Archive for March 2012

Not Prosaic Nightmare – “Clammed Up”

March 31, 2012


The wonderful DVerse Poets Pub, hosted by Stu McPherson and the very energetic and diversely prolific Brian Miller, has a Poetics prompt on “nightmare” today.  Below is sort of a prose poem that came to mind; above my drawing.

Clammed up

She is pregnant. It seems that he had something on his finger, something bad. Her mom once joked about an aunt who’d gotten pregnant from her leg.  It must have been something like that.

The worst part is that she’ll have to tell now.  The worst part is that they’ll know.

She turns her bare back to the mirror, craning head over shoulder, though it’s easy enough to see, her eyes lodged in a crack in the ceiling.

The skin is smooth as ever between the shoulder blades, until it isn’t.  The pregnancy shows itself in the sprout of green-white stems.

They are tubular, waxen, like those on a potted plant that sits above the kitchen sink, the dirty dishes.  Only now the sprouts have grown into vines, long tangled ones that dangle from the skin around her spine; and now they are blossoming, clam shell blossoms that pull and weight them.

She knows they can’t truly be clam shells–each holds, within its crust, a cluster of soft violet petals, a yellow stamen–and yet, they are ribbed, hard, grey.

She thinks to cut the vines off.   At least, then, she could wear a t-shirt.

With scissors? A knife?

But she is too scared to cut.  And what about the grove of naked stems?  The dry hard roots?  She pictures a bristled section of lawn, the again and again of her dad’s mower.

Better to uproot.

But how can she tug them out?  They are embedded in her own skin.  She is too scared, too frightened.

And what about the baby?

As she walks from the mirror, she feels the vines following her, the clam shells thumping against her back.

She thinks of tin cans following the car of newlyweds, tin cans and shaving cream and big lipstick kisses.  She went to a wedding once; she was the flower girl.

But the vines are not like tin cans, newlyweds.  They do not clang, but rustle; for no matter how hard the shells themselves might be, they hit bare skin.

(As always, all rights reserved.  And as always, if you’re in the mood for something more humorous, check out my comic novel, NOSE DIVE,  available on Kindle for just 99 cents and in print for just a bit more.)  

Friday Wanting a Nap 55

March 30, 2012


Friday Afternoon Poem

Actions are louder than words, especially if
the action involves a fall asleep at your desk, in which case,
actions can be quite a bit quieter
than words, unless the fall takes you down
to the floor, keyboard clanging
after you, in which case,
maybe you better shut
the office door

Just a joke, boss!

Here are 55 words for Friday’s Flash 55.  I need to wake up and tell it to the G-Man!  Rest up and have a great weekend.

Some Insist on Living By the Sea – Others Not So Much

March 30, 2012

Lorenzo Ghiberti (1430-1508), "Christ in the Storm" (Bronze Relief, The Florence Baptistry)

Some Insist On Living By The Sea

Some insist on living by the sea,
waves, even without the wade of Jesus, soothing
the storm in their souls.  Some sleep
to the shush of a stream; some to the silence
of deep pine.  A few–hardy
types, who harken to the habitual–find reassurance
in the clickety rhythmics of nearby rails.
But I wake today in the sure understanding
that my residential pre-requisite
is a dumpster, or
two, whose persistent groans, extended yaws,
hyena bursts of hydraulics, are scheduled (always)
just a bit too early for my alarm.

I should, perhaps,
feel gratitude–they have followed me so
loyally, these dumpsters (trailed by trucks
and cartage contracts)–from apartment to
apartment, neighborhood to neighborhood,
like a stray (huge) cat that I must feed
(unwittingly) in some forgotten but
recurring dream, where we meet on a midnight
curb–me, with my bags
of recyclables, it
with its deep green mountainsides.
And I do–as my back leans against the wall, as the dove softness
of the hour slips to
sheet level, as everything above
tilts, sprawls, clumps,
like so much wadded detritus–feel thankful, yes,
that, in this particular bedroom, I can’t quite smell
the exhaust.

I’m posting this for dVerse Poets Pub’s “Meeting the Bar” challenge to be in the moment; this prompt hosted by Victoria C. Slotto.

Obstacles to Enjoyment of Spring in the City (Oops! With Dog and iPhone)

March 29, 2012


I pause this morning in the middle of walking Pearl to take a photo of what seem to me to be the first roses of spring.   This being New York City, they are behind iron bars.

I then step back right onto a fresh turd, deposited, it seems, by my very own Pearl (who at 16 and a half tends to straggle behind.)

This, again New York City, I am allowed to curse, but must also properly dispose of the squashed remains of said turd.  Fine, I have shreds of the Times handy and do my best.

But what about my shoe?

Because, again, this is NYC (which has experienced a series of dry windy days), the only available moisture appears also to be canine-generated.

I rub my sole against the pavement, along the edges of cobbles, in piles of those prickly round balls, around the squares of dirt that are NOT moist.

And there, voila! behind an opening in the iron bars, I see a park person.  Turning on a hose!

Please, I ask.  But she is impervious.  I am not even allowed through the opening in the fence!  Much less a shoe spritz!  (What’s worse is that she’s not a REAL park person, subject perhaps to discipline for rule infraction–she’s wearing the shirt of a volunteer!)

I scrape the foot home, picking up Pearl.  She’s had enough of this walk.

Loss of Two Cultural Icons (And More)–Thanks to/for Them

March 28, 2012


Two cultural icons die over the last two days.

Of course, they were more than “cultural icons.”  (The term ‘cultural icon’ could probably be applied to the star of a reality show.)

Two great American artists die over the last two days:  Adrienne Rich, great and groundbreaking American poet, 1929-2012, dying yesterday; Earl Scruggs, great bluegrass banjo player, 1924-2012, dying today.

I’m not in any way comparing Rich and Scruggs, their impact, lasting value, merits, reach. They were both inspirational practictioners of their arts, each happening to die in late March 2012, each incredibly devoted to what they did and wonderful at it.  I personally really liked them both.

I am sure they had somewhat different visions of the world and country. but what’s strikes me at this moment is my personal great good fortune to live in a world and country that has accommodated both of their voices.

I’m sending out thanks for their wonderful gifts, and the very different inspiration, and invitations to joy, compassion, understanding, and protest that they offered their audiences.

There are wonderful links to Rich’s poetry, and a short bio, at the Poetry Foundation. For Scruggs, well, check out youtube.


“Cooling Off (In a March Cornfield)”

March 27, 2012

Cooling Off (In a March Cornfield)

The stalks bent down in broken-spined decay
around a squelching way to what she hoped
was fresher mind–clear of the stuffy day
where, shut indoors, resolve itself had moped.
In movement now, and mud, and steel-cold air,
she sought to shed the skin of that day’s self–
she’d bitched at him;  she knew she wasn’t fair–
but his acceptance of what, upon life’s shelf,
seemed crumbs (to her), turned lips to lion’s jaws
that tore at sense and spattered rage.  She walked
on hard; regrets to come should give her pause,
but patience (his) made self-possession balk.
So, laboring through a frozen field of corn,
she waited for redemption to be borne.

This sonnet (newly-revised) seemed to fit today’s abrupt drop in temperature.  It’s my offering for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.   (An earlier  version can be found in my book of poems, Going on Somewhere. )
Also, a question for any interested poets:  at the last minute in my re-write, I considering changing verb in final couplet from labor to “wade,” but decided against it, basically because I voted for combination of labor/borne (born) over sound effects, but am curious about other’s views.  Any thoughts:

“So, wading through a frozen field of corn,
she waited for redemption to be borne.”

Thanks much, as always.  K.

Cacaphony of Birds/Wobbly Boots/No leaves yet

March 26, 2012

The above is a video posted for audio purposes only. The visuals are fairly static except where my iPhone wobbles. In my defense, I was wearing extremely unstable boots (MBTs), which make it virtually impossible to stand with completely stillness. (This is one more reason, aside from their comical appearance, why I may not buy such boots again, even on sale.)

But putting aside the wobbly boots and screen–well, listen!

Birds!  There are not yet leaves on the trees and yet–


Tons of them. Not exactly singing, still–


Below are the wobbly boots.  They make big feet look huge, and skinny legs look–well, look!


“Mirror Mirror” (A Lot Shorter Than The Movie)

March 25, 2012


Here’s a bit of a throwaway  (I shouldn’t call it that–how about a bit of “fluff”) for Tess Kincaid’s Mag 101.  Tess posts a great photo each week as a writing prompt.  The above is my drawn version of the photo and my poem. (The original photo was by Duane Michals.)

Mirror Mirror

Mirror, mirror, in my arms,
multiply my many charms.
Cast them here and throw them there.
round the arch, above the fair.
Loop them over that which glisters–
‘till me and my refracted sisters,
with iron will and eye for gold,
prove ourselves both brave and bold.
Oh glass, let face reflected twice,
out-spark glare’s fire, freeze shoulder’s ice,
as we set out to make our own
Who’s Who flesh and blue blood’s bone. 
Up up we’ll climb, we won’t look down,
dear mirror, till we toast the town.
and then together, all us three,
will, finally, be simply–me.  

(I am also linking this poem to Poetry Picnic’s prompt about favorite things, as I think the mirror may qualify for this poetic character.

Have a lovely Sunday, and if you’ve got a moment, check out my books!  Very fun novel, NOSE DIVE,  book of poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, or children’s counting book 1 MISSISSIPPI. )

Her Own Private Not-Idaho – “Seeing Blue”

March 24, 2012

Photo by James Rainsford.

dVerse Poets Pub has a poetics challenge today hosted by Victoria C. Slotto and James Rainsford, using lovely photographs by James Rainsford.  Here’s mine (based on photo above):

Seeing Blue 

So, the sea is blue and Caesar conquered.
(That’s all they talk of in this wonk herd.)
We’ve trooped up every single stone-walled fort
and every stack of bricks of that same sort.
(My mom thinks we should learn when on vacation–
it’s like she’s never heard of recreation.) 
Our tour guide has a lisp–I mustn’t laugh,
not even when he shooth uth from the grath.
Okay, he’s nice, and those mosaics were cool,
but all my friends are hanging at the pool.
At least, I’ve got a tan, my hair’s gone blonder,
but absence from my pack won’t make them fonder,
and Jake who always sat right next to me–
it seems like he’s not even texting me–
His eyes are just as blue as this bright sea,
but, now, we may be ancient history.
So, hurry trip, get done and get me home,
so I can take back my own private Rome. 

Have a great Saturday.  And, if you are in the mood for a fun escape that’s a whole lot cheaper than a trip to the deep blue sea, check out my books!  My  comic novel, NOSE DIVE,  book of poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, or children’s counting book 1 MISSISSIPPI. )

Getting Away for the weekend in 55 words

March 23, 2012

Three words form the main thought in my head right now: “made the train.”

These are followed by a pause: “ah.”

Then comes a two-word thought: “it’s Friday.”

Followed by deeper pause: “aaahh.”

Then I think of you coming to meet me, waiting at the end of the line. There are no words for that.

(I’m off! And blogging from iPhone! On a train! Who knows what will show up but whatever does, tell it to the G-man.