Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Untitled (Now, Voyager!)

Untitled (Perfect Lovers) by Felix Gonzales-Torrez

At 10:37 a.m.,
I fell in love with you.

This may seem abrupt, 
but I'm an early riser--
four hours was enough
to percolate folie d'amour.

At 11:42 a.m.,
you will fall in love with me.
Until 12:02, I will toy with you
because I can.

At precisely 3 p.m.,
we will be married
in a 58-minute ceremony at L'eglise de Notre Dame.

Later, I will give you exactly two minutes
(until 11:23 p.m.)
to get this dress off me.

Bon chance, voyageur du temps!

for Skyflower Friday at Real Toads.

folie d'amour = madness of love
L'eglise de Notre Dame = Church of Our Lady
Bon chance, voyageur du temps! = good luck, time traveller!



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Emmeline By Wolf Light

Emmeline by wolf light
keeps Christmas in her own way--
mostly by night,
not much by day.

Emmeline in the evergreens
keeps a cookie called the Moon
in her pocket with her lighter
lit-burned sweet and brighter so it seems.

Emmeline in snow-skin
by witch light scratching at the door
to be let be, and be let in
to give you wolf light, nothing more.

mini for the mini-challenge.

sort of a companion piece to "Emmeline By Evening." 

Friday, December 16, 2016

In The Rhambangle

In the rhambangle, the climbing vines
looped themselves up and through the latticework
like emotions falling from a dream.

You loved the soff birds who made their nests
in the high corners; feathered deities
without ceremony but stuffed fat on our adoration anyway.

I liked your boots, especially tucked beneath a wicker chair 
in the moonlight, lost to your feet
but called snarfdiffanous by the avante garde among the moths of local wing.

I haven't said it well, I realize. My sunglasses kept the words
after I first saw them in morning light.
It's lalamilty, so they say, making these sounds no string nor key would own,

but I keep trying, because I love you and your shossy half-turned smile.

for "Stuff & Nonsense' with Rommy at Real Toads. She asks that we use her invented words rhambangle, snarfdiffanous, and lalamilty. Soff and shossy are my own. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016


as new snow, my words for you
dropped in your coffee, sweet
jesus I can be
as December sun--

so drink deep. Soft kisses so near after night
mimic closely
what I really felt when we began and I would have
bought and ground your favorite beans
to place 
real heat
before you, holy as an offering.

Art by Jenny Leslie. Posted for Real Toads' "Snow-Birthed Tales."

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Just Because

Just because
I wear work boots--
the brown ones, with nails stuck in them, and wood splinters--
does not mean that you mayn't kiss my hand,
call me 'Ma'am",
and worship me like I just dropped out of Heaven like a vended miracle.

I have found
that pink lace invites being taken lightly. Behold, I carry a copy
of Saison En Enfer, and I shall be happy to brain you with it
if you displease me
or in any way betray your true feelings, excepting blind devotion.

My work boots
Announce my arrival on the wood floor of the local pretentious coffee bar
even better than trumpet fanfare.
Subjects, knock me your lobes, here's my new poem,
laced up in leather
but made of feathers white and weightless as God's eyelash in a china dish.

for the endlessly talented Susie Clevenger's challenge at Real Toads: "Shoes."

"Saison En Enfer" = "A Season In Hell" by Rimbaud. 


Sunday, December 4, 2016


Breathe, love. Expand like a star.
I'm close, as silent as seeds in a row,
reaching for where you are. 

Take my hand. Touch my arm.
On the wall, an angel? or a doubt
over time given form?

From our mouths, the kiss, the scythe.
Our child, Clayface, crawls the ceiling
in the shadows, unrecognized.  

A 55 for Real Toads.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Birthdays Of Famous Poets

Today is the birthday of a famous poet. Can you guess who?
Hint: she does not write long wordy shit with no articles!

Thursday, November 17, 2016


It is nice of you to love me, despite my deformity.
I've known, ever since mother, the river, and the burlap bag,
that I mightn't be accepted by all.

When I look at you, I cannot blink.
Do you find my stare unsettling? It is where love starts.
More importantly, it establishes my link with the Moon.

So. We have been together at last. 
Now you know they don't stay sheathed, even in an embrace.
I'm sorry. But not. Better go clean up.

Some say I can't be trusted; such a lie.
Wave a fish in front of my face and your data will never vary.
By the way, though, we're through.

Reader, behold me in my solitude.
I screech at the top of my lungs, position myself pitifully in the rain
beyond your sliding door, but open it and I'll walk away.

We, the deformed, are beautiful. Independent. Unique.
So, reader, why this charade, this posturing for your attention?
We do not hunger--there are songbirds.
Cardboard boxes abound.
What we want is simple, and useless:

Smile, reader, and free us to abandon you. 
Smile, freak, and let us ponder how you do.

for Music With Meow at Real Toads.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Book Review: "Winter Street"

Winter StreetWinter Street by Elin Hilderbrand

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like this author--she's very good at character and setting--but by about page 30 in this one, I could see the rest of the book coming a mile away. By the time I got near the end, I just wanted it to be over, because there was no urgency to find out how it ends, because that was obvious early on.

Pretty much of a feather-weight holiday tv movie. Not terrible, but not good enough.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 10, 2016

For Androcles

There is no pissed-off girl who came out of the cradle swinging.
We all lie there at first,
blue-eyed and trustful, waiting for the big milk payday.

There's no pissed-off woman like a disappointed woman,
and by the time you met me I was
past all concern, 
wearing the same old barbed-wire bathrobe from one noon to the next.

You wisely sent your envoy first,
someone sweet and old-friendy who would make me hesitate
and hold my tongue, wondering if I knew her from somewhere, or what.

Come with me, she said.
Bring your tongue, your thorny tongue,
but bring it sleeping, curled up and barely bleeding, at least for now.

She brought me to meet you and you were the one;
the one who took the thorn from my tongue,
the lion from my tongue,
and soothed it with the cold calm of your thrillingly assured blankness.

I did not forget. Did you think I would?
Months later, led into the arena of your careless lying bullshit,
I called bullshit for what it was, turned my back on you, but to this day

I am not the same pissed-off girl,
not angry in the same way,
not hungry in the same way,
and so I am grateful, as you should be, for having had the love of a lion

however briefly.

for Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads. photo: Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil.

Friday, November 4, 2016

On The Popularity Of Zombies

I do not lightly speak ill of the dead,
but I will say this, as witness for myself--
the disagreeable word from a stranger's head
is not cause to take my gun from its shelf.

Look at them! They shamble!
Observe how they grasp and flail!
Easy to dismiss, without preamble
the groans and grins of those beyond our pale.

Enter the God, the Goddess!
Enter the anointed, the selected two!
Ignore the yoke, the chain, the harness,
as off to the kiosk go I, go you!

Undead mouthing nonsense vile
on social media--denounce, unfriend them!
Become un-human, toss brains on the pile;
attack the other, and those that send them!

for grapeling's word list at Real Toads.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Desire, In Tones of Orange & Rust

Hi, pay attention, it's only me--
the steampunk librarian of Born-to-Lose Street
writing down alternate endings on the backs of envelopes,
the backs of surrogate lovers, the flip side of receipts...

Here's the door of my bedroom, six inches off the floor,
all my darlings trip out and fall like leaves.
Orange is the color that us Irish women love, it goes with green
and so we spend eternities dropping our flame-hair from the high branches of trees.

I never said I was stable,
or nice,
or worth the trouble,
all I said was you would get something rare.

Enough bullshit. I've trimmed my lips back with a peeler from a kitchen drawer,
until now I can only speak truth and all my old popularity is gone.
I'm the futuristic poet chick of By-Invitation-Only Twilight Bower,
and my dreams are in tones of wild and wood: berry-red, leaf-jade, rust and fawn.

I've been through men,
been through women,
been through solitude and I like that best;

But when I saw the way the light landed soft upon your cheek,
I fissured, I trembled in spite of myself, and thought, "Could there yet be
a fire so patient as to unwind itself at last, 
late-born (poor fool), late-kept and late-blessed?"

For Kerry's Dylan challenge at Real Toads. I was inspired by the song "I Want You."



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Tenth Month

In the tenth month,
the limits of the natural are exceeded.
Trees dissolve and what remains
too long must be expelled, debrided.

There you perch, smoking while I suffer.
Fire, Love? We burn, but as a disease.
In the tenth month, what has gathered must scatter
lest it smother, lest it freeze.

Behold what becomes
(of our union, dear, of our fucking.)
Behold the freak, the monster
the helpless nightmare of our making.

In the tenth month, you cannot fly, but seize
as your pretentious pose shits itself and dies.
And me? Your one-time ideal?
I eat shame, and vomit, when our merciless fledgling cries.

for Magaly's "October" prompt and for the Tuesday platform, both at The Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Mask

My mask
cleans up nice.
Guys talk rot to it,
and it talks back.

My mask 
goes to work,
spouts input,
yaps at clients.

get in my mask,
tell it we're a bitch.
My mask changes parking lots.

Let's sit here, mute as dummies you and I.
We'll watch our masks
more real than we have been in years.

for Words Count with Mama Zen.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Shipwreck

"All men shall be sailors, then, until the sea shall free them"--Leonard Cohen

They stood on the beach with poles,
not to rescue those wave-palsied souls who gasped their last,
but to push them further out to sea.
"A storm hit us," said the swimmers, slowly cartwheeling back under.

"No," said the beach-folk, pursing their lips in distaste for the lie,
and shaking their heads. "There is no climate crisis,
and therefore no winds such as you describe."
With that, they poked the confabulators with their poles until they sank.

"Build a wall!" came the cry. "A sea wall!"
Not to protect from invented storms, but from very real strangers
arriving unwelcome despite the poles, some still moving and coughing,
some insolently still.

In the end, order was restored and the glubbing drowners dispersed.
"We will pray for them," said the beach folk,
thinking themselves quite grand in their largesse.
The children, who had come to gawk, were sent inside as a precaution.

"After all," said the mayor, gazing nobly into the middle distance
and gripping his bible with its tales about good industrious fishermen,
"this is not appropriate for youngsters to see;
besides, you know what they say about sailors."

for Kerry's shipwreck challenge. Thanks for filling in for me!

Thursday, September 29, 2016


I am sober 31 years today. So long Annie Green Springs. Hello everything that has been possible since.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book Review: "Dogspell, or Sally & Seemore & the Meaning of Mushki"

DogspellDogspell by Karin Gustafson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Karin Gustafson, author of the manicddaily blog, has written an absolutely winning children's book with the most charming illustrations ever. Sally is a girl whose mom (Ruby) is always salvaging things and making gadgets and clothes and book bags and Rube Goldberg contraptions (now you know why she's called Ruby!) out of them. When she suggests building a robot pal for Sally, though, she's gone too far. Sally insists on a dog, and so they go get a little curly white puppy Sally names Seemore, or Seemie for short.

The book alternates between Sally's voice and Seemie's. The dog's narration is beyond cute. The story deals with school, mean girls, not fitting in, and finding confidence in one's self, but the book is never preachy, always fun. I have given it 4 stars just because I reserve 5 stars for books that seriously rock my world or change the way I think. This book is simply a wonderful book for children or the young at heart, and is highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sisyphean Haiku

The last pages of this book are full of sand--
enough to bloody my fingers.
My pockets are filled with sugar I pretend is stars. 
When I touch my fingers to them, they stick to the blood and turn pink
like cherry blossoms in haiku.

I put the tip of my tongue to the sand and stars
to taste earth and heaven together, but it's no good--
grit in my mouth makes me grind my teeth until I spit red.
Having combined dirt and deity, I carry the experience
but produce no pearl. 


I am not sure if this is pastiche, Kerry, but it is my attempt at it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

In This Room

Here, in this room, is where I left it. 
I carry a key,
cold between my breasts, hard against my heart,
that I will never use again.

You--reaper, slayer, bitch--
I bear no mercy for you, no kind thought.
May fire ants climb up your cunt and kill you very slowly,
and the balm stay in sight just out of reach.

Here, outside this room, is where the husk-body walks.
It lives, while the heart that was its passenger browns and curls beyond the door.
Love for my familiars is strong
but the rest I have driven nails through and fed to bald-head vultures.

Killer, drooling lunatic, dust-souled woman-forgery,
I spit on every mote that's left of you;
I feed your ghost great troughs of hate,
and curse you for killing me, again each day, as long as I have memory.

for Susie's "If Death Were A Woman" challenge at Real Toads.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: "Spill Simmer Falter Wither"

Spill Simmer Falter WitherSpill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an extraordinary novel. It's about a man, now sixty-ish, who has lived all his life in his father's house--which he continues to call it even after the old man is dead--in a little seaside village. It becomes clear after a while, as the narrator relates it all to his dog, that the father had been mad as a hatter, and completely unfit to raise a child. He wasn't sent to school. He was largely ignored, and left alone sometimes all night. He was even kicked out of the car and left by the roadside to be finally brought home by a passing motorist. The result of all this is that the narrator, whose name is never revealed that I can recall, is a very odd duck who feels set apart from the rest of humanity. "I am horrible."

As the novel opens, he is looking for a dog to be a ratter, as he has an infestation in his attic. He adopts a ragged beast from the local shelter, an escaped badger-baiting dog with just one eye. (A badger took the other with its claws.) He naturally names him One Eye, but the people at the shelter print the tag all one word ONEEYE. The narrator tells the dog he is named after an African prince. It becomes clear, as the man chatters endlessly to the dog, that the man has a fine eye for nature, and quite remarkable powers of observation about people as well. If Quasimodo possessed a dash of Walt Whitman, then he would be this narrator. He has never had a any pet other than a hamster before, but man and dog fall into a wonderful companionship together. Both are terribly wounded. Both fear people. But they love, and comfort and help, each other.

Not since Richard Adams' "The Plague Dogs" --he is also the author of the celebrated "Watership Down"--have I read a novel in which a dog is brought so absolutely, genuinely to life. One Eye does all the things dogs do, and the author has obviously spent a lot of time living in their company because her depiction is spot on, including all the things dog owners know but never think about. One Eye is, above all, an animal, intent on smells, food, life; he is often gross and always enchanting. The most enchanted one is his broken, aging, endlessly sad owner, for whom this shelter dog becomes a reason for living. The way the man always thinks of One Eye's comfort is touching. He isn't always the perfect dog owner--it's a learning curve--but he comes to understand more about his dog than most people ever do.

When One Eye, who was bred and trained to go fearlessly down burrows after badgers and kill them, attacks a dog out on a walk on the beach, he and his man have to go on the run. To avoid the animal control officer, they live for months in the man's car, driving to out of the way places and keeping to themselves. It is amazing to me that a story about a troll-man and a wounded dog who live first in a filthy house and then in a car could be so absolutely absorbing and make me wonder what would happen next as much as any conventional thriller. Throw in some utterly unique revelations from the man's past, and two unremarkable lives become positively gripping. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that, while compulsively describing everything to his dog, the narrator reveals the heart of a poet. An unsentimental, keen-eyed one at that. Very very highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


There will certainly be a reckoning.
When you eat that slop for breakfast, angry fields roll themselves into earthquakes.
The bones of everything are broken and sticking up;
your wound is already there and calling.

Hi, I'm a nature fairy.
I always wear this leather shit.
There are whole herds whose hooves dream of nothing but my face,
and the agreeable aspects of gravity.

I love the moon, especially at dawn like this.
Don't you?
There is nothing there, nothing we can ruin.
Drop a penny, make a wish, live in a pool's reflection until a new season germinates.

Look at me, I'm a flower--a venom bloom.
Bees help me displace what I feel when they collect, and carry, and sting.
Hold out your arms. Turn to wood. Include a door.
Otherwise my bees will make short work of you, and my emptiness will be for nothing.

Lazy deities piss me off.
That cloud looks like the last thing you said to me--
a nothing made of nothing floating on the invisible.
Hold out your gauntlet, here I come. Listen for my song. I only sing it once.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

With Telescopes

With telescopes,
everything becomes scientific.
I held still so long watching an insect on a stalk a half mile away,
that birds nested in my ears
and rented my head to a carnival.

When I open my mouth, it's oompah bands.
When I publish, it's pablum.
When you kiss me, it's junk data, but repeatable.
a 55 for real toads


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Garden Bells

September rings its
garden bells
when the year picks up its skirts
to run.

Some mornings
it has rained,
and others, the sky is
that impossible autumn blue. 

I wish I knew
why, even in sobriety,
even in maturity,
I am September's motherless child.

Before long, perhaps,
It will no longer matter
about the ache of wet leaf mornings
and impossible autumn blue.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Glass Girl

When I was younger, and stupider even than now,
I loved a glass girl.

The curve of her was the best curve,
and she never changed--could not change.

My friends said,
she was easy to talk to--
her mouth open all the time;
but they also said
she's somehow hard
somehow cold
and they were right.

I am a water girl,
as impermanent as a womb, a flood, or sweat on skin.
She told me, "I am empty; it all comes from you.
I refract your light, then send it back."

I am a water girl, 
she was a glass girl;
I could not maintain unless she held me,
and so she was, as I knew she was, exactly what I needed
when I was younger, and stupider even than now.

I miss her,
even knowing how hard, how cold.
She told me, "Fuck what anybody says or thinks. We are what we are."
Her black hair hung down and there we were
meeting on a borderline--
The deep. The stars.

I offer this for the audio; the video portion has nothing to do with anything.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: "Seasons In Hell"

Seasons in Hell: With Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog and "The Worst Baseball Team in History" - The 1973-1975 Texas Rangers by Mike Shropshire

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first third or so of this book is really funny. I mean, tears rolling down my face funny. Shropshire's wry descriptions of the utterly inept 1973 Texas Rangers baseball team is really good reading for anyone who likes baseball and loves schadenfreude. But, as with a lot of books that are funny at the start, this one doesn't maintain it.

I had several problems with this book. For one, the title itself is misleading. Yes, it puts "the worst team in baseball history" in quotes, but only the '73 team was bad. The '74 team was actually pretty good, and the '75 team was mediocre. In addition, well over half of the book is devoted to the '73 season; like the humor, it's as if Shropshire himself ran out of gas. There is a strange preoccupation with spring training, with as much space devoted to that as to the regular season. The big preoccupation here, though, is Shropshire's obsession with drinking. Like most drunks, he places tremendous emphasis and importance on what was being consumed, in what quantities, by whom, and where. Again like most drunks, he makes the erroneous assumption that other people are as fascinated with this stuff as he is. I found it really tiresome by the latter portion of the book.

There are some interesting portraits of such figures as Herzog, Martin, schoolboy wunderkind David Clyde, and such lesser lights as "The Strange Ranger" Willie Davis and "Beeg Boy" Rico Carty, so slow running to first base that "you could time him with a sundial." Shropshire fudges some of his facts--he repeatedly misspells Brewer manager and former Braves star Del Crandall's name--and screws up the timeline of some events.

It was fun to hear how some of these baseball icons talk when it's off the cuff, and having lived in Texas and been a (temporary) Rangers fan myself, I liked hearing stories about this team in particular. In the end, though, the endless frat party that Shropshire describes gets old, and like a drunk who was fun when the evening began, it ultimately becomes a little pathetic. Three stars for being howlingly funny for a while, but not really recommended.

View all my reviews

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Woman In A Coffee Bar

I don't look like much, but when I open my mouth, 
they send the bomb squad and a priest.

Standing there at the counter, that dress makes me both jealous and repentant
of the things I want to declare at the border of your beauty.
Does the world seem blurry,
silent-movie sped,
to you, too?
Or are you as contained as a coconut,
as cool,
as necessary and as removed

from earthbound spirits?
You'd like me, if only you'd release your carnality into my custody.
I'm nervous, but that's all the time.
I'm the girl with a locust under each eyelid;
all I have to do is look,
and everything reduces to simple appetite.

Don't condemn me, I'll pay whatever back tax you demand.
Just come over here. Soon. Admire me, too.
Tell me I'm the ladybug you've been looking for
despite the fire department,
child protective services,
and, especially, the aftermath predicted for my bedding
by the tarot card I keep in my bag to notify
handsome firefighters and lady doctors of my special conditions.

Someone sent me their heart by telegram once.
It was too slow, and they had
to use dynamite and a blowtorch to get into the crypt I was renting at the time.
I came back to life anyway, though,
just now,
when I saw you standing at the counter.

I said to myself, there's the drug I've been kept off of--
the stuff cats and deep water divers know about,
made from equal parts next year's pandemic,
mother's milk and
the smell of pussy on the pillow, one's fingers (nails trimmed short) and
a book of favorite Catholic hymns
that we'll use to prop the door

so the breeze can come in, as you should as soon as you possibly can.

From the following word list. I did not use all of them.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: "Eddie Mathews & The National Pastime"

Eddie Mathews And The National PastimeEddie Mathews And The National Pastime by Eddie Mathews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eddie Mathews was a favorite player of my childhood, probably my second favorite after Norm Cash. Having read co-author Bob Bruege's excellent history of the Milwaukee Braves, I expected this to be mostly written by him. Honestly, I pretty much expected The Joe Shlobotnik Story. it wasn't like that at all. The great majority of the book is told in Mathews' own voice and it reads like spending an evening listening to an old friend. Bruege merely adds a page or two at the end of each chapter (except the final one) to add the things that the modest Mr. Mathews left out.

One of the best things about this book is that it gave me a real sense of what it was like to be a ball player in the 50s and 60s. He starts with being a minor leaguer and goes all the way through his post-playing days as a manager and scout. I really loved the early chapters about his days playing for the Atlanta Crackers of the Southern Association, and the middle section about his experiences during the heyday of the Milwaukee major league club. And, of course, as a Tiger fan, I loved reading about his final season and a half, playing for the Detroit team.

Eddie Mathews is plainspoken, down to earth, and a good story teller--but without crossing certain lines a la "Ball Four" and other expose-type baseball books. Parts of the book struck me as quite sad. The whole book fairly swims in alcohol, and after 3 marriages and a succession of jobs after his playing days ended, I felt like such a great player and decent guy ended up kind of on the down side, a little bit. I would have wished happier times for the slugger I cheered for at Tiger Stadium when I was 12 and 13 and loved baseball in a way that only kids can. Highly recommended for anyone with any interest at all in the subject matter.

View all my reviews

Saturday, August 20, 2016

4th Century Social Media

Flavius Julius Valens Augustus checks his Facebook page
and discovers that he has been trolled again by the Visigoths.
They make memes insulting him.
They go into hysterics criticizing his hair and nose.

He types in his status: "Stop doing this II me. What do you do it IV?"
He adds a sad emoji.
"Why all the hVIII?"

But the Visigoths keep trolling him.
They send a new meme showing a sausage with a face wearing lederhosen.
It says, "Bite me." He unfriends them, but one day they will prevail. 

Mini-challenge: "not what we came to see"


Thursday, August 18, 2016


The train that I took out of London seven years ago
appeared in my dream last night.
It had dinner plate wheels and hung on a chain that hoisted it up to a mailbox
where letters spread their wings to dry.

The train that I took out of London seven years ago 
only moves in one direction: away, and yet there it was,
undeparted, filling like a lung.
I have sung everything into the parish poor box--

those things I loved most, first to go.
I have sung until I am mute, and as unsentimental as an oxygen tank.
The priest cut off his ears and put them in my pocket
like coins. I told him his wish is dust, and he turned into Jericho's wall.

The train that I took out of London seven years ago
took off its clothes and reported my movements from memory.
The tracks only go in one direction: away, and yet there I was;
I woke up in love, a stone in flight, a letter with no address,

a dove that left its light down a well, yet sings in the dark when I'm gone.