Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

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. 

Seven Poets

In Hades seven poets
pasting pips on paper crowns
facedown on the sidewalk
holding seven falcons down
woke to find the sugar vein
clogged by golden tusk
and the Genius of the Galaxies
was just shit out of luck.

When seven poets wobble down
the racetrack of the dawn
riding lazy Sensitivity
like bangers of the gong
who spin in gyres like goblins
whose experiments go wrong
when they trade their tongues for bullshit
then say, "Don't you love my song?"

Seven poets claim the globe
of earth and eye and breast
while their dietetic revolution
starves out all the rest
I pray for wolves and pray for beasts
to pry them from their pens
to strip them of their peacock pose
and show them stunted hens.

also shared with The Sunday Muse #252. Image by Ruven Afanador

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Cottage On The Shore


Perhaps we are emotional gypsies
though our bodies become a sailor's cottage on the shore.
The heart, like a child, gets lost in reveries
and though it beats in stationary stasis evermore
it remembers warm July, desire, petrichor.
Let me sleep that I might dream and feel again the wagon's motion,
a scarecrow slinging duffel over shoulder, on to ocean.


This is a rhyme royal. 

Music: Judy Collins Farwell To Tarwathie

Friday, March 17, 2023

Word Garden Word List--Randy Newman


Welcome to this week's Word List! This time our source is the well-known songwriter and composer Randy Newman. Newman has written some outrageous songs, satirical songs, and on the other hand, tender love songs. He's probably best known for Short People, the world's most biased view of the vertically challenged, but there is also Yellow Man, which does the same thing for the Chinese. His songs advocate world-wide nuclear disaster (Political Science), marrying a hostile mental defective (Wedding In Cherokee County) or express love for an evident corpse (Lucinda). 

However, he can also break your heart with songs like I Think It's Going To Rain Today, Marie, or Still the Same Girl. He has composed the scores for many famous movies such as The Natural, Paulie, and Monsters Inc. My favorite song of his may be I'm Dead (But I Don't Know It) with the Eagles backing him up as he sings about going on and on and on long after his talent is gone. So you see, he even makes fun of himself as when in another song he tells a woman, "I'm sorry dear, you're too late. I've already ruined my life." And I haven't even mentioned You Can Leave Your Hat On.

What we do here is to use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in a new original poem of our own. Then just link up, visit others, then sit back, relax,  and listen to Randy Newman!

Your List:


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

First Love

 Hey, old girl,
I can't bear it, you know,
to go back.

You're gone anyway.
How can that be?
How could you hold my whole heart for years
and then be gone from the world?

I remember the green! 
The bright lawn in the sun, and the dark green
you wore, the color of forests, and later, Great Lakes blue.
I remember the cloud of rising cigarette smoke
in the warm evenings. 

There were fights sometimes,
even the odd drunk falling down.
It didn't matter.
What I remember best is the heartbeat excitement
of seeing you there.

I recall a rainy Sunday in autumn,
you wearing red, white and blue as if it were July.
Everyone we both knew was always there,
dressed in white like heroes. 
I loved you madly from the moment I met you.

No matter where I traveled,
I always came back to you, my comfort, my heart,
the one beloved constant 
in the uncertain confusion of my childhood, my youth, my middle age. 
Sometimes, still, I dream we are together.

Hey, old girl. 
The one word I can never say to you is "goodbye."
You were my sanctuary and so I ring the bells for you,
shout once more for the home team,
recall the steep aisles, the vendors, the big scoreboard
of Tiger Stadium, the love of my young life,

for Dverse poetry of place and space, hosted by Ingrid. 

Music: Frank Sinatra There Used To Be A Ballpark 

Friday, March 10, 2023

Word Garden Word List--13 Rue Therese


Hello friends! I was swept away, torn asunder and generally treated very rudely by a major ice storm some two weeks ago. One tree fell on my house and another snapped the line providing my internet and tv. Oh, and then there was a brown-out. Whee. The offshoot of all this is that I was forced off line and into a primitive lifestyle reminiscent of some garret-dwelling  artiste from 17th century Paris or something. Mon Dieu! I do apologize for the lack of a Word List last week and the week before while I was living on crusts of bread and hope, but now I am back.

In keeping with this Frenchy theme, our source today is one of my very favorite novels ever, called 13 Rue Therese by Elena Mauli Shapiro. I'll paraphrase from the back cover: Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of letters from WWI as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters and objects (actually shown on the pages of the novel) relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming French-woman who lived through both world wars. Trevor delves into the story of Louise's life--with the help of his alluring clerk Josianne, who in fact planted the box in his office in the first place. And so the novel moves along on two levels, in the present and in the past. I love the thing. It appeals to both my love of history, all things French, and also to my romantic side. 

What we do here is to use at least 3 of the 20 words provided, and to write a new original poem of our own. Then just link, visit others, and bask in the feeling of La Vie En Rose. 

And now, your list!


Your Only Love


A priest arrived by ambulance
to bless our sudden kiss

A doctor brought his bag but cannot
treat such things as this

My jewelry is just colored rocks
like pretty polished hollyhocks
in silver settings gone to curls
the same as any other girl's

but I could be your only love.

A flautist played our melody
in notes so fine and clear

That summer brought her midnights close
so that the moon could hear

the notes, the song so marvelous
the player played so long for us
the priest laid down his holy flask
the doctor blushed before he asked

if I could be your only love.

An urchin took a photograph
of you in uniform

You gave me spice and chocolates
to keep my fever warm

and lucky is the lucky bird
who calls without a word
In the peculiar pregnant dawn
his curious constant song

that I could be your only love.

Music: Denise King Stuck On You

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The Swan


I dreamed of the swan who made the night long
by dying on the shore of the hours
where you and I walked on storm-bent stalks
who mistook the gale for a shower
of sweet memories
that turned into these
orphans who talk and talk
about some lost song they learned from the dawn
that was filled with falling flocks.

I dreamed of the swan who kept your heart
beneath its wing for a year
until it left on the golden breath
of your conscripted volunteer
who saved you from
the things you'd done
that turned your fingers sharp
on the mandolin you used to win 
those you simply loved to death.

A big storm knocked me over!

But I am finally back! New List tomorrow!