Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Word Garden Word List--Dave Kelly


A long time ago--longer than I like to think it was--I bought a copy of "Poems In Season" by a poet named Dave Kelly. It was Volume Five of the Texas Portfolio Chapbook Series. Inside, I found a collection of blunt, truthful, unsparing, and unforgettable poems about every day life. I have moved many times since then, gone through myriad changes, but this book--along with others by undeservedly obscure poets like Michael Curley, Ric Masten, and others, as well as famous volumes like 'Howl"--have made the journey with me all the way to this very moment. They are part of who I am and who I've been, and it is from these poets that I learned to write fearlessly.

Dave Kelly is a difficult man to find, but in researching this list, I did finally manage to find out some biographical information which can be found HERE. I have taken the opportunity to order a couple of his other books, as well. This is the kind of thing that blows my skirt up, if I wore skirts anymore. To say that I am eager to read these new (to me) books is an understatement. 

And now, time for your weekly word list. What we do here is to take at least 3 of the 20 words provided--all taken from the poems in "Poems In Season"--and create a new poem of your own. Our aim is to use the list to spur new writing of our own, not ape the source poet, though a nod of homage is always a fine thing. So, compose, link up, visit others, and I hope that you will look into Dave Kelly's work as well. Enjoy!

Your list:



 Nobody thought he was handsome except for me,
the sharp-elbowed stick girl with the camera around her neck.
Always, he would show up on the street early,
a midnight cat sliding in on private grooves, to sit and wait
on the curb for the other workmen and the Jonah bus 
that swallowed them away.

If I could've, I'd have built him a church,
with Host of egg sandwich and coffee black or white.
I'd swear I saw him take out a rosary one diesel-rattle dawn
and it was strung with candy skulls and baseballs.
I imagined his prayers were colorful foreigners wandering 
in warehouse downriver drab Detroit, hated by strangers, loved by God.

After an absence, getting off gin and bad poetry,
I returned to find him gone, the bus stop shifted, the lone tree down.
The starlings had lost their home, me my jones,
and my camera stayed empty for a year after that, like an unfed stray.
I asked a girlfriend once, "Remember that guy, the different one
we used to see waiting?" Ugh, she said, that one. 
Like I said, only I thought he was handsome, like rain, 
like new work boots pawned.

Saturday, October 1, 2022



Mid-August, the weather patterns change,
but slowly,
like something forgotten in the fridge;
the holy
turning secular, then profane.

We had our own world, you and I,
a beautiful in-joke
but, behind your back as I looked at you,
a green-screen took
over and spoiled it with the whisper of a lie.

All summer, verdant leaves and cool shade
were hiding
the dying brown when the sugar stops flowing.
I'm finding
endings gorgeous, and terrible, like the love we almost made. 

Music: Jennifer Warnes "Pretending To Care" (written by Todd Rundgren)

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Lilac One

 I saw the devil standing in front of Lilac One
with the dawn across his shoulders
and his shirt cuffs undone
He said, "Why are you waiting, and who waits for you?"
then the dawn turned to diamonds
of peculiar blue.

The devil is lonely though he prowls Lilac Two
and his heart is a magpie
in a mirror that flew
with itself to itself in a blur of time spent
in evening's cold courtyard
by feigned accident.

The devil said, "Nothing can mar Lilac Three
though tomorrow's black roses
are vased there for thee."
Then he shook his hair out like leaving a love
that he's carefully carved--
that's a lot to think of.

shared to Dverse OLN

Lazy Fireblossom !


No Word Garden Word List this week, but it will be back next week! No good reason, I'm just feeling pleasantly lazy this week. :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Word Garden Word List: Tom Waits


Hello everyone and welcome to another Word Garden Word List where a list of 20 words from a particular source--different each week--is provided and you are to use at least 3 of them in a new poem. That's it! This week our source is singer/songwriter Tom Waits, whose voice will make you want to quit smoking immediately, and whose songs are esoteric, unique, and run the gamut from

tender and tear-jerking

to absolutely crazy.

You might not know that the Eagles' hit "Ol' 55" was written by a young Tom Waits. I've been listening to him since the 70s and he is still coming up with amazing and singular songs. 

And now, your list!

Burma Shave
Martin Eden 

Things She Would Tell You If She Could


Romeo, gosh, I'm sorry how things turned out,
and sorry I didn't die after all like you thought.
I'm old now, you wouldn't look twice at me 
but I miss you still, even so, most definitely.

You could find me tonight across from a cornfield
working the St. Lucy's Fall Festival and how would you feel
about that, babe? I wear a lumpy old overcoat
and sell tickets to teenagers so in love they almost float.

I get feeling sentimental and sad about everything
remembering how you said you were the All-Powerful Weather King
and could make the sun come out if I wished it,
or kiss me and kiss me again if I told you I missed it.

My goodness, Romeo, you don't know how often I still think of you,
like when I saw some crestfallen kid with wild hair walking through
the festival like he had something on his mind
and he seemed lonesome, like you, and quiet and kind.

It's almost midnight and the lights are going dim
so I've got to pack up and go home alone again.
I wish so hard that things had turned out different
and I'd say, "Romeo, oh Romeo," and you'd know what I meant.

Music: Tom Waits "Blue Valentines"

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Jazz Boogie #3


I've been getting these transmissions more often lately
as the calendar birds have increased their flock.
Once again I'm twelve, watching
the smoke rise over Detroit, a straight shot down Woodward Avenue,
or watching the pigeons bob around my feet as I walk
with my father to a ballgame.

The ghosts of San Antonio visit me, too,
those hardcore overdose days of foggy stupid wounded highs,
and then the waking from anesthesia
naked, raw and determined to make it stick.
Recovery is a jazz solo, it doesn't go strictly by the note.
You just follow the drummer's beat one by one.

Ah me. I've always felt things so intensely.
It's been a battle to get proximal to some calm center
that goes distal every time I'm about to flag it down.
God sent his little brainiac girl, short on charm,
long on Pinocchio nose, into the saw-toothed world like a cave bat.
I have flown exactly one more time than I have crashed,

and in these veering quicksilver reflections is an oyster eye wondering
whether I have done my dance well
now that the moves have been busted and the tune is winding down.

Music: Harry Belafonte "Jump In The Line"

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Word Garden Word List: CREEM Magazine


Hello everyone and welcome to this week's word list poetry prompt. This time, our source is a little bit different--okay, a lotta bit different! When I was a sprite, CREEM Magazine ("America's Only Rock N Roll Magazine") had its office in my very own home town. In those days, if Rolling Stone was the "underground" press, CREEM was the smartmouth little sib. I loved it.

CREEM was characterized by a bawdy irreverence and a knack for publicizing acts that weren't being covered enough. While Hit Parader had Led Zeppelin on about 5,452 consecutive covers, CREEM was ballyhooing Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Joan Jett, Mott the Hoople, and even Handsome Dick Manitoba, probably just for the name! Their mag was full of cool photos combined with snarky captions. I recall one shot of curly blonde superstar Stevie Nicks being captioned "Sex symbol, or Corgi pup?

Now, some 30 years after its lamented demise, CREEM is back, like a rash you just can't get rid of despite oceans of Cortaid. I'm delighted! And so, this week's words are culled from the first issue of the risen CREEM, which just appeared in my mailbox. What we do here is to take at least 3 of the 20 words provided and include them in a new poem. Then link and that's it! Any subject any style, as long as it's poetry. 

And now, your list:


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Molasses Girl


The starlings. They protect my heart.
Kiss me and you can feel them fluttering.
"Aren't you happy?" you ask.
It is only the starlings rising in black unison
because your desire has disturbed them.

I am a molasses girl. I am what is left
after refinement. My heart is a vat.
Open it and drown
in starlings sugar-drunk and rushing
headlong into whatever will make you go away.

If I talk in my sleep near dawn,
it is just the starlings screaming from every tree.
I will bathe in the oven,
until my body is a cookie you can carry.
My familiars will follow, testing, screeching, objecting.

They are my dark dowry, the price you pay for more.

for Dverse "Strange Houses" (of Lee Madgwick) The art at top used with permission.

Music: Jonatha Brooke "Made of Gold"

Saturday, September 10, 2022

In Camera

You've got to remain to bein' yourself... you cannot be

Nobody else, it ain't no use tryin' bein' no whirlwind

An' uh, jumpin' here an' an' playin' checkers with

Your own life, that ain't gonna work, baby..."  --Propher Omega 

The mirror is running a con.
No reflection or meat-suit can tell you who you are.
Yes you, in disguise there. You are
a sparrow flown straight from the hand of God.

You are a bulb that wants its light back,
but you are the light.
It's the bulb that struts in its brittle body
voguing like it thought you up.

We have come through the looking glass, 
in costume, in camera, incognito,
even to ourselves. We wander lanes of traffic like amnesiacs,
dreamers who show up naked and unprepared, in a panic of shame

for a test we have already taken and passed. 

Music: Adrian Belew and Prophet Omega "I Am What I Am"

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Word Garden Word List--Amy Lowell


Hello everyone and welcome to another Word Garden Word List. Last week's poems were marvelous, I must say! What we do here is to use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in a new poem on any subject and in any form. 

This time our list comes from the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Amy Lowell! When i was in high school, one day I was snooping around in the poetry section and found a volume of her poems. I loved it instantly. One line has stayed with me all of these years: "Fate lays many springes for those with imagination." Well, I had to look up "springes", which turned out to be traps. I felt as if I were being spoken to directly.

Amy Lowell was an outcast as a schoolgirl, not being conventionally pretty and into the bargain being "outspoken and opinionated." She later wrote that "the stigma of oddness is the price a myopic world always exacts of genius."

Amy Lowell did not begin her career as an imagist poet until age 30 and only lived to age 51, so her window of creativity was brief, but intense. She was a New England spinster from a prominent Boston family, but she was no bore. Heywood Broun wrote of her, "Given one more gram of emotion, Amy Lowell would have burst into flame and been consumed to cinders."

Your list is taken from a volume I have entitled "Selected Poems of Amy Lowell" published in 1928, making my book nearly a century old! It is filled with references to nature, romantic longing, and other cultures. Sometimes she wrote in dialect or vernacular, and I have not included words from those poems. I will include, however, some music to further inspire you. I think this piece says in music what Amy Lowell often said in poetry.

And now your list.


Lessons Learned In Childhood


My mother called mahjong pieces "Chinese tiles." 
They were a pretty mystery to me.
A symbol can be like a mute with something to say;
its tongue tied by one's own ignorance.

Gingerbread men have commonalities with real ones.
They can be sweet, or fragile,
and (some of them) smell good and draw me in.
Sometimes there is another one after this one; sometimes not.

At thirteen I was prescribed eyeglasses.
Astigmatism made everything unclear but luminous,
sending blurs of light out from their centers.
You are still unclear to me. You still send out light from your center.

A finger's width is the difference between the next stair
and a broken leg. Catch your heel
and life takes on a whole new itinerary.
There are springes everywhere, so my mother said as she laid more for me.

I couldn't trust my mother, and she taught me
not to trust myself either.
I was in love with the neighbor's purple peonies, so brief and lovely.
I am both fox and hen, and don't know how to love you.

You are Chinese tiles. I am mute. I'm sorry, and can't explain why.

springes = traps

Music: Steve Nicks "Talk To Me"

Monday, September 5, 2022

Night Work

The earth is flat
there, where the lily of the valley grows
beneath my window.

Some wandering cat
or creature made sleepy by the dawn, chose
to rest there on the stems bent low.

It's crop circle night work
left by visitors
that were. 


For Dverse quadrille "work", hosted by JadeLi. 

Music; James Taylor "You Can Close Your Eyes"

Saturday, September 3, 2022



A ten year old girl gave birth to a black swan,
a dead priest resurrected. 
The first living thing the swan saw
was a weasel, and it took up residence in a dusty burrow under the porch, 
    behind the broken latticework.

From there, it flew out at passersby
with a great explosion of feathers and hatred.
It liked to ride on the back of its father,
making declamations about the nature of love
     while depicting the hand of God in bird shit down its father's coat.

The swan was elevated to high position
and saw to it that the girl was punished in accordance
with Old Testament teaching. 
It was really a vulture, its father a demon,
     but it ate well, fathered a numberless flock, and was well-respected

by those who wore its symbol, carried its banner, and aped its empty fury.

Music: Jethro Tull "Song For Jeffrey"

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Word Garden Word List--Jackson C. Frank


Hello all, and welcome to the WG Word list, where the challenge is to write a new poem using at least three of the 20 words provided. More on that shortly. But first, let me introduce our theme for this list.

 You know, it's funny how one thing leads to another, and my musical explorations have illustrated this brightly of late. A year or two ago, I discovered the music of Laura Marling, and one of the songs I liked the best was "Blues Run The Game", which I mistakenly assumed was her own composition. Now, hold that thought!

A couple of months ago, I heard a song on Youtube Music called 'One Of These Things First" by a singer named Nick Drake. I loved his finger-picking style immediately and put a bunch of his music on my iPod. I looked into his story, and it turns out he put out three albums circa 1970 or so and they came and went pretty much without notice, including "BryterLayter", which included the song i had heard. Listening to him while doing other things one day, he launched into "Blues Run The Game', the song i thought was Laura Marling's! More investigation ensues. I found out that the song was written by our list man today, Jackson C. Frank, and his story is both fascinating and terribly heart-breaking.

When Jackson was just eleven years old, the boiler in his school exploded, killing fifteen of his schoolmates, including his little sweetheart. Jackson was burned over fifty per cent of his body, but survived, albeit with lifelong mental and physical health issues due to the disaster.

Fast forward to 1965 when Jackson C. Frank was discovered singing in London by none other than Paul Simon. Simon arranged studio time for Frank, and his one and only album was recorded as a result. Jackson was so shy that he had to sit behind a screen to sing, because he couldn't do it with Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, and Al Stewart watching. Though remarkable, his album met pretty much the same fate as Nick Drake's, and both of them fell into obscurity until a new generation--with access to the internet--discovered them both and lifted them to the kind of notice that neither had ever received before. I'm one of those new fans.

Why only one album? Jackson C. Frank was haunted by the boiler explosion and all that he had seen and been through. Although he had an album out and he was in a relationship with Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny, his mental and physical health declined sharply. His burns had damaged his parathyroid, causing weight gain. He suffered from depression and delusions, spending time in numerous institutions and eventually was homeless on the street. He was eventually found by music friend Jim Abbott. Abbott is quoted in Wkipedia as follows:

When I went down I hadn't seen a picture of him, except for his album cover. Then, he was thin and young. When I went to see him, there was this heavy guy hobbling down the street, and I thought, 'That can't possibly be him'...I just stopped and said 'Jackson?' and it was him. My impression was, 'Oh my God', it was almost like the elephant man or something. He was so unkempt, disheveled." A further side effect of the fire was a thyroid malfunction causing him to put on weight. "He had nothing. It was really sad. We went and had lunch and went back to his room. It almost made me cry, because here was a fifty-year-old man, and all he had to his name was a beat-up old suitcase and a broken pair of glasses. I guess his caseworker had given him a $10 guitar, but it wouldn't stay in tune. It was one of those hot summer days. He tried to play "Blues Run The Game" for me, but his voice was pretty much shot.[5]

Jackson C. Frank had a marvelous voice, played guitar beautifully, and composed some of the most interesting songs I have heard. Sadly he died in his fifties, never having reprised his early promise as a singer-songwriter. I'm glad he has finally found a new audience to appreciate what he had to offer. His songs have been covered by Simon & Garfunkel, Sandy Denny, John Mayer, Counting Crows, as well as the aforementioned Nick Drake and Laura Marling. 

And now, without further ado, here is your list. Please use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in a new poem, then link up! Then I encourage you to listen to Jackson C. Frank. Enjoy.


Carnival Rhyme


The curtains reach out
moved by the breeze
for as long as she shall stir them
but they cannot hold the breeze.

In love with the brass bed
the breeze winds around it there
caresses it to move it
but the brass bed couldn't care.

You are a carnival
so the fortune teller swears
in the mirror where the Gypsy
weaves narcissus through your hair.

I write this poem for ticket
to the carnival of rhyme
and curl as the curtains curl
as on the bed you lie.

Yellow the narcissus blooms
and lonely pale the breeze
lovely as you lying there
as empty as you please.

also shared with Dverse Open Link, hosted by Linda Lyberg.

Saturday, August 27, 2022



There is no one
more unkind than me.

In the evening hour I see
my sandpaper skin.
In every embrace,
a delving to the bone.

I have a peeled orange
beneath my ribs
that swells, overflowing, when it rains.

I cannot go back.
Blackberry vines have overtaken the track.

I cannot strike out.
Fog has dampened the maps. They curl and come back.

Still, I lift my head to every fresh breeze
and interesting face,
mistaking the world in a mural, the sky in a frieze. 

Every creeping weed believes
its home is just inches away.
So do I, and so I hope until each day dies done

and there is no one
more unkind than me.

Music: Lilliana de los Reyes & Max Quilici "Can't Find My Way Home"

Monday, August 22, 2022

Newton's Cradle

 In evening,
you spoke to me through the wall.
"I love you."

It hurts when I laugh.

Tears, like sweat on a glass in summer.

Night, a smothering shadow.

In morning, diminished,
I love you as babies love,

desperate, red-faced, screaming.

for Dverse Quadrille # 158 hosted by Linda Lyberg. Theme: "morning"

This is a Newton's Cradle: 
Music: George Michael "Tonight"