Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Black Bird In A Blooming Tree

I am a black bird in a blooming tree.
I am a spell bag suspended on a bright string cord.
I am a confession left incomplete,
spoken in a voice as soft as the turning stars.
_____

PS--under the heading of boring minutia, March marks my 7 year blogoversary.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nice

I tried to be nice,
but when I opened my mouth, ghosts on fire flew out.

People started calling me the Dragon Lady,
but the dragon was its own creature,
sitting inside my bones switching its tail.

I crawled inside of myself to see, and what I saw was this:
The dragon had no arms,
no legs,
no wings,
no spines,
but it had a heart and the heart was full of broken glass.

I tried to go back, but the dragon whispered in my ear,
offering a deal.
"Take my heart, make your womb a shell."
Nine months later I gave birth to a little bad tempered sun.

Everywhere I go, people call me Mother Light,
but they are shadows, and I can't find a real soul among them.
Kiss me;
me and my dragon.
We're lonely.

I tried to be nice, but my heart was a dragon's child,
and my mouth made ghosts on fire that no one could love,
though I wanted them to, so badly,
all the more for having no body, 
no face, 
no ash or angel that I could call my own.
_______

 
 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Rawr!

Hey hey POPcorn here! POPcorn!
pop pop
some kid stomping on an empty cup--
POP!
Heyyyyy batta batta batta....
Pop! Over here! Hey! Pop!
Today's line ups....batting first and playing center field...
Hey Coke! Two up here!
POPcorn, peanuts! POPcorn!

Tiger Stadium
Comerica Park
cold and windy
sunny and 70
Play ball!

pitcher nods, rocks,
let's it loose...

Hey hey Ti-gers! Hey hey!
Ice cold pop here! Ice cold pop!

seams spin
ball dips dives
batter swings

Pop! In the catcher's glove
STEEEE-rike!

Baseball.
____

My oldest and most enduring love, which returns every spring. For Corey's prompt at Real Toads.



 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Book Review: "The Curious Incident Of the Dog In The Night-Time"

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


What a different book. The narrator, Christopher, is a fifteen year old special needs kid who is a math whiz, but who has a lot of difficulty understanding other people, and dealing with them. When he discovers his neighbor's standard poodle dead in the yard, he decides that he will do detective work and discover who the killer was.

I knew this book would be offbeat--and that I would probably love it--when it started off with chapter 2. The book turns out to be one that Christopher is writing about his investigation, and he numbers his chapters with all prime numbers. His narrative wobbles from trying to find out who killed Wellington the dog, to all sorts of random subjects such as life in outer space, or lists of things that interest him. Sometimes his skewed observations are weirdly on target, seeing everything as he does from a very unusual perspective.

Christopher is hampered a great deal by his inability to filter out unnecessary information. If he sees cows in a field, he knows how many there were, what colors they were, and can recreate the spot pattern on a particular cow by drawing it. Unfortunately, this overload of information often causes Christopher to become overwhelmed, and then he can barely cope.

One thing I should probably mention is that to my American mind, the Britspeak was hard to follow sometimes. Yards are gardens, cookies are biscuits, tea is a meal, and so forth.

It's a quick read, and certainly a unique and entertaining one. For a novel about a boy who doesn't really understand humanity very well, this book has a great deal of it. Recommended.



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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Army Wife

When I met her she was enlisted--
a serious chick soldier turned out in
army surplus
resale.

Take off your damn boots, I told her.
I don't want it looking like Napoleon came tromping across
my precious Persian
rugs.

On a rainy afternoon, we walked to the mm yum bakery--
me in a white jacket like a ski trooper,
but she detected me with kiss
reconnaissance.

In September she moved in, when the sky was that spectacular blue.
We're cat and commander, redeploying this and that
to make basic barracks accommodate my girly curl
rococo.
______

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: "Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 1, 1884-1933"

Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol 1, 1884-1933Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol 1, 1884-1933 by Blanche Wiesen Cook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


After seeing the PBS series about the Roosevelts, I wanted to find a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt that would tell me about the human being more than the public figure, and this was the book I was looking for. However, though it is well written, extremely well researched, and informative, I have to say it was very hard to get through, and I had to set it aside for a while when I was half way done; I just didn't want to know THAT much about anybody, and Blanche Cook never met a detail she didn't like. She appears to be writing for posterity, which is fine--but I really didn't care that ER had lunch with this one and that one, who was married to some other one, and what organization each one was from, and what they had to eat and every word that was said. It wore me out, quite frankly.

ER herself was clearly an incredible woman, even more so for having overcome so much in her life: her adored father's alcoholism, the early death of both her parents, Franklin's betrayal of her with Lucy Mercer, and having to live in the fishbowl of public life when she very often would have liked to go her own way. She was a woman of great courage, compassion, foresight and dignity. All of that is shown here. The feminist viewpoint suits the subject and Cook brings to life a flesh and blood Eleanor, not just some classroom cut-out.

My favorite chapters were near the end of the book, when she describes ER's close relationships with Earl Miller and Lorena Hickok. Like Janis Joplin, ER seems to have been a woman of prodigious talent but also, a hungry heart.

Even though ER was a mold breaker who showed that a woman's place doesn't have to be in the home, I still found it extremely odd that Cook could go into such teeth-grindingly minute detail about a great many things, but had very little to say about ER's relationships with her five children. Daughter Anna gets a handful of pages, while the sons get barely a mention beyond going off to Groton boarding school at the appointed time. Call me quaint, but I don't think you can know a woman very well without knowing how she is with her children, and Cook barely goes into that at all.

Great subject, tireless biographer, but dear God, I thought I would never get finished with it. (And this is only Volume 1, events through 1933). I'm glad I read it, but I'm glad it's done; I can't really recommend it except to the truly dedicated.





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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Teas

"Here are my teas," you said,
fingers light on the smooth white 
inside of the cupboard door.

Tucking red hair behind your ear,
you recited them:
"Darjeeling," (drawing out the "ing")
"Mood Mender," (stressing the "M"s)
and "China Black...?"

You carefully fold back the little flaps
of one lucky box.
"Mmmm, smell that," you almost whisper.

Then, the kettle whistling,
the pretty, empty teacups on the table,
and you, with a cat's cool,
serving tease.
_______

Exactly 75 words for Margaret Bednar's "Play It Again, Toads #15. The photograph at top is hers.  I selected Mama Zen's Words Count from last December 10th, asking for the use of homophones. (Are they some kind of specialty cell phone? I've got to get my hands on one!)

 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

1972

Here is a lily, love.
See that y'never doubt me.

I have things to do this morning--
I can't confess them, and even if I wanted to,
they have burned the churches down in Belfast and in Derry.

Here is a kiss, love.
Do you need a promise, to know that I am true?

Bodies are fragile things,
and that is why I touch yours so tenderly,
as if you might be torn away from me in an instant.

You might, love.
There are still snakes everywhere, no matter the fairy stories.

In her palace sits a queen, and she has everything.
Still, her fingers are never satisfied unless they make a rope
to fit my sweet white throat.

I am a banshee, love,
and so I must scream. For you though, for now, I whisper.

God made everything in seven days--
that's what a good Catholic girl can do.
I have inscribed little crosses on the pipes and in the powder.

Remember me, if I should fail.
I have cut a lock of my red hair where your lips have been,
and nested it in a silver locket for you to keep.

Here is a lily, love.
A sticky for the Easter rising. 

I am not much, love, but I'm yours, no matter what happens today.
I am just red hair and some spit for the Union Jack;
a prayer for Mary and the thing that I must do.





 


 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lies Looking For Girls To Tell Them

Lies looking for girls to tell them
gather in groups--
little ions looking for a charge.

Girls grow up greedy to spout the wildest stuff
about each other
or boys
or all the things they will do.

Girls spend hours in front of mirrors
telling lie upon lie.
I'm ugly/ I'm pretty/ that's enough/ never enough.

Girls grow and haul a whole hope chest stuffed with lies
behind them to college,
to the altar,
to the nursery.

Lies looking for girls to tell them are never lonely for long.
Diogenes ran a girls' school until he lost his mind.
The students lied and said he went sailing.

Sit with me. Talk.
Our mothers did the best they could.
We'll always be like sisters.
This tea is good.

Lies looking for girls to tell them
don't stop when friends go home.
They circle when you're
anxious
afraid
alone.

At sunset I shake all my gathered lies from my apron to the sky,
and when they work together,
oh the storm
oh the storm.
_______

 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hospital Food

It takes a certain kind of woman
to make me give up a perfectly good spot out on the ledge,
but your voice was soft,
and you were wearing those cute glasses.
The rest of your clothes were all in the laundry, and so,
I folded my wings and came back to bed,
true as a swallow.

The Spanish established missions all over the west,
and brought with them rosaries and refried beans--
all the things that they loved best.
You'll say it was the native tribes
with the best recipes for every sort of hunger, 
and that the Spanish can claim only diseases and Catholicism;
still, you kiss my silver cross
where it rests between my breasts,
and you whisper that I am the nicest nun this side of St. Anyplace.

I was blue all day until you got here, honey.
I was fidgety and cross and off my feed.
But now, here you are,
your glasses on the side table.
I love it when your knees find east and west,
your fingers curl around my ears as if they were Indian jewelry,
and you say "Eat. It's good for you."
Well yes it is, sweetheart.
Yes it is.
_______ 

for Karin's mini challenge at Toads.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Book Review: "I Was Here"

I Was HereI Was Here by Gayle Forman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


This is the newest novel by the author of "If I Stay", and the best I can say about it is that I stayed with it to the end. The story concerns Cody, whose lifelong best friend Meg has killed herself by drinking poison while away at college. The topic of teen suicide is a worthy one to take on in a young adult novel, but I don't have too much else that's kind to say about "I Was Here."

The main character and narrator, Cody, just isn't very likeable, even allowing for the pain she's in. She makes snap judgements about everyone she meets, and sticks to that--invariably negative--point of view, even despite all evidence to the contrary. Cody gets caught up in trying to prove that Meg was talked into her self-destruction by someone on a message board who calls himself All-BS. The board is a suicide "support" site, but what they do is "support" going through with it. Cody shows remarkable resolve in finding this guy, but needs a lot of help doing it, especially from a guy named Ben, or "Tragic Guitar Hero." She has him pegged as a player, despite the fact that he helps her at every turn, adopts Meg's orphaned kittens, drives her all the way from Washington state to Nevada, and respects every rule she has while breaking some of his own for her benefit. The guy's basically a prince to her, but she treats him badly anyway. I just couldn't root for her or care about her very much. I liked all the friends she jerked around a lot better than I liked her.

The story itself progresses slowwwwlyyyyyyyy. And then when the payoffs come, they aren't very satisfying at all. Honestly, read something else.



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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Ghost Who Made Love To You

The ghost who made love to you
did it on the sly.

How many times did he see me reach for you?
How many times did your body turn to crows and scatter,
each black dot turning back to look me in the eyes?

The ghost who made love to you knew it wasn't instinct that drove you.
He lived, then died, biding his time.

I was candy in a ribbed paper cup,
dark and bitter, but not dark and bitter enough.

The ghost who finally won you knew it wasn't sweetness you wanted--
not fineness,
not pleasure,
not even love.

I am a summer aster,
someone else's favorite bloom;
bone china on the teak wood in a citrus-scented room.

And you, my last, my favorite love?
You have a man, the ghost, the one you chose;
the dust, the light, the moon.
________

the watercolor of asters is by Olga Sternyk, found on her weheartit.com page.

 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Ballad of Agnes Lumpf

Agnes Lumpf changes her name to Dakota Descartes,
and starts haunting the coffee shops. 

"Don't I know your name from somewhere?" people always ask.
"You might," she responds mysteriously, putting on a face she copied from her cat.

THE CRUEL PASTRY by Dakota Descartes

Light the slipknot of brusque temptation!
Immediate zoology! Feet talking ropes in hemisphere duplicity!
Highways of dough!
Icing made from the text of dead letters!
You are the planet I cannot plumb, no matter the tenderness of the telescope.

Soon, Dakota Descartes has a cadre of rapt followers,
squinting at her from behind clouds of tobacco smoke.

She learns what the famous poet must--
how to say "In night, no sun; in day, no moon" as if it were the Gettysburg Address,
and to do so with a straight face.

"Where are you from?" her fans ask breathlessly.
"Rangoon," she replies. (She is actually from Muskegon, Michigan.)

"And your parents? Were they artistic, too?"
Dakota looks off into the half distance, 
her smile as ethereal as an Enya song.

"My father was a painter, (a plumber)
and my mother a sculptress." ( a soap opera addict and part time nail tech)

When Dakota Descartes wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry,
the President of the United States calls with congratulations.
"Oh, him," she says distractedly, waving a hand and finishing her black tea.

Global melancholy, manufactured star,
all-knowing duffers at the drop-off of aftermath's postmaster,
weary the practical nurse of philanthropy
into a crying stew of the celestial jeremiad!

This from her masterpiece, FUSION OF DOLL AND CYCLONE.

One dreary morning in 2015, 
Dakota Descartes dies from huffing hair coloring
in bathroom number six of her palatial estate.

The staff finds her.
Her tragic death seals her place in the pantheon of immortal poets.

Dakota Descartes 1977-2015. In her own amazing words:
"Death, wearing buskins, treads darkly toward the pyx."

Oh God.
Total brilliance.

Wow!
____

Image at top by Toril Fisher. Posted for Artistic Impressions With Margaret.

The words used in Dakota's poetry came mostly at random from the dictionary.

However, I made up the telescope line, and I'm kind of liking it now. Lord above.

And now, Lambs, off to "camp" with you...


Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Fox's Testimony

I was offended by the egg.
The purple-eyed featherless one inside,
suspended in goo, wouldn't even open her eyes,
and therefore believed
that her shell marked the dangerous end of everything.

She was right.
I ate her whole damn world,
and the yellow gunk on the tip of my nose condemns me.
Fly, little preposterous naked peanut;
fly straight into my stomach-nest.

It may be true that I am not the best mother for birds,
but my kits copy my every move.
They stick close, and are already skilled pilferers;
could I be more proud?
Besides, the hen is more pragmatic than sentimental.

You may get your moment yet, though--
you who judge me.
The sky, lonely for the birds that never rose,
may open and suck me and my family up into the sun,
little orange snacks to feed the fireball.

This is why the egg offends me--
I know what it has in mind.
_______

for Artistic Impressions With Margaret--Toril Fisher. Image at top is Toril's, entitled "Wanna Play?"

 
 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Left Unsaid

The time change, this forward jerk
offends God--
look it up, Poindexter. 

It will be dark again in the morning--
a half star from the night will fall like an acrobat,
and the deaf ear will snow itself silent.

All I wanted was a particular voice of yours;
the soft one, lavender-scented, rare.
I tried to let you know,

but the order of things was already skewed.
Maybe in the fall I'll get you back for one sweet reclaimed hour,
but until then, 

stay out of the chronology of my poems,
Stranger.
______

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Eurydice's Motorcycle

Orpheus, you dropped your lyre
like a tear from the Sun's eye
there at the portal to day.

Hades tricked you,
but the truth is, baby,
I wasn't behind you anyway.

I scavenged your lyre,
and while Cerberus watched,
turned it to my own purpose.

It's our own way out--
forgive us
forget us,
Orpheus.
_____

for flash 55 at real toads.