Sunday, October 4, 2015

Incident In Little Egypt

After the crash--
so bashful, nothing to say
with your proud head
in the windshield that way.

I told you not to let Cerberus drive--
there are cats everywhere
on the center line 
with their nine lives.

I am made of cream; you of dust--
Who's queen now?
Me, alive, nonplussed,
switch-tailed, not sorry much.

For Flash 55 at Real Toads, with inspiration from "Oh, Fortuna".

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

30 Years

For ten years, I drank. A lot. Enough to destroy my tolerance to it, enough to start seeing stuff that wasn't there, enough to turn me into someone I couldn't stand, enough to want to die. 

But part of me didn't want that. At my lowest ebb, and after trying everything I could think of to stop, and failing, I prayed for God to override the overwhelming compulsion to drink, to just get me through to the morning without drinking, because I could not do it myself. 

I stayed sober that night, and as of today, I have been sober for 30 years continuously. If you think miracles don't really happen, I'm standing here to tell you that they do, and I am grateful every day.


Friday, September 25, 2015


A snake fell from a cloud
and was eaten by a bird
who then hid in the bush.

I found the bones of a snake
hidden in the bush
and took them home to make a necklace.

I wore the necklace to make you love me
to make you kiss me
which gave me the gift of flight.

Night wrapped around my necklace
which fell from my throat
whole again, escaping,

Mocking me with my own stolen voice
from the bush.

I was inspired by Sina Nkosi's fantastic poem "The Snake." Written for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads. 

The Kraken

"It pulled me back, it is a monster" --from "A Bright World, Darkened" by Charne Williams

The Kraken in your coffee
doesn't wait for the end of your cool story,

The Hydra in your headphones
sends nine notes across the three bones
of your ear,

Please fill out this questionnaire:

1. Do ordinary objects seem to rear up? Posture? Speak?

2. How long has this been happening? Just today? All week?

3. Do you get the feeling you're in a movie? Playing a part?

4. Does the role involve broken dialogue/ bones/ heart?

Sit down.
Quit making that noise,
Stop hugging your knees.

Tell me about your earliest memory.
Does it have anything to do with me?
Do you see things that aren't there? Any idea why?
It's all right to make something up. It's all right to lie.

Good luck with the Kraken.
Who knows where it might be hiding!
Good luck, you poor loonbat.
Good luck with your writing.

Find Charne Williams complete poem HERE. This poem written for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Love Proofs

"Love is stupid
can't deal with this, bring back Cupid
because in love the same things keep on happening
it's like talking to someone who isn't listening" --"Love Is Stupid" by Zama Nkabinde

"Oh, the lab! The lab!" he cried, exasperated.
"How you love it! Why can't you love me more?"

She answered with questions of her own.
"Why don't you have antlers?
Or orange eyes?"

She ducked neatly when he threw his glass at her,
and refused to fall for the old gambit of a man's tears.

She had tried, you know. 
With the white mice, and then with human subjects,
during wartime, when anything goes.

Findings: crazy can be induced, love cannot.
However, if love occurs independently, crazy follows without effort.

She knows she is supposed to love her husband,
but in fact,
she loves the head bellman at the Ashby-Bancroft Hotel downtown.

At a conference, there he was, 
effortlessly sparking the Tesla coil of her heart.

She will naturally have to give up science now,
obtain a divorce,
and take up something useless and mildly embarrassing--

but thrilling--
like poetry, or
checking into the Ashby-Bancroft out of her right mind,
relying entirely on the anecdotal,
and deaf to contrary data.

Find Zama Nkabinde's complete poem HERE. This poem written for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stunt Double

She calls sometimes--that's how I know she's in on it.
Her voice is nightblue and crushed strawberries;
when she calls me "baby", my true and sure gets a shiver up it.

Her stunt double makes coffee, takes the car,
fucks me, says we have to talk.
I know it isn't her.
I know the bloom from the stalk.

Stunt Double feels the cold in my kiss;
cries real tears from the plastic bottle in her head.
Stunt Double spreads her arms, says, "How'd we ever get like this?"
Like I know her. Like let's pretend.

I wait for the ringtone, a drop of honey from the bee that's gone;
nightblue and strawberries, helpless at her softest command--
there it is--I answer--a sinner for Gilead's balm,
when the Stunt Double comes in from the next room--

your phone held in her palm.

for Karin's "A Whole Lot Of It Is In Your Head" challenge at Real Toads.

Brain injury can cause a person to think that everyone in their life has been replaced with "doubles" who look just like their loved ones, but aren't. It's caused by damage to the link between visual processing and emotional response. If someone calls them on the phone, they recognize them, because it bypasses the damaged part of the brain. On the other hand, one can be in perfect health and know that the other person has checked out of the relationship.


Emmylou, At Last

The camera had been drinking, not me!
I've heard those rumors. You know the ones. That I have some kind of fangirl obsession with the singer Emmylou Harris. I don't know who started them, but let me just say right here and now...the rumors are absolutely true!

I was in a record store in Royal Oak, Michigan, where I lived at the time (1975), and they had a wall of record albums displayed. Two of the LPs were by some chick called Emmylou Harris: "Pieces Of The Sky" and "Elite Hotel." The first had a sort of soft-focus image of an ethereal-looking pretty gal, and the second had an image of a gal wearing high boots and sitting on the steps of a hotel, looking like she had attitude to spare. Guess which one I left the store with? Once I heard "Sin City", "Wheels", and all the other great songs on it, I was hooked.

But my favorite of her early albums was the next one, "Luxury Liner." Those songs are like the soundtrack to my young life. I checked the songwriting credits on my two Emmylou albums, and saw that some guy called Rodney Crowell had written several of my favorites. Who's Rodney Crowell?

Time went by. A lot of time! My "Wrecking Ball" cd got a lot of play when I was getting divorced. The next one, "Red Dirt Girl", might be my favorite of them all. All that to say, Emmylou's music has been a constant in my life since I was twenty. "Tulsa Queen" can still make me cry. "Amarillo" still makes me crank up the volume. "Big Black Dog" makes me smile.

A couple of years ago, my dear friend Sherry Marr sent me "Pieces Of The Sky" on LP. I had never bought it, over all those years. I love it, and so, naturally, I went out and found about five more Emmylou albums on vinyl, to go with my cd's (and now mp3's). 

But now, a confession: I had never seen my idol perform live! Enter another friend, Lynn. When she found out that Emmylou and Rodney Crowell were going to be playing Royal Oak, she let me know, and said, "You've got to go!"  (A lot of people tell me I've got to go, but Lynn meant it nicely!) So I did. Last night!

When the band walked out on stage, people clapped and all, but when Emmylou came out, you could just feel the great affection her fans have for her. In all honesty, the band seemed a little off during the first couple of numbers, but then they hit their stride. They played "Pancho & Lefty", "Ooh Las Vegas" and "Boulder To Birmingham", which pretty much brought the house down. Then they played "Luxury Liner." I don't recall the guitarist's name, but man can he play! I do remember Rodney Crowell saying that the guitarist is Australian, and that he describes his homeland by saying "the stars are so bright you can hear them." 

Emmylou talked about how Rodney Crowell sent her a parcel of cassette demos. I loved hearing her talk about stuff. I'd love hearing her read the phone book, probably. Anyway, they played "The Traveling Kind", and a song I had never heard, which made me cry, called "When We Were Beautiful", which I'll include a video of at the end of this post. (It isn't from last night, but the band line-up is the same.)

Emmylou wore red shoes, tight faded jeans with the cuffs rolled up the way she does, a white top, and a loose brown jacket. She looked great. And of course, that hair.

They wound up with "Ain't Livin' Long Like This", a great song I associate with Waylon Jennings, but it's written by Rodney Crowell. They also played an old Ray Price number called "Invitation To The Blues" and a song off "Pieces of The Sky" called "Bluebird Wine" that really made people tap their feet.

So. It's true. Emmylou is awesome, amazing, perfect, etcetera etcetera! At the very end of the show, a handler brought her dog out on stage, and she talked a little about adopting shelter animals and spaying and neutering. Then they were gone, but...not quite! On the way out of town, we passed their tour bus parked at the curb, and who should come striding out the back door of the theater but Rodney Crowell! Bye, Rodney!

Here is that video: