Sunday, July 24, 2016

Crow Heart

I told you from the start,
from the morning you came through my open door
tripping on a hinge flopped dead on the flagstones,
that crows had nested in my heart.

My fairy tale cottage had survived the bombardment;
just a little gingerbread dust on the plates and tables.
You arrested me with such restraint
and took me before the local commander almost tenderly.

Judge and executioner grow out of each other's backs here,
squabbling, one keen to rot on the bench, the other furiously knitting hoods
out of rationed sail cloth and sheer frustration.
I smiled at them, took your hand, got you reprimanded.

My crows live for trickery because they are crows.
I am an honest woman, but they have nested in my heart,
so all night long I hear them gearing up their little printing press
and in the morning I am a prohibited edition and you have to act.

My crows dash themselves against the cathedral bells 
even as my show trial continues. Ring! Ring!
They have no respect for anything, and I have caught their fever.
I sway as if on ropes and pulleys, and my advocate warns me to stop singing.

We might have loved, you and I, in my gingerbread bed,
if we had met when people still cared about things.
As it is, I sink the shiv in even as I kiss you, but the birds whisper
inside my chest, insisting that I leave you a trinket, my old heart, 

bright and worthless as a penny.

For Transforming Fridays, "totem animal".

top image: Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Blackbird Garden

In the blackbird garden--
my creation,
with every delight for agelaius phoenicius--
the sunken reed marsh,
the pretty stone fountain, 
and the many hanging feeders filled with sunflowers--

we sat relaxing as the red wings called.
The ground ivy was thick around our green Adirondack chairs.
I need one place, you know,
in this world to feel safe and at peace.
You were so calm, so matter-of-fact,
and the thing you mentioned so trivial,
I wondered why you were shitting me about it.

Nothing changed.
The sun stayed stuck in the sky, behind the branches of the mulberry,
but I felt a shiver as a red wing landed near the ground cover.
It has always been a little buggy there in summer,
but we have citronella
and the blackbirds--
so pretty, so much my beloved favorites,

but from another, smaller perspective (as I imagine),
huge, sudden, and completely terrifying.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Read This Poem

Read this poem and I'll find that girl who snobbed you
and cut her dead in mid-sentence.

Read this poem and receive 15% off any astrolabe at The Drunken Parrot.

Read this poem and lose weight fast, locate lost loves,
eliminate mosquitoes, find a bank bag just sitting there on the sidewalk.

Read this poem and grow bigger boobs, thicker hair, enormous wings, why not?

Read this poem and Donald Trump gets laryngitis.
Read this poem and Hillary Clinton gets a big honking herpes cold sore.

Read this poem and feel younger, smarter, better!

Read this poem and leave a comment--
say a lot about my brilliance. Thanks.

a little bargaining for the mini challenge.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Lost Art of Archery

The lost art of archery
can be practiced at seaside
in rented cottages.

First, open all windows.
Then, enlist a confederate.
(Fashion wig optional.)

One of you must be an artist;
the other, a patient on day pass.
The difference is slight.

Break boredom.
Impress crushes!
Secure random objects to pastel walls 

at will, at all hours of afternoon. 

for MZ's words count

Saturday, July 9, 2016

20 Minutes of Action

Little green men arrive,
looking like seasick 98-pound weaklings. 
Some frat boys decide to have fun by putting one in a dog crate
and pouring beer on him to see if he melts or something.
They piss on him too (used beer! ha!)
and then roll him--still in the crate! too good!--down the apartment stairs
and into the swimming pool.

Finally, they pose, with boozy grins,
holding the drowned spaceman's head up like great white hunters on safari
while somebody posts it on YouTube.

When the Mother Ship arrives
(Who's your daddy now?)
the things that are done to the frat boys by the "rampaging inhuman monsters"
are fodder for outraged talking heads the next morning across the land.
Why did they commit such unspeakable cruelties?

The answer is just like always.
Because they could, boys. Because they could.

for the mini-challenge.

Life With Super Zac

Zacky pees on the computer room carpet. Again.

"Zacky, what did you DO?" I ask, pointing. Zacky says raccoons came in and did that. Zacky says it rained last night, just in that one spot. Indoors. Zacky says maybe it is oil bubbling up through the floor and we are rich.

"It isn't black, and it smells like pee."

Zacky calls 1-800-MIKE-WINS. Mike Morse, attorney at law, petitions the court for carpet samples, lab reports, camera footage (if any) and lines up character witnesses. As Zac's mom, I am asked to testify on his behalf, which is awkward.

Zac goes on Oprah and says his mom is mean for no reason, blaming him for what the raccoons did. The audience gasps. There are hugs and tears. Oprah gives everyone in the audience a chew bone, hidden under their seat. 

"Zacky, PLEASE. Just stop peeing in the computer room!"

"I wuz framed!" maintains Zacky from behind bars. He has to wear a little striped prison outfit and he plays the harmonica so sad it breaks the guards' hearts. They let him out. He comes home and pees on the computer room floor. Again.

"ZACKY!!!!!!!!" (chase ensues.) Zacky is very fast. He laughs as he runs. 

Maybe it really was raccoons. 

"C'mere, Zacky," I say. He jumps up in my lap and chews one of my hands as I pet him with the other. "Who's a good boy?" I say, giving him a kiss on his noggin. "Who's such a sweet smart wonderful boy?" Well duh, mom. (He holds these truths to be self-evident.)

I hope there are no more raccoons.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review: "It Can't Happen Here"

It Can't Happen HereIt Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"It can't happen here." That's what characters in this book keep saying, even as it very resoundingly happens here! "It" being a fascist presidential candidate winning the election and turning "here" (America) into a dictatorship.

Berzelius Windrip is one part cracker barrel philosopher, one part showman, and three parts baloney wrapped up in flags and bunting. (Sound like anyone in 2016?) Promising every (white, male, Christian) person five thousand dollars to get the economy going--the book came out in the mid 1930s--Windrip is elected over more reserved and conventional opposition. Before anyone can catch their breath, Windrip and his Cheney-like right hand man Lee Sarason have dissolved the Supreme Court, made Congress a mere puppet (by arresting dissenters) and turned loose their private army of "Minute Men", armed thugs wearing vintage blue uniforms who are big on parades and beating people up.

The story is told from the viewpoint of Doremus Jessup, a small town newspaper editor in his sixties, who begins the story with a family, a house, a dog named Foolish, and not too many worries. Before the end of the book (SPOILER ALERT), his son in law has been summarily executed, his newspaper has been taken over by government lackeys, and he has been thrown in a concentration camp for working with the New Underground against the fascist regime.

But why read an old book like this? After all, it can't happen here. Can it?

View all my reviews