Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

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

Word Garden Word list #15 (Millay)


Our list this time is taken from the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I got off on the wrong foot with Edna. When I was in 8th grade and my beloved Tigers were in the World Series, our English teacher very pointedly collected radios at the door and made us hear, in rapturous tones, all about Edna St. Vincent Millay, in whom 13 year old me had zero interest. Moreover, the name made me think she probably wrote odes to tea cups or something. How wrong I was about that!

Years went by and I happened across something she had written and loved it. I finally gave her poetry a chance and she has become one of my favorite poets. Far from tea cups, she was a passionate, independent woman who wrote emotionally stunning, structurally fascinating poems. I hope that, unlike younger me, you'll look into her work!

Please use at least three of the twenty words listed in a new original poem--no haiku* please-- then link up and visit others. Link stays "live' through Friday.

*No haibun, senryu, or seppuku either. If you want to write haibun, go to Dverse

Your list:


Monday, February 21, 2022

Word Garden Word List #14 (Pablo Neruda)


Greetings all. Hedgewitch (Joy Ann Jones) here, standing in for the redoubtable Shay Simmons, who is taking the week off. This week I have the privilege of featuring one of the great Spanish language poets, many say one of the greatest poets in any language, Pablo Neruda. 

Neruda, born Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto in Chile in 1904, was a renowned diplomat and prolific poet who produced a huge body of work, from the ardently political to the surreal, from lyric and beautiful love poems to odes to ordinary things like onions and soap, as well as a personal favorite, A Dog Has Died, in my opinion one of  the most memorable poems ever written about grief. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, and died in September 1973, shortly after the Pinochet coup d'etat that overthrew Chile's socialist president Salvador Allende. There is some evidence his death may have been politically contrived. He remains "one of the most influential and widely read 20th century poets of the Americas." (Poetry Foundation)

I have sourced the words for this list from my own two collections of Neruda's work, The Essential Neruda;Selected Poems, various translators, edited by Mark Eisnar, and Residence on Earth, translator Donald D. Walsh. Both are bilingual, with poems in Spanish and English. I've tried to choose words which are clear and free of any confusion or nuance derived from translated concepts.

As Shay says,: "What we do here is simple: use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in an original poem. Then just link up and visit others. This prompt stays "live" through Friday.  
 So, without further ado, here is your list:


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Geraniums (A Love Poem)


It was that time of year
when potted geraniums on their iron hooks
had turned sad and leggy
(as you were)
when you posed for a Polaroid
in 1972
before I was born
or after my death--
always unclear.

It's like taking a beating underwater,
the way I still feel for you
or might have felt for you--
the kind of pain that poppies soothe.
It's an origin story delivered via candle wax arrow
explaining everything
or nothing,
and told by someone's widow, lover, grandmother, daughter.

I make no sense
even to myself
a child scrambling on a broad expanse of lawn chair
or a biddy past caring at the head of my own cortege.
I loved you.
I would have loved you.
I press white lilies between album pages to preserve them
only to find that there is no album, and I have no hands.
You were lovely that day
or had not yet arrived
or had already left
but the geraniums were fresh and pink by way of recompense.


for Word Garden Word List #14 (Pablo Neruda), hosted by the amazing poet Hedgewitch.

Saturday, February 19, 2022



Hipster is watching,
as you fumble along in life.

Every time you wear last year's ensemble.
Every time you post last year's viral meme.
Every time you use last year's catch phrase. 

Hipster is watching
as you turn bland and boneless as butter
tasteless as tap water
dreary as a rainy Monday in flyover country.

Hipster is watching
and is pained, 
but plays 
Ask Me Now 
the keys reflected cool as cubes in a mai tai 
across his 

top image: Thelonious Monk

His Ask Me Now is a notoriously difficult piece to play. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Boathouse In Winter

 Fishing poles lean against the wall like sailors
bewitched by sirens
or made lazy by plum wine and local taxis.

Oars, rejected by the frozen lake,
brood and search the grain of their wood
for bitter poems of chard and cranberry.

Outside, the willow is a mother whose children have gone.
In the ice, willow leaves wear the panic of stopped hearts.
In their minds
a path stretches into and between orange groves.
In their dreams
there is dancing, though with whom and to what music, they cannot say.
In their souls
the grief of the fallen, the motherless, the snow-blind.

Lake, why do you scorn sailors.
and fools in their clumsy boots on your shore?
Gone is the memory of holding the boat against your body
and the murmur of your voice
like a great heart about to fail
from the thorn
and the hook
and the plum wine sky of evening.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Word Garden Word List #13 (Gordon Lightfoot)


Hello everyone, it's me with your weekly word list poetry prompt. This time I'm happy to feature a lifelong favorite of mine, Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. 

I first heard him when a friend played "Sit Down Young Stranger" for me. Later favorites were "Sundown", "If You Could Read My Mind" and of course "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Being from Michigan and well familiar with the Great Lakes (and fascinated by shipwrecks and maritime mysteries) that song had a special immediacy for me. Moreover, I've been to the "Maritime Sailors' Cathedral" mentioned in the song, though it is actually called the Old Sailors' Church and is not even close to being a cathedral. My father took me there.

I've seen Gordon Lightfoot perform in person just once, at the Fox Theater. Introducing "If You Could Read My Mind", he quipped, "You like it when I'm ethereal." 

Gordon is still performing today and his recent music is excellent too, though his voice has lost some of its power. He writes his music out on a score first and then adds the lyrics last. To my mind, he is one of the greats--he is certainly a favorite of mine.

What we do here is simple: use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in an original poem. Then just link up and visit others. This prompt stays "live" through Friday. 

And now, your list:


Sunday, February 13, 2022

For Su Griffin

 There was a woman in love with fog
and the harbor knew her name.

Su of the basket heart,
Su of the darning needle nights.
Su out of breath, or holding it, just the same.

When you're a woman at odds with time,
every second slows the heartbeat.

Woman of the breakwater bones.
Woman in the crowd, alone.
Woman who folds her heart, folds the dough, folds the sheet.

There was a woman in love with fog
and the harbor knew her name.

Part of the following song says (In Spanish):

Because after this life 
There is no other opportunity

How much love arrives like this, it arrives like this

Saturday, February 12, 2022



Here I am, grime-faced at the bottom of a mine shaft. 
Here I am behind this ever-changing Halloween mask.

Here I am gorgeous, touched by God and given favor.
Here I am, so eat my dust, see you bitches later.

Here I am untouchable, unthinkable, unclean.
Ask dear mother, she'll explain exactly what that means.

Here I am quiet, just a watcher in the wings
made of shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings.

Here I am inside a book, inside an old cocoon.
Here I am reflecting light as if I were the moon.

Here I am in love with you, a fool to end all fools.
Here I am, a joker queen who can't tell shit from jewels.

Here I am to dazzle you with swooping magic madness.
Here I am one hour more, paralyzed with sadness.

Here I am, an urchin girl without a pot to piss in
to fetch your smoking pipe and tell you where you can put this in.

Here I am for Jesus, here I am for Puck.
To those who'd like to pin me down, I wish you all good luck.

Line 8 taken from "The Walrus & the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll.


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The Ash Tree In Winter


In winter, the ash is a liar like me
no different in the copse from its fellows
a beauty in death for its filigree.

Its costume of stillness and symmetry
in the fullness of summer turned yellow.
In winter the ash is a liar like me.

It looks to the wind to lend piquancy
by enlivening motionless sorrow
a beauty in death for its filigree.

The green of the ash has invisibly
diminished as the borer could tell you.
In winter, the ash is a liar like me.

Quick heart gone dry inside of the ash tree
A dancer swaying beneath the gallows
a beauty in death for its filigree.

A carve that kills leaves it fine and fancy
from just the proper angle, heaven knows.
In winter the ash is a liar like me,
a beauty in death for its filigree.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Word Garden Word List #12 (Richard Brautigan)


Hello everyone, it's me with your weekly word list poetry prompt. This time our source is Richard Brautigan, best known for his novel Trout Fishing In America (1967). 

However, this week's list is taken equally from two of his volumes of poetry; The Pill Vs. The Springhill Mine Disaster (1968) and Rommel Drives Deep Into Egypt (1970). I have selected 10 words from each, with emphasis on words the author uses more than once. 

Richard Brautigan was the son of a waitress and he says he only met his father once. His childhood was hard, with periods of abandonment, hunger, and poverty. In 1955, he threw a rock through the window of a police station, hoping to be arrested and fed. All of this belies his whimsical, magical style of writing. His poems, in particular, are often very short, and have a conversational tone, albeit a conversation with a trippy bent. 

The Athens Messenger said about Brautigan "There's not a more exciting, more challenging writer working in America today."

Time magazine said, "His poems are, by turns, brutally realistic or surrealistically witty." 

Brautigan enjoyed only a very brief window of success and fame, from the late 60's into the early 70's. He is described by a friend as "a very odd guy." He was an alcoholic and suffered from depression, finally ending his own life at age 49 in 1984. 

Even so, his poetry is very often light and breezy, although he does delve in to societal and relationship issues in a sort of snapshot way. I don't include the work of any source poet in these posts because our goal here is to use their words as a springboard to our own poetry, not to copy theirs. What we do here is simple: write a new poem using at least 3 of the 20 words on the list provided below, then link up, and visit others. One additional thing: in honor of Brautigan's brief poetic style, if you'd like to write two or three very short poems (all in the same post, and please, no haiku) that's cool. It's up to you! Prompt stays "live' through Friday. 

And now, your list:


How To Do The End Of The World Cha Cha


Convinced of the End Times, Neighbor Jim
MacGyvers up a companion from old soup cans,
paint brushes, stereo wire and car parts,

A sort of Bride of Frankenstein to ease Armageddon 
with chicken pot pies and a surprisingly
avid libido.

One day she comes across the common alley
for a woman-to-woman, making certain things clear about
Neighbor Jim, my skank ass, and Fist City.

Watching her walk away, dragging her dinosaur tail on the lawn,
I envy her those spinal plates, round-so-round
vulcanized boobs, and blowy porn-model Medusa hair.

I'm saying she's dishy, in a home appliance kind of way.
There is a tender grace to the way she lights the candles with her tongue
as she and Neighbor Jim while away the evenings

Watching This Old House on the generator-powered tv,
waiting on the six trumpets of Revelation as if they were the Tijuana Brass 
doing a hotel gig on the last day of a bang-up Cancun vaykay.

for Word Garden Word List #12 (Richard Brautigan)

Saturday, February 5, 2022



Lizzie Borden was alive in you,
in a dreary wooden way,
holding her breath for the next thing,
turning blue then gray.

You considered the wooden cradle
and me, of imperfect flesh
deciding you'd hate me not so much
were I made of ash.

Lay the axe at fireside,
move the cradle closer, too.
Your suicidal substitute
me in place of you.

The handle of the axe is made
from that which it destroys
in little bits and other shit
like broken burned-up toys.

But I, so like you in some ways
had asbestos in my soul
and rose away in sparks and smoke
like an orange oriole.