Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

I Walk Out On The Fragrant Fields Of September*

In The Barn of Morning I found a stool, but its cow was in the field,

south of the sun,

and just north of the earth.

The stool was called The Stool of Error,

Its legs named Impulse, Disaster and Wisdom,

each one held in the jaws of a laughing hyena.

I took my bonnet and breastplate

and walked out upon the fragrant fields of September,

following the shifting arrow of a weather vane

and the cowbell-call of my wandering girl.

"Halloo," I called, carrying The Stool of Error

and shaking the hyenas off.

"It's just me, with my bucket and milking hat, 

dandelion blooms in the pocket of my smock."

"Bessie," I said, beginning my work,

"In The Barn of Morning, when all is quiet and you face the east as all milkers do and must,

Do you think of your lost calves 

and the bulls who came and went?

Or are your big, kind eyes on the brightening world

and all of its clover and blue sky bigness?

Moo me a clue, girlfriend. 

Under this gingham and chain mail I am fierce lonesome

and sorely unsure."

All afternoon the sun dripped across the heavens

while hyenas chittered and hid behind a buckthorn bush.

I picked up the Stool of Error and led Bessie back

to the Barn of Evening.

She lowed softly as she settled in,

and I thought that was as good advice as any,

The Soft Moo of Stay Tuned, Chickie, 

a sort of psalm for this moon-hearted milkmaid to ponder.


for Sunday Muse #127.

*with apologies to Grover Lewis ("I Walk Out On The Wounded Fields Of October")

Saturday, September 19, 2020



Back then, I hung lanterns on my heart,

kept my own counsel

and spoke Romany in front of the marks.

I appeared 18 or 80

depending on the phase of the moon, 

or the shape  of my dreams.

I kept The Fool and The Tower up my black lace sleeve

and slept with other girls

thinking to cure my fever and my thirst.

Now a young man comes,

his mute-bird girlfriend behind a pace

with her patience and frybread face. 

I long ago burnt my heart down to nothing,

fueled with equal measures bravery and turpentine.

So, why does he make a visible ghost of me?

Do I wail for wanting to touch him,

or because my unringed fingers die behind my folded arms,

cursed by years?

Once, I hung lanterns on my heart,

and spun spells that only worked when I didn't care.

I mixed brown sugar with oleander

and wrapped my sorrow in a million words.

Young man, these are not crows, they are flying ash.

I want you and cannot say it,

but you came here with intention of unraveling old spells

and have done that

fiercely well.


for The Sunday Muse #126, where I am hosting.

image at top by Brooke Shaden.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Book Review : "Unclean Jobs For Women and Girls"


Unclean Jobs for Women and GirlsUnclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I loved the first three (of eighteen) short stories in this collection. They were very funny and also had a deeper point. I thought I was going to love this book. One of the stories was about a boozy assistant to a Swedish (?) super model who attends Andy Warhol-ish parties and speaks in riddles. It concerned feeling empty enough that reflected shine from empty celebrity seemed like a move up. Another was about a sex worker for a reality game show where one of three men wins anal sex on the moon with the narrator by winning a competitive eating contest.

So it wasn't the bizarre story lines that made me give this collection one star. I like Donald Barthelme, Russell Edson and Michael Andreason very much, for example. Ms. Nutting is very clever. A little too clever, in fact. As she parades this laundry list of self-loathing women, worthless men and violent mothers across these stories, she is long on bizarro details and story lines but she seems to either mock her characters or distance herself from their pain by making them and their situations crazy and laughable.

I'll use the penultimate story, "She-Man" as an example. She has her trans narrator start right off by saying that she "is really a man." Transphobes say that, not trans women. Her pro bowler boyfriend somehow doesn't know that she's trans and the author sets up a ridiculously kitschy parody of a certain idea of white-bread normalcy which includes her making beaded Christmas sweaters as a sideline, and the bowler boyfriend having a penchant for Kat Klocks and such. The narrator's old pimp--because, of course--shows up to blackmail her, kills her dog, and outs her to the bowler boyfriend, resulting in his bowling alley pals beating her to death with baseball bats. Nutting tries to inject some pathos at the end--as she does with many of her endings--but she has set the whole thing up all the way through with a smirk and wink, so her attempt to switch gears at the end falls short.

If Nutting concerned herself less with showing how very clever and outre she can be, and showed a little more heart for her characters--not to mention giving them some admirable qualities once in a while--her stories would be improved considerably. Not recommended.

View all my reviews

Monday, September 14, 2020

Book Review : "Daisy Jones & The Six"


Daisy Jones & The SixDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Think Fleetwood Mac meets Almost Famous meets As The World Turns. This is the fictional story of a 1970's rock band called Daisy Jones & The Six. It's done in a faux interview format, which I liked because A) I grew up devouring CREEM magazine and Rolling Stone and any rock biographies I could find about my favorites, and B) because it shows what happens from multiple pov's, which sometimes contradict each other or see things from very different perspectives. It's an easy and engrossing read and I basically couldn't put it down.

There are several strong female characters and I especially enjoyed their takes on a lot of what went on in the male-privilege-gone-wild world of '70s rock n roll. I liked how the relationships in the book were all complicated in various ways, a trade-off of good and bad, just as relationships of any depth always are.

That's not to say there weren't annoying flaws. The ending toward which the whole book careens, comes with a whimper, not with a bang. And the where-are-they-now bit at the end was so cliche (Adopted orphan children? So '90s!) and the big reveal of who the interviewer is seemed forced and movie-of-the-week to me.

So, I enjoyed the book, it captured the scene as it was in that very memorable era, and so it entertained me but it didn't move me. The only time it really did that was as I read the included lyrics at the end and came to "Aurora", the title song of the band's mega-hit album. That got me, but it took until literally the last page. Recommended, but well short of must-read.

View all my reviews

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Fox With A Feather

Fox with a feather
wait until dark.
Fox-brother with your clever face
calm the careless bird without a mark.

September is your gotten grace
fallen from a limb.
Remember when the keeper comes
to hide where he's just been.

Lonely is the blue light of the moon reflected so
upon the calm and silent bird roosting on the snow
without a song, with unlit eyes, its feathers pulled and dull
with sobriquet of red it gets from names your teeth bestow.

Fox with a feather
wait until dawn.
The keeper loads his gun to bless
the live ones on the lawn.


for Sunday Muse #125.