Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Poets of Light


You said you like the curtains drawn
that lips are best in the dark
and that such things as kissing your ring
should be done in a circle of salt
that the kind of love
that you speak of
when your seance is channeling
old Poets of Light
wearing cloaks made of Night
appears and then quickly is gone.

You promised that on our wedding night
your kiss would wear a new face
a stand-in for your heart would come
and deal the Ace of Spades
for love of the black
you've stuffed in the crack
between three, and two, and one
where my love grows ill
on your window sill
and dies with all its might.

for Dverse Poetics: prelude to a kiss. 

Music: Labrinth Jealous

Monday, February 20, 2023


 Our Lady of the Golden Voice
who makes the shepherds howl

and leaves the clerics' eyes all moist
then gifts them salted towels

Oh Lady fair, oh Lady cruel
riding a treble clef

admit us to your Music School
to chisel loose each breath.

for quadrille Monday
hosted by Linda Lyberg

Sunday, February 19, 2023



--function best inside of ambulances,
whether driving or
receiving the EMT's fist on their heart as the sirens sing.

--must always be admitted only to hospitals with gardens,
preferably in some Spanish-speaking
hotbox of stucco-and-tile Catholic gin confusion.

--operate in a fog as reluctant circus cannon balls,
making door knockers of their own bones
and entering-and-breaking every secret heart in mid-air.

--arrive at the wedding of themselves to themselves
reciting vows from codebooks
once the property of some demolished poet-angel (body never recovered.)

--have no hero except the homunculus oracle
who keeps them awake all night
weaving flowers around their ears, lit and inextinguishable. 

--translate that thing you always felt but couldn't say,
wear codex clothing
and trespass the afterlife with a Gladstone bag and a talking bird,

in failing health, strong as vinegar, needed but not wanted in all 50 states.


Georia O'keefe

for Word Garden Word List--The Legacy of Ladysmith

and shared with The Sunday Muse # 247.

image at top: BLOOMS by Anna Shuleit.

image at bottom: Charlotte Gainsbourg

Music: Paulo Nutini Iron Sky (utterly amazing)

Friday, February 17, 2023

Word Garden Word list--The Legacy of Ladysmith


Hello poets! Have you ever bought a book from a remaindered table and been delighted to discover that you love it? And did that make you wonder how it ever ended up on the sale table? (Hint: we live in a world where Nicholas Sparks is a successful author. To me, that's concrete evidence that we exist inside some kind of sadistic simulation.) In any event, our List this week is taken from just such a novel: The Legacy of Ladysmith by John Kenny Crane.

writer at work

This novel came out in 1986 but it wasn't until 1995 that I bought and read it. I never forgot it afterward. It concerns a writer, Jason Glass (I wonder how he feels about bananafish?) who is researching a mysterious Scottish medical officer from the Boer War named Roberts Menzies. The book is both a sprawling historical tale rooted in actual history, and also a modern-day mystery that takes Jason Glass from St. Louis to Castle Menzies in Scotland and points in between. 

Castle Menzies

I don't know what became of author John Kenny Crane after he wrote this. There is almost nothing about him on line except that he published more books long after this one. Perhaps the long break signifies discouragement at having written such a gem, only to see it remaindered? In any event, I intend to re-read it presently, after I finish posting this!

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, visit others, and sit back in your castle affecting a brilliant Scottish accent!

And now, your List:


Sunday, February 12, 2023

Coffee Can Cosmos Can-Can

I wrap myself around a stem,
A green throat waving, a 
but its teeth are on the leaves
to devour 
the sun,
and here I am 
in my taxi yellow dress with black frilled cuffs
a vagabond imposter,
a fool in the sky.

The Tiger Moth and I shared a womb,
our mother
a razor blade in an oxblood robe,
sash tied off like a wound.
Colorful sister, 
displayer of dialects across each wing,
our delirium
has made us.
Look at the dough-ghosts jeering
as they
sag in a bag of ashes.
Shine, inventing parlance with every flutter.

I wrap myself around the wolfs-bane,
my house a blue
roof over
green walls.
I carry solace sticks in a wicker basket,
tincture of Tiger Moth,
and false sun for pale children slate-stone weary.
I slip into the sky
as if it were a jersey
a Merino
that needs me, like you need me
though you don't know it yet,
poor cold
mon pauvre petit ange!

a second poem for Word Garden Word List--A Season In Hell.

Image at top: Clémence Poésy 

Music: The Rolling Stones "She Comes In Colors" 

Saturday, February 11, 2023



Charming razor, second-hand heart,
faceless blank walking the orchards in a black duster,
you've brought wine
and dying birds
for my birthday, five months late. 

There are no seasons scenting your skin anymore,
you're a false summer,
holding up a pennant
that says, "I am here. Drop everything." 
In love with folly, and mock moons, I turn into midnight and let you in.

So tenderly I used to touch the icicles in your hair.
If there are graves in Heaven,
that is where your bed beckons
and always there is a woman reaching up from it,
a hallucination who would do anything for you, even as a phantom.

I told my girlfriends back when you caught me in your spring snare
and I starved very prettily
in your net like a sachet,
I said, "I have kissed a hyena and borne its laugh.
Collect my bones and boil them, my mother-song will stun every April blade.

Charming razor, second-hand heart,
frost your sham love with French cream so that I can bear the taste
as I spit it out.
Bring your playthings
so that I can crush them with the pestle of my tongue and destroy them,
especially my old devotion that spoke such fine poetry in your scavenger ear.

for Word Garden Word List--A Season In Hell.

Image: I Dream of Reaching by Ivan Pili. 

Music: Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa Your Heart Is As Black As Night

Friday, February 10, 2023

Word Garden Word List--A Season In Hell (Une Saison En Enfer)

In Paris by Forain

Hello once again, poets! Athur Rimbaud is our source for the List today, specifically his collection A Season In Hell. (I'm saving The Drunken Boat for a future list!) 

Dicaprio as Rimbaud in "Total Eclipse" 1995

If we were to gather, we cultured and discerning sensitive poet types, in a genteel atmosphere replete with chamber orchestra and little tea cakes, if Arthur Rimbaud were to appear, he would likely show up drunk or high, dirty, crashing into the tables and loudly mocking both us and the musicians. He might cram cakes into his mouth like an ape, say a few words guaranteed to offend, and then leave. Well! 

I am an other. 

Rimbaud's poetry is shocking, intense, unapologetic, wildly gorgeous, profane, and ingenious. It's filled with bizarre and unsettling imagery and is clearly the work of a unique soul. One wonders how a flame so bright didn't just burn itself out, and indeed, all of Rimbaud's poetry was finished by the time he was 20 years old. He went on to travel widely, always expending himself and searching for something I doubt he ever found. 

What we do here is to take at least 3 of the 20 words I have selected from A Season In Hell (as translated Louise Varese from the original French) and use them in a new original poem of our own. Then just link, visit others, and affect a marvelous faux Frenchiness for the rest of the day. And now, your List:


Friday, February 3, 2023

Word Garden Word List--George Hitchcock


Hello poets, and welcome to the new and improved yet old-fashioned Word List, now with more Friday! Nobody seemed to be coming by mid-week, leaving the Word List lonely and mopey, so now it has new permanent digs--it will appear from now on on Friday afternoons. 

This week's List is taken entirely from a slim volume of poetry entitled The Piano Under The Skin by George Hitchcock. It's an amazing collection. Here's a sample, called On the Edge:

you're on the threshold he said
take the knife and cut the river
loose from its mooring put away
that syllabus you're on your own
all the monuments have been recited
too often it's time to trim
their beards and slaughter
their stone horses and what is
this tiny cyst in the middle
of the last crusade?

George Hitchcock (1914-2010) was a jack of all trades--an actor, poet, labor activist, publisher and playwright. The volume I have taken your List words from is from 1978. What we do here is to take at least 3 of the 20 words provided and use them in a new original poem. Then just link up, visit others, and marvel at your own incredible virtuosity! And now, your List:


The Mandolin, the Bouzouki, and the Oud


As we mount the scaffold
(and when
have we not been climbing?
let there be 
the marvelous kiss of a lively mandolin.
the wry, sensual bouzouki
at least, 
the mournful deep pool of the oud.

Let the hangman arrive
on a plumed black Arabian,
the doula with her arms around his belly.
(and when
have they not been so entwined?
Let her feed him Greek Easter bread from her fingers
with blackberry jam
and churned butter.
There is no word for him 
or us
to say.
Allow him these joys before his task.

Let there be wags
irreverent, wearing bright smocks.
(and when
have they not appeared costumed this way?
let them tell jokes and ribald stories
so that we might forget our aching knees and hearts.
Let them tilt back their heads 
lifting geysers of Athiri wine up to God
alone in His white pagoda.

Let the blind boy in his dusty thawb 
hand us grapes 
as we ascend.
Let him strike the gong 
announcing our circular travels.
(and when
have we ever left these stairs, even in dreams?
Let a young woman lead a gray donkey
peacefully across the streets we leave behind.
Let the sky be almost clear and blue
but for one cloud, one bird,
and one sun unblinking.

Let the rope be strong and well tested.
Let the holy man sleep,
his book falling from his lap like a restless child.
Let our memories 
explode like confetti,
and sleep like lions.
Goodbye, the world will say
and then again, always again,

for Word Garden Word List--George Hitchcock

Music: Zorba's Dance-Sirtaki

Thursday, February 2, 2023


 The Word List is moving to Friday. No one comes by before the weekend so I am moving it. I will post some time Friday afternoons instead of Wednesdays.