Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Sunday, May 28, 2023



You're right, I was here.
The cats let me in, they are as untrustworthy 
as a broken elevator.

You're right, I had hidden
pieces of myself, like a nightbird's nest
right under your nose.

Sorry about the fire department.
Sorry about my dual nature, always waving my arms
for balance like a drunken signalman.

You know that they burn
saints and witches alike, and me most of all,
but thieves stole the taps

And you just sat there,
like Buddha of the first editions, plastered in poetry,
a wall unto yourself.

You're right, I meant me
but the cats advised me to say you, over and over
begging to be let in
then out
then in
just like them.

The firemen saved them--
the cats, the other tenants, the stairwells and stars.
Me? I died in the fire I had set because I was in pain, 
did not know how to end things,
and you were not there to get that blasé look on your face
and put me out. 


top image created with Bing A.I.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Handsome Man


A very handsome man--
everyone remarked about it. 
Simply leaning back in a chair
with his coat open,
and that devil-may-care casual air--
it made me feel a little drunk, just watching him.

He wasn't gay
as some of us assumed. 
Vi said no, with a canary-cat smile
and she would know, better than us sparrows. 
She told the story
how the war shattered him.
Six weeks in hospital
and the art therapy that brought him back.
Looks and talent, despite a hand tremor that lasted a year.

He was elegant.
You'd feel like the only woman in the room
just because he offered you a cigarette.
With a wave of his hand he dismissed his work as trash
and said better to be
a bricklayer or a dentist.
The thing is, he seemed to mean it
and it felt like watching him vandalize his soul.

He was loved.
One look at Vi told us that.
She said there were nights when he believed he was dying,
and went to doctors in the morning.
They told him, you're fine, really, stop worrying.
He was on the phone one evening with his sister
when Vi said his face changed. 
When she asked him he said he'd mentioned his art 
and the sister had laughed
saying, oh, you're still doing that.

He loved to walk
at night when the air was cold and clear.
He told Vi he was going out for a smoke--
this war veteran,
this handsome, talented, loved man--
and he did.
Then he'd stepped off a bridge into the cold water far below.
At the funeral, Vi slapped the sister, caused a scene.
He wasn't there to smile and smooth it over, for any of us, anymore.

for desperatepoets "death by broken shoe laces." 

Music: Billy Joel Goodnight Saigon

Saturday, May 20, 2023



We were made orphans by the war and brought here
fresh as the day's catch, stunned and open-mouthed.
Maps at the front of our classrooms had to be updated daily
as bombardments revolutionized cartography.

We liked to climb things. Nearby hills, the orphanage fences,
bunk bed ladders, walls, and each other when the explosions came too near.
We lost many things. Teddy bears. parents, barrettes, books, brothers and
sisters, homes, friends, cereal bowls, pets, and our sense of fear.

Years have passed, along with everyone we knew except each other.
Our teachers turned dead and brown like ivy from the gas.
We developed immunity and emerge now changed, arriving in towns
across our devastated country, with our steady gaze and detached manner.

We are young, beautiful in our way, outwardly unmarked and shining.
Approach us, kiss us, make plans to repopulate and recover
from the waste, carnage and horror through us, the only hope remaining.
We are as bold as bullets, jacketed, calling you pretty pigeon, townie, lover.

and shared with desperatepoets open link  #4

Music: Tommorrow from Annie. A favorite of mine.  Yes, I'm a sap at heart.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Beautiful Is A Tired Word


Beautiful is a tired word but I found you so
with the intensity of your obsidian hardness, and silver starburst flaws.
A black-leaved water lily with 
blooms of conventional white, like a nun
if the nun were carnal, and clever, 
and forever drowning in her own roots.

How like the Host are your white blooms,
a transubstantiation from habit-black to bland bright,
a false face like a lady's fan
or a death's head
and I just had to touch, take into me, and be wounded by
the carmine-edged cuttings you took from yourself.

Weren't we beautiful, for an hour as the day turned crimson,
making poetry from nothing but dirt and gold?
We wore only our flimsy paper costumes 
printed with deadnames and roses
and a garland of sun-shy violets for a crown. 

Finally, we saw each other for what we were--
one a shadow inside a censer swung by the claw of a talking crow
and the other as dim as a dog and as keen to roll in the foul thing it finds.
Beautiful is a tired word but I hung it around your neck
like a prize won for knocking down milk bottles on the midway.

a feat remembered with both pride and shame for far too long.


for desperatepoets LOVE SONGS ON A GHOST JUKEBOX. 

images created with Bing A.I.

Music: The Japanese House Dionne

Saturday, May 13, 2023



I can't recall what this place was like
before the renovations.
There were difficulties--
bombings, whatnot,
and the removal to the madhouse of the construction foreman. 

Blueprints are lovely, don't you think?
Smooth and blue as calm seas. 
Birth, though, that's a bloody messy business
of screaming gobsmacked arrival
held up in the hands of the midwife who never cuts her nails.

It's not so much that I love this place as it is that I was presented with it.
I woke in these rooms
with the hammering already in progress. 
I long for waterfalls and love,
but have skin like bricks, and hair like shingles.

People say, make it beautiful, you can do it!
Be your own fetch, a siren of the flooded basemant,
luring yourself with your own song.
Make it your home away from home as drowning sailors do,
find the bright side of blistering paint and warped floors like heavy seas.

All right then. I have tattooed the name Ran
on my arm, see it when I hold you.
We are limited only by burst plumbing, crumbling rebar,
and our own imaginations,
navigating our Rubik's Cube Winchester House of gorgeous possibility.

for Sunday Muse and shared with desperatepoets open link. 

Monday, May 8, 2023

Phineas Gage's Satori


Phineas Gage was a working stiff who nonetheless
took great pride in his job, which was blowing things to Kingdom Come.
He reached age twenty-five, never having been depressed
or observably outre, but Poetry made a sudden entrance the day he forgot to run.

A mountain might be said to be the ultimate conservative,
a geological accountant or engineer, set in its strata, posture, and ways.
Along came Phineas with his Magic Wand, keen to make the Earth move,
but the Mountain objected and sent the steel phallus back through swain Gage.

"He's dead!" cried his crew aghast, but his vision was sharpened
by the implement through his eye, introduced to his mind in an instant.
Phineas sat up as if nothing were wrong and calmly opined
that he might need a physician for the crowbar suddenly extant. 

He died but only to who he had been before, well-respected,
industrious and measured. Over the weeks he spit bits of brain
onto foolscap as a sort of carmine ink and thus were his first poems invented.
Phineas found he could make them rhyme, sing, moan and rain.

Imagine now Phineas, drunk as an Irish pickpocket, grabbing at ladies
and spouting the most remarkable obscenities. Imagine him in the full vigor
of creative expression, novel thought, unfettered here-ness and the rabies
of Instant Genius blasting from every pore as if dynamited higher, bigger.

For a time, Phineas exalted, Phineas in bloom, Phineas transformed!
Then, through doctor's care and Normalcy's constant soporific embrace,
Phineas drifted from shining masterpiece to haiku to erasure poems
and became redacted from himself, dependable again, decorous, quite sane. 


for desperatepoets "state of the art"

Notes: Phineas Gage was a railroad worker who loaded charges into rock faces where rail lines were to be built. He packed the charges well into the rock with a custom-made crowbar of which he was quite proud. One day the dynamite went off prematurely and sent the crowbar through his skull. Miraculously, he survived and was even sitting up calmly afterward, asking to be taken to a doctor. After a long and sometimes gruesome recovery, Phineas' personality is said to have changed dramatically, though he eventually returned to a more typical state. I have taken the liberty of making him a poet. A satori is a sudden awakening. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Vox Humana


My voice slipped out as I slept,
taking the path between rows of white narcissus
to the upturned boat, just port side and starboard side,
no deck, no keel, with the world below and beyond.

It had normally slept in the blanket of my throat,
silent, cupped in a chrysalis.
Now it went up and down upon the earth
filterless, making many enemies, there when I awoke.

I hid my voice inside a bell, but it was only louder.
I stuffed it in the pages of a newspaper, but caged birds repeated everything.
I set it in the hands of my lover, and my lover left, cursing.
I hid it in the sound hole of a guitar and it spoke in every language.

I taught it manners and it died of boredom.
I taught it doublespeak and it ran for high office.
I taught it sanctimony and it attracted a congregation.
I taught it flattery and it was beloved. 

Desperate, I taught it poetry and it lay down again in my throat
where my bones fell in love with it.
A doctor diagnosed the shaking as palsy
and prescribed a pilgrimage to Branson or Las Vegas.

Music: Leonard Cohen A Singer Must Die

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Let's Talk

 "Out here on the perimeter, there are no stars.
Out here, we is stoned, immaculate."  --Jim Morrison

Let's talk about the elephant in the room.

I'm not some sort of spokesperson for eternity.
Still, you keep popping up,
asking if anyone wishes to communicate,
then you wig out when I answer back.

Let's talk about how I got here. 

I was in the back seat of Daddy's Oldsmobile.
The baseball game was on. 
Then I was launching off from some crazy trapeze into...this place. 
No mom.
No dad.
Just another bauble in the costume jewelry box of the universe
shining brightly in the dark.

Now let's talk about you. 

You're miffed when I don't answer, but shit your pants when I do. 
I can't tell you where your dead Granny is.
I can't tell you if she's in glory or misery.
I can't tell you how much I'm starting to hate that silly planchette of yours.
So why did I answer in the first place?
Like Cole Porter says, It was just one of those things. 

Let's talk about not talking anymore.

Whatever you're asking about--it's not my clowns, not my circus.
I'm just a bit of incorporeal ash floating around in the ether.
I vant to be alone
and boy, am I.
At least, until you came along, like a chatty seatmate on an airplane.
You say hello--hello hello!--I dont know why you say hello, I say


for Word Garden Word List--The Circus In Winter.


Music: Pink Floyd Comfortably Numb

Friday, April 14, 2023

Word Garden Word List--The Circus In Winter


Hello mes anges, It is time once again for your weekly Word Garden Word List! This time our source is The Circus In Winter, by Cathy Day

It's a collection of interwoven short stories about circus people in the off season and spans from long ago to contemporary times. I adored it and urge you to check it out! Though the stories may be set among carnies and such, they are chock full of home truths. 

What we do here is to use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in a new original poem of our own. It need have nothing to do with circuses, but you get an extra squeeze of the Bozo nose if it does. Then just link up, visit others, and take a victory lap standing up on horseback in a sequined costume, arms spread dramatically as the audience cheers with wild abandon!

And now, in the center ring, your List!

Cole Porter

Saturday, April 8, 2023

My Detective


When a detective falls in love, he does not know who to bill for expenses--
everything is up in the air. 

At a mixer for suspects, he invites me to dance via loudspeaker.
Radiant in my white dress, I resemble a snowy owl
even down to my carefully bandaged hand which he takes without hesitation.
I whisper in his ear:

I am Leon Czolgosz. 
Your heart is the President of the United States of America. 
We are dancing in Buffalo, city by the Niagara. 
My detective, of course, falls hard.

The next time we meet, I wait for him in the bullpen at the police station.
They know him there.
They hire cellists. 
He confesses his deepest fantasy to me:

I want to speak words of love to you
via telephone
with our hands naked and separated only by the safety glass.
I want the call recorded
and broadcast to wild lovers around the globe. 

Shortly after, we are married. I wear my favorite bearskin robe.
My small black cubs frolick nearby, 
climbing the pews and then tumbling gaily down again.
My detective is resplendent in his tuxedo. 
The hired band plays Funiculi Funicula.
I snarl when my detective gets too close to the cubs, and this inflames him.

At last, we lie in bed together, like busy machines come to rest.
I am wearing nothing but the revolver-shaped earrings he has given me.
My detective wears a felt fedora
and a look of smug adoration like a daredevil over the falls in a barrel. 
I am The Queen of the Mist,
suspected in various thieveries, check kiting, and jaywalking.

Our love is an aviary
where birds wheel above the thundering water like intelligent confetti. 
Look in your mailbox, I tell my detective.
I have left you a valentine and an Easter egg. 
He asks if, after all, I am his mystery client.
I am innocent. 
Love is a marvelous thing, a joyful thing. My love is happy now, laughing.

For Word Garden Word List--Zachary Schomburg.

Music: Angelo De Pippa Funiculi Funicula

Friday, April 7, 2023

Word Garden Word List--Zachary Schomburg


Hello my pretties, and welcome to this week's slightly late Word List. In olden times it might have been a Worde Liste. Anyway, our source this time is bizarro prose poet Zachary Schomburg, who writes about weird telephones, strange zoos and odd islands. Think The Far Side but more unsettling than funny. 

All of the words on this week's List are taken from his book The Man Suit. I'm not sure where I found it. It's just there on my shelf, as if placed there by elves. I've read it, on a winter day one year, when my mind needed expansion. Now I bring it to you, set upon a little burgundy-colored pillow, with accompanying fanfare. 

Okay, so, ready to get weird?!? You don't have to, but extra credit if you do, in the spirit of Zachary Schomburg. What we do here is to take at least 3 of the 20 words provided and use them in a new original poem of our own. Then just link up, visit others, then bake your poem and theirs in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes until the edges caramelize. Easy peasy!

And now, your List:

Leon Czolgosz

Wednesday, April 5, 2023


 I felt bad, after
like a house of dirty windows
like my heart had hit a quicksand ditch going 90
and my ribs kept giving me a sharpwire bone-hug every time I breathed.

Kathy came by, 
crossed her arms
dipped her chin and said,
"Well don't you look like hammered crap."

Knowing I'm sober,
She goes, "Wanna get wasted?" 
and there's that shit-eating grin.
"Yeeeah," I tell her with a loud sniff and a lip twitch.
"Well you can't, stupid," she says.

Filling my coffee maker, she strings together some very inventive,
vile, and hilarious names for Ms. Thang until I finally snort and shake my head.
"You are one fine fucking mess
and more trouble than you're worth, you know that?" she says, tilting her head. 
I know that.
"And I love ya, ya goof."
I know that, too.

Then I am crying, and she is rocking, 
and the coffee maker burps and coughs like it might die, but doesn't. 

Friday, March 31, 2023

Word Garden Word List--Stephen Dunn


Hello. my small cadre of fantastic poets! This week we take our List words from a Pulitzer Prize winning collection by Stephen Dunn entitled Different Hours. Dunn writes of life situations which are quiet and ordinary on the surface and shines a bright light into the depths. His style is unornamented free verse, and yet it is very definitely not prose. Dunn has a deft knack for skirting the edge. If you'd like to read some of his more well-known poems, you can find them HERE. I urge you to do so. 

What we do here is to take at least 3 of the 20 words from the list provided and use them in a new original poem of our own. Then simply link, visit others, and then sink into a deep contemplation of the meaning of existence. And now, your List:


Un Recuerdo (A Memory)


When I was younger, one of my co-workers
was an older lady, or so she seemed to me.
She was just always there,
a woman who ate at her desk from a clear plastic container--
some sort of salad. 
She was just an ample, 
stationary emplacement 
as permanent as the pyramids.

I thought of her then as something akin
to those funky American clunker cars from the fifties
still rumbling around Havana,
something you'd smile at
but not feel had anything to do with you.
She wore a cross that rested on her bosom,
like the ones that dangle from the mirrors of Cuban taxis. 

She stopped coming to work, though, and someone said she was ill.
"Pancreatic cancer" they told me, sotto voce. 
I knew, as a northerner, that weather can change in an instant.
What I hadn't known is that I am made of weather
blood and bone and breath
breezing through me every second of every day.

I went to see her with some other women from work.
There, in the hospice, she wasn't ample anymore,
just a paper doll watching episodes on tv through a narcotic blizzard.
British adventurers were removing treasures from the tombs
in grainy archive footage
as the knot inside her belly grew and her hand grabbed at nothing. 
"Morphine hallucinations," someone whispered. 

After she died I took one of her cats, a calico I had for several years.
I still think of that day at the hospice, though
and how the clown-devil can sit silently at one's side any time,
like a taxi at the curb, bags already arranged in the trunk.

He will watch whatever you want to watch,
at that wind-down hour.
He never complains, talks over the narrator, or changes the channel,
but though we protest that we were only in the middle, 
I want to see how it ends
he will click it to black, pull into traffic, and say,
"Nada es para siempre, ni siquiera sufrimiento."

The last line says, "Nothing is forever, not even suffering." 

Music: Compay Segundo Chan Chan

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Naive Art

 The black cat with the golden eyes
hides in the garden
with the broken-necked tulips
in the Spring.

The tulips
in their pink headscarves
will never raise their gaze again--
only their arms
to the blank blue sky.

The black cat with the steady gaze
hides in the garden
fascinated with the dun-colored mourning dove
on the gray sill.

The mourning dove
watches for the speckled hawk
beneath the yellow sun
of April.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Word Garden Word List--Michael McClure


Hello friends! It's a hectic day around here, still messing with trying to effect repairs on my house and whatnot, but I cannot fail you! Today's List is taken from a volume of poems by Michael McClure entitled September Blackberries. You'll forgive me if I am less informative than usual this week, but I urge you to Google Michael McClure to find out more about him!

What we do here is to use at least 3 of the 20 words from the list provided in a new original poem of our own. Then just link up, visit others, and then loudly complain about being busy, so busy! :-p

And now, your List:


Extra bonus word: "Meat." He uses it repeatedly in this collection, and normally I always include oft-repeated words, but 'meat' just didn't seem very poetic to me. However, you may use it if you like, for meaty extra credit.