Archive for December 2011

Goodbye to Old Year – “Taking Leaves”

December 31, 2011


Happy New Year all!  I am posting this for dVerse Poets Pub “poetics” prompt about the reflection that comes at the end and beginning of a year.  Ironically, Mark Kerstetter, the wonderful host of today’s prompt used a photograph of a leaf in his article.  My poem, below, a sonnet of sorts (on I guess accepting the way things are), was also inspired by leaf shapes.

Taking Leaves

The lily pad is formed like a spoon of heart,
holly a pronged sleigh.  Look out for three points–
my leg itches at the thought–there is no part
of me–not organ, not digits, not joints,
not susceptible to mind’s suggestion
(like a house plant that blossoms to Mozart
and cringes at a din).  No. My question
is how to put the horse before the cart,
how to let the soul’s true shape unfold
outside the mold of to think and then to be;  
that is, not to ask why, or wait to be told,
but to just accept pi (what rounds), gravity
(what makes for fall), and Death’s shade (from Day One),
while we earthgrown still will–must–seek out the sun. 

Have a wonderful, thoughtful, safe, healthy, happy, New Year.

I myself realize that what I am hoping for most is kindness–to receive it, of course, but more, to give it–to overcome all those obstacles that sometimes come in the way of being as kind as I would like to be.  (Agh.)

How Time Flies–In a Flash 55– (Ready, Set!)

December 30, 2011


“The new year is coming!  On your mark, get set–

“Wait a sec, I’m not quite ready.”

“The new year is coming!  Ready, set--”

“Wait, I say–”

“Wait, you say?!”

“Yeah, wait, I’m not quite ready yet.”

“Oh yeah? And who asked you?”

“You did.  You said, ‘the new year is coming, ready, set–’”


(Here’s my flash fiction 55, and I’m going to tell the G-Man all about it.)

Have a great weekend (and a happy new year.)

Not-So-Crystalline Couplets (with Pearl in Chandelier) !

December 29, 2011


At dVerse Poets, Gay Reiser Cannon has posted a wonderful “form for all” article on different types of couplets.  I confess my preference is for the “heroic” (an iambic pentameter couplet, which feels most traditional to me).  But Gay is more wide-ranging, and brings up a new form called a “Crystalline:”  a modified haiku (17 syllables) compressed into two crisp lines. 

Ideally, it seems that the form requires a certain focus on visual imagery.  I couldn’t quite do the visuals, opting instead (as almost always) for the slightly silly.

I have re-posted the image above because it shows my dog Pearl  in a “crystalline” setting.  

Not-So-Crystalline Resolutions (for 2012)

 I could resolve to lose some weight,
(Though science implies that’s not my fate);

Or I could vow to work, work, work,
(Though the thought’s enough to make me shirk.)

I SHOULD be mindful of every act.
Ha-ha, hee hee…um…what was that?

No–if I’m honest, it appears
that this will be like all other years,

In which I’m me, myself and I,
no matter, no matter, how I try.


P.S. For the lightening of a heavy heart through a fun quick read, check out NOSE DIVE, by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Jonathan Segal.

Magpie Tale 97 – The Bite of Eve

December 28, 2011


Here’s a delayed Magpie Tales, a post based on a prompt from Tess Kincaid. Tess’s prompt was a picture of Marilyn Monroe laughing, but, frankly, I’d just about as soon be shot as write about Marilyn Monroe during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, so instead, I’ve focused just on a certain aspect of the photo, which I have re-done in my own manner above. (Please note that the poem is not intended to be about Marilyn–I’m just focusing on the mouth/tooth of the picture.)

The bite of Eve

A spirit of conviviality

is often partly propped
by good strong teeth.

Eve had to bite
the apple.
How unfairly difficult it seems
for the dentally-challenged
to sink their flailing
chompers into

an open-throated laugh. That bit
of the predator that seizes
humor, shaking it above
a thrown-back head as it
proclaims inside

I got it,

somehow denied
by the decay of those
squared sharp gates, blocked by
the absent bars
of canine, those
enforcers, you know, of
a certain kind
of kiss.


Open Link – Another Villanelle – Things Past and Present –

December 27, 2011


The Christmas season frequently brings up the ghosts of Christmases past. (Charles Dickens really hit on something there!)  Here’s a villanelle I am posting for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, which concerns that focus on the past.

As a preliminary note, I’d like to say that my mother’s mind keeps its objects in a very clear array.  (Seriously, Mom, “disarray” sounds more poetic!)   Also, the painting above, very poorly cropped in my photo, was made by one of my grandmothers.

My mother’s mind

My mother’s mind’s a disarray of lives
she tries to sort like bank statements or socks,
the memories of grandfathers, farms, old wives.

Land sold, cash lost–those tales as sharp as knives
that wound the dead–bringing anger that unlocks
my mother’s mind.  A disarray of lives

whose weave she’s sure will warp without her tithes,
her tributes to hard work (also hard knocks),
the memories of grandfathers, farms, old wives.

She rallies around their wits–ambition drives
her past more than her future-as time’s tick rocks
my mother’s mind, a disarray of lives.

Can’t bring them back; no, that’s not what she tries.
Simply to make them last, pry from pine box
those memories of grandfathers, farms, old wives–

substantiating them–so she too thrives.
Throat fills with tears she seeks, with fears she blocks–
my mother’s mind, a disarray of lives,
memories of grandfathers, farms, old wives.

(If you are interested in villanelles, check out my comic “Villain-elle” with elephants.  If you are interesting in checking out, then look up NOSE DIVE, my new comic novel, illustrated with Jonathan Segal.  A lot of fun!)

Days of Christmas–Taking Stock

December 27, 2011










Boxing Day–Delayed Gratification (certain Jehovah’s Witnesses)

December 26, 2011

Not From a Creche

And then there was the old English couple who became Jehovah’s Witnesses–he, because Jehovah, plus butter rum life savers, plus two Witnesses who walked him and his dog up the block a couple of times a day, helped him quit smoking; she, because after sixty years of marriage, they did everything together.

But Christmas (not celebrated by Witnesses) was almost harder to give up than nicotine.  If you’d grown up in London during the 30’s, if you’d made it through the Blitz, goose fat and beef lard (and all the ritual dishes involving them) were high in your gastronomic pantheon.

Though it wasn’t the food that was the problem.  It was the want of ruddy-cheeked cheer, the cow-eyed Creche, the Crackers! (With their snap and crackle and little funny toys.)  The bean in the Christmas Cake, and, even more, the weeks of deciding what this one or that one would like–the special scarf, the purse on sale, the mince tarts baked and packaged–the wrapping!

All solved by the expedience of Boxing Day.  Crackers a day delayed were no longer “Christmas” Crackers.  Roast Goose was just, well, roast goose; Christmas Cake, fruit cake; and presents?   Tokens of appreciation.  (With no relationship to Christmas at all.)

And wasn’t that what Boxing Day was all about anyway?

Finally Catching Up To Christmas

December 25, 2011


Just in time!

(Hope you all enjoyed the day!)

Happy…errr.. Hoppy! (Jingle With Elephant!)

December 24, 2011

A Merry Best to All!  Thanks so much for reading, commenting, writing, inspiring!  

Flash 55 – Mystery of Christmas (A Clue)

December 23, 2011


The Mystery of Christmas (A Clue)

The best–clue-making: cryptic rhymes taped to wrapping. 

The pleasure: watching them strain to figure me out–giving hints that told all (if they could but understand).   

The few “real” presents opened, I’d run from tree to basement to gather old books, clothes, knickknacks–anything to wrap and encode, to transform into my gift.   

The above is my offering to the G-Man for Friday Flash Fiction 55.  Have a happy holiday.
(Also–check out the “Villain-elle” from yesterday, illustrated with elephants.  Unfortunately, in the midst of holiday season, I dropped an elephant painting when I posted, but I’ve got them all in now.)