Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Emily the Innocent


Our Lady of the Upstairs Apartment
tired saints sharing cushions on her couch
welcomes you with chocolate or a half mint
and her kiss at the corner of your mouth

The landlord carries rain in a bucket
collected from the cripples in the hall
no desert-born demon can obstruct it
if a judgment or her lashes start to fall

Our Lady of the Wooden Table Kitchen
serves you holy water in a little cup
and speaks to you in such a soothing diction
the bedtime tales the sofa boys made up

The weary stars lie down upon her rooftop
and she covers them with blankets made of smoke
In the morning they roll cigarettes and wonder
at the comforts as they slept she kindly spoke

Our Lady of the Upstairs Apartment
with her crosses made from cherry wood or teak
she laughs and calls you Emily the Innocent
and leaves you with her kiss upon your cheek.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Black Velvet Rose

When I was a child
I made a catalog of sounds.
My fingernail across upholstery,
birds calling to each other in the yard.

The world spun
in oval vespers
from day to night
as wind spoke to trees in whispers.

Why was my voice someone else
when hearing it on a recording?
Why did I wake up so often
to echoing music in the morning?

Now, when I am very tired,
I hear the dead speak again.
A siren goes past in the street outside.
"I love that sound," says the ghost in my mind.

Rain and rivers help me sleep
with a black velvet rose in my dream
and the kind-voiced sweetheart I've invented there
says that dawn, or the devil, may care.

for What's Going On? --"Sounds."

Music: J.D.Souther Black Roses, White Rhythm & Blues

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Word Garden Word List--Last Seen Leaving

 Hello my little runaways! Oops, I guess it was me whose Word List was missing last week when I wasn't feeling up to doing it. Allergies kicked my happy behind all up and down the boulevard! Plus, I totally overdid the physical activity and exhausted myself. But now I'm back, like a bad penny! And a day early besides!

Speaking of being missing, this week's List is taken from Kelly Braffet's novel Last Seen Leaving. Yes, I just recently did a List taken from another of her novels, but I just finished this one, so we're doing an encore. Got a prob widdat? 😏

This one is about a young woman who has disappeared and her mother's efforts to find her. Randa hasn't been abducted, though. She's just done with everything and living in a summer beach town unbeknownst to anyone. As always with this author, there is a deft mix of spot-on human emotion and the shadows of things that lurk in nightmares. Read it and find out what happens!

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 get in a car with a stranger. Wait, don't do that even though Randa, in the book, does. 😕 This prompt is active until next Sunday!

Your List:

Lucky Strike

Ode to Jimbo


"Kitten," he said to me,
"you are the worst kind of witless cow,"
adding, of course, the rest of the usual blandishments. 

What he meant, translated from Jimbo-ese
and run through a blender filled with
fresh fruits and nectar, was

"You are the sweetest, most appealingly goofy lovebug
that anyone could ever meet, and I am delirious with joy
to know you are mine, my little millstone." 

This is how I ended up on the beach, albeit the one
grandly known as the Salton Sea. Like Jimbo,
it is salty and ruined. Like him, it needs me.

There are locals here, and they eye me dubiously
but warm up and offer encouragements like
"Who the fuck are you? Are you stupid? Get lost."

They've made me feel right at home, they are so like my Jimbo.
I pick up a dead fish and wonder if I could save it.
Just some Evian and Aveeno could work wonders.

My Jimbo lies over the ocean; my Jimbo lies over the (Salton) Sea.
No wait, he's right here, dropping the butt of a Lucky Strike
onto the gray, contaminated sand. "Come home," he says.

He looks like a lost puppy wearing a days-old shirt
and is eating something he probably shouldn't. 
I say, "Miss me, dontcha?" Jimbo squints. "Shut up."

(That's Jimbo-ese for "Yes, baby.")  
Aw shucks and shiny silver dollars, 
if that's not love, I don't know what is!

for Word Garden Word List--Last Seen LeavingLast Seen Leaving

Friday, May 24, 2024

Big Sur


Back in bus-and-duffel days
turned out, less to than away,
half-high, with no plan,
I went up the coast.

San Luis Obisbo, Carmel, San Fran
and on up to Portland.
That's where we go now
--people my age--
but this was then
when I had no means, no ways,
and just my naivete.

Out in the water, somebody said
to watch for the whales.
They live in the dark underneath,
and like me, come up, then back down
without learning a thing or so it seemed.

On the bus some guy liked
Gordon Lightfoot
You've Been Talking In Your Sleep. 
He spoke my language like a native
better than the pidgin kid that was me.

He told me a blue whale's heart
weighs as much as a grand piano
and can be heard from two miles away.
Bye daddy, behind me down the coast--
thanks for kicking me out.

I wondered, as Seattle became B.C.,
what if it's all just big empty water,
and me lugging some big booming beater for nothing?
Or what if I'm all ears
but the watersong was never for me?
What then? 
And what now?

I look out these days not at California coast
but at Michigan lakes,
cold and deep, choppy or still.
I know only that I still don't know
and never will.

for What's Going On? -- Whales and Other Wonders.

Music: Bobby Womack California Dreamin'

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Birds At Dawn


Dawn mists shroud the preening swan
forever in her bridal gown
down near the shore where footsteps end
then floating out to mourn again

This is the pond where my true love drowned
never seen and never found
by water lilies twined and kept
in green and silent alphabet.

Dawn obscures the calling crow
forever dressed in black who goes
along the branch that holds the knot
and every cherished thing he's got

This is the tree where my true love fell
as gracefully as Pachelbel
a dancer to adagio
as far as woven strands dare go.

Dawn comes dim and damp in hours
just light enough for owl's eyes
that see the hidden bower nest,
where silent birds don't sermonize.

This is the hour when my true love comes
in melancholy misted dawn
to call me on and call me down
demanding his sine qua non. 

For the Mercy of Forgetting


If it were time for me to die
I would ring my rue with scarlet red
and wear it as a binding scarf
sewn from every word I said.

If it were time for me to sleep
like a stone the river runs above
I would count the clouds from underneath
an accountant in the house of love.

If it were time for me to speak
with roses growing from my teeth
I'd talk of roots and bark and limbs
and dress my skin in paraffins. 

If it were time for me to pay
Charon for my journey home
I'd fill my purse with copper coins
and jelly made from angel bones.

If it were time for me to die
I would ring my rue with climbing vines
and lay my head where heads can rest
with hyacinths and columbines.

image: black barlow columbine

Monday, May 20, 2024

Word List --Sorry!


Hi gang. No word List today due to your Listy being under the weather. I will try to post it tomorrow. If not, it will be next week, but the List will be back!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Crow & Astrolabe


Crow, obscured by wing and leaf,
there we were
under the stars.

Who knew then that we would bond
over common language
and common loneliness. 

You came when you would, and not that often,
like others of your kind
I had known before.

I thought, if I can crack the seed your heart will open
starved as you were
starved as I was. 

Crow so black against indigo sky, I lacked
Rosetta Stone
or Tarot deck.

So, I wrote you poems upon an astrolabe
looking for heaven
Deus ex machina.

Crow with your song in ghost-ship semaphore,
you sang to me

Yet crows are crows, and stars are reclusive.
Astrolabe and downdraft
broke both our hearts.

I have learned wariness of crows, and they the same
both poorer but safer
for such sad education.

Still, I have my astrolabe, an antique affectation
like the love I once had
for an obscure bird.

Jennifer over at Poet Laundry--no doubt prodded to do so by a thousand devils--challenged me to write a poem about or including an astrolabe. This is that poem. I encourage you to go visit her there; she is a genuine peach of a poet. 

Music: Alana Davis Can't Find My Way Home

Friday, May 17, 2024

A Strange Place To Die


The Polo Grounds was a strange place for a man to die. 

Across the way at 515 Edgecombe Avenue,
14-year-old Robert Mario Peebles' enthusiasm
for the 4th of July hit just above Barney Doyle's eye,
killing him instantly as he watched infield practice.

He never got to see the game. 

Thirty years earlier, a fellow everyone considered to be
a mean bastard delivered a fatal pitch submarine-style.
Back on the farm, his daddy had taught Carl Mays never to back down.

Ray Chapman never got up.

No, wait, after being hit with a dirty, hard-to-see ball
with an impact so loud that Mays thought it was a hit,
Ray Chapman got up, fell, rose, and fell again on the baseline.
"Tell Mays I'm all right," were his last words.

Ray Chapman was a man with the world on a string.

Good-looking, friendly Ray, playing out one last season
at the sport he loved, was newly married and set up in a good job.
He even got on well with quarrelsome Ty Cobb
who was said to have killed a man in Detroit.

The world was his oyster.

In a New York hospital, Ray Chapman got better, then worse,
then was gone forever. His widow lived just eight more years herself.
Carl Mays never felt he had done anything wrong
on a dusty diamond July 4th, 1920 in Manhattan, New York City.

The Polo Grounds was a strange place for a man to die. 

for What's Going On? An Historical Moment 

Music: Jeff Buckley I Know It's Over

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Santa Anita


When I think of you 
still to this day I see you in
                                               overcoat and fedora,
newspaper under your arm,
                                                  breath visible in the cold,
coming down the sidewalk from the
                                                                 train station--
I would run to meet you, overjoyed.

Years later,
                    post-divorce, me a
                     home from overseas.
I stayed with you
                              and your new wife
that stranger, and you Daddy, 
                                                    you a stranger too
in the unfamiliar sprawl of L.A.

You took me with you to
                                           Santa Anita racetrack
with the beautiful thoroughbreds
in their easy gait, the jockeys
                                                    leaning forward
as if already running the next race.
                                                              I was looking
at the odds board and then you were gone.

I waited as the horses with their
                                                         strange wonderful names
finished race after race,
                                           feeling lost, and sad, then angry.
I still regret how I spoke to you
                                                       when you finally appeared
but you took it all with a funny smile. 
                                                                  Years later I realized
that you had gone to call the new wife.
                                                                      You just
couldn't be away from her, for me. 

Daddy, I don't know who you turned into.
My adored father
                               became someone who lived
with plastic over the furniture
                                                     and the Lakers on tv.
Oh for a ballgame with you
                                                 at Tiger Stadium
or another trip to the DIA
                                             to see Diego Rivera's mural.
I would run to you, overjoyed,
                                                     but you are gone,
just a sad California memory.

for Dverse Poetics "Left In The Lurch" hosted by my friend Dora. 

Music: The Pretenders Back on the Chain Gang

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

My Bear


My bear
has to be awoken gently.
(We've been through any number
of jarring alarm clocks, smashed to bits on the floor.)

My bear
needs to get up by April
or he's groggy all summer.
Wakey, baby,
I whisper in his cute furry ear.

My bear
is the super in our building.
His keys jingle like
Christmas bells.
He is jolly and waddles to the rescue.

My bear
gets dissed by some of the 
harpies on the top floor.
Then they go kiss
the apes and hyenas they married
who keep Cameros under tarps in the parking garage.

My bear
solves problems by waving
at them with his massive paws.
He groans offendedly
when this does not solve the problem.
Then he tries chewing on it or tipping it over.

My bear
makes the residents' kids
get out of the storeroom in the basement.
He gets up on two legs
and shakes his head no.
Some of them need to change trousers afterward.

My bear
is my bruin castle keep.*
We talk in bed and decide
that if we have a girl we'll name her Ursala,
and if we have boy he'll go to Boston
to play ice hockey.

My bear
knows that I will buy
his favorite fruit preserves
and real honey in jars, not the fake stuff.
We have twelve different
honey dippers
and each wear one ring.

My bear
sits back on his butt like a Buddha.
I wear a bucket hat and a thousand
cuffs and necklaces.
He huffs the air with his big fat black nose.
I sigh and smile.
It's a good life.

for Word Garden Word List--Help! A Bear Is Eating Me!

*this line is adapted from a previous poem of mine, "Our Bear."

Music: The Bare Necessities

Monday, May 13, 2024

Word Garden Word List--Help! A Bear Is Eating Me!


Good morning class! (bored nasal response) "Good morning Ms. Fireblossom." It's time for this week's Word List poetry prompt! Our source this week is a rather insane and howlingly funny novella by Mykle Hansen entitled Help! A Bear Is Eating Me!  

From the back cover:


Marv Pushkin is pinned under his SUV somewhere in Alaska. He hates Alaska, nature, people, and especially his wife. He loves his SUV, his clothes, his money, his drugs, and himself. Marv Pushkin is such an asshole.

When I read this book, I was in stitches. It's hilarious. Marv Pushkin is a character you'll love to hate. Yes, he's being eaten by a bear from the first line to the last, and what he mostly does is complain and be as disagreeable as possible. You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll root for the bear!

What we do here is to use at least 3 of the 20 words provided in a new original poem of our own. Subject, mood, and style are up to you; there need be no bears or Marv Pushkins at all, unless you want for there to be. But ask yourselves this: if you were alone in the woods, would you rather be confronted by a bear, or by someone wanting you to read their unpublished five-volume set of topical haiku? Either way, just write, link up, visit others and then leave a picnic basket unattended in Jellystone Park. This prompt stays active through Sunday. 

And now, your List:


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Only Every Bloody Thing


Only every bloody thing
volunteered for offering
against their will, against the grain
against their soul and flesh and name.

Our Mother of the Not Enough
whose kiss is made of chaff and stuff
to starve the cow whose bell is broke
and tell the flame it's only smoke.

Only every bloody thing
whose throat was cut but still could sing
will curse your words and curse your hand
in every tongue and every land.

Our Mother of the Frozen Pond
the awful ice where darkness spawned
a lonely child who had one too
whose scorn is mixed with pity, too.

For those, like me, for whom Mother's Day is hard. We are sisters, we are fierce, and we are worthy.

Two roads diverged in a wood...

Take these broken wings and learn to fly

Music: Sly & the Family Stone Stand

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Mi Loca Amada


The full moon scares me,
and always has.

I become a dropped plate 
shattering along its reflected lines. 

Bless the rainy night,
the wet leaf drip of solace.

Thick clouds hide me
burrow-minded from the mad moon.

My fear of what it might do,
or cause me to do, leaves me w(e)ary.

For tonight I am safe,
there is no moon, but mi  loca amada, no stars either. 

for What's Going On? "The Night Sky"

Music: Snow Get You To The Moon


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

The Water Dove


I kissed the dove
who made her nest
in the lonely pool at the bottom of my heart.

Little water-dove
sweet creature, feathered mother,
when I breathe, you flutter, shift, and sigh.

I kissed the foxes
whose meal was lately
in the henhouse where all rain is born.

Little hidden ones
with your silent black feet,
when I cry, you peer out from moonlit memory.

I kissed the gamesman
in the old pink cottage
because he was there, and silent, like God.

I was the little nanny
in the graveyard singing
to the doves, and foxes, and gamesman

peering back at me from the lonely pool 
of moonlit memory.


for Word Garden Word List--Life After Life. 

Music: Rodrigo Adagio