Archive for July 2012

“In the Soup” (An Excerpt From Possible Story About Pineapple)

July 31, 2012


In the Soup (an excerpt from a possible story about pineapple)

She wanted to be Garboesque, but with hair that stuck up at odd angles and a slightly trapezoidal upper lip (not an elegant roof for either cigarettes or demitassed coffee), she knew that cute sad clown was the closest she’d ever come.  She bought yellow rain boots as a result, a raincoat with frog’s eyes for epaulettes, and ended up in children’s books.

She would have liked, she often thought, to curate great art; to analyze conceptual pieces where people buried steel rods and talked about the American way of death, but wrote, instead, of a bunny who ate carrot soup.

She would have liked, she occasionally thought, to eat steak and pour Merlot down her bra. But she had a rather flat chest, which, she was sure, would have made the Merlot look like a stain of spilled Welch’s.

Also to go to Kiev, Prague, better yet, Casablanca where she would bemoan the Casbah, smoking filterless cigarettes over languid coffee, Merlot, maybe even, a Scotch.

But, as the carrot soup book was selling well, she went to the Galapagos, which were in fact quite beautiful. She came out afterwards with a book about an aging tortoise.  He ate grass soup; make that, watercress.

She would have liked to lie down in watercress, even just wet grass, to become a sylph, a silkie, swimming nude among its soft blades, a sharp metal one strapped to her back.

She wrote instead a book about an eagle who ate mouse soup. This one did not do so well, but, since she was now a somewhat successful children’s book writer (what with the carrots and watercress), one mouse soup was allowed.

In Paris, she thought to go to boites, but spent time instead in the Musee de Cluny where the corners of the tapestries held amazing pineapples.  In the cafes nearby, she ate many kinds of soup, thankful that she did not smoke, even inelegantly. At night, however, she increasingly poured Merlot down her bras, but only ones that were already a deep dark red.


I am posting the above draft I-don’t-know-what for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, hosted by the wonderful Hedgewitch, Joy Ann Jones. (Verse Escape). To those who are reading a lot and are put off by the sight of lots of words, I’m so sorry it’s not a short poem!

Check out dVerse for great online poetry. AND, if you get a chance, check out my books! Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms. Or, if you in the mood for something older, check out Going on Somewhere, poetry, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel for those who are somewhat discontent with their appearance but love musicals, cheese and downtown NYC.

I’m only looking at clouds from one side now

July 30, 2012


“Here, Body” (Your Body Is Not Even Your Good Lab)

July 29, 2012


Here, Body

The body is not your good dog.
It may sit, lie down, roll over,
but there’s a limit to its Rover
aspect. No spank
will keep it from
accident; no leash
train it to the right; no yank
make it heel

You tell it what to want, but
it will vaunt
its fleshly, furry ways,
sneaking food when already fed;
taking up all the room on the bed;
whiffing what should not be sniffed;
its passion aimed at but a toy–
here, girl; here, boy–
that can never love it back.

It will decay
though you say stay. Still,
you will love it,
this not-good dog;
for even as you scold and cajole,
and despair
of calling,
you will find yourself
cradling it;
you will find yourself
in its arms.

This is an older poem I am reposting for MagPie Tales, a writing blog hosted by Tess Kincaid. Tess posts a picture prompt each week; Tess’s prompt, an image by Zelko Nedic.  I am also posting for Open Link Night of Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, a great poetry blog.  My rather silly picture, prompted by Leonardo, is above.



If you have time on this rainy Sunday, check out my books. Nose Dive is only 99 cents on Kindle – well, with ten times that much, which is its price in paper!

Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms. Or, if you in the mood for something older, check out Going on Somewhere, poetry, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel for those who are somewhat discontent with their appearance but love musicals, cheese and downtown NYC.

Rainy Day – Leaves/Feuilles/Eyelids

July 28, 2012


Leaves After a Rain

Feuille – leaf,
feel – sheathe;
like my eyelids this damp day,
veined sheets that shield me from passing
leaf drop, till, when a fresh wind
shakes free
the retained downpour, they
twinge, as if a new storm
were starting, something to run
from, impossibly.

But it’s caught rain
only, and my eyes,
after that drumming softens,
go back to holding
their own capture, an old pain
behind the face
that rails against the implacable quickness
of all this (life),
rather than sticking out its tongue,
and gawking, wide-eyed, up
into the silver.


The above is a draft poem posted for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics Prompt, hosted today by the logophile Anna Montgomery.  The challenge is to use interesting words (perhaps from foreign tongues.)  Using interesting language is something writers should, of course, always strive to do, and yet I for one, can use Anna’s wonderful reminder.

Check out dVerse, and, if you have time on this rainy afternoon (and I hope it IS rainy if you are anywhere in the States), check out my books! Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms.  Or, if you in the mood for something older, check out Going on Somewhere, poetry, or  Nose Dive, a very fun novel for those who are somewhat discontent with their appearance but love musicals, cheese and downtown NYC.

“This Old Dog” Friday Flash 55

July 27, 2012


This Old Dog

Old dog, blinding,
(nose to ground)
still slowly leads our way.

Forget about new tricks — let us just
keep up our old–speak,
roll over,
(only) play dead, and
always, always,

And when we face some harsher
heel, let us not need
to beg for mercy, but
lie down softly,
good girl, good boy.



It’s Friday – hurrah!  And my dog, Pearl , is 17 going on 18!  (I think – my memory’s not so good these days.)

I post the above 55 word poem for the wonderful indefatigable G-Man.  Go tell him!  (Especially since I’m late!)

“Beneath It All” (Pretended Balance)

July 26, 2012

“Beneath It All”

Beneath it all

Beneath the red over blue sky,
she walks a darkly pitted beam;
immediately below it, gravel.
Still she holds arms out
as if balancing on a high and narrow ledge
in a harsh wind,
pretending.  Pretending too
that she is a little girl; but also
pretending to be older.  Younger
and older both feels cute,
like wearing,with conscious insouciance,
a too-short skirt
over legs that have learned allure.
Sure of the man watching, she
slips, then catches herself,
smiling in mock
relief, the feel of control surging through her
like growth itself.
She has much to learn.


I am posting the above for dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar Challenge hosted by Victoria C. Slotto, for writing with or about balance.  (I think this may have more to do with a pretense of balance.)  

The drawing above is by Diana Barco and is from my book of poems called GOING ON SOMEWHERE,  (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco).  Or if you have time, check out  1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.

Enough Already – “Divided by Too”

July 25, 2012


Divided By Too

If you say it once,
you say it six times, half-
a-dozen, twelve divided
by two, your
words soon bricks in
my wall.  You call it
explaining; I call it


This is posted for “Real Toads“, for a poetry challenge by the wonderful Mama Zen to write something in 35 words or less. Her idea (with which I agree heartily) is that most bloggers go on just too darn long. (I include myself in this indictment;  I should also add that the voice of the “I” in the poem above is probably not mine, as I’m guessing I tend to fall into the wordier category.) Enough said.

“Of the Stash Amassed by James Holmes”

July 24, 2012


Of the Stash Amassed by James Holmes

I’m told
a lot of people
buy bullets in bulk, like
to store them up.

“I call,” said Dudley Brown, executive director
of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners,
“6,000 rounds of ammunition
running low.”

The words trigger
crouching low
(beneath seats),
laying low
(beneath desks),
pushed below
(a protective
other’s suddenly
dead weight).

The bulks
of torsos sag
rushed out, people not meant
to store bullets.
Heads bowed, running low, those
trying to save them.


I post the above for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.  Check out dVerse for wonderful poetry.

Sky Frog

July 22, 2012


Unedited, untouched, uncaught.

“Blackberrying” (With Pics)

July 21, 2012



In a daze of phosphorescent moss,
we make our way across rockbed, log and stalk,
to a field that’s sharply girded against loss
where nettle, thorn, and briar edge our walk.
Our eyes bore in on any sign of sheen,
a glisten beneath a leaf, a garnet chain.
They’re hard to see at first, then like a dream
we find them here and there and there again.
First scrapes sting, branches fiercely snag skin
of wrist, arm, shin, dogged to defend their own.
We reach around, above, even step within
thickets transformed to some more personal zone.
Not even tasting now, nor caring for prickers,
we feel ripeness alone, we blackberry pickers.

Here’s a sonnet for dVerse Poetics Pub anniversary poetics challenge, hosted by the wonderful Claudia Schoenfeld, on “process” and also for “With Real Toads.”   Blackberrying is one of my favorite processes on earth.
Have a great weekend. Check out dVerse and, if you have time, my books! They are fun! Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, Going on Somewhere, poetry, or Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.