Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Word Garden Word List--Our Man In Havana

Graham Greene

Hello my little expats, and welcome to this week's Word List! This week, our source is a novel that author Graham Greene called one of his "entertainments" in which a vacuum cleaner salesman is somehow drafted as an operative in Cuba and makes his reports based on a volume of Tales From Shakespeare and describes non-existent military installations by modeling them after vacuum cleaner assembly plans. 

The book is a hoot and one of my favorites. Greene is better known for his excellent and much more serious novel The End of the Affair among many, many others. This prompt remains current through Sunday. 

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 prowl the bars of Havana while wearing a funny nose and eyeglasses disguise!

And now, your List:


Palomas Perdidas

"How different it all was from what you'd planned." --F Scott Fitzgerald

 Here's the thing about love--
you can't finesse it for long once it's
worn away
                      like a river stone,
lost in the mail,
the ring gone down the trap.

Oh, you're right, it doesn't stay
cinema big-screen hothouse bloomed
the way it
                   starts out,
all fever-fine experiments in joy.

Just because you get lucid in the drowse of time,
doesn't mean call the hearse,
cut the roses,
ask the waiter for something mild and bland
like some blue hair breakdown of the heart.

When we reduced, though, in the long shadow of years
to a shorthand slang for what used to be
a poem written
                                 with the soul-vase of our bodies,
we became pilots in a sky without any gardens below.

I'm sorry, you know? I envy the old dog still loved,
still a sunrise in someone's eyes,
or to be the one with a candescent heart as fine
as old art,
                    stars forever swirling over lamplit groves.

for Word Garden Word List--Our Man In Havana

Palomas Perdidas "Lost Doves"

Music: Concrete Blonde Mexican Moon

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

On Set Mishap 1928


I, Guinivere Golde, aspiring megastar and idol of millions,
was performing in Pharaoh and the Flapper, when the wildcat
I held
on a leash
suddenly and deliberately
questioned my method and acting choices. 

Clawed to ribbons and near death
(but still achingly beautiful and scandalously erotic)
I was loaded into the world's slowest ambulance
which was 
driven by
the studio head who was wearing a chauffeur's cap
and already having me written out the role I had given it up to get.

Does that sound fair to you? Does it?

So there I was, riding in the back with the EMT
(played to great effect by Basil MacNaughton-Redfield)
and also the offending puma, who had donned a tux,
answering questions
as the EMT
did a background and got my vitals, for which I am usually
compensated well beyond scale, but this fool wanted freebies. 

Prefacing all of my responses with "survey says..." and 
fluttering my lashes as if I had some kind of coquettish palsy,
I saw lights, smelled oranges, and heard bells as we sped on.
"Hospital admin says,
every time a bell rings
an EMT gets into med school."
Thus spake my healing angel as the puma looked on impassively.
I hate it when my rescuer--and there always is one--goes off script.

Then I coded, dying like a regular Carmen in my juiciest role ever.
A girl anticipates things like this, living in a rented shoebox,
living on saltines and gin, and sleeping in a murphy bed,
but now,
O Happy Day!
it was my death scene!
My name made all the trades and my wedding to the EMT was
covered coast to coast and broadcast breathlessly on radio.
The three of us (with the puma) then staged a gala funeral on the beach!

So you see, I'm a star. 
Oh honey, you're not getting me into those ratty wings.
Who designed them, that ark guy?
Where's the phone, I need to call my agent.
(No reporters? Some tw0-bit burg this is.)
How long will I have to stay here?
I'd kill for a smoke and a publicist right about now.
So this is Heaven huh?
What a dump!

for Word Garden Word List--13 Reasons Why

Music: The Hebbe Sisters It Don't Mean a Thing

Monday, April 22, 2024

Word Garden Word List--Thirteen Reasons Why

 Hello my angsty cherubs, and welcome to this week's Word List! This week our source is Jay Asher's novel Thirteen Reasons Why. It's one of my all-time favorites. A teenage girl commits suicide, but before she does, she makes a series of tapes explaining what made her lose hope. 

It's since been made into a Netflix series which I have not seen, but maybe you have.  The book and series generated a certain amount of controversy, with some saying the story does more harm than good. I disagree, based solely on the novel. It does a superb job of showing how casual and seemingly minor words and actions can have a terrible impact on someone, and are really not minor at all, especially to a young person. 

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 down to the cafeteria and enjoy some mystery meat with a prohibited sugary soda. I'll already be there. Cheers!

Your list:


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Lovin' Baby Girl

 I was a lovin' baby girl
wrapped in the pages of a million old books.
lonesome as the last day of winter,
bright as a penny on the sill in sunlight.

It took me a long time, wandering midnight walks
solitary as Sunday, blue as a pound dog,
to know I was different inside my head
with its all-night jukebox and pocket poets jam.

I was a lovin' baby girl
who thought love was hearts and flowers
hidden in a busker's guitar case
so I ran out barefoot in the strange streets, looking.

I was just a girl, giving it all away,
even the words that fell from my mind.
and I wore away like sea glass
curled on a Great Lakes beach, inside a bottle.

I was a lovin baby girl
who stopped keeping secrets from herself,
once again the child who couldn't shut up,
the one I was, now with a poem behind every bloom. 

I'm still solitary as Sunday, but I haven't been always,
blue as a pound dog, but not as often. 
If I walk the beach, it's in the morning, with a smile
rolling out poems like waves on shoreline, a natural wonder.

for What's Going On? -- What is "it" about poetry?  Poetry and music have always been inextricably linked for me. I notice a number of poets today writing about songs they love. Music was and is integral to my life.  This poem is an homage to several songs I loved when I was young and still do. 

The main one I wrote from here is called Second Story Window, sung by Rita Coolidge. Her first solo album was the second LP I ever bought and I still have that same copy. This song was written by Marc Benno; his version: 

The title and repeated line is from Lovin' Baby Girl by Melanie Safka, a song I have referenced in my tags fairly often.

I was just a girl, giving it all away, is an homage to Leo Sayer's Giving It All Away. An anthem of my early adulthood.  

The song is more joyful these days as one thing has built upon the last. And the poetry is something that has only become more satisfying over time. 

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:


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



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



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:


Thursday, April 4, 2024



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

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!

surferish (surfer-ish)

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