Archive for May 2012

“Cautionary Tale” (Free or Trapped Villanelle?)

May 31, 2012

Cautionary Tale

“It’s hurting me,” she said in half belief
as her hair caught in his passing shirt cuff’s play.
He offered nothing else for her relief
except untangling fingers, smooth smile’s teeth
(his eyes flecked with intelligence and grey).

“It’s hurting me,” she said in half belief
about a life that had grown spare, deplete,
(and cast him as the knight to save the day.)
He offered nothing else if not relief–
opened doors ahead, used credit like a thief.

As he refused her pretended tries to pay,
“it’s hurting me,”  she said in half belief,
(but smiled inside at all that seemed in reach;)
her greater youth would certainly hold sway;
she offered nothing else for his relief.

Game over when he pinned her underneath.
His weight, his age, his wealth, would have their way.
“It’s hurting me,” she said in half belief.
(He offered nothing else for her relief.)


The above is posted for dVerse Poets’ Pub’s “form for all” challenge from Samuel Peralta (a/k/a Semaphore) to write a “free verse poem” in a formal verse form.  Yes, yes, it’s a villanelle.  Yes, mainly what I’ve done is mix up the spacing a bit.  But maybe, perhaps, because it’s a bit of a morality tale, it’s just possible that the repeated lines read a bit more freely and ironically than in a standard villanelle?  Or, are they too caught/entrapped?


Dog, Turtle, Elephant (In Dry Scape) Kind of Day

May 30, 2012


“Short” Villanelle

May 29, 2012



I’m told that feelings hold a set place in the brain
like a house upon a lot, a grave a plot,
but mine short like broken circuits caught in rain,

guttering flashes pulling to the sane,
but not quite magnetized to well-formed thought.
I’m told that feelings hold a set space in the brain,

a location to be mapped just like a vein,
demarked as ‘happy,’ ‘fearful,’ ‘sad’—x marks the spot,
but mine short like broken circuits caught in rain,

misplacing light and darkness, wax and wane,
mistaking good for ill, full well for naught.
I’m told that feelings hold a set space in the brain,

then mine must be a jumbled tangled mane
where what should beam straight cross cramps into knot
and shorts like broken circuits caught in rain,

splintering all that’s whole, all would-be gain,
forcing what surely is into what is not;
I’m told that feelings hold a set space in the brain
but mine short like broken circuits caught in rain.


Sorry – a very stressful time of late, combining with a day of storms, which brings me to post the above slightly depressed villanelle for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, hosted by the extremely generous poet, Claudia Schoenfeld.  I urge you to check out the site.


Liquified Whitman – First Weekend of Summer and More

May 28, 2012

On Memorial Day Weekend

First outdoor pee of the season, infused
with Vitamin B (to ward off
bugs), blends with blades of deep yellow-green
liquefied Whitman,  the
world lush at my feet as I feel, excitedly, that I just
can’t wait.

Later, I think
of the date–of those not far
away who bunch cut flowers in
cut glass to place in other fields of
soft, much-better-tended grass–and my forehead bristles with
thanks, insufficiency, those fields
of soft green grass.
I’m so sorry,
I want to tell them–all who carefully
position those
bouquets, and those who
lay beneath them, and all those too
who have no bouquets.  I’m so sorry
for all that you’ve missed–the glistening,
urgent, buzz of being, this summer, this
bright day. 


Here is an old poem, much re-written and re-posted  for Memorial Day weekend, and especially for the dVerse Poetry prompt hosted by Victoria C. Slotto.  I hope it’s not too weird or disrespectful feeling.  Veterans, and the lost, have  a great place in my emotional landscape, but Memorial Day weekend also always meant for me the glorious beginning of summer and the freedom it brings (if you have private places to be outside.)   An odd mix.

Spotted Wondrous

May 27, 2012


Some times the wondrous is spotted,
rather than spotted.
Take care to stumble ONTO it,
rather than ON TOP of it, for the wondrous
is fragile, and also, sometimes,
half asleep.


May 26, 2012



The victim of a freak
accident there, I don’t much care
for a fun fair, carnival–anywhere
with a ride that whirls and rockets
astride grease-black blur-blink sockets.  Things–
meaning me (parts of)–get caught in such
pockets, which do not
stay shut, and
in the midst of their whipped
whizz, the divide
between the wall-eyed
guy who, biceps slack-smudged, leans
against the gears
and the person who trusts that their
particular life will be all-good, all-safe, all-
rips away, victim
of a freak accident,
and I am morphed from sleek-
luck kid to human marked by strange
tight-ropey wounds that may be covered
by a wrap-around of hair or sleeve,
make-up or tattoo, but still,
it’s now just me and you, babe,
me and you.


The above is my offering for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics prompt hosted by the wonderful Claudia Schoenfeld about fun fairs.   A strange poem, I know. I was, in fact, injured at such a place many years ago, so it’s a bit hard for me to look at them with a open mind!  But for all kinds of poems prompted by the subject, check out dVerse. 

And have a wonderful weekend. 

“On Closure When Children Have Been Lost” (Can’t get them out of my mind)

May 25, 2012

On Closure When Children Have Been Lost

It’s only when I see the block letters bruising
the front page: “Etan:
Choked, Bagged, Dumped” that I
realize how I’ve imagined Gestapo
cuddling their dogs; Hitler
as a vegetarian; those barren Argentine
generals who seemingly loved the
children whose actual parents they
disappeared–how my mind has tried, in
secret even from itself,
to imagine a person deranged, evil,
but somehow kindly to kids, stealing Etan and all those other
missing children,
and keeping them
brainwashed perhaps and eating
pasty foods by the crate – there’s such
a crowd–but

Even as another part of my brain
knows it doesn’t work like that (Elizabeth
), still it strives (those unkindly grey cellar years)
for a saving grace, silver
lining, guardian angel (but at least she’s still
God; to find,
like Abraham, that suffering is but
a test in which a
passing grade is possible, complete with gold
stars and one’s child

Not random pain, not unredeemed
Not pain compounded by the guilt and fear that it
was not me
this time, not
mine, oh please,
not ever.

Please —
For even as guardian angel
turns gargoyle stone, the brain, roiling, holds
to what it can, prays
on–now that the boy is okay wherever he is,
in whatever realm, form, or formlessness.


Sorry to followers of this blog, to be so grim.  It is hard here in New York (especially if, like me, you have lived downtown for many years) to not be thinking of the recent developments in the Etan Patz case, sending prayers to Etan’s parents.