
and you giddy and rambling in light restraints.

Then, in a week or two,
after the fire, but before the funeral,
I will breeze in with a housewarming gift especially for the new mistress--
Beelzebub on a chain,
ringing a bicycle bell and
asking, despite his slight speech impediment, which room is to be his.
_________

A deficient effort for the Sunday mini-challenge at Real Toads, -- " This apparent deficiency is purposely used by the poet to produce an intended effect—the reader's uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty and harshness that corresponds to the tormented attitude of the lyrical voice and to the passionate character of the poet's worldview.--and a comment on empire-building, given the current state of events around the world.