Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Saturday, February 29, 2020


I keep a lock on the fallboard 
to keep silence on the keys.
It's not there for kitty, but for the Destroyer, 
the Hell-spawned vaccuum-souled Imp
who leans in the doorway and pipes up
that the adagio is "nice."

Follow me to my playing place,
and I will knock you down the stairs with a spiked club. 
I do this for the sake of my instrument, 
blind and trusting in every way that I am not.

If we have just made love,
our breath as close and sweet as roosting doves,
do not think that now you may ask me to "play something."
The window is glass--you will fall two floors with the shards.

I have preserved this spare garret
through hundred-year storms and momentary bullshit
using every avenue of preservation a girl can summon.
Now, in even solitude, I free the fallboard,
set fingertips to white strikers, 
and look to kitty, in his terrible authority.

As before? I ask.
His eyes are unblinking, 
and His instrument fills like a ewer in Canaan.

for Sunday Muse #97.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Aphelion & Perihelion --- A Child's Anthem

I was a wall-walking ballerina 
dancing in an incinerator,
arms out, bending each way,
light as ash but not consumed.

Now I'm heavy as an old oak clock,
creaky as a forgotten stair,
yet somehow, I know the language of birds.

I'm hard to see in bright light
~always was~
but I shine continuously, weightless.

for Friday Flash 55 at VerseEscape.

Photography by Christine Kapuschinsky Johnson.

Monday, February 24, 2020

My Kept Crow

My kept crow
collects paper stars, ribbons, various weathers
stolen from the top-shelf box
in the locked room
where I keep what I must forget.

Here is my nun's cell in its spare austerity.
My kept crow comes to my hand,
and I see myself in his tilted eye.
His gift is vertigo dreams
where, at last, I let go of balance
and approximate flight as sleeping dogs and suicides do.

In riven night, I arise
--as my crow would understand--
and go to him, my dark swain, my confessor.
He gives me paper stars, ribbons, various weathers;
I leave him with a bauble
red, meaty, useless
to pull apart.

My kept crow
is kind in the gray-white ash of morning.
He makes no insistence that I rise,
though he sees my open eyes,
my open bleed,
and the open window that shows his free brothers
and mocks our combined, if pretty, superfluity.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Becoming

If I become, in age, querulous,
hands worn to nubs from wringing them,
full of good advice no one wants,

please shoot me in the head, or

give me a gravy bath and leave me
in Wolf Country 

so that I may once again experience emotions beyond cheap fretting 
and vague upset.

Faced with a circling pack,
my concern over a sweater pilling
the neighbor's cat shitting in the azaleas 
will seem quaint and stupid.

I will rise up,
screaming come you motherfuckers, come
and I will be seen and considered
for the first time in years.

for Sunday Muse #96.

Friday, February 21, 2020


There are dogs who carry Winter in their mouths
and when they smile, it is your smile
with teeth as white as pitcher-cream.

Like you, the dogs do not speak
because what they want cannot be put in words.
With eyes like November noon-dusk,
they radiate need and knock my heart over
low enough to be carried off and cached.

In frost-dark, I am the Moon,
and the dogs are rings around me.
We howl at every kindness because we know
it isn't freeze that makes us flinch, but thaw. 

Like the dogs, I carry Winter in my mouth,
and when I smile, it is your smile
like a collar around my tongue
from a Master who wanted me
silent, but devoted, and other such prideful notions.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Love Lock

I have kept you in jars of glass
blown from my own body.
I have kept you in photographs that swam 
and emerged from shallow night pools.

There is a blue cord connecting us,
an Arctic fissure calling with its constant lure.
I wake from dreams stunned, immobile,
a beat behind your false sunrise.

There is a bridge you don't believe in,
where I wait, lighting bonfires that burn the boards I stand on.
There is a lock and the looped chain future,
with only one key, in the palm of your hand.

As I turn to smoke, you turn to stone
where terns wheel and scream their Gypsy fortunes.
I become a bird as I fall, forgiving us both, 
in awkward semaphore I hope you'll understand.

for Sunday Muse # 95 where I am hosting.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Youth & Age

I met a woman with hands made of ice,
she said you're burning 
with fever, 
poor thing.
She gave me a bible, some old wedding rice
and a bell
too tarnished
to ring.

She said, child, you come like a saint with a gun
to bless me
or kill me
with cures.
I stood there and called up the moon with my prayers,
fed it honey,
then gave it
to her.

Don't give me your pity, it's you who need mine
said this woman who cracked 
when she smiled.
Then the moon called me back and erased all I'd done
and the woman said
don't you see,
The woman said
don't you see,

for Sunday Muse #94.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Book Review : "Breathing Underwater"

Breathing UnderwaterBreathing Underwater by Lu Vickers
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lu Vickers can write--that's not the problem here. There isn't a tired phrase or a clanking paragraph anywhere in this novel about a girl growing up in the Florida panhandle in the 1970's. And Lily's slowly dawning realization about who she is is fine by me--I love a nice lesbian love story, though what there is of that is pretty darn scant. The problem here, for me, was that I just didn't like Lily very much and that made it hard to care very much about her. I didn't like her when she threw a rock at a caged monkey. I didn't like her when she beat the living bejesus out of her little sister. I didn't like her when she wanted to hurt the boy next door, annoying and wrong for her though he was. Oh yes, she has her reasons for being angry. Don't we all. That didn't excuse her mean streak.

The real main character in this story isn't even Lily at all. Her bipolar mother is, though Lily is the protagonist. Lily's mother is a woman who had pretty shallow dreams, but they were her dreams and when they were disappointed, she took it out on both herself and her family, with Lily becoming a special target for "not being the right kind of girl." I did love the line "She couldn't get inside me and make me different." I was the wrong kind of girl too, and fought the same battle with my own mother, so I could relate. I admired her will to be true to herself and her resiliency in the face of having repeated AFGO's. (Another F**king Growth Opportunity.) But I still didn't really like her.

The other main character here is the Florida panhandle in all its heat, kitsch and glory. While well drawn, the setting is like Lily herself in that it lacked something, lacked anything really valuable except a mulish will to keep on keepin on. So, if you want to read a good southern novel with quirky characters, try something by Joshilyn Jackson, not this. Not recommended.

View all my reviews


There is a man in the foam of a wave
and he watches for spirits
who can never be saved
I leave him a loaf on the edge of my skin
though he knows by the Moon
he can never come in.

The reeds are rotten with whispering wrecks
that cradle the sailors
who've broken their necks
in lonely dawn when the candle is gone
they sing to me softly
their odd borrowed song

To search for the man in the foam of a wave
who constantly calls me
by another love's name
and in his pocket he carries a spoon
to measure my sorrow
by the phase of the Moon.

Come Winter, come Summer, come judgement, come Fall,
come whispering spirits,
come nothing at all,
I'll take off my clothes and my garland of snow
and call him to come
where he already goes.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

La Famiglia

Mom would have done well as an underworld figure,
sticking the steel into some poor bastard
then doing the perp walk holding a Le Creuset enameled cast iron skillet in front of her face.

There is something to be said for always seething with petty resentments--
it keeps a girl from going lazy,
idling away the hours wandering the arboreal colonnade
with a peach in one hand and a bible in the other.

Better  to brood under a starved star and crescent moon
bad-tempered as a sick camel,
rooting out infidels from the shadows and making them bow to the east.
After all, what's family for?

Then again, we all have our foolish hour and faint notion,
stumbling along in silver slippers,
carrying the quilled bowling ball handed us by our elders and betters.

Mom, she never believed for one minute in butterball sunshine and rock candy mountains.
She harbored a crow scrabbling just beneath her heart,
telling her quite sensibly to kill that child and kill it quick,
just like she learned at her own mother's knee.

Grandma wore ice boots,
Grandpa had no tongue and a nail through his eye.
Into the world they sent their girl to birth a scapegoat upon an altar
built from fear and silence,
the perfect place to start a family of her own.

for Sunday Muse #93, using the word list below for Skylover Word List.

Image at top is Ruby Cruz as teenage Annie Wilkes in "Castelrock." 

And finally, some music to read poetry by.