Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Fox Hurries On Alone

Fox hurries on alone,
wearing a night coat made of indigo memories.
She is solitary and keeps out of sight,
but the moon that finds me, finds her, and says no word.

Here, the lizard on his rock,
head cocked to hear the mandolin the grocer plays
when the lock is on the door
and the bottles hung on yews gather spirits from his tunes.

A desert bird speaks your poems
along the edges of a sunset, and once again 
I hold my breath to hear them
as the fountain with its coins lulls the fox with Spanish songs.

for Play It Again at Toads.

I chose Susie's Amber Tamblyn prompt from 2016.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Courtship On The Edge Of The World

The girl whose face was time
was sought after for love, though she was immune.
Sailors dashed their splintering ships at her feet
and crawled the carapace of the rising moon.

Beauty is the star-marker, the sailors called,
and your visage the horizon we perish to unfurl.
She scoffed and said, my face is a mask
and you a troupe of clambering fools.

Behold, behind you, infinity spread!
cried the sailors as one, then fell down dead.

Dropping the guise, the girl confessed
my face is a cipher, the void my nightdress.

for Sunday Muse #88. I have the flu so be kind, please.

Friday, December 27, 2019

A Message For Dumb-O-Crats

No need to fret about climate change.
You silly twit, you're just Trump-deranged.
"So what?" about fires, storms and floods,
"Thoughts and prayers" are more than enough.
If the water is rising right up the stairs,
relax, my friend, it's "alternative air."
We're sending cows--because we care!--
to the Arctic to be "alternative bears."
POTUS, most powerful man in the world,
takes no crap from a teenage girl.
So rest your mind, don't listen folks,
it's all a radical Democrat hoax.

Hoping you feel all better now, for Wordy Friday.

Saturday, December 21, 2019


Behold my steed.
Behold my steed which I have brought into the house.
"Caroline," says my life partner.
"Caroline, for chrissakes," my life partner says.

Behold my steed's noble mien.
Behold his handsome visage,
a grosbeak upon his broad back,
eternity in his untroubled gaze.
"Caroline," says my only darling.
"Caroline, you clueless cow.
Get it out of here before it craps on the carpet."

Behold my armored breastplate.
Behold my pennant and standard.
Behold my raised sword, heavy and final.
"Caroline," says my flawless beloved.
"Caroline, what the exact fuck, honey?"

Behold my steed rearing up.
Behold the flashing of his mighty hooves.
Behold Saints Michael, Catherine, and Margaret
urging us on, invoking the grandeur of the Divine.
"Caroline," says my heart's other half.
"Christ on a pogo stick, Caroline." 
Behold the dear familiar lips.
Behold my knees sweetly buckling as I go weak at every word.

for Sunday Muse # 87.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Book Review : "Forty Stories"

Forty StoriesForty Stories by Donald Barthelme
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been reading a lot of surrealist-type writing lately and all of them harken back to that master of the form, Donald Barthelme, so I have pulled out this volume. I mean, why not just go for the Real Thing?

I bought a collection of Barthelme's stories off a paperback rack as a teenager and loved it. My favorite was a story about a human fly scaling a tall building with the help of two plumber's helpers (plungers). It was hilarious and different and as someone has said, merry and melancholy at the same time. I've been a fan ever since, and Barthelme has influenced my own writing more than any other writer.

In this collection, we encounter a trail drive of porcupines onto the grounds of a university, a group planning to hang their friend Colby for "going too far" with marvelous attention to music and refreshments, and a contemplation on what goes on the mind of a bodyguard. No two of the stories are alike, all are written with intelligence and style, none of them drag, and all of them are suffused with bizarre details and/or premises. That's the marvelous thing about Barthelme as compared to his imitators--he knows how much of that sort of stuff is enough, and doesn't wear out the reader with a barrage of it. He uses just enough acid-trip nuttiness, with just this thing or that things crazily out of place, to make it fascinating and readable and funny and even revelatory. Barthelme was one of a kind. Don't be fooled by cheap imitations. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 14, 2019


Never been sinful.
Never been kissed.
Just violets and daisies
in my little fist.

Never been angry.
Never been rude.
Never been flippant.
Got that, dude?

Always been quiet,
devoted, demure.
Always been pious,
patient and pure.

Never been sorry
cos I never been wrong.
Understand that,
and we'll get along.

for Sunday Muse # 86.

Die Reise

Does it burn, dear, does it trouble you
to see these dropped stitches letting the wind in?
Walls disappear even as they shelter,
hollow as bird bones or violins
stacked each upon each like the worst regrets
of ghosts bewildered, emigrating
with dust of memory gilding frayed keepsakes
as we hold each other, advancing, disintegrating.

the opening line is by Kerry O'Connor, used by permission as part of the mini-challenge at Real Toads, where she presides.

image: one of the lost suitcases of Willard Asylum

Thursday, December 12, 2019

The Strobe Of Time

The strobe of time will knock your old stories right out of your mouth,
those laments and war stories you think you're made of.

The strobe of time dazzles you blind to anything not smack in front of you--
you'll smell oranges,
spin dizzy,
and slave yourself to the dance beat of

now now now now now now now now

at the Disco of Indeterminate Duration.

just some quick nonsense for Poets United: The Moment.

Sunday, December 8, 2019


I would tell you absolutely anything
if my mouth did not fill with pebbles,
my teeth to a breakwater,
my tongue to a dying whale
each time I try.

See how the sun hangs in the sky, lugubrious as a defective,
lighting our possibilities with its dusty shine?
I would dance for you
except that ravens have collected my shinbones and tarsals
as trinkets for their nest.

Still, joy is possible.
You shove the Universe, I'll pick its pocket
and we'll set up the world's most elaborate lie
to stun ourselves into devotion.
That's when you'll guess my name, Mary of the Maritimes,
and skip yourself over my body like a thrown stone.

A second poem for camera FLASH! at Real Toads. Again, I was inspired by the lighthouse card, already posted on this blog with my first effort.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Cat In Communication With Distant Planets

Cat in communication with distant planets 
thinks you would be more interesting if you were
a fish
or a cardboard box.

Distant planets communicate that personal transformation is possible.
Fins or corrugation become you.
Get cracking. 

timely feline advice courtesy of Sunday Muse #85.

Bonus advice: don't settle. Become a fish IN a cardboard box. Your cat will thank you.

Friday, December 6, 2019


There has been terror, walls of water, nightmare monsters!
Our hands around splintered oars.
Our hands around twisting lines in desperate storms.
Our hands around our bodies in the freezing nights.
Our hands around each other's throats in frenzies of despair.

There has been light, safe haven, mighty walls!
Light from a sturdy tower.
Light revealing gray-white gulls.
Light in our captain's steady eye.
Light at dawn, on a rocky shore.

Strange, the solid ground our legs shift upon.
Strange, the women bringing children to the docks, who call.
Strange, the endless streets, the many doors, odors, sounds.
Strange, the urge to sail again, to leave this tranquil harbor.

No wonder we stagger in the street, thought mad by both priest and whore.
We are mad.
Only the swell and fall of the sea can receive our pitching souls.

for camera FLASH! at Real Toads.

"Pharos" image created and provided by the mystic and magnetic Kerry O'Connor.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Future Imperfect

A poem appeared, saying it was sent by the horizon.

Naked except for a hibiscus bloom in its hair, it danced upon a pile of old tires burning behind the strip mall.

"A signal fire," it said.
The smoke became blackbirds, their beaks a collective compass needle.
The poem was itself a flock.

Looking up, I said, "Curiosity killed the cat.
Satisfaction brought her back."

That was the last I saw of the poem,
but its hibiscus bloom hangs from a chain I wear on my wrist
like a false hand 
with a true ring
in lambent light that doesn't show the blood.

for Skylover Word List.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Do What You Can

After a storm knocked over the circus, Tom Thumb watched Boris the Strong Man set his Royal Carriage right side up again and said,

"Fuck you anyway. I can't even handle cutlery if it is too heavy. House cats bump against me and I'm on the damn floor. When the storm came, I had to climb inside a steamer trunk and pull it closed over my head so I wouldn't be carried on the wind to Cleveland or Des Moines like a damn leaf. So to hell with you, Boris. You could take Yankee Stadium and toss it in the Atlantic if you felt like it."

"Zees upsets you," said Boris, who was not really Boris but rather a Frenchman named Marcel L'Amoreaux. "I tell you some-sing mon ami. When I see zee tight rope walker smile and she scoop you up, zat make me so jealous! She not do that ever avec moi. So, Le fuck to you aussi."

Then they were both sad. 

After a minute, Boris clapped a huge paw across Tom Thumb's little fairy-ass shoulders, but with care. "Leesun, my fren. In life, we all do what we can do." Raising a finger importantly, he added (from beneath his impressive mustache), "What we don' do ees do what we can't do. Dat shit make you fou. Crazy. So fug dat. Like, I never gonna be tightrope walker, eh? So why I worry bout dat? I don'. And you should not be the worrying about lifting heavy sheet. So don'." 

Tom Thumb started laughing so hard that he fell over on the ground and rolled there in merriment like a drunken pill bug. "You! A tightrope walker!" And then the real tightrope walker came by and, smiling her gorgeous smile, scooped Tom up and love-mugged him with noisy kisses.

Boris watched them as they moved toward the breakfast tent. He shrugged, then looked up at the sky, wondering if he could lift it if he really tried.

Written for Words To Live By at Real Toads but my link was deleted for not being poetry.

I don't now recall who the wise soul was who said it to me, but they said, "Do what you can, not what you can't." I must say this to myself twice a week, and it lets me feel good about the cans and not fret about the can'ts.