Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Hospital For Dreams

I had dreams.
This is what had always differentiated me from the usual types
that fall from the moon and the dark blue sky
like sugarbirds.

I was not one of them,
though I wanted fiercely to be, when I was younger.
The snake of tough shit, babe
squeezed that notion right out of me
and told me I had other purposes to attend to.

But, about my dreams...

This latest one, this humdinger that I had,
turned out to be so much bullshit.
So what? you'll say.
So, dreams have been the guard rails on the killer curve of my life.
Intuition has been my merciful angel,
pulling me out of the soup again and again.

Now I feel like nothing but the bone.

I thought I was going home.
I thought it was gonna be warm cornbread and sweet butter from now on.
What it was, was
sorry, not you.
What it was, was
heft that bale, you dumb crazy bitch.

So I took my dreams--the new ones--
to the Hospital where they sieve out the serpents at the door,
and hand all the girls a gorgeous red apple.
I turned my open haversack upside down at the nurses' station
and said, "Save these.
Save this one in particular."
They said to me, girl, you are some wild kind of boho trash
to think anybody here cares.

Out by the bus stop,
waiting to go home,
I took a big lungful of magical Detroit exhaust,
like the last Pontiac giving up the final air filter.
I held my dreams tight in my arms,
and told them never mind, babies, just never mind.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


is hard to hold,
but harder
to hold inside.

Mary Pickford tried to destroy all her old films--
the fragile, flammable celluloid
her incandescence lived in.
A new generation found the silents simple and sentimental,
and their "talkies" stars spoke
in a clipped, faux-English way
while portraying canny, glib sophisticates.

Mary didn't want to be made fun of.
Honest emotion had gone out of style,
much as it has today.

Still, everybody wants to be made to feel
that their loves, hopes and desires,
their pain and struggles
mean something noble, something beautifully human.
Everybody would like to be young, beautiful, and in love,
and everybody would like to kick the landlord in the butt.

As the lady said,
silent stars didn't have words, but they had faces.
Florence La Badie can forever lean over a balcony,
gone for 90 years,
smiling for a lover dead for decades,
and she will always be gorgeous, and alive, and we will want to be her.

See the little dog running down the dirt road
after the Gish sisters.
We hope they turn around.
We hope he catches up,
because we all know what it's like to be found
or left behind.

"They're so blessed, so lucky,"
we say of movie stars,
and we wonder why they flicker,
though it isn't such a mystery.
is hard to hold,
but harder
to hold inside.

for Kerry's silent movie challenge at Real Toads.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Cuckoo Child

Her water had broken,
and she counted contractions as the moon came and went.

She conspired with the window,
the clock,
and the ghosts of all the women in her line,

to hand out some bullshit story and steal away
into the woods.

She sent the doula on a fool's errand,
and dummied up a version of herself to leave propped and weirdly silent
in the four poster at the corner of the house.

How do you feel, they asked the doll, the changeling,
the shed skin of herself.
What a long wait they will have,
for a baby made of goose down and mattress ticking.

Under the trees like a morning dream she went,
as the sun came up
and the river called to her in a language past remembering.

Alone there in a mossy copse,
she bore the child and bit the cord,
blood giving way to a fierce rolling wave of love.

The tiny face, perfect hands,
the soul as open as an April sky,
made her know she could not take this one back
to the house, the keepers, the upstairs corner under the eaves.

Birds make fine conspirators,
and so she slipped her daughter into a nest like a cuckoo,
and, riven with what she had to do, 
carried a stolen fledgling back to her bed.

They took it, as she had known they would.
They taught it,
so well that it never sang a note,
never knew its wings,
the flight feathers plucked by hard lessons and bible spouting.

Meanwhile, she paced the widow's walk like a haint,
ears grown as keen as any animal's,
listening for wings or the call of her own, from out there.

When the house burned,
God did not intervene, but rather,
willed it Himself with a holy delivery of lightning to the cupola.

She was the only survivor,
and she sat on the incongruously wet lawn in the morning,
still as a stone, 

Imagine the smoke-black ruin behind her.
Imagine the wind-stir in the maple branches above her head,
as thin as circumstance, yet strong enough to stop the sun.

Imagine the child appearing from the edge of the copse.
Imagine her moving slowly to her mother,
with the same black hair,
and the same instinct to survive.

Imagine their common language,
without words.
Imagine touch and tears,
and the years ahead like a natural migration,

direction in the dna,
and a way home, at last.

I don't know what this is. It just came to me, wanting to be told.

Note: the cuckoo bird finds another bird's nest, and leaves its egg there to be raised by the unknowing surrogate.


Two Questions and a Riddle

Hello, young lady,
and what are you?
"I am the answer
to five times two."

Ten year old, ten times--
a hundred and a day!
Light as a dandy seed
with wishes on the way.

Hello, young lady,
and who is your cat?
An African lion--
what do you think of that?!

I think if he fancies fish,
then send him off to school.
Wrap a napkin 'round his neck
in case he starts to drool.

If a bully bumps your books,
your lion can defend!
Bully down the lion's mouth,
then out the other end!

Farewell, young lady,
and to your lion too!
What's ten and has six legs?
Your kitty cat and you.

Written for Margaret's children's verse challenge at Real Toads.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

All Revealed

often sing each to each
from beach and gondola
and also from pier and bay.

Water, they know, is essential to soul,
and no drop can exist removed and solo.
Like floral film-makers, they study p.o.v.,
framing, lighting and, in every arrangement, fragrance and hue.
What results is a visual sweetness.

Florists wait until the optimum moment to speak,
as if words were buds blessed in shades of crimson, saffron and blue.
From pool and bowl and vase they call,
vining and trailing over container and wall,
as simple as sparrows, and as mysterious as Anasazi.

for Hedge's challenge at Real Toads, featuring the art of Odilon Redon. At top, find his painting "Flowers."


Wednesday, April 9, 2014


We are playing softball
--orderlies vs. residents--
out on the lawn.

The sun is out at last.
A robin is playing short fielder.

Tyrone belts one
way out to the divots where 
Rita dug in her heels
screaming, fighting Tyrone,
who knew to leave the shiv in or she'd bleed out.

She did it to herself.
Today was fun, but
we missed Rita, who couldn't come.

"the flowers bloom like madness in the spring" --Jenny Anderson

"No matter how hard the winter, regardless how bumbling they were the year before, come April we always thought our team would be in the thick of it. With the ice melted and everybody 0-0, just the crack of the bat was enough to make the hardest of us believe that our hearts would not be broken this time, and that a benevolent God surely loved the Cubs, just as we did." --Jeanette Prolsky

66 words exactly, for Words Count with Mama Zen.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Word From Fastblossom

Hello, readers. Let me introduce myself. You all know the moderator here, Catblossom. Well, I am Catblossom's out-of-town cousin, Fastblossom. How do you do?

It has come to my attention that Fireblossom doesn't have a poem to share with you tonight. Not even one teensy weensy haiku. Not even an entry for The Big Pop-Up Golden Treasury Of Torpid Doggerel. Alarming!

In the wild, Fireblossom would probably be eaten by a crocodile, but here, she will probably just crank out something in the morning. Something immortal, like a collection of sonnets about adhesives. We'll all be on tenterhooks.

Until then, please bear with the absence of poetry tonight. If you like, you are all invited to join me in chasing down some small game, and then I'll look forward to seeing everyone at the afterglow party at Club Spots!

Yours truly,