Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Word Garden Word List--Save Yourself

 

Hello my stylish scaredy cats! It is time once again for your weekly Word List, and this time our source is the novel "Save Yourself" by Kelly Braffet. I read it a few years ago and absolutely loved it. She has such a sharp eye for the nuances of relationships, and is quite good at creating an uneasy atmosphere as well. 


I didn't even know, when I read her novel, that Kelly Braffet is married to Owen King, author son of Stephen King. Don't think for a minute, though, that nepotism got this one published; it's a great read. I purely lucked out in finding it in the local used book kiosk! My copy will never be in the book pound again, though. I'm keeping it in my hot little hands. 

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, and then go hide in the dark with a good book. This prompt stays active through Sunday. Enjoy!

Your List:

bandages
bitter
brain
brightly
candy
chick
clean
loathsome
mailers
nonchalant
object
rings
signatures
soap
solace
stereo
urge
vibe
vivid
zombie


Orbit and Waterfowl

 

Here are we, in our clean white smocks
carrying our easels
waddling in flocks
freed by signatures, approved by weasels
with keys to all the locks.

Gone in a group, out to the duck pond
chicks watching chicks
circling around
like the melt around ceremonial wicks
we the lost, them the found.

We who ate bitter oftener than sweet
who had enough
and beat our feet
into shadows where we flicker and huff
sentient suns in setting concrete.
_______

for Word Garden Word List--Save Yourself

Music: Gnarls Barkley Crazy 



Sunday, April 14, 2024

Seaside Jump Rope Chant

 

Take me down to ocean side
where sirens work in vending stalls
selling sea glass by the pound
and tide crabs leave their gazing balls.

I was young once, for an instant
and strewed my bones with bright confetti
made myself a red flag flying
as storm surge overtopped the jetty.

I married well, a starfish navvy
who built the seaside park their Ferris
They paid his labor with box jellies
who by their envy made him perish.

I asked the sirens for a chocolate
to hide from gulls who ate the season
when I was halfway into evening
and honey sunset let the bees in.

Take me down to ocean side
bring the digger in common clothes
to move the sand and move me on
in my folded-handed pose.
________


Thursday, April 11, 2024

The Vivid Dead

 

I am fascinated by you, the vivid dead
winding wire around every bud in the garden
fearing poison in every innocent bed.

Making olive of jade and maroon of red
mixing invitation with heirloom toxin
I am fascinated by you, the vivid dead.

Staking a world with only frayed gray thread
hoarding every sweet fruit left to harden
fearing poison in every innocent bed.

Mixing sugar and rot into every word said
a borer warden of self without pardon
I am fascinated by you, the vivid dead.

Silence the dust-tongue kept in your head
and lie with your twin the idiot watchman
fearing poison in every innocent bed
I am fascinated by you, the vivid dead.
______

A villanelle. 

Music:  Michael Kiwanuka Cold Little Heart



Wednesday, April 10, 2024

April Begins In A Graveyard

 

April begins in a graveyard
the stasis of winter broken.
Bold dandelion hold my heart
and everything said and unspoken.

I have done this, and that,
often for the last time.
I go gray as the sun moves over me
arranging my bones in rhyme.

Let the lawn grow long and wild, 
the caretaker drunk on his stool.
The old oaks must scoff at upstart April
and at me, a philosophizing fool.

April begins in a graveyard
with its bees more proud than the dead.
Let me doze on a bench in the half-shade
with my hand on the book still unread.
________

For What's Going On?--"April"

Music: Simon & Garfunkel The Dangling Conversation




Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Laika

 


Looking up through the trees in my yard at night,

what does it matter that the stars we see are already dead?*

I look to God as my dog looks to me.

Still there? Good. Anything you want me to do?

Sometimes I think about Laika, the Russian space dog,

so happy (as I imagine) to be rescued from a pound,

given a job and a pack. Did she look to them

as my dog looks to me and I look to God?


They sent Laika into space though there were no sticks,

no fields, no soft bed, no pack to go with her.

She must have wondered where everyone went,

and been so bewildered and lonely.

Who's a good dog?  Oh, you were, Laika.

My own dog looks to me as I look up to God

in tears and asking, still there?  


----

*required line written by Amy Woolard

for Dverse Prosery--Amy Woolard, hosted by my friend Dora. I don't normally write prose anymore, but made an exception. 

Music: Tom Rosenthal It's OK



Monday, April 8, 2024

Nyx

 

Here is the Moon, with its baton,
puppetmaster of waters and women
low gravity dancer in the skies over Anytown.
My head is a bowl whose edges ring.

I have buried the years in flowerboxes
under every window. They bud into regrets.
Here is my marriage to a wildflower grave.
Here is the Moon, with its baton.

I want to run amok like an islander,
and may already have done, bobbing 
in my cradle like an avid nun before Nyx,
puppetmaster of waters and women.

Listen, I need a month in the countryside
to knock these Perspex-eyed monsters
out of my dreams, to lighten me and render me
a low gravity dancer in the skies over Anytown.

Baby, I'm freezing, I can't take delivery
of myself anymore. The Sun has reversed
herself, gone down the well, and my head oh
my head is a bowl whose edges ring

with unbearable Moon-song I don't know how to stop.
_________

for Word Garden Word List--Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Music: Kim Carnes Breakin' Away From Sanity



Word Garden Word List--Spill Simmer Falter Wither

 

Hello my little runaways! It's Monday again and time for this week's brand-new Word List.  This time our source is Sara Baume's superb novel Spill Simmer Falter Wither. It's about a solitary misfit and a one-eyed dog who run away from the unkind lives they've known and bond together on the road to... well, read it and find out. And the title? Think the four seasons. 

Sara Baume

"This book is like a flame in daylight, beautiful and unexpected." --Anne Enright, author of The Gathering. 

I have never read another book quite like this one. I suppose that The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams (also the author of the famous Watership Down) comes closest. It's unforgettable. I warn you, though, it will also break your heart. 

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, and then embark on a quest to find out once and for all who's a good boy. This prompt stays active through Sunday. 

And now, your List:

amok
armchair
baton
busybodies
cherished
child
countryside
delivery
euphoric
flowerboxes
freezing
lick
Perspex
reverse
running
sheep
sludge
stuffed
valerian
wildflowers

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Miracle

 

Will it take a miracle
(they asked)
for me to get my head out
of my vast
open
spaces?

It would be a miracle
(they said)
if I ever
got ahead
with my dreamy dumbbell drifting ways.

All roads lead to Rome
(I answered)
for me and all my sister
second chancers
sobering up
right under your noses.

There is no miracle
(they insisted)
that could drive home the wisdom 
you've resisted 
until you see how
we only diss you 
because we love you,
silly cow.

The only miracle 
I find in it
is that they may all
eat sh--
elled peanuts without me 
at the circus I miraculously
ran like hell from.
______ _

For What's Going On?--Miracles.

Music: Entry of the Gladiators 






Monday, April 1, 2024

Word Garden Word List--Pages For You

 

Hello my little bookworms! I've had a song in my head as I've started on this week's List. Hurt so good... come on baby, make it hurt so good. Sometimes books don't end like they should; they make it hurt so good. You say that's not the right words? Oh gosh, are you sure? Because I had a recent convo with Pearl Ketover Prilik about books that'll break your heart right in two, but somehow... you love them for it. Readers are kinda weird that way!  


There have been three books that totally broke my heart and left me a mess for days after finishing them. One was the one that Pearl mentioned--Anna Karenina. Oh, that train. 


Another was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When Quasimodo goes to the graveyard and... well, I don't want to talk about it.  To my mind it's the greatest, saddest ending of any book, ever. 




And the third? It's one that you may not be familiar with: Pages For You by Sylvia Brownrigg. I bawled at the end. I absolutely melted down. It's a love story, a coming of age story, and a genuine heartbreaker. There is even a sequel, called Pages For Her. I own a copy--have for years--but I've never read it because how could it possibly measure up? What if it changes everything that I loved so much about the original. *Pokes the sequel with a stick* Nope. Not today. it might break my heart too! 

Today's List is made up of words from Pages For You. 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, visit others, and don't have a Total Eclipse of the Heart! This prompt stays active through Sunday. 

And now, your List!

anywhere
bookmarks
cartoonish
Coke
composer
dormant
experimental
forbidden
heartbreak
high
interviewed
muffin
pompous
Russians
sloppy
smoke
surferish (surfer-ish)
vapidness
waitress
wildness

Birmingham, 1963

 
Russian sage

Russians have taken over our gardening shed.
I see them, surfer-ish blondes and fierce Tatars
ambling among the trowels and bushel baskets,
planting their tri-color flag in the petunias. 

My brother has a train layout in the basement
set up on an old ping-pong table. I invite
one of the Russians to come down and see it.
He turns pale, looks funny, leaves in silence.

I go out to the garden shed with a notebook
like Lois Lane. I flip it open for an interview.
Why are you using our garden shed? 
I stand there with my pad like a waitress.

At night the Russians sit around and smoke,
private thoughts burning under a suburban moon. 
Don't they miss the Volga, the Dnieper?
Then in late June they are gone, leaving

only half a muffin behind like a broken heart
laid tenderly to rest amid the tall, fragrant sage. 
_______

for the Word Garden Word List--Pages For You

Music: In The Garden




Thursday, March 28, 2024

Looking For The Light

 

When you look in the right place, there it will be.
(I'm talking about light.)
Your eye interprets everything from within.

Blue skies, gray skies, all an illusion.
The light of your life isn't in a face or a star.
When you look in the right place, there it will be. 

You have thought yourself a moon, reflecting.
Rods and cones are the heart's handmaidens.
(I'm talking about light.)

That person, that sunrise, they are lit because you lit them,
just as they lit you, from loneliness, darkness.
Your eye interprets everything from within. 
______

A cascade poem for What's Going On? "The Coming of the Light"


Monday, March 25, 2024

Word Garden Word List--Classic Fairy Tales

 

Hello my darlings! Having come through a deep dark wood filled with wonders and dangers, here you are, ready for this week's Word List! Waving my wand in a circle thrice, a bright spark and a puff of colored smoke appear, and then we see this week's source material, Iona & Peter Opie's collection The Classic Fairy Tales. 

"We all loved it!" --the Three Bears

"Made my hair stand on end!" --Rapunzel

"We love animal stories! --Three Billy Goats Gruff

So many ringing endorsements, and from such dear acquaintances whom we've known since forever! What could be better?

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, and move in to your spanking new (and quite delicious) gingerbread house! Your poem need have nothing to do with fairy tales unless you would like it to. So conjure up your fairy godmother and get writing! This prompt is active through Sunday. 

Your list:

accident
asleep
blood
calf
cat
ceremony
chamber
charming
darts
frog
kitchen
opposite
pearls
pudding
queen
sorry
transform
twice
uneasy
wolf

La Vigne de Lierre Magique et Très Sage (The Magic and Very Wise Ivy Vine)

 

The queen who kissed the garden wall
was snookered by an ivy vine
who made her head a cannon ball.

You see, dear queen, this magic mine
(said the speaking ivy vine)

Has launched your bean, my airborne queen
to blow the Brits to smithereens!
______

First written down by the French monk Gustavius Petitgrand, this well-known rhyme royal depicts the Battle of Camembert Castle in 1599. Beheaded by an angry mob of lettuce cutters in the streets of Paris, Queen Amie de Chateaubriand's head had to be used when the French cannoneers ran out of ammunition. The Queen's head landed in the officer's tent where British commander Lord Bupkus Kewgarden-McWeatherstone, Second Earl of Weevilwiggen was dining. The head is said to have spoken to him, though the exact words have been reported differently by various sources. In any event, so terrified was His Lordship that he immediately surrendered his army as well as his collection of chessmen carved from candle wax. This battle and the resulting French victory was a key turning point in the Twenty Minutes War and insured that no French child would ever be named Basil again. Vive la tete! (Alouette!) Ahhh!

For Word Garden Word List--Classic Fairy Tales

top image: Soul of the Rose by John William Waterhouse

Music: Choral Saint-Jean Alouette



Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Anna

 

We had this woman at Dalldorf, claiming to be
the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia
plucked Deus ex machina from the bullets and blood of some cellar smack dab in the snowy far reaches of Nothing Good. 

We did  hydrotherapy there, but she'd gotten a head start,
either jumping or about to jump off of some bridge into the Landwehrkanal
as if she were Girl Rasputin, Queen of the Waves. 
She did this in springtime, holding a pink tulip and a volume of Pushkin.

Mornings, I'd bring her a bowl of oatmeal and my scorn,
setting it down hard on the tray, sounding like the crack of a rifle.
Anna Anderson, do try to eat some (I'd say), like the nonsense you spoon out
as ammunition for the Great Cannon of Bullshit for the credulous.

Dalldorf Asylum is gone now, and my job with it, dragging incontinents
to the toilet and fakers to the street outside when the administrators were 
otherwise occupied filing reports or fucking the mute up on seven. 
At night I used to tell her my suspicions about Anna, and cures, and treatments.

Now I am old, and Anna Anderson is gone, proven by modern techniques
to have simply been a loon and a manipulator. I go to her grave and
plunge a Russian Orthodox cross into the earth right where her heart should be,
but never was. Madness and murder were everywhere then. Anna used

crayons to draw those poor dead Romanovs, while there she sat, well fed,
celebrated, alive in the sun room, like a cat or a cockroach, immortal.
_________

for What's Going On? -- Character(s) In Action

Don't forget that this week's Word List is still "live" through Sunday. 

Music: Cafe Accordion Orchestra Ochi Chyornya




Tuesday, March 19, 2024

All The Little Flamingos

 

All the little flamingos
who used to hang around eating candies
turning themselves pinker by the hour,

where are they now? 
They used to carry Rod McKuen in boho bags
and spice their spring water with Tanqueray. 

All the infallible flamingos
confusing the Salton Sea with the Isle of Capri,
posing on one leg, demure and goddessy.

I miss the little flamingos
riding in paper gondolas, hating the pea hens,
in love with themselves, beatifically banal. 

I misremember the little flamingos
smiling behind Japanese fans, loving leopards
on screens for their mysterious silence.

So shallow and fresh, faces dipped
to the worst most brackish water, honking unmusically,
naked under their feathers, one more awkward than the next.

All the little flamingos.
Scornful, inscrutable, fragile flamingos.
I was there with them.
I was one of them. 
_______


Monday, March 18, 2024

Word Garden Word List--Poetry Out Loud

 

Hello my vocal and musical friends! This week our List is taken from poems included in a nifty little book entitled Poetry (to be read) Out Loud. It's a volume of all sorts of different poems, ranging from Dylan Thomas to Ogden Nash and back again. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are wonderful to read out loud. So, do your warm-up scales, drink plenty of water, step out of your shy reserve, and write something!

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, and offend librarians everywhere by talking right out loud about it! This prompt stays active through Sunday. 

And now, your List:

accent
aromatic
flamingos
furnace
glowing
leopards
madder
mania
mixing
pant
plume
portfolio
quills
rage
spice
stalk
tabby
utter
vegetable
witches

Thursday, March 14, 2024

When I Die It Will Be In Springtime

 When I die it will be in springtime,
trailing all unfinished things behind me
like a newlywed leaving in an old Chrysler. 

Charon will be at the wheel. 
The water will be calling him,
and he'll fidget with the radio, changing stations.

When I die it will be in springtime.
I've been waiting, as if living in a bus station
for the 3:45 to Omaha.

Time has grown drowsy. Print newspapers fade.
In Florida, ballplayers wear logos and speak Spanish
like my favorite poet, Lorca.
_______

For Word Garden Word List--Wordsworth.



Monday, March 11, 2024

Word Garden Word List--William Wordsworth

 

Good morrow my fulsome flowers! This week we wave in the wind to the words of William Wordsworth. 


Wordsworth is known for such poems as I Wandered Lonely as A Cloud (Daffodils) and She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways, the latter of which is a favorite of mine. I have done you the kindness of passing over William's more (ahem) flowery words in favor of twenty I thought might serve us better. 

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, visit others, and then lie down in a field of daffs and contemplate that cloud over on the right that resembles a dog flying an airplane. Easy peasy! This List remains current through Sunday. 

Your List:

cloud
creatures
creep
dipping
drowsy
engines
frenzy
genius
howling
icy
madness
memorial
pomp
stroke
sweetest
topmost
unfinished
visionary
wayward
withered

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Five Reasons Why We Divorced

 

1. The phase of the moon. 
      Full in perpetuity inside your head,
     disturbing your vision from behind,
     creating avid ghosts. 

     Me, caught in tides, no handhold,
     every current riding over my tongue,
    a deep-water language for one.

2. The snowdrops in the front garden.
     You, the monarch of sweet beginnings,
     pale with presentiments, failing
     and dying in the first strong light.

    Me, the Queen of January, lover
    of the silent empty street, made 
    nervous by crowds and heat. 

3. The thespian masks on our wall.
     You were the thousand-in-one,
     going for a glass of water and
     returning a complete stranger.

    Me, forgetting what was real or scripted,
    playing a part, blundering in borrowed limbs,
    smiling, crying, ad-libbing, hating it.

4. The crow feathers on my desk.
     You liked doves, wanted everything white,
     like living in a child's storybook, letting
    someone else absorb all the splinters.

    Me, a dark star happiest at height, 
    but having foresworn the breeze
    except the one in my dreams. I called
   all night, lips never moving at all.

5. The child between us and of us.
     The Viking funeral you loaded
     your guilt upon, disguised as
     kindness, consuming itself brightly.

    Me, trying to be sober, trying 
   to be better than the mother
   I had myself, and failing, failing,
   until our child needed me most

and I swam out to him, with my real face, and a ticket out of there. 
________

for What's Going On? Fifteen Reasons 

Don't forget that the Word Garden Word List is still open through Sunday. 

Music: Roberta Flack Just Like A Woman