Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Post Office of Souls


At the Post Office of Souls, there's a late letter
and the hand that wrote it is the hand that delayed it.
The sorting machines are made of jacaranda and white iris--
only the postmistress is fully automated, an Egypto-Mechan perfect fit.

Stamps roll out from dreams and are hard to remember.
Women hired to sleep them also catalog--they are pregnant with postage
and have your address on file, a complete roster of your life in miniature.
They deliver you, cradle you, sing you on through to your dotage.

The aisles are of indigo water mermaid clerks circulate under
estimate arrival times, currents, allowing for windage and mercurial local poohbahs.
Open an envelope, catch the scent of lilacs, bribe Anubis with a kiss
and receive safe passage, receipt of contents, S.W.A.K and certified, you cannot lose us.

for Dverse "Compound Me." I have used "underestimate."

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Concubine of the Quarter Moon


I did not hire the day laborer inside whose bones I ride. 
Here is motion, here is time, here is the spinning world.
Here is the trowel, mortar, and metronome hand industrious.
Here is the moon, the hidden language, the valuable burl. 

Here is my compulsion to sing, and my throat empty as a new vase. 
Here is the afflicted tree holding one jewel and a thousand birds.
Merged, the swordsman and the healer, missionary from God.
Ice and ivy grown on my tongue break the bricks with words.

I am a scorched bird born of lightning, hatched from geode silence.
I am more beautiful than any river. I am cloaked in thorns and tar.
One day, laborer and wall will dissolve intestate
and I will rise, concubine of the quarter moon, magna voce avatar.

Monday, May 9, 2022


When she was arrested, she was wearing her baker boy hat
with the love poem tucked behind the inner band.
She had her backpack, her phrase book,
her connections and her suburban background.
Oh say can you see her falling like a shot bird, blood on the golden feathers?

She came to skate and got the slew foot boot,
a thump on the back and a smirking salutation.
By the dawn's early light I had thought her the world's most beautiful marvel
as she slept and her skin invited my kiss like a host catching the swaying guest.
I thought her a brown Sahara where it rains every afternoon
and the sun is stupid with lazy contentment.

She did business in cafes and book stores, where so proudly we hailed
the baristas and glasses-girls who chose the books we couldn't read.
From a distance she looked like a mistake, a wrong detail in a genius watercolor,
a runaway from another time, heads together with some local joker.
Time thickens when you get bad news. 
It's like a heart attack that takes all week.

I wrote her a poem as she slept, and the poem had a silver tongue.
It was something about Morr0ccan markets and calling peacocks,
an opium dream I cooked up stone cold sober except for woozy desire.
I tucked it in the inner band of her baker boy hat, folded with origami care.
I thought she would find it later, a swami love-joke to make her happy,
never knowing I would leave the country alone from a cold airport
by the twilight's last gleaming, the departures flipping over like a folded hand.

for qbit's excellent Akhmatova word list

Saturday, April 16, 2022


 And now comes my fetch in the mist by the slough
unnoticed by the sheep who eat the bursting sloes.
An unwelcome messenger, my double pale and blue,

to snap the stem that holds my soul and reap what doesn't rot.
I'm an altered, repetitious hag, with just the grave for new,
my breakfast made of river stones and set on plates of ice.

The horse may shed its harness, the ship may shed its crew.
I likewise shed this life entire, and no more question pose,
then--like the laurel root--decay, dissolving where it grew.

for Word Garden Word List #19 (at The Sunday Muse.) 

this poem is a "Magic 9" poem, with rhyme scheme aba cad aba, or "abracadabra" minus the two r's. 

when laurel grows in a swampy area, or "slough", the roots will rot. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

Delaying The Immortals (an American Sentence)

 Mercury gets a job as a NYC bike messenger but some idiot doors him, delaying Athena's bolts.

The American Sentence is an invention by the late Allen Ginsberg, who felt that haiku did not suit American expression. It is simply a single sentence of 17 syllables. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Wild Garlic

 First thing in the spring I see the sprigs of wild garlic
and should mine seem a giant's hand that reaches down to harm it,
remember how the neighbor's legions grew to five feet tall
and how I itched to yank and pitch each one of them to Hell,

You'll then indulge me as I hover murd'rously above it
to kill it quick and understand that I shall never love it.
Unchecked, you'll find the stinking stuff takes over every garden,
so if I windmill arms to pull, I do not beg your pardon.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

The Blind Doves


We are the blind doves
as bright as bells in our tree made of moonlight.

In the morning,
children find silver apples which redden with the rise of the sun.

The old priest comes out with his broom,
and the church steps stay still like ponies for the currycomb.

A young woman comes in the evening.
She holds an apple in her hand and cries because she has no child.

There is a pie cooling in a window.
We can feel stars appearing and hear the howl of the lonely dogs.

We are the blind doves in our tree made of moonlight,
silent as spirits, and bright as brides.

for Sunday Muse #206. Birds are the theme.

I was keen to use the painting "Moon Over Harvest Village" by Amy Scholten, but it is copyright protected. You can see it HERE.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Vagabond Ball

 You can lose the colored ball that rolls under the fence and into the weeds.
You can lose the puppy you slept with, the blanket, the bed, the parents as well.
You can lose your shoes when the roommate stretches them,
lose your virginity and barely remember it,
lose your bestie, your internship, your single room, your shine.

You can lose a husband or wife, that bastard, that bitch.
You can lose your tolerance, your keys, your court case, your kids.
You can lose yourself and wonder how in the hell.
You can lose and not be able to let it go.
You can lose your shit, or sigh and say, "oh well."
You can lose your composure when you see how far you fell.

You can lose the booze, the dope, the sex, the waste.
You can lose the name you started with and choose another one
that doesn't have the sting and shame, the stopper and the bung.
You can lose the demon and shame the devil.
You can lose who you weren't and gain who you are,
no matter how unexpected, how hard, how glorious, how far.

Your soul's the same, untouched after all,
waiting in the weeds with the vagabond ball.

my attempt at "a little repetition" for dverse. 

Monday, April 4, 2022

7 banal lines

 That spring the sky stayed gray, 
a grandfather dozing in a worn chair.
Our tongues turned to cotton,
our hearts ran out like tea from an upset cup.

It was the season of the broken brick,
the crushed bloom,
and the stunned child, gaping.

for Dverse quadrille: "season"

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Donne Like Dinner


Consider the plight of old food.
The congealed egg gesticulates, spilling her ninth glass of wine, 
claiming she could have been a chicken, soaring majestically over all you dumb motherfuckers.

This is not just lies.
She was hot, desired, asked for, and surrounded with warm companions.
Somehow, though, time skittered by, friends departed,
turning her yolk cold, her edges hard, and her future bleak.
Now there is nothing left but the scrub pad, the spray nozzle and the disposal.

Uneaten bacon sighs, recalling mobility, corn cobs and enticing sows!
Where is yesterday's jolly sun and days spreading out ahead like the world's most magnificent wallow?
The young roll their eyes as bacon's eyes light up,
warming to his subject, reliving the glory!

Like an old actor in a shuttered theater,
bacon has no stage but the walk-in cooler,
no mark but the edge of its cardboard box,
no applause but the hum of the refrigeration unit.
Imagine having an expiry date stamped on your skin!
Imagine that it has already passed!

Consider the plight of old food,
the muffin, the corn flake, the butter pat, scorned and forgotten!
Hash browns have feelings.
If you prick a pancake does it not bleed (syrup)?
Does the orange (juice) fall far from the tree?
Ask not for whom the busboy's bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Lilacs And Ashes


  1. ‘The studio was filled with the rich odour of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amidst the trees of the garden, there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.’- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dent Dutton, 1955

I brought you lilacs and ashes
wrapped in paper milled from early mornings and blind starlings.
On the paper were written a million words
that when translated sickened and when spoken disappeared.

I touched you and grew old but was reborn in the lilacs.
You gave me caramels and sickrooms,
wide verandas where ghosts sang madrigals with sisters of the moon.
You gave me the world's most beautiful door but kept the key.

Your skin was sweet on my tongue, but my tongue became a road to nowhere.
In the ditches there were lilacs, on the hillsides, marigolds.
I wrote you a million poems and grew leaner with each stanza.
You said, "Come in! Come in!" from a dark hall that narrowed into nothing. 

Such was our love. Such was the starling with its injuries,
hiding in the lilac ditch. Such was the silent book,
the radiant rose, the bright marigolds on the coffin of time.
The moon makes me remember and I cannot forgive
its ruined face
so pale
so luminous
so sorrowful
like a Japanese lantern at the canceled wedding of joy and misery.

for Dverse Poetics, hosted by Linda Lyberg. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Word List Is Moving

 Hi friends. Word Garden Word List is on the move. It will now appear on the third weekend of each month over at The Sunday Muse. See you there!

Saturday, March 26, 2022


 does light lie?
do these leaves deceive? 
what is green 
but a word for a thing 
we see a certain way

inside our skulls where no green thing grows?

here is my yellow dress.
my yellow hair.
and yellow fields stretching flat and far.
inside, my reasons.
outside, the sheltering trees, 
our house in their lee.

also, your face, the flickering planets, and stars.

i want you, but i want the wind.
you say i deceive,
but what is wanting
but a word for a thing
for which there is really no word at all?

does light lie?
here is the yellow sunflower
and the yellow night-window
but they never
called themselves those things.
here is my silver ring and my yellow ticket--

i love your face, even though you don't believe
and wish me damned and dead because i go.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Waiting For April

 When I was seventeen, I set out oranges 
for turkey vultures on the glass top of a table 
with pastel yellow legs, in summer.
I said I did it because death is sweet.

Don't ever lie. Mutism is one way
to stay honest, but turning one's tongue
to a violin is another. Many early saints
were buskers, though they died stoic, silent.

What I'm trying to say is, it might snow in Falstaff
while it's 90 in Phoenix.  You might look for robins
and find peacocks, with their weird piercing call
that makes you feel suddenly faint and homesick.

I've grown slow and stiff, my hair is white
from a blizzard of mistakes and sorrows.
Surviving from March to May seems as sweet
to me as your kiss once did, but I'm cautious now,

Not like I was when you knew me, not such a fool.
I keep a .45 laid on the leather of my bible 
to test for truth, so think before you speak
because my ears are dull and dead, but I read lips.

Word Garden Word List #18 (Leonard Cohen songs)


Hello everyone, this time our list comes from a man who requires no introduction, Leonard Cohen. Specifically, this list is taken from his songs. At some point I plan to make a list taken from his poetry as well. 

Please use at least 3 of the 20 words in an original poem of any length or style except haiku or haibun. There are other venues for those. Then link, visit others, and enjoy. This prompt stays "live" through Friday. 


Saturday, March 19, 2022

Glass Acrobat

I stood on my head for years

and grew glass skin

to keep myself contained. 

I stood on the sky

and wept on the ground.

All my birds died of thirst.

 I let go and fell up,

became an ocean in all directions

carrying a second sky on my back.

"It's dangerous!" someone screamed

from the shore, but I could hardly hear them 

over the wild rush, and shattering roar.


for Sunday Muse #203.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

A Brief Instruction On Style

 Many hands make light work
and many hats make the Hydra happy,
thus, the night shift at the haberdashers.
Dig the butterscotch factory windows,
the glittery silver mercury pulse of industry!

Have you ever felt the urge to relocate to France,
reinvent yourself as a nun in a nation where faith is an artifact?
You and Saint Joan and a renegade postman
delivering visions, swordplay, and cafe au lait around the clock?

I have spoken to the Hydra with its ruby eye and hissing susurrations
hidden in a yellow profusion of forsythia.
It keeps a Wurlitzer and baseball cards and the Cretan Bull in there with it
and the beauty of their hats makes statues weep and flagstones dance.

Whether fez or porkpie, bowler or kepi,
one cannot think without a lure for angels atop one's golden dome.
Whether wide-brimmed or ostrich-feathered,
loveliness must begin nearest the seat of the Divine

And the Hydra with a set of nine, waves like sea grass
by the coastal shores of Nice
with the haberdashery humming behind it, all lit at night
like a cause,
a very banner 
or a blue streamer above the brim of the shining world.



Dverse Poetics: Leave Your Hat On.


Monday, March 14, 2022

Word Garden Word List #17 (Joni Mitchell)

In the course of everyday life, we all have those days that stand out, and stay with us. One of those, for me, was a Sunday spent at a friend's house when I was in my early 20's. I was nosing through their record collection and ended up borrowing two--It's A Beautiful Day by the west coast band of the same name, and For The Roses by Joni Mitchell. I already had Miles Of Aisles and loved it, but it was this new one (to me) that really made me a fan for life.

She's gone through many iterations, from folkie to jazz, but always her music is original, catchy, and intelligent. From That Song About The Midway to Two Gray Rooms, her music moves me and becomes part of my life. 

Here are 20 words taken from a selection of her songs from different eras. Please use at least three of them in an original poem, then link up, visit, and enjoy. Last week's fun aside, please refrain from haiku or haibun; there are other venues for those. Thanks! Prompt stays "live" through Friday. (Word list is located after the linky.)

And now, your list:


Sunday, March 13, 2022


 It's like a telephone call from the gut,
a mirror garlanded with white dahlias where the moon lives
behind the glass, shifting,
swinging a railroad lantern,
calling you by an unsuspected name.

Now you are a brick and must throw yourself.
Now you are a throat and must sing yourself
until you fall to the flagstones empty, an overturned ewer.

Desert the war, go home to your bed with its hand-sewn quilt.
There is a woman there
or a man
or no one--it doesn't matter. Go. 

Now you are a blooming vine, and the earth moves 
with you each time you step.
Beware the imbecile with his scythe.
Carry the fragrance of God in your laced boot.
Use playing cards to confound thieves.

Find Venus on the night horizon during a crescent moon.
Keep an oriole, a falcon, and a buzzard.
Live alone, 
but with the door open
so that April can call you with her rain-voice

like a petal volcano
birthing bees from your tongue in new language,
the thing you longed for
now--in astonishment--named.

for Sunday Muse 202

Friday, March 11, 2022

For S.

my heart
my teacher
fool and angel
whose mighty heart beat itself out too soon

if there are words for how much i miss you
they elude me
but longing
and love

for Dverse "numbering ten"
hosted by Laura Bloomsbury

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

A Hollywood Haibun TLDR


On the set of the submarine movie, famous actress Natasha Krinkova is having an argument with the director. He says the other actors have complained about her three pet porcupines, Fremont, Lodi, and Malibu, who accompany Ms. Krinkova everywhere, i
ncluding the cramped quarters of this undersea adventure epic.

"The fucking things stink," gripes one of the other actors, a man known for playing kindly uncles and benevolent bosses, but who could curdle milk with his off-camera personality. 

"They're wonderful, gentle creatures," protests the famous actress, tilting her chin as she did in Let Me Stand Next To Your Fire, a meandering detective yarn in which she played an extraterrestrial hooker. 

"They should be shot," says the kindly uncle actor. 

Yesterday was Fremont's birthday, though it's unclear how she knew. She set up streamers and had a concert pianist pop out of a giant birthday cake to play the Beatles ' Birthday for the rodent as it sat there twitching its nose like a palsied bunny with very sharp fur.

"Go play in traffic," sneered the kindly uncle. Fremont raised his quills. Lodi had an accident in the radar room of the submarine set. Malibu wouldn't come out from under a pile of Natasha's kimonos. The concert pianist segued into Octopuses'  Garden. 

Ms. Krinkova demands that the porcupines be written into the submarine movie. The kindly uncle shoves Lodi into a storage hatch and turns the latch. A fire breaks out in the torpedo bay, which is actually made of painted cardboard. There is panic and the sound of fire extinguishers. Somehow, the actress playing Lieutenant Mitford gets quills in her ass. There are tears and accusations. 

Watery Grave is never completed, and sinks the production company. The director's drinking gets worse. The kindly uncle actor wins an Oscar for his work in a subsequent film entitled Lassie In Space. Natasha Krinkova sells her gowns from the musical Chiffon Switchblade and uses the money to set up a trust for Fremont, Lodi, and Malibu, but unfortunately, Lodi wanders off somewhere and Ms. Krinkova sees to it that the nanny never works again. This series of events is hotly debated on line at Am I The Asshole?

quill is sharp but pliant
porcupine enjoys cherry blossom
but stinks like dumpster

(Excerpted from Hollywood Haibun: An Anthology of Japanesque Poetry From The Shelves of The Screen's Biggest Stars by Babs St. Argent, Pompano Publications, 2021)

I have broken my own rule for Word Garden Word List #16 (Donald Barthelme)

Monday, March 7, 2022

Word Garden Word List #16 (Donald Barthelme)


This week's word list is taken from the volume Forty Stories by post-modernist story writer Donald Barthelme. He was an odd duck, and so I naturally love him. When I was just a teenager and eager to get away from my relatives on a family trip to Denver, I went bowling and then to the book store, showing, I think, an admirable knack for prioritizing. 

In that book store, I found a paperback collection entitled Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts written by guess-who. The stories were all set in the present, with normal characters like husbands and wives, employees, and so on, but the situations they found themselves in, and/or their reactions to same were skewed, impossible, and often howlingly funny.  My eldest brother, whose taste runs to thrillers and Harry Potter, declared that I had wasted my money, further endearing Barthelme and his odd characters to me. (On a subsequent visit to Denver I bought my first Grateful Dead recording. That time, no one was there to pan my selection. Whee!)

The story I remember best from that first (for me) Barthelme collection was one about a man who felt he wasn't climbing the corporate ladder very expeditiously, and so to show his will and determination he became a Human Fly and began climbing a skyscraper using bathroom plungers to stick him to the glass sides of the building as friends and acquaintances shouted encouragement along the lines of "asshole!" Gosh knows why all that resonated for me.  As the years have gone by, I have continued to love both Barthelme and the Dead. A friend of the devil is a friend of mine, or something like that. 

What we do here is to use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in a new original poem--no haiku or haibun please--and then simply link, visit others, and enjoy. The prompt stays "live" through Friday.  

Spellcheck suggests I replace "haibun" with "halibut." Okay, no halibut either. 

And now, your word list:


Monday, February 28, 2022



What I'm talking about is an ailment of spirit,
an ennui of the heart. 
It is not so much a seeking after angels
as a naming of devils.

Though these devils may sometimes be native,
most are introduced
like curare-tainted crosses slipped under our pillows
to teethe on at night.

We wobble into daylight, bright as fevers,
the lovely stricken
who learn to trick demons lazy for years or hours
or just the next blessed moment.

The well is poisoned, yes, but the hallucinations are rare,
butterflies of the injured mind.
We see loves bringing roses that are really lilies
for us discarded, already dead.

We are the gorgeous idiots, God's blind swans searching
for the blossoming branch,
mistaking the loaded barrel for Gilead's balm and leaving poems there
rolled, with ribbons, like answered prayers.

top image: major arcana tarot "The Fool"

the amazing Toni Childs