Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Two New Poems


The winter blinks its eyes coquettish
then faints as all dreams do at last--

I've saved you flower, fin, and fetish--
all you had to do was ask.



Phineas comes back from the war
carrying a blood-rain cloud in a folded handkerchief. 
The only things he will eat anymore
are fresh-caught birds and escargot--
one slows his speech,
the other is anesthetic. 

Phineas wears glasses with smoked lenses
and declares it dusk at all times of day.
I bring him his infant child--
he shakes its hand and turns away.
Later, his medals appear
in the crib, like ribboned toys.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

AP Stray Cat Yawp


Think of a time when you embarrassed yourself
and the cold wet sand of your heart 
dropped in clumps down 
through your stomach.

Start there.

Fetch up a memory of raw-throated sobbing,
when you beat the sofa arm or the floor
as if it were responsible for the
wasp's nest in your heart. 

Open up, little glass, fill with it.

Leave pretty sunsets for painters or postcard publishers.
What we're after here is waking inside a coffin,
falling from height, the whole empty belly
lonesome lack of it all.

Don't shake your head like you don't know. 

The thing you cannot even think is the thing you have to tell.
Will they consider you crazy, the only one
who ever did/felt/wanted/made love to
Behold the mute tongueless many saying you spoke for them.

The poet is the person who threads out their own veins,
stews their every experience, fears nothing,
stands on one leg on a high wire,
all because they can't not.

Otherwise, they would just be cross-eyed babies
waving bright toy telephones to nobody,
and calling it art.

Music: DJ Dero The Horn 

Sunday, November 26, 2023

First Snow


November's first snow
is soft as warm Pandesal.
Such a sight makes the thorns sleep
as if they had died.

The neighbor's young dog
wears a pink coat and throws her toy
in the flake-filled air. She is a saint
sent to remind me of rivers.

I was in love once, many times.
Seasons arrive with suitcases
holding one beautiful thing and eleven goodbyes.
I am a vase, falling. The earth receives it all. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Dear November


Dear November,
It's mad easy to become lost.
You are so cold and distant, part of me is begging,
the rest of me a raised fist, cocked.
Everything inside me is in rivulets down a window
and it's moving,
dear November,
like a scared hare in the stalky brown fields. 

Dear November,
I think I married you once, had your child,
or came to your funeral every year wearing heartbroken black.
I was your dove, dear November,
and your crow.

Dear November,
I need to know that you remember me beautiful,
even if I turned dry as a page,
stale as a bowl of potpourri in a haunted house.
I am crying now, dear November
and December's smile mocks us both,

Cher Novembre,
mon triste bien-aime.*


*Dear November, my sad beloved

for Dverse Poetics for the love of letters. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

City of Crows


In the city of crows
in the time of autumn,
over the rainy streets the trees
bend and hover like dying grandmothers.
I have been down these streets
on evenings when I did not want to keep living,
and they gave me their susurrations as a balm. 

In the city of crows,
a small village where
everyone in the world lives,
I met a woman who was two shadows,
one behind the other but it was a third who spoke.
I saw only one shadow, heard only the words I already knew.
Now there is no woman, and I know less than when I began.

In the city of crows,
by the canal where the
coins turn to fish of white, gold, and black,
my blood turned to cold water, stopping my heart.
An old acquaintance brought a loaf of bread to my side,
still warm from my own oven or so they said. They hit my heart
with the fist that had held the loaf, and I lived again but in their debt.

In the city of crows,
there is no newspaper, 
and the devices there die
each year when dusk paints the days.
If you want to see me, listen for weeping
in the forest of shadows, where night and leaves fall alike.
I am there, reciting this poem in a second language made of regret,
shame, love, hope, and death. My body is a wick, time the wax,

and the crows the scattering sly-eyed ash.

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Realtor (repost)

Just a little sprucing up
is all this place needs.
Just some spray cleaner and big black bible to wave around,
and everything here could be restored to its original middling banality.

Come in, come stagger down the staircase clutching your left arm.
We'll throw a party, 
invite the mayor,
the cognoscenti,
and EMS.

Feel free to collapse on the piano bench.
Just blow that dust right off the keys and play!
I've always liked Percy Grainger's Country Gardens,
but if you don't know it, just bang away at the keys with your elbows
and we'll manage a dance.

Peach, I can see by the look on your face
that you think this is wasted effort.
Trust me. Just spit on the sleeve of your dress
and use it to wipe a circle of clarity on one of these lovely old windows.
Let the half-light and fog in,
as you fall to the floor in one of your fits.

I've been at this business for a while,
and I always bring spare keys and smelling salts.
Look at the ad!
"Motivated seller, no reasonable offer refused".
Let me call their agent.
We can be at her office in half an hour--
me at my professional best,
and you giddy and rambling in light restraints.

Then, in a week or two,
after the fire, but before the funeral,
I will breeze in with a housewarming gift especially for the new mistress--
Beelzebub on a chain,
ringing a bicycle bell and
asking, despite his slight speech impediment, which room is to be his.

Sunday, October 8, 2023



By the lake there's a bakery that's sinking
and the lilies wear wimples all fall
they'll sell you croquettes of your bitter regrets
that can no longer hurt you at all.

When the moon sells its light to a lady
as a gift for her children to break
you'll hear their laughter for all the years after
until it dies down to an ache.

When everything dies in November,
a baby is found in the reeds
with such a fair face that you'll long to embrace
its body of riverbank weeds.

You'll declare yourself poet in a graveyard
emblazoned with roses and jade,
then you'll write a sonnet with the world scratched on it
and die in the bed that you've made. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Self Portrait in Red and White


I was just out of the hospital. It was snowing,
and my spirit was leading my body around
like an old dog
on a long leash.

Nurses are funny creatures, kissing the glass
of the locked cabinet as if it held a month in the country
where fountains flow patients
to the bathroom by themselves.

As a child, I lay in the snow sideways to the sky
and believed I would always have a place to go,
full of tomato soup 
and rag rugs for the floors.

That day, though, I was just out of the hospital
and been beaten up besides, for the fun of it
by someone younger
with healthy fists.

Bent like a damaged tree with red leaves,
I fell into a cab and got the stink eye from
a driver concerned 
about his upholstery.

At the hotel, in my sixth floor room, I kissed
the mirror above the sink. It was cold and smooth
with always that little
gap denying contact. 

With my prescription lost, real pain embraced me,
saying, write about the red of the blood and the white
of the weather,
the gray of cement and concussion.

I wrote the red of a fire welcomed by wood, a white bird
on a black branch outside the window from a warm bed
and a day that ended
years ago where I mended, more or less,

I still have that poem, a good one, full of the best of me,
a beautiful thing
still whole and fine
and standing on its own
when all the rest has gone.

for Desperate Beauty at Desperate Poets. 

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Baseball Game In The Prison Yard

 There is a ballgame in the prison yard.
A silver dollar stands on its edge on the gallows
and shivers with every hammer stroke.
Hit it and walk free.

An eagle perches on the crossbeam,
worrying at the rope. All the batters are blind
and in terrible slumps. 
In the morning if the rope snaps, you'll see the afternoon.

John Baal, the Babe Ruth of the Big House
swings hard and misses; the earth wobbles
and Krakatoa blows. 
Cigarette, prisoner? Blindfold? 

For my last meal, I request all my past mistakes
and they are served on a cracked plate. 
The eagle is fascinated with its shine and my Morse.
I yell "Pull!" and sling the plate through the bars. 
A home run,
the first in years,
hits it and it blows.

See the eagle and the white shattered stars.
See the runner circling like a constellation.
One way or the other, I will leave this prison tomorrow

like a three-run shot.

For Desperate Poets "Desperate Oracles.

I drew one card from my Medicine Cards-- #1, the Eagle. 

I drew another from my Baseball Tarot--major arcana XII the Slump, analogous to the Hanged Man in a normal Tarot deck.

These fit, as I have been experiencing both spiritual power--my sobriety anniversary was Friday--and weakness in the form of a preceding depression. 

Process note: I swiped "John Baal, the Babe Ruth of the Big House" from Philip Roth's "The Great American Novel."

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Final Take


Take me in your arms, though they and I both tremble.
Take my ticket, in the shape of a falling fruit tree leaf,
light and red and now yours, after all this time.

Take me to the harvested fields, cleared of crow and ear.
Take me as I am, with my empty emblems in a cherrywood box.
Take time to be silent, and in being so become my healer.

Take all that I have loved or shattered, planted or trampled.
Take me to my wedding, that melody in a dead bedroom.
Take me to my grave, where I will subside at last.

Take a photograph and give it to the waters beneath the bridge.
Take down everything the river rocks say--that is my epitaph.
This is the take to keep at last--it is all there is or should be. 

For What's Going On Take This Poem.

Top image created by Bing A.I.

Music: J P Jones Prophet In His Prime

Wednesday, September 20, 2023



This is the hospital
where the nicked-up blown-up bastards show up.
We give them ice cream 
and a priest.

There is a river
down the middle.  We launch ourselves into the current
and it is unclear
who is drowning, who saving.

It's a system of gradations, and if you don't die in Emergency,
why then, we come into your room with cake and streamers.
Presto! You're ambulatory, then outpatient, then nurse, doctor,
surgeon, administrator, president emeritus, cutting ribbons
instead of flesh.

See one, do one, teach one is the motto. See the staggering
son of a gun falling to the floor with wounds beyond telling.
We lift him as if we were angels.
Yesterday, we were lifted.
Tomorrow, who knows?

Nothing stops the flow of the river or the flow of patients.
We are Boatmen, and Mermaids, reaching, 
saving, being saved. We are heroes of the
Carousel Horse Cavalry, coming over the 
hill, with bugle and blood pressure cuff,

dizzy with purpose, maybe dying, learning as we go. 

for Desperate Poets We Can Be (SUPER) Heroes

Music: Brass Band of Battle Creek Song of the Volga Boatmen

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Your Heart

Now, after the fact, like a glitterbomb coroner,
I want to have another look at your heart.
My microscope went blind last time--
I squeezed it too hard, like a sponge when I'm angry-cleaning.
I was too fascinated, sappy,
needful as a driver in a wreck.

Bring me an ambulance in the shape of a spyglass.
I want to find my own ghost.

I thought your bones were made from hard cane,
your hair caramelized smoke.
I wore a white coat (as if I knew something),
glasses made from willow switches, and a half moon smile.
Relax, I told you, but it was me in the coma.

Now--please hold still for once. These worms aren't good,
like the plastic model I saw at the vet's. Your heart,
like the plastic kitchen I used to play with,
practicing to be a fly that would bite you one day.
Eat my attention, it's good for you.

Each worm burrowed there is something I said,
some of which I meant--the rest was practice for a role. 
Let me pull one out like a string, pull it and it speaks this poem,
a pretty wasp with a stinger where the truth pools. 

I am too harsh, I know. I am the laundress who bleaches everything,
a maniac for killing the invisible baddies, a hospital candy striper
performing unauthorized tests that do nothing, or at least,
don't cure or induce any useful fevers.
I have your results. I'll bring them down to the morgue where my
hand awaits its conclusions as if they were a ring or a nail.


they weren't worms,
just paper streamers.

I infected you
but it made you better for a while.

the microscope cannot be repaired.
my report needs to be presented in a recognized language.

i'm sorry, truly, if i hurt you
that was never my intention.

this poem is not written in my true voice.

i was never your babe.

that was never your heart.

Music: Igor Paspalj "The Thrill Is Gone"

for Desperate Poets "Illicit Encounters"

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Promenade In Green & Gray


Spring is the season of madness,
as fine and also bitter as any high always is in the end.
Every doomed thing that grows boasts in beauty,
and who wouldn't finger the new green blades?
who wouldn't close their eyes in the warm stranger sun and sigh?

Every heart is a blind radio, and what good is the word or song
without someone to hear it, turn toward it,
and seem to know the meaning?

Summer is a fever we invite, because we long to be feverish.
What fool thinks a bonfire will burn a hundred years? 
Look, legions of fools consumed by the thing that feeds them,
vanishing because we long to vanish, and then crying, lost, surprised.

In autumn, I have felt myself fall in a million pieces, until I stood
naked as any idiot tree. I was beautiful in a million ways,
pick me up, press me in pages, even just one leaf between leaves,
but I end up with all the others, up against some fence, silent, far from home. 

Winter is the season of stillness, and those who have stored up sorrows
find they do not lack for much. Snowy ground makes others much clearer--
where they've come from, where they're headed. There's no need anymore
to build with strips and shreds, we become our own nest and wait,

astonished and patient, a quiet station at rest in the moonlight. 

for Desperate Poets "Desperately Different". 

Title adapted from the song Green Rocky Road

Music: The Motels Only The Lonely

Saturday, August 26, 2023


"Maybe tomorrow honey
Some place down the line, I'll wake up older
So much older mama,
I'll wake up older and I'll just stop all my trying." --Jackson C. Frank

You, wearing your father's coat
and a ribbon in your hair,
you're the one I spoke to in a blackbird dream.

You, like a pocket sun,
burning down and rising up in continual blaze
all while reading a book, riding the bus, counting raindrops on the pane.

At home you wear a long shirt
made from calendar pages and paste.
Both are white as summer light, or a fallen blue jay's breast.

You, in love with Michigan in the fall, Morrocco in hazel eyes.
In your boot, a trove of travel tickets,
bad paper, and the echo of smoke-gone nights.

You lay your heart in the curve of the sickle moon
and claim to have no desires,
but they leave your skin and howl in the hills all night. 

You, with a sense of home in your chest like a tumor,
wounding and soothing you like the gin you used to love
until you can hardly stand it anymore.

There is a house from 1925, with a Packard in the drive.
Someone is washing it as if it were a memory
there on the tarmac arc beneath the pear tree.

You held your dolls up against the leaded windows
before you were born, after you died, 
before any of this thorned tapestry you're stitched into now.

The leaves are turning red, the nights are cool.
There is no kiss that holds a hospital for souls,
no soft-bound convent that knows the right prayer.

You can just listen to the yarn-ball clock and when you're ready
let it fall, think of nothing, and find yourself home
where we're waiting for you, those whose names you knew, and now recall.


shared with Desperate Poets open link

Music: Janis Joplin Little Girl Blue

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Me, Looking At You, Looking Back


Here we are -- me,
looking at you
looking back.

You dip your head, do a little shuffle dance.
I get the question but you know the answer 
before my lips so much as flutter.

You are an odd blue-black, luminous by moonlight
but a cipher at noon, or so you pretend--
our story begun at the bitter end.

You lit and left, lit and left the hollow place in me,
inspecting, appraising, always returning.
You gave me baubles and trifles as rent.
I gave you blood where your sharp parts went.

Here is my dead-womb where you rode
and taught me to mark faces that hold no light.
Screaming helps too. I thought it might.

I am the house of glass, you the burnt wick.
You are the mother of every line I write,
your call the ink I use, fragrant and thick.

We are yin and yang at each other's back.
Me, looking at you
looking back.

for Desperate Poets "In The Footsteps Of Our Feathers"

Music: Beth Hart "Your Heart Is As Black As Night"

Friday, August 18, 2023

The Hawk

 By a fence line in the damp green of the morning
a hawk by gifted vision caught a wren.
There underneath his claws she learned the sense behind the laws
and she'll never by the fence line sing again.

In the evening by the fence line lay her feathers
which I gathered up to weave a tiny dress.
Stars said, "No, it cannot fit," but I whispered love to it
and by daylight I stood head to toe in yes. 

By the fence line in the damp green of the morning
I made from apple wood a mandolin
to play the hawk a tune, oh aren't you pretty as the moon
and at his touch I felt the answer sinking in. 

shared with Desperate Poets Open Link

Thursday, August 17, 2023

A Taste of Honey


I'd like to say I understand
and forgive as in the carpenter's command.
The once-lovely loaf has gone green in my hand;
the crows will have it now.

It's such a feeling to be living at the dawn
with new love in some contented Avalon,
but these things cannot go on and on.
They shy and die away. 

Around your arm, a snake arrives
and I see your face reflected in its eyes.
It speaks one word--the word is "compromise."
It turns your heart to smoke.

I'd like to say it's all all right
and I can't remember anything I dream at night
but my bedside vase holds blooms gone dead and white.
They wave like conquered kings.

And so I'll say--no word at all.
Both the dawning and the dimming hold a sudden fall.
The gods we placed our faith in don't return our call.
"A taste of honey" is their lazy joke. 


for Desperate Poets "Lonelytown"


Monday, July 24, 2023

"Flat Earthers Unite" a masterpiece by Q. Benighted Shamanyan, Flat Earth Society Grand Dragon

 Flat Earthers Unite 'neath the sweet umbrella of idiocy
and raise your voice in the cretin's version of Innisfree.
Pose and posit with simpleton's logic that what you see is all
there is to Heaven and Earth, Horacio you libtard tool.

Keep expanding on fake moon landings where static flags still flutter
and that the shadow IRA killed JFK with microchips in peanut butter.
In the devil's pizza parlor Hillary harbors tykes who are made to swap genders
to offend Jesus Christ who stays in most nights raising the rates on His renters.

The War On Christmas is serious business if the libs cancel Santa outright
and then ever after the horrible factor of a Santa who's black as the night
blown up in the yards of the BLM crowd who combine with the immigrant scaries
who jig hand in hand with the dregs of the land like POC's, atheists and fairies.

Flat Earthers unite to destroy all Bud Lite and the lamestream media too
who lie and tell us conservative fellas that slaves on plantations were blue
and other such whoppers, O Walmart Shoppers led by Commander Kid Rock
who collect Trump cards and various canards while for birthdays the kiddies get Glocks.

for Desperate Poets "desperate satires."