Thursday, October 19, 2017

Croc Girl

Croc girl meets Florence of Arabia down at the Lavender Laboratory,
where a girl can get
pretentious coffee made from beans picked high in the hills
by female fingers only--guaranteed.

Later, in bed, Croc Girl can't shut up,
she's got a big mouth.
"Bla bla bla bla bla," she says, eternally,
"Bla bla bla," until the moment is lost and Florence of Arabia gets out of bed
and starts waving her scimitar around.
"Bla bla," continues Croc Girl, hating herself, but helpless.  

The next morning, alone at the Lavender Laboratory,
sipping some idiotic kind of tea and writing long, dreadfully sincere poetry,
Croc Girl feels shitty and realizes her blood sugar is low.
Ever seen a croc girl eat?
Whole boxes of Debbie Cakes down the hatch at once.
Croc Girl sits there, stomach rumbling, hating herself, but helpless.

O for the water.
O for careless thirsty creatures whose names she doesn't know.
O for croc moms who don't hover, bitching about everything.
O for peanuts and Cracker Jack, blue skies and sun all afternoon. 

Croc Girl goes down the block to the chain drug store,
spending forever in the lotion section, mooning over Olay,
Jergens, St. Ives and Burt's Bees until the tears come.
"Hold me, I need love," she says, all the time.
"GTFO," says everybody.
In a low blood sugar rage, Croc Girl sweeps all the stupid lotions onto the floor--
you don't need boardinghouse reach for that.

The next day, down at the Lavender Laboratory,
perched in a chair high enough for Seven Foot Billy, the old carnie freak,
Croc Girl sits reading a lesfic novel.
It's about Raven, or Madison, or Dakota, or some other heroine
named after a creature or a place,
who had a nasty break-up, moved back to Podunk, 
reconnected with Sally Silo,
and did it 'til LBD set in, but that's not included in the edition she's got.
"Bla bla bla bla," says Croc Girl under her breath, mocking the author's style.

Somewhere, there is mud enough for a thousand mud masks.
Somewhere, a girl can float with just her eyes above the water line.
Somewhere, a girl can wear a sleeveless dress
without some bitch saying maybe she shouldn't, with a pointed glance.
Somewhere, a girl can have a big bad-ass tail, 
long and wide enough to knock over the garbage bins.
"Say something about it," she challenges,
then realizes she has spoken out loud, 
making anorexic truants from the local high school turn and curl their lips.

Something slips inside Croc Girl, like The Golden Key Card,
and she blinks her eye in the weird way that only crocs can.
The truants all falter,
go back to their chai tea,
made only with milk from happy Tibetan goats, guaranteed.
Croc Girl slips down off her chair in one easy motion,
grins her shit-eating open-mouthed grin,
and says, "BLA BLA BLA!" 
They think she's crazy, but
it sounds like pure poetry to her.
______

Note: LBD = "Lesbian bed death"

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Starface

Doctor, what
do you think about
ghosts,
carnies,
Gypsies,
actresses,
the unstable,
the under-represented,
the unexamined among us?

Doctor, do you
mind if we talk about it?
Without academia,
pretense,
rancor,
clothes,
and completely off script,
not to mention
entre nous, in confidence, in bed, in your face, in extremis?

I'm sorry for the way I sometimes come off.
I'm like an old wheel on a new car.
One minute we're just talking and then, whoaaaaaaaaa.
It's cute how you throw your arms up to protect your face when you feel
a smile coming on, Herr Doktor.

Doctor, allow me
to introduce myself.
I am Starface, a foreign national,
face-down in the donut sugar,
charming
but
dangerous when crossed,
quiet as a mouse in the back pew at Saint Sophia's,
ephemeral as an angel, holding my cross.
Does it surprise you? The sanctity? The symbology?
Say hello to my leedle fren.

Doctor, listen
here's what I think:
There's books and lectures and all that happy hopscotch,
but I'm wondering...
Have you ever been with a Turkish woman?
Mosques, 
museums,
galleries,
aren't you sick of all of it?
Come home with me, tell your receptionist 
that you're leaving to join the circus.
I will fix you grilled eggplant with yogurt,
and show you what a Turkish woman can do before three in the afternoon.

After, Doctor,
you won't be the same,
you'll be
sweetened,
sated,
fully rehabilitated.
Doctor, what do you think
about ghosts
carnies,
Gypsies?
What is your prognosis
about me,
about this?
Say hello, ahhahaha, my captive,
my crusader, my little friend laid out on the bed like an Orthodox cross
just wild to be kissed!
______


Saturday, October 14, 2017

M-M-M-M-My Shadormas

zen master
drinks too much coffee
says to class
pardon me
leaves lotus, runs down the hall
but not fast enough
____

zen master
visits his sister
she hands him
new nephew.
our bodies are illusions
but shoulder puke real
_____

zen master
ponders the spring rain
when stupid
car breaks down.
meditation does no good--
fucking thing is shit 
_____

zen master
can control his mind
but sometimes
unlucky
erection comes at wrong time
don't stand up just yet
______

zen master
says souls can migrate
from body
to body.
unsightly skin condition
will end when you do
______

zen master
has the hots for jane
but he must
ignore this.
concentrate on breathing or
think about baseball 
_______

zen master
should avoid dairy
but didn't
and now he
hopes he will not blow sour note
while teaching flute class
______

zen master
left his trash novel
on the stand
by the bed
with just ten pages to go.
"be here now" my ass
_____

zen master
opens his chakras
to clear them
and cleanse them
wishes there was E-Z-Off
or some shit like that
_____

zen master
sleeps on a pallet
on the floor
but dreams of
room with big-ass hotel bed
escort and happy ending
_____

zen master
hates fireblossom lots
and wishes
she would stop
writing stupid shadormas
with him butt of joke
______ 



for: Fussy Little Forms/ Shadorma at Real Toads.
 

 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Space

Never mind how I got here;
I'm here, that's enough.

Dear Joiner,
take your bell cow and your suit case and your squee face
and go back. 

This is my Carnival Library--
Shhhh, quiet in the funhouse.

"Aintcha lonely?"
No. 
At least, not for you.

I'm the zero-grav cartwheel solo warp pilot.
Rogue star
shining.
__________

A 55 for my BFF.
 

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Hope Here

The hope here is
that assholes in tin hats will stop being assholes,
and that careless or caustic or even well-meaning assholes
will stop breaking hearts, not to mention bones and buildings.

Don't spread violence, worthlessness,
smack-talk, gunfire or needless sadness.
Here. I'll start.
_____

A quadrille for De.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Diving Bell

Give a girl a diving bell and she'll get the message
that you think she walks on water, or dances on it, or
some romantic fah-de-lah like that.
There was whiskey on the wreck out by the sand bar
and the barkeep went there in waders, then wondered
how he'd get back to the tavern with all those bottles without drowning.

I said, hey ho, here I am, a girl who owns a net.
There aren't a lot of us left--
not since that weird with a beard came around
and everybody wandered off to do open mic about looking up, not back.
Here's a confidence, Mr. Barkeep
(I'll bet you hear a lot of them)
I'm not forgiving those assholes.

Give a girl the time of day around here
and she'll think you walk on water, or waltz across it, or
some low self-esteem rigmarole like that. 
I'm not that way,
but I'm willing to help you get the hooch.
Alls you have to do is come around and fix what needs fixing,

Including the broken window, 
and my child who needs to hear a dopey joke.
Do that, and I'll lend you my net, and all my old boyfriends, too,
to help you stock your larder, as it were.
(Like how I said that? "As it were.")
So let's just be real, okie dokie artichokee?
Fortune favors the bold, and I'd say
it looks like I'm your lucky starfish, Captain,
ain't I?
_______

for Camera FLASH at Toads.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Scarecrow

An old scarecrow shuffles into Danny's Coffee Shop.
He stinks of moldy rain-funk. 

Chloe and the Succubus exchange a look.
"Muffin, please," says Scarecrow.

God the Waitress picks a jukebox tune.
"Not that cows and corn cob shit!" wails the Succubus.

Step back.
Step over.
Spin.

Chloe reaches out a hand. "C'mon, sailor."
Scarecrow dancing.
______

A Flash 55 for my BFF Hedgewitch.

Image at top: scenes from "Dark Night of The Scarecrow", my favorite Halloween movie, in which Bubba the scarecrow comes back to get revenge on demented mailman Mr. Hazelrigg.

 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Attached Spirit

"You have an attached spirit," said the fake Gypsy at the local event.
I liked her shawl.
She had coffee from Gas-N-Go, and a tip jar;
her booth was on a slight incline, drawing her clients down 
into her confidence, whether by eagerness or gravity.

"I was in a fire once," I told her. 
I like non-sequiturs.  
I like watching people scramble for the thread. 
She paused, then continued.
"This spirit is affecting your mood, your choices, your relationships."
She turned over a card.
I leaned forward without wanting to.

The first time I spent the night with you,
I had a dream that someone was screaming in my left ear,
or there was a bad storm in my left ear,
or maybe an insect had crawled inside and was buzzing, stinger poised.
I sat up quick, breathing hard.
You went, "Unh..." in your sleep, trouble crossed your face for just an instant.
Then...nothing.

The fake Gypsy told me that every person is like a bead on a string.
We don't choose our color,
our substance, 
our placement.
Some woman lays us across her breast, and it's warm there
or it isn't. 
We are treasured, or we're not.
Kept close, or discarded.

"You have an attached spirit." The fake Gypsy 
was speaking the way some people will to a foreigner--
urgent, a little exasperated.
Understand me, you outlandish fool.
"You need to do something about it."

We visited a park in Belgrade once,
and I was speaking to you, a notebook of poems in my hand,
sitting on the edge of a fountain and serving up my heart
as if it were a second helping of chicken paprikash.
I was turned in the wrong direction,
you weren't listening;
I was leaning forward in spite of myself,
and you were walking away like an occupier withdrawing.
That's all I remember.

"I can help you detach this spirit," said the fake Gypsy.
I leaned back with an effort, almost fell over, heard myself speak gibberish.
I felt sick, stupid, dizzy.
"What?" 
Then I was sitting at your kitchen table,
with the portrait of St. Sebastian on the wall,
and the kitty clock, and the insurance company calendar.

I began to cry, like a stupid schoolgirl.
You laughed, shook your head, and said, "You always overdo everything."
Then I was in bed with a roaring in my left ear.
Then I was falling down the stairs, 
coming apart, splitting, scattering.
The fake Gypsy was there at the bottom, holding up a string.
"There, you see?" she said, smiling as I lay there with my fractures on fire,
"One bead still on the string."
Then she leaned down to kiss me, as if she couldn't help herself.
_______

for Fireblossom Friday: I Put A Spell On You.
 


 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review : "Incendiary"

Incendiary (Book Club Readers Edition)Incendiary by Chris Cleave

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


My edition kicks off with about four thousand pages of glowing blurbs from all over hell and creation, with more plastered onto the back cover. You WILL like this book, they seem to say, or you're just a dummy.

The entire book is a letter to Osama Bin Laden from a woman whose husband and son were killed in an act of terror. I was expecting 9-11. Silly me. It's all based on a made-up bombing of an Arsenal football match at Emirates Stadium. Thus, we get all of it in East End London slang, most of which was lost on my American ears (so to speak). All right, well, that's as may be. I've got much bigger complaints with this book.

The narrator/letter writer--I would tell you her name, but she apparently hasn't got one--lost her husband--similarly nameless--and her boy--ditto--in the bombing. They are always referred to as "my husband" and "my boy" throughout, even though everyone else in the book has names. I suppose this is a Clever Author Device for making them all Everyman. Whatever.

WhatsHerName, our hostess, should be hugely sympathetic, but there are problems. I get that the Clever Author didn't want to make her some sort of plaster saint. But WhatsHerName is just a smoking pile-up. When Emirates blows up, she is watching the match on tv while being fingered by her new boyfriend (?) she met the night before in a bar and slept with because she was nervous due to her nameless husband being a bomb squad guy and he was out on a call. Nervous, I get. Sleeping with a SNEERING TOFF (her words) who hit on her on a bet with his friends, I don't get.

After having gotten bashed up trying to get into the flaming stadium to find her family, WhatsHerName spends a month or so in hospital, pukes on Prince William's shoes, downs pills in quantity, and considers jumping out the window, but doesn't, because the reader hasn't suffered enough yet. Upon release, she proceeds directly to the police station where she is hired on the spot by her husband's former superior. A tiresome affair quickly ensues. This woman--and let's bear in mind that this is NOT a woman, actually, but a man writing a woman character--sleeps with any man who's not nailed down, it seems, even going out of her way to cover for a cokeheaded rapist who corners her in a bathroom stall. Oh wait, that's Boyfriend #1. Well anyway.

WhatsHerName has a smart mouth and has no hesitation putting others in their place whether out loud or only in her thoughts as expressed to Osama. Never mind that she is a boozy, pill-popping, slutty, corked-out disaster herself. (Have I mentioned that, incredibly, this terror widow manages to be unsympathetic?) Despite these minor drawbacks, we are to believe that she is irresistible to men for some reason. This, even despite a scene in which she sees herself in a mirror and realizes how badly she has let herself go.

It took me two and a half weeks to slog through the first two thirds of this rather short novel. However, I did finish off the final third in a sitting. Part of this was because I so dearly wished to be rid of WhatsHerName and Mr. Cleave. But, I confess, the story did finally pick up, even as WhatsHerName went further and further off the rails, without, of course, losing her man-killing charms or having any trouble obtaining new jobs despite talking out loud to her nameless son who isn't there, being intoxicated pretty much constantly, and trying to off Boyfriend #1's girlfriend with gasoline and a lighter, all after ruining Boyfriend #2 in ways too tawdry to go into here. Oh all right...think cheap hotel room, drunken sex, and a camera hidden inside of her nameless son's half-charred toy rabbit Mr. Rabbit. Okay, never mind after all.

Here's *my* blurb. Skip this BS. You're welcome.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

M'duza

M'duza has just finished doing my hair.
The chair spins slowly around as if I were the world and M'duza the sun,
albeit a sun that charges money for her not-inconsiderable skills.
"Have a blunt, "she says,
"And an apple."

"I don't smoke," I tell her for the millionth time.
"The apple, then."
Her voice is lazy as she leans against her station.
Blunt in her right hand,
arrows in her left.

She comes from a floral source, does M'duza.
Pistils and stamens and honey bees.
She makes fig jam, 
and stores her picks in a yellow box.
Her lineage is traceable to women whose feet stood in white ocean foam.

"I didn't bring any money," I tell her, lying.
"Money is the tool of the enslavers," she parrots,
"A chain around the neck of the people."
Then she takes a long drag and holds it.
I ask, "M'duza, why did the proletariat cross the road?"
She raises an eyebrow, lips sealed shut.
"To make that goddamned chicken join the fucking collective."
She laughs hard in spite of herself, blowing smoke like a New Year's dragon.

M'duza sprang from the halls of macadamia,
and is my favorite nut;
her shop smells of acacia and sage as much as peroxide and hair spray.
Me, I leapt fully-formed from the forehead of Zeus,
my father's daughter all the way.
"So, what now?" I ask her.
It's Monday, she doesn't have any other clients.

"Now we set out to find the wild nest," she says,
stretching her arms over her head in her typical elaborate gesture.
"We carry caramel babies in our honey-stomachs,
and start a colony of sweet clear-minded revolutionaries.
They will stick it to the man,
and always remember their mothers on holidays."

I parrot, "Holidays are a construct of the ruling class,
meant to distract the workers from their misery."
"Oh, fuck you!" says M'duza,ratcheting the chair up as high as it will go.
"Uh-huh," she says, nodding at my predicament.
And so, as always when I'm with M'duza, I leap. I am in mid-air,
without a thought in my head, true as a launched arrow.
________

from this word list.

Friday, September 22, 2017

I'm Sorry. (You're Sorry What?) I'm Sorry, Mrs. Pinocchio.

Jenny wrote a poem
and it sucked hard.
I helped her with it,
until one of us died.

Jenny's mom
was a bitch about it, and got mad.
I said, have you read this?
I dare you.

Beautiful, so beautiful, she said.
Cash me outside, you know it blows.
Open the window,
your nose'll grow.
_______
for Flash 55 at my BFF's.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

How I Know

Mrs. Capgras isn't Mrs. Capgras.
Whoever she really is, she's very clever, right down to 
parading around the neigborhood with the young Capgras children.
I confronted her.
"You can't fool me," I said, 
and the nerve of her,
the brass, 
she wouldn't drop the pretense.
Pretty soon the children were crying and she and I were 
clutching and kicking
biting and screaming
right there at the entrance to the park. 

The police were called, of course.
Idiot neighbors,
credulous biddies,
believed her that she was Mrs. Capgras.
Off she went, pretending upset,
gushing crocodile tears as she herded those kids back up the street.
She--whoever she was--kept looking back over her shoulder 
with her flushed, 
fake Mrs. Capgras face. 
She even fooled the police, who scoffed at me
as if I were insisting that the earth is flat,
when all I did was to state the obvious fact--
Mrs Capgras isn't Mrs. Capgras.

My nerves are so frayed,
so jangled,
it really is a trial to be put through all of this,
fresh on the heels of Mr. Fregoli's machinations yesterday.
He conspired--yes he did--with every jane and johnny in the development
to leave me a nervous wreck,
and a laughingstock.
Everyone I met yesterday was wearing a Mr. Fregoli face,
talking Mr. Fregoli talk,
and plotting evil against me.
I wasn't fooled for a moment, but what a position it put me in! 
"Poor Samantha, she's gone quite crackers."

And now you.
You're in league with them, don't bother to deny it.
You Capgras, you Fregoli, you second-rate duplicate!
You changed, right after you bashed my head in
with the wooden bread keeper that used to sit on your counter.
I had said some things.
I had been angry, and hurt, and I said some unfortunate things.
I said them, and you cold cocked me
and began recruiting your doubles.
You, my girl, can be cold and dark and distant,
and fracture something of mine every blue moon,
but this is not you, 
whether anyone wants to hear the truth or not.
This is not you--
my heart would know.
________ 

for Fireblossom Friday "The Distorted Lens."

Process notes: Capgras delusion is a condition in which the sufferer believes that people around them are false dulpicates of who they seem to be. Fregoli delusion is a state in which the person believes that everyone they see is one particular person in disguise. Both can be the result of a head injury. Finally, domestic violence between female couples is an under-reported crime, and not uncommon.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Power

"The scientists say
It will all wash away
But we don't believe any more
Cause we've got our recruits
And our green mohair suits
So please show your I.D. At the door."--"Sin City" by Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons

Power only lasts a minute,
like lion piss on the trunk of a tree
keen on the next rain.

Girl, you're somebody's Venus,
but not everyone's;
while you give some fool your smile and make another one wait hope and suffer,
here I am, up from a trap-door Hell, denying you mine. 

Zebra have nightmares of being chased,
when they dare sleep at all.
All are destroyers to the ant, even a bumbling child.

See the sun, the same one that burns
the cat, the commander, 
the egg shell CEO and that cunt on the corner,
rising above them all.

Feel your own roar shaking the earth itself.
Dig it, but remember,
the legions with their whips and cages and clocks
have a circus to make you the foil of
in a Rome you've not imagined--more real than this desert you terrify today.
_________ 

for the mini-challenge at Real Toads: "Juice."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ice Cream Walk

You never know how it's going to go.
Early evening, book aside, tv on,
dog asleep and smiling,

I went all zen over the ice cream tub.
Too much for one time, but 
not enough left for later.
It's like someone in your bed asleep-- a familiar sweetness
that disappoints unannounced.

There's someone else,
or you're someone else from who they thought.
The door closes, the tv blathers on,
the dog goes or stays, the book marker is lost.
Better have all the caramel cookie dough now.

So I couldn't sleep, after.
After what? 
After any of it.
It made my stomach hurt, so I put the dog on his leash
and took a turn around the neighborhood in the dark.
He was hot on the trail of something--
I know the feeling.

The further we went, the less sure I felt.
It seemed like a good idea at the time--how often have I said that?
Passing the light manufacturing strip
with its trailer offices and loading docks,
an acorn fell on a tin roof like an angry word.
The street lights were impassive.
I walked faster--no objection from the dog.

Here we are, I said, home in sight.
Crossing the tot park, my dog searched for nightcats,
I watched for pervs or stoned teenagers
on the swings,
in the shadows. 
Three houses up, lights on inside--
We're waiting for us, in there,
our other selves who go shhh shhh shhh
like I've heard that mothers do, when things go wrong in the night.
_______

for Sanaa's "Of Muse & Me" at Real Toads.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ever The Lady--A Shameful Confession

It is difficult, being ever the lady,
as I strive to be.

If my dog jerks the leash while I am
-very daintily--
raiding the local book kiosk,
it requires enormous restraint to say,
"My goodness!" and stay on my feet as if I'd taken years of ballet.

Besides,
~the shame!~
I've never read Jane Austen.
_____

for Friday 55 at Verse Escape.

Image at top: Naomi Watts 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Have A Chair

Have a chair.
Have a seat.
No, not that one!
Over there,
out in the street.

Let's talk.
Let's chat.
Yes, right here, why not?
In the cross walk.
You down with that?

Never mind the traffic never mind the cursing drivers, never mind your
clueless mansplaining poor fucker of a husband, never mind any of that for now.

Let's diss.
Let's discuss.
You'll feel better, trust me.
Start with this:
Start with us. 

Have another coffee, my treat.
Have a good sharp stick in the eye.
Have at it, girly-Q--
Say it neat.
You know why?

Because, darling,
cherub,
bitch of the century,
yesterday's news,

I need the chair for somebody else. 
______

for Quickly. "Chair."