Archive for August 2012

Dogged – Friday Flash 55 – Pearl! -17

August 31, 2012


My dog turned 17 yesterday.
by frolicking
down the hall until
she ran into a wall.
(She and I are much alike in that.)

Then, re-gathering paws, balance
dignity, and slightly, but
definitely, altering course,
she frolicked (more gently) on.

(Something, I say, rubbing
my own head’s
old sore spot,
I could learn from.)


Pearl says that she didn’t really run into that wall–that she was just investigating it with her forehead.  (She’s quite blind now unfortunately, but amazingly, though usually carefully, intrepid.)  This is an older video of her, at about 15.   17 is older.

The above post is (believe it or not) 55 words!  So go tell it to the G-Man

Have a great weekend !

Ground Zero Sight (In new “Freedom Tower”) – Tritina

August 30, 2012


Ground Zero Sight (In new “Freedom Tower”)

I walked where gaps in late rush hour led,
threading my way through shoulders crowding,
till random retinal rod looked up, saw

moon–not in sky, but in new tower’s glass–saw-
ing from rectangle to round as crowding
panels re-cut and perspective, led

by my tilt of head and careful crowding
steps, re-shaped; and, for once, the site did not saw
my chest in two– hewn norm since that morning of lead —

but led to wonder, crowding out (for moonrise moment) what–I saw.
Agh!  the last line was originally intended to run over into the next – but the runover would not be indented so settled for dash.  Also, original version of this post used “that” instead of “what” which I think was a bit more confusing than the “what.” 

The above is a “tritina”, a form of mini-sestina, that repeats in intersecting order the last words of the line. I am posting it for the dVerse Poets Pub “Form For All” challenge hosted today by the wonderful craftsman Samuel Peralta (a/k/a Semaphore).

The photo taken last night on my iPhone shows the new Freedom Tower being built at Ground Zero to replace the old World Trade Center. I was startled to see the reflection of the moon in the lower left hand corner – it’s that small round speck there. It shifted, of course, as I moved, especially given the right-angled glass panels.

The photo below is the view from the other side.

Check out dVerse, Sam’s article on Tritinas and my books! Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 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. Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

“Place of Peace That Passed Understanding” in 25 words!

August 29, 2012


Place of Peace That Passed Understanding

The portion of mother’s lap
corresponding to that stretch
upon the Buddha (then
unknown to me) where he rests
his open hand, her
cool fingers.


I am posting the above for a Real Toads poetic “Words Matter” challenge by the  wonderful Mama Zen to write about an image that recurs in my work in 25 words or less. I may have cheated a bit with the long title.   The images I started out with: Buddha hands and the idea of a child resting her head on her mother’s lap, images that both are in a few of my poems.  Here’s one specifically about Buddha Hands.   

“Poet’s Room” (Of One’s Own)

August 27, 2012


Poet’s Room

There’s a certain slant of light
in the room where the women
come and go
talking of Michelangelo.

The walls, I’m pretty sure,
are of clay and wattles made
(though the wattles
don’t show much from this angle), and

in the icebox,
there are plums
(which you are probably saving
for breakfast.)

It houses such stuff
as dreams are made of (along with the plums), and
about as much reality
as humankind can bear.

it is somewhere
i have never traveled, despite
repeated tries, but i make myself believe,
as I walk out one evening,
I will find it==

perhaps not until the dews
grow quivering
and chill–
perhaps not until winter itself
is icumen’ in–I don’t care–
as long as there’s still
a certain slant of light,
to write by.


The above is my “found” homage of sorts to Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Shakespeare,  more Eliot, e.e. cummings, W.H. Auden, more Dickinson, and Ezra Pound.  In other words, I’ve stolen a bunch of really terrific lines from all these great poets!  (In exchange for my everlasting love.)

The poem responds to  the pictorial prompt posted by Tess Kincaid of  Magpie Tales, the Andrew Wyeth painting, slightly modified above, “Big Room.”  (I’m not sure the room in my mind actually looks too much like this one.)

I am also linking the poem to dVerse Poets Pub’s Open Link Night. 

Check out Magpie Tales and dVerse for wonderful poetry and while you are at it, check out my books!   Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 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.  Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!

“Did I Mention The Olives?” (Bougain-veal-ia) – Shadorma

August 27, 2012

“Bougainvillean Dreams” by Jaime Clark

Did I Mention The Olives?

He ordered,
beneath pink courtyard
vines, the Mounds
of Venus
two scoops mozzarelle on veal–
cheeks deep pink then too.


The above is a very silly version of Shadorma – a six line form with a set syllabic pattern – written for Kerry O’Connor’s With Real Toads challenge involving the use of Shadormas and wonderful “macro” photographs by Jaime Clark.   Check out Kerry’s article for info on Shadormas, and more beautiful pics!             .

PS – as a longterm vegetarian, hate to make a joke involving veal- in other words – maybe stick to the olives and mozzarelle! And Pasta and Fagioli!  


“Playing it Again, Sam, Playing it One More Time”

August 26, 2012

Modified, but from “Casablanca” with the incomparable Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman

Playing it Again, Sam, Playing it One More Time

Yes, we’ll always have Paris–
the mattress that,
with corners tucked up walls, just
fit the room;
the warped door that we could
only open lying down–perfect, in
other words, but where

not-love was in the air, and I wished
each morning, after we wedged in
the croissants, that I had ordered
cafe au lait, trying
to come up with
something, anything, to change, to
focus in on

other than the actual worm in our
rosebud: that frankly,
my dear, you didn’t
give a damn, while
I loved you, you were my only reason
to stay alive, if that’s what I was.

Yes, the silhouette of
your profile,
noble as Brad’s (pitted against the window-
framed gargoyles) would bend towards
mine occasionally
to kiss me, kiss me
as if it were the last time (which
you were already sure it was).

I guess you figured that, while teaching me
to quit you, what I needed
was kissing badly–French tea
never terribly good–though a little less
looking at you, kid–you not
at me–might also
have helped–



I am posting the above (belatedly) for the writing blog With Real Toads, for Fireblossom Friday’s prompt to write a love poem worthy of a romantic movie (“Lights, Camera, Love”).  I didn’t quite have it in me to come up with that kind of love poem this weekend, but I could think of lots of bits of romantic movies I love (sprinkled above.)  

“Night Storm Bath- Florida Coast” (Also Borg de Nobel)

August 25, 2012

“Two Parts of the Road as a Whole” by Borg de Nobel

Night Storm Bath – Florida Coast

Thunder so low (rumble)
overhead and again
that I begin to seriously question
a stress-outing bath,
here at my mother’s,
where we didn’t fight all day
at the last good night
murmured words, including ‘ruined’
and ‘life,’ mis-erupting (rumble)
and mis-(rumble) interpreted, and not
resolved (ever),
but done for this night

Only now my brain quirks picturing
predator lightning finding
this tub;
bathwater conducting
a yellow zig-zag around my form astride
limp shower curtain.

The sensible part of me thinks
about the Atlantic Ocean,
two blocks away, a watery elephant
to the flea
of this small tub;
the sensible part of me
understanding Copernicus, i.e. that the earth itself
is not a center
of all that much.

Only the flea,
in this case, is also
me (sort of), so that even
as I turn on the faucet determinedly,
leaves the plug ajar
till the hot is nearly gone, and
all that lingers
is a tepid inch that barely accommodates
a moment’s irritated scoop.

shivering, I
towel safe
dry, wishing terribly now
for either excitement
or redemption,
though I do not expect,
at this point in my life, anything
totally welcome (rumble)
to come in a flash.


The above draft poem–I call almost anything fresh off the press a draft until I feel really certain of it – was written for a dVerse Poets Pub Poetics Prompt hosted by Claudia Schoenfeld that features the wonderful Dutch painter Borg de Nobel.  Many of Borg’s lovely paintings may be found at her website   I don’t think the above poem does much justice to Borg’s painting (and especially not to the great elephant) but inspiration works in odd ways; i.e. you write what you write!  

I am also linking this poem to the Open Link Day of the wonderful poetry blog, With Real Toads

So check out dVerse, Borg, and if you have time left over (!) my books:  Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 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.  Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents!  (Come on!)