Archive for July 2012

Hell, “A Different Level” – Thinking of Aurora

July 21, 2012


A different level


Hell is a clock
that cannot be
turned back.


Hell is discovering
that your most special,
dear, one
and only,
can be culled
in an instant,


Hell is not
being able to take
the bullet for them;
hell is having to
swallow the bullet for
after it’s hit.


Hell is knowing
too late
how fast
it all was.


Hell is


Mourning the terrible event in Aurora, Colorado. This led me to the above draft poem, linked to the wonderful poets at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, a discussion of hell. Ridiculous to think of prompts with events like these, but it was somehow a way to write about these awful things. One worries that these things come across as pretentious; I mean to write only with sympathy and sorrow.

I am also linking this to Tess Kincaid’s wonderful Magpie Tales, where she happened to put up a picture prompt of Franz Kline’s Figure 8, which seemed also to fit with this poem.


“Spined” – Flash Fiction 55

July 20, 2012



The sweetest part, he said, jamming the core across her clenched lips/teeth; I’m telling you to try it, and, when she stuck out her tongue, slapped her.

You’re only hurting yourself.

As she tasted sting over blood, even over pineapple, she couldn’t quite believe that, and would not, she swore, even if she could.


Yes, I know this is both a bummer and a bit out of character, and I almost hate to tell it to the G-Man because I like Fridays to be more cheerful, but it is 55 words, and part of a larger story, and well, all I could come up with today.

DO have a nice weekend! (And sorry, and thanks.)

dVerse Poets Pub Anniversary – Best Poem?

July 19, 2012

dVerse Poets Pub is celebrating its first anniversary this week and asks all participating poets (a group which includes lucky me) to link up what they feel was their best poem posted to dVerse over the past year.

Figuring out one’s best poem is always tricky.  I don’t know if this one is “best”, but it is a poem that is close to my heart.  It was written for a very good friend of mine, approximately two years ago, in the couple of weeks before her death from breast cancer.   She had expressed to me her concern for her children, and I wrote the poem based upon her words.

The poem is a pantoum – a form with repeating lines.  And punctuation (sigh) is a fairly important element.  I may not have punctuated right, so I recommend listening to the recording really more than reading.  It is a pretty simple poem to follow.

Thanks so much!  And thanks to dVerse Poets – Brian Miller and Claudia Schoenfeld, especially.


The Last Thing – Mother to Child

The Last Thing –  Mother To Child

For Rhona Saffer
Know, that
when I must go,
I will love you
just the same.

When I must go,
I know it will not feel
just the same.
There will be cool air—

I know it will not feel
like my lips—
but there will be cool air
caressing your face

like my lips,
while your smile only,
caressing your face
(oh reflection of mine),

will be your smile only.
I never wanted to cause you pain,
oh reflection of mine.
That was the last thing

I ever wanted to cause you–pain.
No, I would love you—
that was the last thing.
Just the same,

know, I would love you,
will love you,
just the same.
Know that.



One Tip To/Of Manhattan

July 18, 2012


Ossified (From Below)

July 17, 2012


My feet are long and thin
with bulbous onion growths
beneath the skin. It’s like
you have three ankles
on each foot
, my husband counts,
four if you include the real one.

And why, I wonder, each day
on the train, looking up at the host
of podiatry ads, are “before”
feet always so dirty (as if their owners, guilt-ridden,
stomped a wine made not of grapes
but ash) while the “afters”
have been de-smudged
as well as straightened, the services of
some modern Mary Magdalene
thrown in with the op.

My feet, despite the knobs, have (I flatter myself) a
singular beauty; the tendons cables, the skin
as taut and transparent as the marble veil
on a sculpted face. How I marveled
at those stone veiled heads
as a child visiting
museums, monuments–the way their features glanced
through an opaque gauze, the crease of marble
as transluscent
as tulle. Only my feet, not artifacts
as such, are more like
fleshly raincoats (the flasher inside out) whose ragged hems slowly
fill with quarters, lip balm, and this or that key
I had to replace.

They say old age creeps up on you, my grandmother
used to sigh, looking down at her own legs, like flaking
posts by the side of the bed, as if she could catch the years
in their scaling creep. Ooh, she moaned when my mother
squirted lotions
on their dry stiffness, too cold.


I’m posting the above poem late in the day for dVerse Poets Pub first Open Link Night of their second year of existence. (Happy Birthday dVerse Poets Pub, in other words. May the feet in all your poems stay fresh even as they age!)

Bug Paparazzi Redux

July 16, 2012

The above seems a rather sad montage to me.  It’s interesting that the same photo, flipped, with the butterfly facing upwards seem so much more cheerful, winged versions of the glass half-empty and half-full, I guess.  (Or maybe not!)

Looking For Coco – Channeling Chanel.

July 15, 2012


Looking for Coco

I never could channel my inner Chanel.
I never could actually find
my inner Chanel. But my mother who used to
take me to
department stores each Saturday when
I was little, while she tried on this pale suit and
that dark dress, pivoting before the glass (front
and back) in her best smile, seemed to have a very
clear Coco, so I have to think that if I just look hard enough, starting
at the heels of my orthotic-ed oxfords, through the
ribs of my bunched wool
ankle socks, all the way
to the brush of cowlick at my crown,
taking a brief, but thorough peek,
below the bruised elastic of sports
bra, I would find some deep smidgen of
But, until I do (if ever), I must content myself with
the occasional sniff of those teeny square
bottles, the sampler-sized Number 5s,
my mother saved, tucked
in the side of her jewelry case, their
scent not fading even when
the perfume itself
is long long gone.


I’m posting the above for Tess Kincaid’s Magpie Tales, where Tess posts a photo prompt.  (I’ve done my own version of the photo.)  I am also linking to the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads Open Link NIght.

Hameau Not of the Reine (Petit Trianon)

July 14, 2012

20120714-074730.jpgHameau Not of the Reine (Petit Trianon)

You worry as a single mom about your kids
missing out. Sure, there’s the relative calm, the extra
legroom–when you are the sole monarch
of the home, there’s a whole lot less of that hushed huff-puff,
the mangled tussling hiss that can crowd almost
any sour coupled space–
Okay, so you’re rushed. Things sometimes fall through
unseen cracks. And even that
calm can be worrisome, especially to those
who do not feel very

And what about, you wonder,
that steadying funk of male sock-dom? The sweetness
of shaving cream? The bristled warmth
of a daily dad kiss, the accompanying, just don’t
worry about it–
that somehow don’t sound the same
from single-mothering
mouths, a burdened-female shoulder
not often geared
for Gallic shrugs.

So, in a Cartesian proof that I could too
do it, I took my brood to France, Paris, and
from there, to Versailles – palace of past kings, where
on the way,
I thrilled silently at my map skills, my innate
sense of direction, my confidence even
on the curiously abandoned subterranean platform,
where amid the  scattered
mounds of debris (Municipal strike), my two kids
and I blandly read
the guidebook’s warning about which days the Versailles’
crowds were annoying large, until we arrived at last
at the dark frilled gates–fermé
(on Mondays.)

Well, at least, there weren’t
any crowds.

And the gardens were open — and really were
the best part
– I declared, my fretfulness
in full bloom, and…well,
at least, it won’t be

So, beneath a sky that felt fiercely uncontinental,
we sought out little rounds of shade
around the pom-pommed shrubs, cheeked and fingered wisps of
spray from fish-throated fountains, until I noticed, in
the vast crowdless expanse, a conspicuous absence
of guards, and scrambling
among certain barely-roped graveled paths lifted
each child to a shiny palace window where, if they
scanned way way way to one side, cocking their
heads against reflections, they might just
catch a glimmer of mirror, and my children,
dutiful, kind, and slightly breathless
from the way I squeezed them aloft, said, that
yes, yes, they could see them, and as I set their
feet back on the gravel, that that
was enough to see anyway.

Then my little flock toured the thatched, stone hamlet (open) where
Marie Antoinette had played house, as shepherdess, me congratulating
us on how these picturesque little
outbuildings were far
more interesting than some palace, pointing out that
we might even have missed them had
we come on a day when Versailles was, you know,
crowded, and my children, dutiful, kind, and
aware of my slight breathlessness,
quickly agreed.


The  Hameau de la Reine is the “hamlet of the Queen,” where Marie Antoinette, courtiers, and many many servants, played peasant; it is situated right by the Petit Trianon at Versailles.  The Hall of Mirrors, one of the great attractions of the palace is where all those treaties were signed.  The above is posted for the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub hosted by yours truly to write something with a French Twist, for today Quatorze Juillet. Check out the great poems!

Also, if you have time, check out my books at the sidebar!

Milkweed – Hollow Stalk, Promise (But Great Pic)

July 13, 2012


Hollow Stalk (and Promise) Man

Man, pocketing with others
empty breeze, 1930s,
promised the two kids
ten bucks for a milkweed, root

They dug the whole hot day, splintering, till, going wide, deep,
(unbroken) carried dirt-dripping triumph, delicately.

Alone, balking more
than the damn plant, he ditched them
with only a memory, though that grew
quite dear, over time.


The above is my Flash 55 Fiction for the G-Man, Mr. Know-it-all, who is wonderfully BACK!

My pic is of milkweed which seems quite attractive to butterflies.  It is undoctored – there’s the shadow of a third swallowtail in there–crazy.

“Not P-Rose”

July 12, 2012


Not P-rose

Perhaps a rose by any other name
would smell as sweet, but the unappellated
bud, the un-monickered bloom whose fame
has not been sung (its petals not related
in pinked syllables, scent characterized
by a synesthesia of waltz and skirt,
mud taste of coffee beans and honeyed pies),
that flower–that not-called-rose–will not insert
itself in my memory, which even smells
with words (as much as nose), holding most close
those lines that ring, that linger, echoed bells,
clinging even to harsh jangles more than prose
(some prose).  A rose–let it take new names in turn
but let them, my brain whispers, be names I learn.


The above is a sonnet (of sorts) written for the dVerse Poets Pub “Form For All” challenge, hosted by the extremely thoughtful, generous and lyrical Gay Reiser Cannon, to write a poem on… poetry.   Check out dVerse, which is about to celebrate its first anniversary.

Also if anyone truly has time on their hands, they may enjoy looking at a very early (and quite different) draft of the poem above that I wrote one April, National Poetry Month, a couple of years back, on the 25th day of the month (when I was writing a poem a day).  The precursor really doesn’t work that well, but may be interesting to those intrigued by process.

Finally!  I have a poem featured in a new blog/zine– “Ten of the Best – Short Poetry,” which highlights ten short poems each month.  My poem arose from Brian Miller’s “buttons” prompt  – “Parkinson’s (Father)”.   Thanks  thanks thanks to Kolembo, the editor, and to all of you.