Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Cat Child

My cat child
brings order where there was none.
Let's not talk about the walnut shell of my womb,
empty birthplace of dust.
Let's talk about my cat child, proud with powers, handy with struts.

Now, listen--
I have forgotten all about you.
I've heard that I was in love once, but who knows?
Show me the evidence; I'll yawn elaborately, and my cat child will agree
that such stuff is dull in the extreme.
Dead fish, on the other hand, become more riveting every minute.

You would not have understood my cat child.
At least, that's my foggy instinct about it.
You would have objected to the damage, the piss and the fleas.
The rumor is, cats were royal once,
and I need the reflected glory and the chance to sleep during the day.

Right now, my cat child is away.
She is hungry for mice, songbirds, or someone's leg.
Me, I don't eat anymore, can't recall why I ever did--
I remember nothing, value nothing, aspire to nothing. 

But once,
The feel of my mouth closing gently over the curve of your soft lower lip
seemed such an urgent thing,
like warm waves for mermaids,
a place I would do anything to get to.
Yes once,
the sight of your dark hair sent warm honey over my heart,
my belly,
my sex, 
and everywhere, my love, from my skin to the stars.

Now, though,
I have forgotten all that.
What were we talking about? I have no idea.
Now there is only the glare of afternoon
and the magnificence of my cat child who has given me nine lives--
none of them worth a damn,
all as dead in the mouth as a finch with a broken neck.
_______         
     

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Wait

Waiting is important--
it gives clocks something to do.
Besides, why be in a hurry for the doctor to walk in,
delivering bad news like dark babies
who stare like cats and talk early but only to curse and mumble?

Oh cheer up, you'll say.
Just wait. Things will get better.
The French will quit smoking and forgive Hitler.
That shit in the fancy jar really will make you younger.
"Bro Country" will disappear from the charts,
and the Kardashians will kill themselves.

Waiting is, after all, an action--
it is "why not?" when the "why" has been seized and sold for taxes.
Each day, more fodder for the faithful:
Good morning, please vacate the premises within 30 days.
Good afternoon, it's over between us and I'm already with someone new.
Good night, you're dying but no one will be there to meet you--
they've all joined the jihad on the other side.

Wait instantly with new technology.
Clocks, doctors, lovers, true believers, all irrelevant and shown the gate.
You're next. Just wait.
_______

for Bjorn's challenge at Real Toads: "Waiting For Something Good....Or Not." 
 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

One Does Not Simply Walk In

Dread is a useful emotion--
it's nature's way of telling you something's wrong.

As the rodent considers the feline at the mouth of the burrow,
as the passenger considers the drunken buffoon sliding behind the wheel,
I consider your stupid bedside radio
playing your unbearable soporific radio station,
and dread of the next thirty years overtakes me.

It is then that I know that I-eye-eye
will not always
love you-OOOOooooooo.

However, one does not simply walk in,
turn one's delicate bangled wrist sideways,
and start blasting as you lay in bed dreaming of the stupid shit that fills your head.

One must endure the outings at your suggestion,
the lame, candy-cute destinations you choose for us,
eating away my free hours like a virulent, if wholesome, cancer.

I thought loving another woman would be better.
I thought there would be good sex (there was),
that my life would be free and fine and full,
and that it would rain ten dollar bills every afternoon at four.

I know now, that no sanity-saving modicum of happiness
will ever slip through the customs house of your insecurity,
the labor camp of your unreasoning jealousy,
or the passive-aggressive pogrom of your thoroughly fucked up personality.

One does not simply walk in and slosh an accelerant pell-mell.
One does not, then, offer you a light for the very last time,
gallant butch to the end.

But if one is lucky, very lucky,
one simply wakes up, and the offending clock radio isn't there.
YOU aren't there, and the dread slowly ebbs away,
giving way to gratitude and an intoxicating elation.

See how happy you have made me, how ever long it took?
One does not simply accept such bounty as one's due.
To do so would be to dishonor the Goddess who, in Her mercy,
gave me the great boon and gift

of your absence.
______

For my Fireblossom Friday challenge at Real Toads--"Dread".

 
"A circus of horrors, yeah that's what you are"--John Fred and his Playboy Band

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lost Birds

Lost birds, soft as smoke
fly above a dry burning land--
they don't stop to rest in bare black trees--
lost birds come straight to your hand.

Lady gentle as the touch of death,
so beautiful, like a lost bird's song--
they sing, so sure you're their homeward star--
but they're wrong, those birds, lost and wrong.

Lost bird finds out when you stroke its wing--
lost bird lost Heaven, lost everything.

I've seen how you make fruit from flower
and leave a stem curling brown on the branch--
I've seen how you look at the ripening rows--
and the barbs on the fence where the night birds catch.

Lost birds come all the way from Mexico
caught in crosswinds east then south--
all just to bring you a Spanish song
from a lost bird's throat to your calico's mouth.

Lost birds lose whatever they bring--
lose sky, lose Heaven, lose everything. 
______

for magpie #295.



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Michigan Apple Pie

This morning, there was
a cup and a quarter of flour, with its nubbly surface reminding me
of the old-fashioned patterned white bedspread in our room.

There were
ten tablespoons of cold butter, such a sweet yellow,
like November sun above the newly bare trees outside our kitchen.

Funny how a twelve-inch circle of dough
can fit into a nine inch pie pan, by rolling and unfurling it
with the pin. Did you know how your smile captivated me, and still does?

I like a lattice top--
there is an art to weaving the strips one over the other,
inviting and concealing, both. I say "I love you" every day, then hold my peace.

Right now, I can smell the apples
in the oven, and some still in the green bowl I always use,
sliced and ready, but too many. Still, I'm in no hurry to put them away.

Tonight, there will be pie--
you will have seconds, then smile and say how full you are.
That is your favorite moment, but as I rinse dishes before coming to bed,

I'll be thinking of morning, and how the kitchen was clean, quiet and ready.
_______

For Play It Again Toads #23. I used Bjorn's "Time Travel" challenge, which asks for a poem using past, present and future tenses. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Stars and Such

I'm tired of the mudmouthed,
with their venom lips--
wasp's nests on neck stalks, talking all day.

There must still be a place on earth
where a woman can do nothing and do it marvelously--
I want to wear clothes so soft they make birds jealous.
I want to sleep during daylight, in turquoise silence.
I want you, wordlessly, like always.

In that place, I could amaze with the impossible,
saying exactly what I need, simply and at last.
There, the moon would rise--
a hidden spring matching my pulse points;
turning to stars and such, I would be

Brilliant, beautiful, but with warm bare skin you could touch.
______

For "The Heart's Desire" at Real Toads.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

In The Time Of Dinosaurs

In the time of dinosaurs,
we were happy.

In the nights of silent spinning planets,
you could reach for my hand,
and it was there.

Since then, the sun has risen a thousand million times,
and has set as many, 
less one.

Now they have discovered
that monsters are more than bones--
we knew
that they were birds all along.

This afternoon, a comet will come, in all its rarity--
then a cloud.

Who knows what happens after that?
But, until then, 
before I turn to dust,

Here is a sound I call a song
in a language we called ours.
_____ 

By Morning, Disaster; By Afternoon, Despair

What the fucking hell is this?
Another dunning, a fresh demand?
Passed like poison from the hand
of the postman, Satan's accomplice?

What's this annoying stupid shit?
Disguised to look as if it matters?
Faux certified, in official patterns
denoting nothing, largely writ?

Begone, hateful courier in blue!
With your clanking keys on a pocket chain!
With writhing form and crawling brain,
daring to stamp it "postage due!"

Sure as pestilence, slow as a snail!
Stuffing my slot with each babbling ad--
driving me nervous, driving me mad!
Curse you, eagle who bird-bombs the mail!
_____


Mailed in, for Susie's challenge at Real Toads. She asks us for the real thoughts behind the faces in John Millais's portraits.

Historical note: Up until the early 1950s, there were two mail deliveries each day, morning mail and afternoon mail, hence the title.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Book Review: "The Hidden Life Of Humans"

The Hidden Life of HumansThe Hidden Life of Humans by Erika Ritter

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


First, the good: this book had a really cute cover. Now, the bad, which is all of the rest of it. Have you ever had a friend who couldn't just say a thing simply, but instead had to get sidetracked into endless pointless tangents, or who tried much too hard to be clever, until you just wanted to shake her and shout, "Get to the point!"? Erika Ritter is that friend.

She's terrifically fond of similes and metaphors. Especially long unnecessary ones that go on and on. The story here is simple: forty-something television writer Dana fills her life, such as it is, with meaningless hook-ups with married men. Lo and behold, she falls in love with one of them, an annoyingly British one named Carl who is basically full of manure. Will she ever realize she could have more out of life? Will she ditch these bozos and move on? Does anyone care what she does by the time they've slogged through almost 400 pages of her self-absorbed nonsense?

Oh, I almost forgot. About 10% of the novel is narrated by a dog named Murphy. That's the cleverest, best part of the book. The rest of the time is taken up with Dana's boring life, her incredibly irritating friend Karen--who calls Dana "Katie", because, teh quirky--Dana's imaginary conversations with people who aren't even really there, which drag on for eons, and of course, the obligatory and endless similes and metaphors.

If you want to read a terribly over-written novel about a not very interesting woman, a novel that never will grab you or make you curious about how anything will come out--except for the sainted dog--this is for you. Otherwise, drop this turkey off the nearest cliff and run away.



View all my reviews

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Fashion Sense Of Scarecrows

The fashion sense of scarecrows falls somewhat below
what one might wish for or expect, but let me be direct--

We are here by dint of some master's splintered stake,
charged with undertaking to repel, not attract

Those 24 that you've not caught, killed, tricked or baked.

The moral sense of scarecrows is something not often considered
as something pertinent to hired foreman or spurned bird,

But ruminate on this, as we have, long nights among the stalks--
envy of avian creatures gives rise to unwonted nocturnal talks

About how to catch and kill the critic, and leave him rotting intestate. 
______

10 lines it took me for-freaking-ever to come up with, for Kerry's "Eye of The Beholder" mini-challenge at Real Toads!

   

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Advice Communist

The "Life" section of the Detroit Daily Worker begins 
running a column called "The Advice Communist" alongside
state-sanctioned recipes for cornbread pie and
tips for decorating your collective factory.

Dear Advice Communist, writes Cheryl from Oak Park,
My mother wants a big church wedding, but my fiance
doesn't. They fight continually about it and I am in the 
middle.
Please help.

The Advice Communist reads the letter carefully, adjusts his
pince-nez, then composes his response:
There is no God, therefore your mother is a czarist symp-
athizer. 
Inform the authorities about her. Then after she
disappears, get married by a noble worker in the bed
of his state-manufactured farm truck.

Nancy from Southfield writes, My relatives from Frankenmuth
are visiting for Thanksgiving, and I am worried because
they don't control their bratty kids. What can I do?

Dear Nancy: Drive back the fascist swine with a withering hail
of machine-gun fire, followed by  mighty waves
of infantry. Pound them with artillery until nightfall,
then let the Michigan winter do the rest. If the cowards abandon
any of their indoctrinated swine-children, put them on
a train to the gulag. Happy Holidays!

The Detroit Daily Worker also runs the "Peanuts" comic
strip, featuring noble proletariat Lucy and 
capitalist puppet Charlie Brown. 
______

For De Jackson's "Let's Get Jambin' " at Dverse Place of Counterproductive Intoxication, and, of course, for the glory of the worker!

"The Advice Communist" first appeared as part of a May 7, 2011 post at my satire blog Objets D'art

Friday, November 6, 2015

Successes, Enumerated

I.

Congratulations! I didn't get the job.
Useful degrees never bore my name,
but the inside covers of used paperbacks did.

Tolstoy, Ferlinghetti and Bronte made poor references,
had no current phone or email,
and though I came to know them well, they had little to say about me.

Way to go! I stayed for years in part time positions
because there was staring out the window to be done,
bad poetry to be written,
and rain to be contemplated.

II.

Fan-freaking-tastic! The acrimonious divorce,
the shit-canning of thirteen years of trying to be
straight,
responsible,
respectable, and all that jazz.

So sorry, Mr. and Ms. Notgoodenough.
Hello, solitude. Hello to bashing away at the hunk of marble
inside of which I had been hiding.

I got rid of my slave name.
I loved several wrong but exciting persons,
too much and briefly, but oh boy. (though most of them weren't.)

And now here I am. Ta-da! 
With the house on fire,
my tail on fire,
and my words on fire.

Don't call 9-1-1, I want to burn.

III.

Somewhere, in some non-existent suburban shadowland,
there is a sensible person who put her books away
along with her red shoes.

She is liked, I guess, by all,
whoever she is,
blinking on and off as required, like a traffic light.
______
 
For Izy's Out of Standard at Real Toads.

 
 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Novembre

Born with a Fleur-de-lis birthmark,
I said, "De la paix du ciel, 
je suis venu pour la guerre."

Lamb, lioness, God's own girl.

Now, in autumn,
I light candles for those I pray for,
and dance on the graves of the rest.

A strong heart waits for you,
My Love,
here in my body's dust.
_____

A 55 for Kerry.

"De la paix du ciel, je suis venu pour la guerre." = "From the peace of Heaven, I have come for the war."

 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Reconsidering Liars

"Let there be light."
Did you think
He had it just lying around?
The sun, the stars....all made up.

Billy Robinson was an upstate New Yorker of Scottish ancestry,
a magician who reinvented himself
as Chung Ling Soo, Chinese conjurer,
ripping off most of his act from another vaudevillian.

His wife Suee Seen was really named "Dot." 
They weren't really married.
She was as American as he was.

Consider this:
"America" is a construct. 
You start with trees, bears and native tribes,
kill most of them, plant a flag and
Voila! America. Something that wasn't there before,
like a rabbit out of a hat.

You'll argue that it was there, just different,
like "your" card, now at the top of the deck every time,
fanned in the illusionist's hands.

Watch and learn, padewon.
Billy Robinson whipped lather in a mug and shaved off his moustache,
used greasepaint to darken his complexion,
threw on some bright Oriental robes,
and started banking the cash from the suckers who came for his act.

God would tell you,
ya gotta have a gimmick,
whether you call it Manifest Destiny or The Ten Commandments.
Billy's was a stunt he called "Condemned to Death by the Boxers."

Marked bullets were loaded into rifles wielded by stooges in costume;
the weapons were rigged not to fire,
but Chung Ling Soo would appear to catch the deadly missiles with a china plate.
However,
the sun and stars are slowly burning themselves out,
and the rifles became worn with cleaning.

Bam! Bam! And down went Billy, right there on stage.
"I've been shot," he said, in astonished perfect English.
You can look on Wikipedia today and find Chung Ling Soo's whole story.
Do you think that if he had stayed Billy,
kept his moustache,
and sold tam o' shanters in a shop all his life,
that anyone would remember him now?

Let there be light,
how ever it is made, and how ever far it has to travel
to get here.
________