Archive for October 2013

What Sometimes Happens to Writers/Readers – Flash Friday 55

October 31, 2013


What Sometimes Happens To Writers/Readers

One dives into the drown
of too-late, murk stretched
as longing as the I can see–

Notted growths choke stroke.
Still–as if time could be unhanded, sands
listen, effort alone mangle
the foregone–
one pushes
until despair bears words
that carry the oxygen
of their own utterance;
short breaths and
possible is again.


Yes, I am trying not to blog and work on other things–but I couldn’t resist the call of the G-man.  I thought this also fit with Anna Montgomery’s challenge on dVerse Poets Pub to write something avant garde. I don’t think it is terribly avant garde, but the word usage is unusual for me.   Photo is weird pic of mine–not quite right for poem, but just one I liked.  (As always, all rights reserved.)


October 27, 2013



When young, they were fitted for the mask,
an age when every question asked
could be answered with because
Pretty is as pretty does,
for children will take on a task

adults won’t swallow without a flask
full of flow as hot as ash
and guaranteed to grant a buzz
of when young.

But though they aged, the mask stuck fast;
it trapped their warmth just like the cask
they tapped now, sipped and sometimes guz-
zled, to scrape off “is,” grate down to “was,”
bare what they’d been by file or rasp
when young.


Still playing with Rondeaus — not very well–here’s a draftish one for Grapeling’s prompt on With Real Toads to write a poem about a mask. 

This is also a signing-off for me for now, maybe.  I am trying very hard to get myself to go on an extended blog break, at least for the month of November.  As some readers know, this has been a super busy work period for me.  Blogging poetry and being part of the online poetry community has been a wonderful way to get out of my workaday mode–but it also keeps me from getting to certain larger fiction projects that I’ve put on hold practically forever (and keep talking of going back to.)  I really do want to make one more effort, and November, national noveling month, seems a good time to try.

That said, do check in from time to time, as I am likely to (i) break my resolution, (ii) post pictures; and (iii) miss you terribly!   

Take care, k.  

Born in the Fifties (In June)–Friday Flash 55

October 25, 2013

My Mom's Favorite Flower


Born in the Fifties (In June)

Important to pirouette
a squeezed radius, cinch waist.

June made fitting include favoriting
pearls/roses, merchant-determined
birth flower/stone–
what people were supposed to give you
special; what you were supposed to be
Impossible to imagine either
born of grit; harder
to push from
into dirt freshness, taking
deep breadths.

Here’s an almost belated draftish sort of poem for the G-Man –go tell him so he believes I made it in time–and also for a prompt of Kerry O’Connor on With Real Toads to write about the language of flowers.

When Morning Comes

October 24, 2013


When Morning Comes

When morning comes, and night’s goodbyes
turn out to have been lullabies,
sweetnesses to help you sleep,
not passwords to God’s safest keep,
our farewells just sussurant sighs,

the dawn still greeted by your cloud eyes,
warmth not slipped from your loose prise–
Oh, then, how does our luck run deep,
when morning comes.

And then life leaves. As mid-day plies.
And what feels random wears fate’s guise.
And all we said was incomplete,
was nothing of all that we now weep,
when mourning comes.

Here’s my attempt at a Rondeau, written for Tony Maude’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub’s Form For All. It’s a very musical form with a limited rhyme scheme and a repeated refrain. (It also has a set meter which I just vaguely sounded out here.)

To me, the refrain gives the form a rather dirgelike, knelling bell, aspect. (This may also come from the fact that probably the most famous rondeau is “In Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae about World War I.) Check out Tony’s wonderful article for more info on the form.

I should note that I am very uncertain of the title here. I was going to call it Death In the Afternoon or When Morning Comes or Death During the Day, or Taking Care of the Very Ill. . Any thoughts?


October 20, 2013



Got a camera for my birthday;
I take pictures all day long,
sometimes they’re of my brother
sitting on the john.




Some people call him John.
(But his name is Michael.)


I take pictures of my mother,
take pictures of my dad,
take LOTS of pictures of my dog
whose eyes come out so sad.


Sometimes I try to catch a crime–
I mean, what could be neater?
So far the only pic I’ve got
is “man kicking parking meter.”


Not sure that’s even illegal–
the man says it didn’t work.
Don’t know if I believe him
’cause he called me a little jerk.

My folks now say that nature
is better for me to shoot–
stuff like deer in our backyard
and, in a nearby swamp, the newt.

At first I groaned, how boring,
but, actually, that’s not true
cause there’s something cool my camera does
whenever I look through.

It makes the world turn special–
sure, it’s special anyhow.
But my camera makes it special-er
adds in some extra wow.


So now my camera’s with me
’bout everywhere I go–
my imaginary friend, I guess,
but don’t tell that I said so.

Especially don’t tell Michael
(that kid “some folks” call John)
’cause he’d probably try to snitch it
if he knew it was so fun.

‘Course, then, I’d get his picture–
red-handed as can be,
still, better keep it secret (sigh)
between just you and me.

Here’s a new little poem written and illustrated for Victoria Slotto’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub to write a poem for children. I did poem and illustrations today, so they are very rough–especially towards the beginning where I wasn’t sure how to best get the joke of the big brother across and just repeated the same drawing with dialogue. Also very uncertain of the title–any suggestions, let me know. All fun. Check out Victoria’s prompt and the other children’s poems on dVerse.

Finally, if you like the elephants, check out a children’s book I wrote and illustrated called 1 Mississippi, available on Amazon.

New Yorkers at The Velvet Garter, Somewhere West

October 19, 2013


New Yorkers at The Velvet Garter, Somewhere, West

I wanted you to love me on that trip
and felt you pretty much did
after that hour against the tiled
shower, when I was, for at least a while,
as important as your art, something that you might
mount upon a wall, and breathing glee together, we got back
in the car and drove, not at that moment consciously
further West, but to find some twilit entwine
of neon and of dance, even asking
the toll booth operator because no one else
seemed able to tell us–  Where’s the action?
she repeated, dazed bangs sounding out
conundrum, and we said, you know,
and after staring at the strip
of toll roof in case some early stars might just poke through
to point the way, some folks like
the Velvet Carter–
at least that’s what we thought
she said, naming an exit.

You yahooed, speeding off–so moist still with
each other, the windows gusting
rusting cobalt–and I wondered if we could keep this close
in the City with its whipped grey grids
that blocked you into your work, and me, sort of,
into mine,
then found a white-bulbed sign edged red, and everything
just shrunk.

Sure, the sky we parked beneath
was big, and yes, I felt your warmth
at my bare arms, but it was hard
to keep that smirking togetherness as the
hostess led us in, earnest lipstick tucking cherry
between puffed cheeks, and gloom
pressed down,  at least on me, with
the off-slant of the tablecloths, shabbiness
of stale smelled steak, the sateen reds making me almost

Only two other customers, a guy at the next table draped
over a couple
of chairs, skinny legs, boots, splayed, ruffled velveteen bands bunching
the joints of his jeans and sleeves–
a woman squeezed beside him, cleavage even
at the elbows, several bowled goblets encrusted
with gobbed salt and a few more velvet
bands made us realize as we looked down
at the plastiscene menu that what ringed his limbs were garters from
drinks drunk,
and that the name of the place had nothing at all to do
with wagons–

Loneliness fell like night–
hugely; the stub of cigarette
abandoning the guy’s bleared smile showed teeth
stranded at each side, his girl’s hair flat and split
as a bleached beach
under darkening tides, her eyes like the eyes of a collie sad
to be left outside, a collie with one eye black, one blue, though
hers were both just blue, blackened only
by mascara.

This is where people out here
have fun
? you whispered
shaking your head,
but I couldn’t laugh, and as we waded back through velveteen to
blacktop and looked again at the quavering sign, we noticed how
the grin of the G had blown dark (why it looked
a C)–and could not even hold hands.

We were still travelers together,
but any connection of flesh, man-
woman, felt like a worn-out game,
exuberance toothless, our wandering selves slick leeches
sprawling the parched–and I wished guiltily
to be back between my City’s lit grey walls, walls that
held throngs of people and paintings and shelves of words
writ whole, though I knew that was
unfair–the town poor and this bit
of the West beautiful, truly,
if the eye would only
stretch out over its vastness and the City
could be plenty lonely too
just like anyplace where there are couples.


This is very very much a draft poem, and very belated also, intended to somehow be “beat” for the prompt by Gay Reiser Cannon on dVerse Poets Pub —  It is much too long, and prosaic, and hard to follow., but I’m posting it because I’m not sure how else to re-write just now.   I am also posting for With Real Toads Open Link Night. 

PS – the red and white thing in the drawing is supposed to be a velvet garter, not a santa cap. 

Also – the poem is not autobiographical!  I was trying for the Jack Kerouackian.  

Finally– this has been edited since first posting, changing the last word from “people” to “couples.” 

The Debt Ceiling That Can’t Be Raised

October 18, 2013


The Debt Ceiling That Can’t Be Raised

I’m not so worried
about the national debt
as the global debt, yet
untallied==  No ticking sign
in Times Square clocks
species docked, soil debased,
seas acidified, landscapes wasted,
or all that roiling plastic
that already bastes us–
little interest’s been paid, but
we’ll be in the hot seat
soon enough, ash-due.


Here’s a rather gloomy poem for the G-Man – 55 words (sans title or hope) .  Though I am extremely glad that some of the silliness in Washington has come to an end for now, I worry that with all these self=inflicted crises, no one can focus on true problems, which, to my mind, are not limited to issues of economic growth.

The above is a detail of a chandelier of recycled plastic bottles made by Katherine Harvey that was hung in the World Financial Center last year. Although I think plastic is dreadful stuff— it breaks down and gets absorbed into the bloodstreams and guts of all kinds of creatures–Harvey’s sculpture was stunning.  More pics can be seen here. 

Meatpacking Plant

October 17, 2013


Meatpacking Plant

Underage, she worked
under her sister’s name
for months,
metal fingerguard sweating, nearly mis-
slicing when the managers, all men, sidled up behind,
hot breath
at her hairnet,
chortling over
the blood in her cheeks–
sure that they could tell.

A year after leaving, needing something temp, she applied again
as herself,
explaining that she had, in fact,
They kept their distance
showing her out.

Here’s a little poem for Mama Zen’s prompt on With Real Toads With Real Toads to write something for Boss Day in 67 words or less. (This is 66 minus title–sorry, MZ.) It is a true story of my mother working as a young girl during the Depression at a meatpacking plant, posing as her older sister because she was not old enough herself to work.

I’m sure that it was a pork packing plant, but I have this picture of a cow ready, and it’s such an innocent little cow, it seemed somehow appropriate.


October 14, 2013



They were green as cash and though I glued them
in their rows, I never got a chance to redeem them,
careless enough

that once I went to J.C. Penny’s Lost and Found,
down in the basement like the sheets,
looking for my bag, brown and tassled–
but instead retrieved a black patent leather
I’d lost some years before,
my Sunday School purse, unsnapping it
to my book of saving stamps, though the Tru-Value Store no longer was
in business–

Redemption is something I find hard
to get right–
take certain things I’ve done=-
matters of life and death–at least, of a good death–
acts for those I loved–a taste of honey, an insistence
on no more pain, even just the lending
of a rose-fogged lens, doctored
I could line them up in a book,
but there’s no cashing in

acts shelved low in the heart.
I might wish they could be lost,
but they’re forever found–acts that seem to have acted
on their own, but that, in fact, were acts taken,
and the price I pay is a price
I will pay always–
the price of love.


Here is a very belated poem for Fireblossom’s Friday (Shay’s) prompt on With Real Toads about redemption.  I am also linking this to the Open LInk Nights on With Real Toads and dVerse Poets Pub.  

I have revised since posting a couple of weeks ago as I do not think people really “got” the poem the way that it was written–the problem with posting too early.  It had read

and the price I pay is a price
I will pay always, the price
of loss, the price of love, not
an even exchange.

But the poem is really about acts that we take out of love for a person, especially a sick person, acts that could be viewed later as hastening their death–I’m not talking about illegal acts, but merciful acts, and yet one does revisit the decisions always.  Anyway.  I don’t know if anyone will revisit this poem!  But I’ve changed it now.  k. 

Duccio’s Pillow

October 13, 2013


Duccio’s Pillow

Duccio paints a pillow
for the Madonna to sit uponna, shaped
like a hot dog,
its countours long and thin
as the old-man babe who’s perched within
his mother’s dark robe,

itself a distended globe.
All is flattened
in the foreshadowing, incipient chiaroscuro
of what’s to come, except
for that brown orange pillow
that billows just a bit where
the Virgin doesn’t sit.

We all need salt softness


A draftish poem for my own prompt of Poetics Italian-STyle for dVerse Poets Pub.  Duccio was an early Renaissance Italian painter, painting in the late thirteenth, early fourteenth century in Sienna.  From my high school foray into art history,  I always thought of him as the painter who made  hot dog pillows that the Madonna sits or lays down upon in the various scenes of her depicted life.  I’m not sure that this is a certified art historical fact as I did not actually find any mention of it in rooting around for this poem, though certainly the pillow above would qualify.  

Below is another Duccio, and below that, my own version of an early Renaissance painting.  (Guess which is which.)  (Note, “chiaroscuro” is a technique of painting using light and shadow to sculpt images–the technique was truly developed a little later than Duccio.) 

Note, that I have edited since first posting.