Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

First Snow


November's first snow
is soft as warm Pandesal.
Such a sight makes the thorns sleep
as if they had died.

The neighbor's young dog
wears a pink coat and throws her toy
in the flake-filled air. She is a saint
sent to remind me of rivers.

I was in love once, many times.
Seasons arrive with suitcases
holding one beautiful thing and eleven goodbyes.
I am a vase, falling. The earth receives it all. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Dear November


Dear November,
It's mad easy to become lost.
You are so cold and distant, part of me is begging,
the rest of me a raised fist, cocked.
Everything inside me is in rivulets down a window
and it's moving,
dear November,
like a scared hare in the stalky brown fields. 

Dear November,
I think I married you once, had your child,
or came to your funeral every year wearing heartbroken black.
I was your dove, dear November,
and your crow.

Dear November,
I need to know that you remember me beautiful,
even if I turned dry as a page,
stale as a bowl of potpourri in a haunted house.
I am crying now, dear November
and December's smile mocks us both,

Cher Novembre,
mon triste bien-aime.*


*Dear November, my sad beloved

for Dverse Poetics for the love of letters. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

City of Crows


In the city of crows
in the time of autumn,
over the rainy streets the trees
bend and hover like dying grandmothers.
I have been down these streets
on evenings when I did not want to keep living,
and they gave me their susurrations as a balm. 

In the city of crows,
a small village where
everyone in the world lives,
I met a woman who was two shadows,
one behind the other but it was a third who spoke.
I saw only one shadow, heard only the words I already knew.
Now there is no woman, and I know less than when I began.

In the city of crows,
by the canal where the
coins turn to fish of white, gold, and black,
my blood turned to cold water, stopping my heart.
An old acquaintance brought a loaf of bread to my side,
still warm from my own oven or so they said. They hit my heart
with the fist that had held the loaf, and I lived again but in their debt.

In the city of crows,
there is no newspaper, 
and the devices there die
each year when dusk paints the days.
If you want to see me, listen for weeping
in the forest of shadows, where night and leaves fall alike.
I am there, reciting this poem in a second language made of regret,
shame, love, hope, and death. My body is a wick, time the wax,

and the crows the scattering sly-eyed ash.

Friday, October 27, 2023

The Realtor (repost)

Just a little sprucing up
is all this place needs.
Just some spray cleaner and big black bible to wave around,
and everything here could be restored to its original middling banality.

Come in, come stagger down the staircase clutching your left arm.
We'll throw a party, 
invite the mayor,
the cognoscenti,
and EMS.

Feel free to collapse on the piano bench.
Just blow that dust right off the keys and play!
I've always liked Percy Grainger's Country Gardens,
but if you don't know it, just bang away at the keys with your elbows
and we'll manage a dance.

Peach, I can see by the look on your face
that you think this is wasted effort.
Trust me. Just spit on the sleeve of your dress
and use it to wipe a circle of clarity on one of these lovely old windows.
Let the half-light and fog in,
as you fall to the floor in one of your fits.

I've been at this business for a while,
and I always bring spare keys and smelling salts.
Look at the ad!
"Motivated seller, no reasonable offer refused".
Let me call their agent.
We can be at her office in half an hour--
me at my professional best,
and you giddy and rambling in light restraints.

Then, in a week or two,
after the fire, but before the funeral,
I will breeze in with a housewarming gift especially for the new mistress--
Beelzebub on a chain,
ringing a bicycle bell and
asking, despite his slight speech impediment, which room is to be his.

Sunday, October 8, 2023



By the lake there's a bakery that's sinking
and the lilies wear wimples all fall
they'll sell you croquettes of your bitter regrets
that can no longer hurt you at all.

When the moon sells its light to a lady
as a gift for her children to break
you'll hear their laughter for all the years after
until it dies down to an ache.

When everything dies in November,
a baby is found in the reeds
with such a fair face that you'll long to embrace
its body of riverbank weeds.

You'll declare yourself poet in a graveyard
emblazoned with roses and jade,
then you'll write a sonnet with the world scratched on it
and die in the bed that you've made. 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Self Portrait in Red and White


I was just out of the hospital. It was snowing,
and my spirit was leading my body around
like an old dog
on a long leash.

Nurses are funny creatures, kissing the glass
of the locked cabinet as if it held a month in the country
where fountains flow patients
to the bathroom by themselves.

As a child, I lay in the snow sideways to the sky
and believed I would always have a place to go,
full of tomato soup 
and rag rugs for the floors.

That day, though, I was just out of the hospital
and been beaten up besides, for the fun of it
by someone younger
with healthy fists.

Bent like a damaged tree with red leaves,
I fell into a cab and got the stink eye from
a driver concerned 
about his upholstery.

At the hotel, in my sixth floor room, I kissed
the mirror above the sink. It was cold and smooth
with always that little
gap denying contact. 

With my prescription lost, real pain embraced me,
saying, write about the red of the blood and the white
of the weather,
the gray of cement and concussion.

I wrote the red of a fire welcomed by wood, a white bird
on a black branch outside the window from a warm bed
and a day that ended
years ago where I mended, more or less,

I still have that poem, a good one, full of the best of me,
a beautiful thing
still whole and fine
and standing on its own
when all the rest has gone.

for Desperate Beauty at Desperate Poets. 

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Baseball Game In The Prison Yard

 There is a ballgame in the prison yard.
A silver dollar stands on its edge on the gallows
and shivers with every hammer stroke.
Hit it and walk free.

An eagle perches on the crossbeam,
worrying at the rope. All the batters are blind
and in terrible slumps. 
In the morning if the rope snaps, you'll see the afternoon.

John Baal, the Babe Ruth of the Big House
swings hard and misses; the earth wobbles
and Krakatoa blows. 
Cigarette, prisoner? Blindfold? 

For my last meal, I request all my past mistakes
and they are served on a cracked plate. 
The eagle is fascinated with its shine and my Morse.
I yell "Pull!" and sling the plate through the bars. 
A home run,
the first in years,
hits it and it blows.

See the eagle and the white shattered stars.
See the runner circling like a constellation.
One way or the other, I will leave this prison tomorrow

like a three-run shot.

For Desperate Poets "Desperate Oracles.

I drew one card from my Medicine Cards-- #1, the Eagle. 

I drew another from my Baseball Tarot--major arcana XII the Slump, analogous to the Hanged Man in a normal Tarot deck.

These fit, as I have been experiencing both spiritual power--my sobriety anniversary was Friday--and weakness in the form of a preceding depression. 

Process note: I swiped "John Baal, the Babe Ruth of the Big House" from Philip Roth's "The Great American Novel."