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