Archive for September 2012

Fear and Loathing on the Number 4

September 30, 2012

Boy on Number 4 Train

“The people here
are f—ing animals,” says hard-
creased mom to youngish son
as they slip between
double rubber, closing doors.

The boy, buzz-cut (mom holding Yankees cap), edges
uneasily through the crush
towards center pole–

Mom hooks him
before he can latch on–“These people push you,”
she snarls,
“I’ll push ‘em back.”

I try to angle smile that only boy
will see (so that the mom
won’t slug me), but boy
turns face to door where, nothing
to hold, he lists with the tight
till mom’s boa arm heavily

Then, even as train
smooths, even as she
releases, he bangs
his head against the dark glass—-

The bangs are soft below the train’s
now again–but
again–eyes lowered–

Mom’s harsh lines
limp; she spans one hand
to his forehead as if
to take the hits herself–
now again–

In the jumble of next,
seat empties – I point it out–
boy sits; she smiles at me,
sort of.

Then each of us consciously
looks neither at the other or
the boy,
peering instead
through the translucence of
train fug–the rumple of so many–


I am posting the above – a re-write- very belatedly for dVerse Poets Pub’s Poetics prompt about people watching hosted by the very good people-watcher Brian Miller.  

Duck (And Cover) Friday Flash 55

September 28, 2012




Worry, jogging, what to do–ducks ahead, my memory jogged to daughter in ER (years ago) with duck-bitten thumb–those bills tough on cracker=holding digits–till digital-fixation overcomes hesitation; I dumbly pull out smartphone like a shield.

Click-click. Ducks, luckily camera-shy, fly.  Good thing they are not paparazzi-loving bears.


Here’s some 55 tufts of Friday fluff (belated) for my friend the G-Man, Mr. Know-it-all.  Enjoy the weekend.  Don’t get any duck bites!!!!!

And if you’ve got a mo, 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!

Same Old/Same Old/Slightly Shaken (Cento to Tempus Fugit)

September 27, 2012


Same Old/Same Old/Slightly Shaken
(Cento to Tempus Fugit)

Had we but world enough and time,
I would compare thee to a summer’s day.
But Time’s winged chariot hurrying near–
Pray, help me undo this button.

Plunge your hands in the
wherefore base–
the flag of my disposition of hopeful
clay and wattles made.

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead
and time yet for a hundred indecisions,
arms could lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
But rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
and never, never, never, never, never
is icumen’ in,
So come live with me and be my love.
Ripeness is all. And now.

The above is posted from my iPhone for the dverse poets pub – — prompt by Samuel Peralta to write a cento, which is a collage of lines from other poets. Mine is an amalgam from Shakespeare– King Lear and summer’s day sonnet– and Andrew Marvell, W.H. Auden, Walt Whitman, W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Christopher Marlowe.

The photo has a lurking bit of the living in the midst of all those dried beautiful folios (leaves) and happened to be on my phone.

“I grow old… I grow old…/I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.”

September 26, 2012


Happy Birthday T.S. Eliot! Who dared to eat a peach. (Born September 26, 1888- Died January 4, 1965.)

P.S. Eliot! Sorry that the elephant got so goofy!

P.P.S. After posting last night, the thought occurred that I should add glasses, though I really hadn’t intended the elephant to be good old Tom. But still, well, glasses on an elephant are hard to resist, so here they are. Then, at suggestion of other commenter, I added something else.



“Resentment – the Terrible Spites”

September 25, 2012

Resentment  – The Terrible Spites

You can die by inches
as well as
feet. You can die even
by centimeters.
When you swallow
a sword, the trim blade’s
width can slice ribbed
gullet, currette deep
gorge, and spike all that climbs up
from that crooked choke
with bile.  Take care, take
care; if you would not fall/
gall/gash yourself again, you must learn
to digest cold steel.


Here’s a draft poem which is my very late (and rather grim) offering for dVerse Poets Pub’s Open Link Night, hosted by the wonderful Natasha Head.  I am also linking to Imperfect Prose (though it’s not prose) hosted by Emily Wierenga.  

Check out dVerse for great online poetry, and 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!

Monday Morning – Site of Sore “Eyes?”

September 24, 2012


Good taste forbids me to title this post “Booby-trapped” or any variation thereof.

(Photo is of Louise Bourgeois’ “Eyes” sculpture in Wagner Park, NYC, for some reason cordoned off today. A long weekend perhaps, and a lot of damp below.)

Sevenling – If Eve Had Been Offered a Pear

September 23, 2012

copyright Ellen Wilson

Sevenling- If Eve Had Been Offered a Pear

If Eve had been offered a pear
in his world view, there’d be no sin,
death, knowledge of good and evil;

only the press for ripeness, which would have called her
to wait long re-decisionist days for
the fruit to soften, moisten, slither between her lips–

As for me, a woman (and archetypal enough), I like crunch.


The above is a “sevenling” posted for a form and picture prompt by Kerry O’Connor of With Real Toads. Read Kerry’s article for more information about the form which was inspired by Anna Ahkmotova, developed by Roddy Lumsdon. Mine is a rather silly example, but check out Real Toads for some lovely (and more serious) ones.

And if you have even more time, 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!


“The Unexpected” (Nureyev, Mother Teresa, the Earth’s Core)

September 22, 2012


The Unexpected

I aways told myself that I’d only felt it twice – a certain
stardom that makes one stare – not
because the famous face looks as expected – though
it does – but because
of an odd animal magnetism, a charisma that
forestalls the blink away–

on a betel-stained stair in the blare
of Calcutta, glazed by yellowed haze
and rickshaw putter, when
I caught a crinkled glimpse – her face
so deeply wrinkled beneath the
Teresa in the dim chink of open door.

The other – and they conflate – floating
above cream-tight thighs–
panther dancer, Rudolf Nureyev, his shadowed
cheeks hallowing the leap and carry of Romeo
or some Prince.

I stared from the blistered doorstep, the
velvet ledge, of the standing-room only.

On closer view, and even
as Mother Teresa spoke of  the pain of
the unwanted, her lined eyes dark magnets – Nureyev,
his dark eyes lined magnets, pranced
beside her.

How strange the brain–
with its dance of thought and
nature, conditioning
and chemical, ego and
selflessness.   Later, rushing through me
more strongly than the urge to push, came
my personal icons,
outburst stars, babes, whom I watched, even sleeping, hooked
by a magnetism beyond Earth’s core; each moment
an unanticipated leap
of previously unguessed faith.


Yes, it’s a super odd poem.  But, I bet you weren’t expecting it.  I’ve been thinking about Mother Teresa since a poem I wrote last week about very very briefly working at her home for the dying in Calcutta (now Kolkata).  Here’s a very different view, posted for the dVerse Poets Pub, Poetics prompt, on the “Unexpected,” which I am also hosting today. 

Rudolf Nureyev was an incredibly great Russian ballet dancer, from the time of the former Soviet Union.  He was performing in Paris, and escaped the Soviet guards,  becoming a refugee to the West.  He danced for years with the Royal Ballet, as the preferred partner of Margot Fonteyn.  He was such an incredibly charismatic dancer that one (and not just me) really could not look at him when he was on stage.  He was also technically very skilled.  I was lucky to see him perform several times and a couple of times waited backstage and got his autograph!  He died in 1993.  Although the reason for death was not specified at the time of death, his doctor later confirmed that he had had AIDS.  

Check out the wonderful poets at dVerse and, if you have a chance, 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!

“Citzens-U Ditty” – Oligarchy/Dollargarchy/Mon(ey)archy Moe – Flash 55

September 21, 2012

Election Coverage Watcher In Some Dismay

Citizens-U Ditty


Don’t-see PACS
collect big dough.


Huge donations
don’t come free.


Amateur Cameras
drop the jaw.


When will Congress
finally do!?

Moating voting?
Nah!  Get your card!
But not till
registration’s barred!

(Oh dear.)


Rock the vote, don’t block the vote!  Or let it be blocked.  This is what most worries me about 2012–it’s one thing if candidates win on their idea; another if they win by blocking votes.   My 55 for the rocking G-Man.    (Citizens-U a reference to the Citizens United case allowing certain types of unlimited campaign donations.) 

PS – Completely disheartened that the Senate GOP has blocked the Veterans’ Jobs Bill, that would have supported efforts to hire veterans as policemen, fire fighters, and in federal parks.  The bill would have increased hiring opportunities for vets, and also increased protection for federal parks and included provisions for its payment.  It was supported by both the American Legion and the Sierra Club.  The  ostensible reason – that GOP Senators did not like the bill’s funding plan which related to collection of  back taxes owed from certain healthcare providers.    (We are talking about taxes already owed, not new taxes.) 

Far From The Madding… A New Yorker Looks For Peace

September 20, 2012


A New Yorker Looks For Peace

Far from the madding crowd,
far from the gladding crowd,
even far from
the perpetually plaiding crowd–
(you know the ones–the kilt
and golf-tatting crowd–)
Far from the gadding crowd,
I longed to be.

And yet when I left
the thronged street and museum,
what did I find
in that hush mausoleum?

My brain’s plaintive queries, its
worries uncowed–
My soul’s jigs and jags, its
plinked rags bow-wowed–

Better to live as a
subway sardine
where all I need fear is
a tightly-groped spleen–
So much better by far
to squeeze into a cram
of something besides my
I-think and I-am.

So let me retrieve please
my space in the crowd,
where I can live free,
no matter thoughts loud.


A very very tired Manicddaily is posting the above ditty for dVerse Poets Pub’s Meeting The Bar challenge to write about a moment of solitude. I’m not sure if “golf-tatting” is a word, but I do know that anyone golf-tatting is bound to be wearing plaid pants.