Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

There Is Snow


There is snow
on the steps of a church where nuns' lives turn to dust.
a mute sun sleeps dazed in the low sky
and starlings let their wings fall, giving up all memory of flight.

The street is empty,
the silent intersection a cross
held in the still hands of an old priest
turned to stone forever.

Women in their black shawls move quickly
but the low sky has stopped and falls
bit by bit
on the steps of a church where an old priest has died.

The nuns are silent.
The women wear their black shawls,
and always,
there is snow. 

I guess this is sort of a sketch. It interrupted what I was doing this morning and demanded to be written. There are a lot of abandoned churches in Detroit, and while editing this, I had them in mind. The congregations, often ethnic,  grew smaller and older until the parishes were no longer viable. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Word Garden Word List #6 (Laura Marling)


Hi everyone, it's me with your weekly word list poetry prompt. The idea is to use at least 3 of the 20 words listed in either a poem of any length or style, OR a "flash 55" which is a piece of writing consisting of exactly 55 words not counting the title. The prompt stays "live" through Friday. Just write, link, visit, enjoy. 

This week's list comes from the lyrics of songs by British singer/songwriter Laura Marling. The first song of hers that I heard was "New Romantic", which I stumbled upon on You Tube. 

I was further intrigued by "What He Wrote", a song that sounds very much like something Leonard Cohen would have written. 

I also really like "Tick" "Blues Run The Game" and "Nouel" but you'll find your own favorites. If you weren't already into her music, I am betting that you will be presently! 

And now, without further ado, your word list!


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Half Past Bitter Sweet


There's a peculiar kind of holy naive feeling that I get
when you step out of December
and through my box of memories that never happened yet.

Here's the ring that fell from a lost sea shell
and broke in shades of lonesome
to set the bungs and tie tongues of those who crave to tell.

In my dreams you are a hunter
when I'm falling in my sleep
and I can't put my finger on it
but its far and fey and half past bitter sweet.

You'd tell me it's just bullshit if you talked to me at all
so I spend the hours wounded
making feathers for a blackbird who sold them for a call.

In the garden Quasimodo is looking for his bell
and hes crying but can't hear it
except when he gets near it and can't say if it will make him worse or well.

In my dreams you are a dust-star
when I'm flying in my sleep
and I can't put my finger on it
but it's far and fey and half past bitter sweet. 

Note: this poem has nothing whatever to do with clergy. I liked the picture for other reasons. It's a love poem.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Good Friday


In 1978, I found a man crouched inside of my borrowed tv,
building an engine that resembled Dick Cavett.

I accused him of stealing my off-hours, asked him if he
was my father or my child and he said, "No, I am just here
to eat my way out of you from within."

I turned the channel knob and he appeared in tails,
then drag, then a Broadway production of "An American In Paris"
and finally in a ridiculous purple wig that kept sliding off.

I told him he had to leave before Easter, which was
expected presently, but he clung to his mechanical Cavett
and broke for commercial before my mother arrived, complaining.

"What have you done to my tv, it has a dent in it 
and the Jesus is gone." Before she could stab me, I moved away
to a flat in Chelsea where Sappho knits booties for monsters

and I lie on the table like a place mat, serving six and howling.

a second poem for the Corso word list

Monday, December 20, 2021

Word Garden Word List #5 (Gregory Corso)


One of my earliest poetic loves and inspirations was Gregory Corso, for his wild, beautiful, irreverent use of language and for the pure energy and vitality of his work. If gorgeous angels were prone to "getting in your face" all while being thoroughly entertaining, that's what Grepory Corso was, and is, in his writing.

Strongly associated with Ginsberg, Kerouac, and the "Beats", Corso was nevertheless different from them. His early life was about as hard as can be imagined, and he was left largely or completely on his own from a young age. He once sold a toaster he was meant to deliver for enough money to buy nice clothes so he could attend "Song of Bernadette." (What street kid does that?!?) He was arrested and sent to New York's infamous "Tombs" and put in a cell next to a man who had murdered his girlfriend with a screwdriver. He was 13 years old. Somehow, he survived and managed to educate himself by reading during his incarceration. Along the way, several people recognized his genius and helped him to get started as a poet. However, he was never a conventional one, and even though he was one of the Beats, he was never considered the equal of the "stars" of that movement, though time has shown him to be every bit their equal, and in my opinion he outshines them all. 

This week's list is taken from two of his volumes: Gasoline and the Happy Birthday of Death. I really hope that you enjoy the list and that it spurs your creativity.

What we do here is this: write a poem using at least 3 of the twenty words on the following list. Your poem need not have anything to do with Corso except for the three(or more) words. The list is a springboard. Then just link, visit, comment. Prompt stays "live" through Friday. And now, without further ado, your list:


Sevenling (On an afternoon dark as Egyptians)

 On an afternoon dark as Egyptians,
I buy a used copy of Rimbaud
and cannot hold my bones in place.

Sit on the sand, the ocean will reach and draw back
like tempted nuns
at the proscribed birthday of boho ghosts.

Acrobats pull stitches from the binding for nets.

Saturday, December 18, 2021



Lorca-Hemingway is a fixture at the cafe.
His blood consists of La Marseillaise and dove-moons.
It pounds through his body like a glorious parade.

When I see him, I walk with back bent backwards,
slinking like a cartoon cat,
short of breath, tail-talking, stupid, exalted, way obvious.

Hand him your copy, he'll sign it in terse bluebirds.
He is his own hotel room, there's always
some blowsy blonde on the bed, quietly detonating.

Young men line up near his table, as if there were a war
or a desperate national need for Gypsy violins.
A waiter serves orange suns from embossed tin trays.

I paint Lorca-Hemingway's skin with brandy cologne,
so that all bullets turn away and take trains to Barcelona.
I send myself as a telegram into his latest masterpiece:
I am a peony petal inside a bud stop
you are a man and a girl and a secretary bird stop
angels inside you carry death and glory in little satchels stop

Now I conceal Lorca-Hemingway inside me like a trick lighter.
No one in the cafe can find him, but in the nick of time
Brett Ashley smiles with a cigarette in her lips and 
I flame!
Oh yes,
I flame.

for The Sunday Muse #191, where I am hosting one last time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021



I keep seven calendars, six clocks,
and live in a brick house on a street with no wolves.
There is wind sometimes,
and I like to read when it rains.
I have been here twenty years and buried five dogs.
I was married before,
considered suicide,
kicked booze,
had a garden.

Every morning, I rise early.
Things must be begun immediately, worked on steadily.
I like muffins and coffee.
I think of my father tearing out his feeding tube,
eager to die if he couldn't have an omelette or a cigar.
The butter and blackberry jam are superb.
I will write another poem this morning,
do dishes,
take time for my projects,
watch some tv.

There is a new spot on my neck. It's nothing.
My dog watches me watch myself in the mirror.
I wonder if anyone will want my books when I die?
I shake it off, go and put on boots.
"Come on," I tell him, "We have jobs to do."
We spend the day outdoors,
come in happy and tired.
I give him part of my snack as a movie plays.

Then, time for bed. 
Brush teeth, 
consider what got done and what didn't,
go around and double check that the doors are locked.
Who would take care of my dog if I died?
We are both just heart beats
in a bed in a house in a sprawling world.
I kiss his head, turn off the light.
"I love you," I tell him,
as I used to tell my spouse, my child, my other dogs.
"See you in the morning."
I close my eyes and sleep easy, as if it were a given.

for Dverse Poetics The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, hosted by Linda Lyberg.

image: Woman With An Airdale Terrier by Edvard Munch

Monday, December 13, 2021

Word Garden Word List #4 (Laura Nyro)


Hi everyone, it's me, with your weekly word list writing prompt! This time, the words are taken from the lyrics of songs written by the late Laura Nyro. Haven't heard of her? You've probably heard her songs recorded by others, from Blood Sweat & Tears to Three Dog Night to The 5th Dimension and many others. 

When I was 16, I was visiting a friend at her apartment, and she had some record albums leaning against the wall. The one in front was Laura Nyro "New York Tendaberry." I wondered who this wild-haired woman was, standing in the wind, looking like some sort of urban poet goddess. I soon bought a copy for myself and....mind. blown. Soon after, I bought the rest of her albums. Check out these lyrics from "Stoney End" with which Barbra Streisand had a hit:

Never mind the forecast
Cos the sky has lost control
And the fury and the broken thunder's come
To match my ragin' soul

Or this, from New York Tendaberry:

Sidewalk and pigeon
You look like a city
But you feel like religion to me

Laura was born in the Bronx in 1947. She says that music was, from an early age, a way for her to cope with a difficult childhood. "I've created my own little world, a world of music, since I was 5 years old." She never sought fame, and in fact, shied away from it. Even though her songs are best known as sung by others, her own singing is passionate and covers three octaves. She composed her own songs, and played piano on them, in a unique and amazing style unlike anyone else. I can't even express how much her songs and the way she performed them inspired my own creativity, and still do. 

Laura passed of ovarian cancer at the young age of 49 in 1997. She was an animal rights activist and mother of one. She is missed.

And now, without further ado, are your 20 words! Please use at least 3 of them to write a poem of any length or style, OR a "flash 55" which is a poem or flash fiction consisting of exactly 55 words. Then link (Yes, we now have a linky!), visit, and enjoy. Prompt stays "live" through Friday.


Alley Cat Queen


There she is, the one the cats call queen,
the one you find fearless,
standing by the resale store
holding the rising sun in her half-curled fingers.

You quit getting stoned when you heard the trainman
blow his whistle in a nightmare at noon,
but now look--you're wasted on this woman.
Her, with her corona of crows, and pigeon entourage.

Love is lazy, chica. It sleeps cos it feels like falling,
and only gets up to set the winter on fire.
You need those ice-bones that doxed a coffin
but you're pouring yourself out like a tapped sugar tree.

I know, baby, I know. Love the buzz, hate the forecast,
but here's religion, honey, here's firecrackers on the altar:
the bright on her body, the heavens in her hand?
It all came from you. She's just a moon, reflecting,

And she blinks out every time you close your eyes.

image: Chinese actress Fan Bingbing

Saturday, December 11, 2021

A Conversation


I've read what you wrote.

And? Brilliant, yes?

Brilliant in its own way. If cheap sentiment were white sand, you'd be a resort beach.


So I've taken away your shoes to teach you a lesson.


Hey now. 

Why are you here, anyway?

Community service. I missed choir practice again. 

Your lap is comfy!

Get off me, pervert.

Don't have kittens. What's the matter, you don't like bathos?

Why don't you try writing something decent?

When pigs fly.

Oink! (flap flap flap)

Uh...kay, bye Felicia. Weird chick.

(from afar) Write something decent, Steve. 


for the Sunday Muse #190

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Steampunk Starling


Steampunk starling is noisy at dawn
at the base of the window, not the tops of the trees.
The steampunk sun and the regular one
animate her heart that is wound with keys.

Steampunk bird, lonely trifle
wheels and sits in interpretive fits
her gears all meshing with teeth all threshing
the odious this from the marvelous that.

Steampunk starling, nobody's darling
but God's if mechanical God may be
she sits in the gloaming prevented from roaming
an ornament for Master's library.


Monday, December 6, 2021

Word Garden Word List #3 (Grover Lewis)


Hello friends, it's me, Shay, with your weekly word list prompt! What we do here is to look at the 20 words on the list and use at least 3 of them to write either a poem of any length or style, OR a flash 55 (a poem or flash fiction consisting of exactly 55 words.) Just leave your link in the comments! Prompt remains "live" through Friday. 

This week our list is taken from I'll Be There In The Morning If I Live, the only volume of poetry by Grover Lewis. Dave Hickey, in his introduction to Splendor In The Short Grass: A Grover Lewis Reader,  calls Lewis "the most stone wonderful writer nobody's ever heard of." Lewis was a native Texan (hence the "short grass" of west Texas) who wrote marvelously for Rolling Stone and other publications about movie sets and the directors, actors, and extras found there, as well as his own harrowing history. Lewis's father shot his mother dead when he was just a boy. The police were told that, in her dying moments, the mortally wounded woman picked up the gun that her husband had dropped and shot him right between the eyes, rendering Lewis an orphan. (It seems that a friend probably shot the husband, but we'll never really know.) Young Grover was sent to live with strict, sour, religious grandparents, and then on to another relative who encouraged his love of books. 
When I was a teenager, I found I'll Be There In The Morning If I Live, and devoured it, cover to cover. I still have my copy, and Lewis's poems have been a prime inspiration for me in my own writing. 

And now, your word list. 


Remember The Alamo


"And now! What did we wish to say, that we were not able to say?" --St. John Perse

"Love is a stranger in an open car" --the Eurythmics

When love is a stranger, things can get twisted.
A girl can get sick, being the McDonald's drive-thru of eating shit.
She may cop an attitude, or hear the cop say
to his partner, "That chick might as well just shoot herself."
That stuff sticks.

When daddy and his strophe wife, the replacement who shoots up Thomas Mann say,
"We'd like you to move out," after just a month of nervous dumbshow confusion,
the mulligans are running out and the road calls.
Where else you gonna go, baby?

When love is a stranger, there are still poets, painters, 
failed academics, leering dittybops, locust nutjobs
and grandfathers walking with canes into
the roaring pandemonium of downtown San Antonio.
There are still stricken drunks on pulpit stools
to tell you, baby,
let's get out of here,
I know a slaughterhouse on the south side
where a girl like you could see god in fumed gold Krylon.

When love is a stranger and the bones bend 
like spines of books with pages knifed out 
to hold some lack-rent new straw man's works,
it's time to get knocked up with an idea,
blood out a new plan and join the shanghaied sailors
at the 12-step dock in the free lunch church downtown.

When some oxford-cloth fuck tells you not to come back,
You come back anyway, you find a new high,
you start scudding down San Pedro with no idea
and no wheels, but a sacred heart, a votive candle,
and maybe a shine-ghost mirage of something better.
Slide into the Olmos Theater,
start tatting together the film edges until you spill
out with the rest of the film buffs,
find a tarantula on the pavement on the way home and say,

"I will not die here." 
That's when you pick up some pride, some Spanish 
and some mom and pop Texican deliciousness
before doing the dishes to pay.
Hey chica,
it doesn't have to be this way.
New friend Jake tells me that til it rings my ears.
He buys me the leather jacket I was jonesing for,
and suddenly it's my world too,
holy fuck, I have the right to be here,
and I am walking down Alamo towards the cenotaph
thinking maybe being a live coward or dead hero

are not the only choices that I have.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

In Bohemia


In Bohemia, where the Moldau
flows and hollyhocks rise beside the cottages,
I went, as a child, into the dark woods to escape 
the terrors of the monster behind the door of mine.

At night in Bohemia, where the wolves
go and the moon rises over the trees beyond the cottages,
I rose with it in the night to escape nightmares
as the wolves sang to me like imaginary mothers.

In Bohemia there are hands, and cookies shaped like hands
full of sugar and poison. In the mornings the monster
fed me hate because I was a mirror, but the wolves
told me I was a lake and a home for the wandering moon.

In Bohemia, there are little girls carrying wicker baskets
beside the shores of the Moldau, where the rooks rise.
The rooks are born from ice in the blood of monsters
and they say, "we are the rooks, we love you," as they peck.

In Bohemia, by the shores of the Moldau, many children
disappear, into forests, or ovens, where monsters sent them.
The wolves heard of this and began to follow ceaselessly,
so closely that I became them, and they became me.

In Bohemia, where the Moldau 
flows and hollyhocks rise beside the cottages,
a Gypsy girl and her wolves shrank a monster
who starved on its own poison cookies.

So I ask you now, Sir or Madame come down the lane,
to my fairy cottage by a lake beneath a golden moon,
looking for love and loaves and a soft situation,
do you really want to fuck with me and my wolves?

Better you should go, and take your monsters with you.

for The Sunday Muse #189, where I am hosting. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


 Everything is fine until it isn't.
Stars wheel in the sky, then turn back upon themselves
as we have, deaf dancers to music with too many sharps.

Gazing at constellations,
no one sets out to disarrange them.
Most of us aren't cruel by nature, don't dark our own world,
we just forget to tend the light, like distracted keepers
who look up and lose hope,
the shore obscured,
the hour too late,
the storm already arrived where no soft word
or brave promise can stop it.

for Dverse "Dancing Queen"

Monday, November 29, 2021

Word Garden Word List #2 (Plath)


Hello friends, it's me, Shay/Fireblossom with your weekly word list writing prompt! This time, the list is taken from the writings of poet Sylvia Plath, and includes words from many of her best known poems, and some from other, lesser known works. 
  The idea is simple: just write a poem of any style or length, OR a flash 55 (a poem or flash fiction consisting of exactly 55 words, not counting the title) using at least 3 of the 20 words provided. Then just copy a link to your poem and leave it in the comments. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. 
  This prompt remains "live" through Friday.

Here are your words:


Dr. Morphia

A doctor was sent for the season
called counterfeit by
summer's heart.
No use in the cure, or the reason
that shadows and rings
keep apart
from the cure that coils in the foyer
of the house that love recommends
to the moon and its lilies who crave for
the stitches that wound
as they mend. 

The doctor prescribes herself autumn
and waits for ice to inscribe
a vow to be broken at midnight
by the needle
disguised as a bride
and when the old brag fades to nothing
and the peacocks their colors remove
the idiot winter with moon lilies wins her
with remedies
and blue.