Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

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"

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Angel For Alley Cats


"Never trust a man in a blue trench coat,
never drive a car when you're dead" --Tom Waits, "Telephone Call From Istanbul"

Don't drink that donkey piss, Angelo.
It'll make you dream of broken bells.
You'll wake up with a six-armed woman
who keeps her heart inside a sandy shell.

Come with me, Angelo,
say you'll pay them tomorrow with windfall money.
I know a place where saints serve spring water 
from blue painted pitchers, and it tastes like honey.

Angelo, don't you have a mother somewhere
waiting by the window where the spiders spin?
Pretend I'm a rolling bottle and follow me
down the Old Beach Road where she'll let us in.

What am I gonna do with you, Angelo?
Is there fare for fortune under your hat?
Leave it, but bring your bouzouki
to play like an angel for the alley cats.

Music: The Psychedelic Furs "Heaven"


Thursday, August 18, 2022


 I carry black cherries and woodsmoke
in the upturned crescent where the memory of your face is kept.
Winter pales the world and I am prayer flags flying,
sherpas hauling,
I am peaks where the air becomes dear.

Under wicker fans, G&T's sweat on the mahogany bar.
An aesthete in a sedan chair snaps his fingers and starlings rise and wheel
carrying your voice 
feathered and black
above sea level, above all heads, beyond calling back.

I carry black cherries and woodsmoke
on a glass tray draped with night stars and the music of ouds.
A vendor in a Panama hat offers me your scent
in exchange for 
the season of his choice.
I turn my back and start ascending, to freeze and fall, 

guided by your indifferent ghost and my maps milled from ice and ache.

for Dverse Open Link, hosted by Sanaa Rizvi

image: the Dyatlov Pass hikers

Music: "Qalanderi" by Cheb i Sabbah. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022


 Sunya, reaching for your hand is like trying to recall a dream I haven't had yet,
but still you wait in the tattered chair
in the water-damaged bow-wooded house
where the bulldozers come to cry.

They shove up great golden cities out of bricks and candy wrappers
while you, Sunya, fanged monster, 
queen of the canopy, collector of 
sunflower sunshine in a woven shoe,
wait with that faintly mocking smile I sail inside of.

Sunya sister of Shiva, cigarette punk from down the block,
are you a tin can tied to the tail of the wheeling Heavens,
or Love itself
in a saffron sari,
taking my bones out with a kiss just to show your quick hand
to catch the  ball we both sway upon, under stars, in the ether, or nowhere at all?

Sunya, you are a man in the morning, a woman in the evening, 
a dolphin all afternoon
and I stand in the surf that doesn't exist
in my flesh that appears and disappears
dealing with a world that seems to be but isn't,
and wait for Sunya, summer plum winter branch marigold kat in an open window.


for Dverse Poetics "the four elements." 

music: Mint Royale "From Rusholme With Love." Just try not to dance to it!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Hurt Bird


There it was, a hurt bird
panting and skittering in circles
on the grass by the berm.

Feeling badly for it, I reached out,
tried to pick it up and help it if I could,
to cradle it and quiet its thrashing about

but it buried its beak in my palm,
a short sharp angry stab
that brought blood spreading across my hand.

I threw it down, said god damn bird!
but immediately felt my heart shrink in horror
and I bent over it, sick over its hurt.

The bird, on its side gasping,
its upward eye a mix of panic and hate,
beheld my gaping face as the last thing

it would ever see, its every
agony saying damn your help and damn your pity,
wishing only to die there by the berm without this hovering intermediary.

Music: "Something" by Julien Baker

Thursday, August 11, 2022



Gatwick's in league with the devil
'flight delayed", she'll see you grovel.
Things left in small rooms upstairs
she lets reanimate there
to suck your soul, sour your nerves
turn your heart as cold as hers.
Gatwick's in league with the devil
"flight delayed", she'll see you grovel.


artwork by Jacqueline Deleon

music: Nick Drake "Three Hours"

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


At Cassie's Diner,
the eggs are never over and rarely easy.

Your waitress may be falling in love with you,
or with your husband, or with the hard "R" when you say ,
"I must have left my bag in the car."

She may be in love with you, or
you only think she is.
She may be unavailable, or not even listening as you order. 

Every plate is a surprise
balanced on her arm like row of flat Earths,
the coffees steaming like new planets

And one of them has your name on it.
The napkins open to exactly the right passage,
the one you thought you'd never find,

Written by Athenian scribes in shimmering antiquity.
Aren't you glad you came?
(That was unexpected, yeah?)

Cassie's Diner is conveniently located
at the intersection of Eros and Morpheus,
open 24 hours, accessible by accident, vegan-friendly, 

unpredictable buffet, situated on a slight incline, nice view of the bay.

For Dverse Poetics: "Poetics at the restaurant."

image at top is Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Sunday, August 7, 2022



The planet itself sways--
every sailor and starfish knows this.
It was my mother who was stillborn, 
and I have ever since 
searched for a heart beat to lay my ear to.

Language seduced me in a railroad car,
a constant leaving, one destination after another,
all the way to the horizon.
All my devotion has bought me is these bowling ball souvenirs,
these anvils in interesting rows.

But music! Even urchins carry flutes,
cows in fields wear bells, and Tartini's Devil left him a trill.
Music has been mercy,
from Janis's blue sandpaper
to Vivaldi's honey-hive violin,
I lay my ear on my own heart and hear the mermaids sing.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

In August

 In August, the clouds are one-winged birds
collected in a shadow box by boastful head-injured dwarf gods.
They skitter, describing ceaseless circles
as the dwarf gods goad them to fly as they long to.

Storms are the tempers of the shadow box birds.

In August, old men dream of young women 
and young women find themselves shriveled and standing on hard clay.
Everyone is given a shovel and a stethoscope
to listen for thalidomide demons in love with the shadow box birds.

Cicadas amplify the grinding of maddened demons.

In August, weather pattern doctors urge 
tarot card mothers to sleep with bellies full of shadow box birds.
demon doulas with asters in their teeth
sicken gravity with odd fevers and the whole world sways.

Crickets are half birds in the ears of gods, still able to sing, ice pick righteous.

for Dverse Poetics "August" hosted by Sanaa Rizvi.