Archive for August 2013

Parsing Translucence

August 31, 2013





Parsing Translucence

She takes care to walk around
The webs that veil
The field, spiders
Posing as the ghosts
Of stone, path
For the unwary.


This is a sort of imagist poem posted for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt in honor of William Carlos Williams on With Real Toads.  I found this one super difficult – this is actually my very first version.  I did a zillion others, but my husband told me this was the best, so back to it.   (I’ve used a title that was a line in one of the other versions, and which he does not think fits.  Too bad!) 

The pictures were all taken the other morning by me on my iPhone.  Quite amazing.  (All rights reserved.) 

Milky Way (Edited Sleep Body)

August 30, 2013


Milky Way

We lie down to nurse.  It’s hard
when you’re too tired, so resistant then
to the approach of the sleep body
with its soft net
and velveteen onesie.

Though you first mine my nipple
like a machine, I soon have to keep your head towards me
as you try to turn and look, turn and look, determined
to sight the creep of that interloper (sleep),
while I, in turn, try to serve
as your true North,
the pole that is rotated around, that hardly itself

Then, of a sudden, the tussle changes, and legs kicking
a slow dangle, you seem to push
against your own skin–as you once did mine–
as if the sleep body were simply too tight, as if
it belonged to some smaller baby, yesterday’s child,
until, at last, fingers float,
fallen petals, and, with the resolution
of a rosebud, your lips
let go.

You look so complete
unto yourself,
that now I feel the interloper,
and I twist of a sudden
with the question of what
you can know of love,
whether, for you,
it isn’t only an embrace
of our mother bodies and baby bodies,
our nursing bodies and suckling bodies,
and not this individual me, this one and only me,
and not this individual you, this expressly you,
and now it’s me that becomes fretful,
until I turn back to you,
my true North,
and feel love, whether yours or mine, arcing over us
like a galaxy, big enough
for every single body we may become and too for all those stars
that wink at us, rotating
in our wake,
bigger even than that,
as we close and open our eyes,
as we open and close
our eyes.

Here’s a poem I still haven’t gotten right! Editing even after posting!  I am posting it for Victoria Slotto’s Meeting the Bar challenge on dVerse Poets Pub in response to her request to edit something old.  Thank you, Victoria, for the interesting hard exercise. 

This is based upon a  poem which I wrote long ago when nursing one of my daughters.  The old poem was never right either, but I post it below just for purposes of this exercise and for any interested. 

I’ve found this very hard to edit, in part because I know the subject matter makes some uncomfortable, but largely because I ended up having to cut many lines I like and because I could never decide on the real point of the poem.   

So here’s the old old poem.   It’s way too long and not very good –please only read if interested in editing processes.



Escaping the Sleep Body

We lie down to nurse these days
to put you to sleep.
It is hard to get into position.
I sometimes have to pull your legs
as if they were trussed,
pick up your torso too.
Even though you fight
against the arranging, you
latch onto my breast quickly and
pull hard.
When you turn to sucking,
you are a machine.
It is not like gasping for air,
more like drilling for oil, you
mine the nipple with your fingertips.

Then suddenly you pull away,
back and away.
You rub your eyes full-fisted,
your torso twists
as if pulling above the surface of Loch Ness.  You arch
like a Cobra, Bujhangasana.
It is the tussle with your sleep body,
beginning in earnest.

You look around the room,
then back, then
into the room again (just in case),
then back.  You suck
at my breast as if
something were stuck there, cannot come out.
But is it really what you want?
You also feel the approach of the sleep body,
with its net, and its small warm place,
You try to hide from it,
to resist, but
I keep your head towards me, serving as your North,
the unchanging pole.

Soon (like the development of
coordination according to my books),
the fight moves down your body.
Though you stop looking away, your hips
writhe against my side,
your leg kicks dangled rhythms
even as you suck methodically and
in time.
But it’s too tight, it just won’t fit.  The sleep body seems to belong
to some smaller baby, yesterday’s child, you can’t slide in
easily.   You try to climb over me,
sometimes you even cry out, trying, it seems,
to push through
your own skin, the way you once did mine.

Until everything just slows.
Your fingers upon my breasts,
like delicate petals, float.
The sleep face spreads over yours like powdered
sugar from a seive.
You don’t give up the breast, but suck
in intervals as
an adult might shift in the night.
When you finally let go,
your lips press together in a set

You look so complete when you sleep.
Feeling something extra now, redundant, I wonder what
you can know of love, whether it isn’t simply an embrace
of our mother bodies and baby bodies,
our sucking bodies and nursing bodies,
our waking and sleeping bodies
and not this individual me body, this one and only me body, and not
this individual you body, this particularly expressly you body,
and suddenly it’s the me body
that becomes fretful, worried, and the you body
that is so certain,
its very own North.


Final note — so sorry in being late to visit people.  Will catch up.  Have a great weekend. 

Final final note — a prayer for peace.

Fall Read (Flash 55)

August 29, 2013



Fall Read

I red fall in the air;
I red fall on the road;
then red fall in the falling light
that evening early turned to night.

The grey before the indigo,
which last June red so very slow
blue by as fast as summer passed,
leaving leaving;
in dark of air and road
I hurried home.

I post the above kind of drafty poem for Galen the Great, otherwise known as the G-Man –Tell him I whittled it down to exactly 55 words!

All rights reserved for text as always and photos.

Thistle for Two (um…Three)

August 27, 2013


I thought there were only two on this thistle until Barbara Y pointed out the little stink bug, milkweed bug, at top corner. Thanks so much, Barbara. K.

When Life Feels Like a Bailsbondsman

August 25, 2013


When Life Feels Like a Bailbondsman

It is useless to say you didn’t do it.

He’s about ten times bigger and not listening so when, after a bruising tussle, he clamps you onto a narrow board, and ties on, for good measure, an old army blanket, it’s probably best to just go slack.

To breathe deeply, except, you know, when he funnels that board into the back of an old station wagon, the motor gusting. Then you might just want to hold your breath. The blanket is your friend there.

As the board clunks against the lift gate, steel your spine against the rat-a-tat-tat, ruts in metal. Most important of all, keep, if you can, a positive outlook.

Okay, it’s hard. You hurt. It scratches.

It may help, in this regard, to think of fall leaves, the swish of your feet through dried color, the warmth of a borrowed sweater, the childhood wonder of a picked-off scab.

Cold nights, when, with the seats froze stiff, the roughest wool was somehow a picnic.
Snow blue mornings when, socks on, the whole world echoed orange.

Oh sure, it’s not ideal. Your eyes glitter in the olive scritch, but the wool smells at best like rotting grass, a field where you once fell, maybe not laughing; the board sunken rocks in that field.

Still, now as the road rumbles in steady bumps, just see if you can’t find stars–there through the coarse-grained weave, through the tan of car roof, through that outer blanket of night–

Just see if you can’t feel the wind rifling your hair, sluicing across your skin–how can the wind make it through a blanket you ask? How does it caress your cheekbones, lying flat?

You’re overthinking it, I say, telling you to just feel the freedom, and you groan, oh sure, maybe the wind is free.

And who are you anyway, you ask accusingly, to talk about all this shit.

And I sigh from the next board over, the next clump of coarse blanket, and confess, with some embarrassment, that it is just possible they will charge us with conspiracy.

But don’t worry, I add, we didn’t do it.

Here’s I-don’t-know-what kind of a piece, posted for no current prompt; just for fun of sorts. Have a good week. I am en route to city and office life tonight. (I swear that was not the inspiration for this piece!)

Red Shoes

August 24, 2013
at-the-harbor by Judith Clay

at-the-harbor by Judith Clay

Red Shoes

She knew it was a boutique because it was so narrow, the bare wood warped
beneath a couple of barber chairs, upholstery as shiny
as Vitalis, though it sold shoes.

Which made her despair, having feet too big for a boutique;  if only her feet
were small, she’d have it all, even, probably, cheek hollows.

As it was, she wore size ten.

Did boutiques back then
even carry a size ten?

But amazingly, full cheeks blood red, she found wedges
that would fit her that same shade, the slant of heel, toe too,
actually foreshortening her sole, the leather fine as
desire, meaning that maybe

there was a chance for her, a chance for happiness.

But the thin red leather didn’t wear,  and so, soon after,
she turned to keeping the rest of her
as small as possible,
which seemed somehow to allow her
to wedge her way through this wide
narrow world, as long as
she didn’t
look down.


Here’s a draft draft draft poem for dVerse Poets Pub’s prompt hosted by Claudia Schoenfeld based on the very cool pictures of Judith Clay.  (All rights reserved to copyright holders.) 


Spun (Fibonacci)

August 24, 2013




Spun (Fibonacci)

spins it threads
a spoked wheel that traps
even the dew (though not its point)

wheel I
spin traps me
only, as I speak
rather than do, then lose my thread

if six
more legs would
add it up–some are
just born with a centered center

are not–
still, when eyes
are caught in those dew-
spokes, oh spider, how we spin–

This is a draft “Fib” or Fibonacci poem posted for a prompt on With Real Toads by the ever-magic-weaving Hedgewitch, Joy Anne Jones, who blogs at Verse Escape. She explains the form better than me–it follows the numerical Fibonacci sequence. The photos above were taken a few days ago by me, on a morning in which all the spiders in the nearby area seemed to have convened. Photos just do not do the webs justice. (Nonetheless, all rights are reserved. Also note that the pics were uploaded from an iPhone on the WordPress App and may not show up in toto. If the web is missing and you want to see it, just click on the pic.)

After You’ve Been Suddenly Sick

August 23, 2013


After You’ve Been Suddenly Sick

This morning’s moon’s a miracle
like the stone rolled away
from the tomb,
like a stone rolled
to the crest of a hill so high
that my own private Sisyphus sighs,
exhaling opalescent wonder.
Light reflected from who knows when
shines brighter
than the freshest egg blue
and when I say to you,
“come see, if you feel well enough,”
you are beside me,
lithe, shining, and warm, as always, when wrested
from a deep sleep, a miracle,
and the stone
that can sometimes be my heart
catches that light from above
and from my side, and grows smooth
around its edges, like the word


Here’s a poem posted very belatedly for Izzy Gruye’s prompt on With Real Toads to write a poem about the moon that doesn’t mention normal sky words. (I’m not sure I’ve actually done it here.)

I am also linking this to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night

Dream Dream Resolution (Friday Flash 55)

August 22, 2013


Dream Dream Resolution

Nights on end, he ran beside a horse around a walled
city–Carcassonne–until, through therapy, he willed himself
to mount the horse,
alighting not on its back
but in its nostril, where whorl-curled,
he rode readily
through dark gates.

He never dreamed that scene again,
though often spoke of it
with great longing.


I’m back! (Sort of.) And it feels good! Just getting through a terribly busy time but could not resist either the call of Brian Miller (Happy Birthday Brian!) of dVerse Poets Pub or the the inimitable G-Man, each of whom asks us to tell a story in 55 words. (Let them know I’ve tried.)

Going With the Grain

August 9, 2013


He wrote that she was “his one and only” and she wrote back “me too,” then added that she’d eaten millet that night.

She knew even as she typed the double lls that it was odd. Because what she was thinking of was his skin.

It was spiced with cinnamon, she wrote, and clove, not mentioning that she had a recipe once that added carrot.

But what she was thinking of was his flesh, ochred by blanket, the grain of thighs, and how when only a sheet was at issue the shadows of pelvis turned violet as eve-filled sky.

And she had eaten millet that evening, by chance, but what had actually come to mind was a time, years before, when the world angled cellophane, windows leered unattainable purpose, drowning fish glistened on outside ice, and love had gone as grey as the sidewalk, and as stained, and she had stepped through her disconnect into a shop whose green linoleum was spotted orange and there in a dull bag- a dull stack of bags–for their contours didn’t have the brittle brightness of squared wrap – the print read “millets”–and she had laughed for a change, even bought a bag for him, a different him, who may have laughed too, seeing it.

There is something torturous about being a thing that needs an other to be itself, that has no true singular; there is simply no sense in “a millet,” pelleted longing–

So when this he, her he, proffered love across a sky even deeper than violet, she could only say “me too,” and write him of millet like a fool.

Even though he couldn’t possibly understand, not speaking millet, so maybe it was herself she wrote to, telling that girl in the shop that there really was life after life, a savor to cleave to.

“Miss you,” she added, for him.

Here’s a sort of a prose poem about millet, which I don’t cook nearly enough. I’ve been terribly busy and there have been all kinds of great prompts in the online poetry world that I haven’t had the focus to address. Sorry to those who did those great prompts. I have enjoyed reading of them! Take care.

PS I have been honored to be included in the wonderful new dVerse Poets Anthology edited by Frank Watson. It is a lovely book, with poets from all over, and visual works too (including one of my drawings!) Thank you, Frank. Check it out here.

Pps = I keep mucking around with the last line since posting.  Agh.  k.