Archive for March 2014


March 30, 2014



You bought some doughnuts; it was so fun
when you called me your honey bun,
then took me in your sharp-finned car
the night dark blue, the stars near far.
The seats were cold and rough to touch–
the car smelled like you smoked too much–
but you wrapped me round with one taut arm
that felt so lithe and live and warm
that soon the clammy stink of ash
flew from the window like the trash
you tossed out your side–crumpled sack
tattooed with doughnuts’ greasy track,
then lifting your arm’s weight a bit
dug out a bottle, took a sip.

Your breath like fire, wrongness too–
it somehow wired me to you.
You leaned, you kissed, you made me feel
a heat that steered me like a wheel.
You didn’t care what people thought–
oh, I wanted what you’d got.

And then, still driving, came a thump,
it was like the car had hit a bump,
only not, just not, it was not like that,
blackness squirreled inside my lap.
‘Oh shit,’ you said, your head turned back,
‘Goddammit all,’ not turning back.

Mad, you drove with both hands on
except for swipes of light-trapped palm
that wiped your face, the hair that tossed,
your forehead fisted, double-crossed
as any two-lined two-laned road–
all that hot now grown so old.

In light beam’s mutter, light beam’s glare
in the flashing stutter of my stare,
I caught remembrance, glittered blip–
bristled sugar at your lip–
but the only rounds in this holed world,
were tires that whirled and whirled and whirled
and a mind that skittered, tried to care
but only could come up with scared–
no honey bun, no glaze of laughter,
just things that we kept secret after.

Here’s very much of a draft poem (also a bit crazy) for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads ( to write a poem using the line “there were things that we kept secret after.”

I am sorry that the drawing is a little recycled. I am hoping to do a poem a day in April and will, I’m afraid, likely have to use recycled visuals to keep up. (Hence, my excuse for starting now!)

Moon-tied (Last Friday Flash 55 for the G-Man)

March 28, 2014




Ice floes,
ice flows.
That is how
ice goes.

sun rays,
that is how
sun makes days.

in its pallor
lovers sighed.

Hearts please
heart’s pleas–
never wise
for hearts to tease.

lover lying
on dank ground.

Too young this love
to ever know
quite how long
ice will flow.


My last 55 for the gallant Galen–Yes, some of those are two words jammed  together! But the ever tolerant Mr. G will still, I hope, allow my weekend to kick-a…

On a more serious note, many thanks to Galen, the G-man, Mr. Know-it-all for his wonderfully clever and sweet hosting of Friday Flash 55. His 55 prompt is a real exercise in discipline and, when discipline fails, slyness. He will still be blogging to–the delight of one Manicddaily.  Also, thanks to his new hosts, Shay and Mama Zen.

P.S. – the above if anyone is interested is a picture taken a night a couple of years ago of ice floes in the Hudson at the bottom of Manhattan. 

Shared Ribs

March 27, 2014


Shared Ribs

My unconscious deflects the cryptic, oscillates
between the quotidian ho-hum
and the quotidian urgent,
makes a big to-do of the to-done–
fetishizing all those t’s foolishly dotted,
i’s crossed–
though often, turns only my torso,
doesn’t even scan
dream pages.

While you, asleep, leap
from penumbral cliffs,
wheel monkey-wrenched helicopters,
exact precise control
over the trigger kegs
of ravening St. Bernards
and, whenever I reach across, are chasing hard,
some sure inkling
of salvation.

You want, upon waking,
to tell me about it.
Pupils amplified by night’s close,
voice as husky as if it wore
an aviator’s jacket–
you tender word montages
from the irrational geographic, a tout
for your disappearing country,
while me, I pout about needing tea,
willfully weighting
the baggage that keeps
me here–

for I fear,
shouldering the sheet,
that you are Jung at heart,
while I find myself an old hand
at schadenfreude.

Oh, the heart, the gloved heart, mittened
by its own chest, caged
by those expanding, contracting ribs that join us
on some anthropomythic level
(which you will likely describe
one morning–how the curved bones moonscaped
Lethe skies–while I silently bite ribbed lips, nodding)–

for you listen to me often enough
mornings, evenings, afternoons, even without
kegged St. Bernards.

Why we love so much
the ribs beside us
in this dream
of fitfully shared
sleep, companion heart beat.

Here’s a poem posted for a prompt by the wonderful Hedge Witch (Joy Anne Jones) on With Real Toads. The prompt, accompanying a very cool article on Mind and Symbol, is a list of words taken from the first chapter of Man and Symbol by Carl Jung.

For My Mother, Who Always Wears Blue

March 24, 2014


For My Mother, Who Always Wears Blue

You insist on blue
even when all your azures
are in the wash
and all you can find
is one of his old ties,
which you knot about your waist as if it were a sash and not
an amulet,
in the same way that you wrapped,
after unwrapping,
the foil robin shell around his Easter egg
a whole year afterwards,
pondering what to do with it frozen,
the chocolate marled
like a cataract blind
to aluminated sky, isoceles crimped
to cirrus,
because he’d enjoyed it so
a couple bites a time, nights,
savoring small sweetnesses–

Though your blues harbor luck.
It’s the kind that’s found even
through the cracks of loss,
like stripes in frayed
silk, and that pale Prussian that mirrors ‘up’
around the ice floes
just there, outside the window of this train,
my arms warmed, as I look,
by navy sleeves.

Here’s a poem for the poetics prompt by Abhra Pal posted in honor of the Indian festival of Holi, about imagining coloring people, at (My “linker” not working.)

Also, this is a picture outside my train window looking out over the Hudson River, but it is not a picture taken today, and it doesn’t really show the fragmented ice floes now there.

Update on Noveling – Pitch

March 23, 2014


It is March 23.  The fields are icy; where there is no crust of snow there is glazed mud.  In between slips and slides–I ran into a tree yesterday trying to cross-country ski–(ouch! said bleeding shin–trees are hard!)–I am also trying to publish a novel.

It is difficult.  First, it’s a difficult novel.  (In other words, I’m not even sure IF I like it.)  This makes it extremely hard to foist off on others.

Secondly, I genuinely have plenty of other stuff to do.

Which means I give all that other stuff priority!

And yet…and yet… I know if I let too much time go by, I really will not be able to stand to look at this novel for a few more years–

Also, I would like to be able to start writing poetry again.

And so… and so… in a fit of nerves and depression, I uploaded the novel today.  Meaning I submitted for self-publication.  Meaning that I’ll probably have to edit one more time when I get the proofs, but I am nearly there.


I also went through a bunch of extremely musty old magazines that I have from the 1960s (and have been storing in boxes outside)  to try to begin putting together a cover.  (Yes, I know I could get people with actual knowledge of these things to  design it!)

In the meantime, although I’m not sure why–given that it embarrasses me so much, given that it truly mortifies me–I set forth below the “pitch” for the novel that I wrote and that just passed the first round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.  (The book is called “Nice.”) :

It is summer, 1968, and Les has been trained to be nice.  

When she was really little, they played the Star Spangled Banner in movie theaters before the show; she could feel her chest ripple just like the flag on the screen.

But it is summer, 1968–Martin Luther King Jr. shot in April and now Bobby Kennedy.    

“What in the world is happening to this country?” her mother says as they stay up after the shooting, watching the TV people try to decide whether he’ll have brain damage.  

Les wonders what she, a kid, a girl, can do about any of it.  Other than hold firm to the idea that people are good, that if everyone would just be nice enough, they could impart some of that niceness to others–

Though, in the meantime, she would also like to be just a little more cool–

Then Duke comes to visit, a cool cat, a natural charmer, and something happens to Les that is not nice– 

Who can she tell?  How, afterwards, can she un-tell them? 

Her older brother, Arne, lives his own side of the story that summer as he tries angrily, in the midst of suburban family life and the escalating Vietnam War, to become a young man. 

But “what in the world is happening?” he wonders as his sister changes, his sister who has always been the nice one–

Their story traverses the landscape of country, family, heart.


Thank God, I don’t think the pitch counts for anything but getting into the second round!  And I have no expectations of the contest.  And the book is not written like the pitch!  And I don’t think that was even the final pitch as I edited it on the website!

I think I am posting this to keep up my commitment!  Thanks for your kindness!

To the G-Man – Friday Flash 55

March 21, 2014


Re Tempus Fu(Mr.G)it- (It’s Latin, so it’s okay!)

Why does time have to march
even in March?

Why can’t we keep the spring

Our hips stay
hip?  Our black clothing only
mean coolness?
Our wrinkles lipsynch
how oooh we are laid-back,
our lovehandles
that we
are love-

And why, oh why,
are our poems not everlastingly


55 for the G-Man!  This is his second-to-last week of hosting Friday Flash 55.  He’s had a long and honorable run and needs to concentrate on his Harley–best to him always.

PS – the photo is outside a plane window.  Yes, I know planes don’t march!  But they do something else that time does — fly!

Just Hiding

March 18, 2014

Just Hiding

Sometimes, I could just hide
in some lined wood,
my fingertips fitting bark prints
as if I were
all fingertip,
a chosen trunk my belly’s back
as if I were only spine,
flattening myself against growth’s bounds
as if vertical were how I always laid me down,
as if hiding turned me into treasure one might seek,
asking, like the mourning dove, who I was–
though you already know that
through and through,
and, like the mourning dove,
ask only because the call sounds
of water,
like a swallow of water,
like the soft swoop/rise of water,
and trees need

Here’s a poem of sorts not written for any prompt! Though I will link, belatedly, to With Real toads Open Link Night. The picture is an old one, and doesn’t really go with the poem (as I meant to describe someone hiding behind a tree, not in one.) (I like the picture though!)

P.S. I’m so sorry I’ve been slow to return comments. I’ve been away from home close to two weeks and I’m a bit off-schedule. (And I think I may have posted this poem inadvertently when going to sleep!)

Life Imitating Escher?

March 18, 2014



To Homer

March 13, 2014


To Homer

You sang of Achilles
with wingéd words,
which makes me suspect
you knew the sounds of anger
as well as birds.

You sang of the wine dark sea
before many-benched ships,
which makes me feel your lips,
dried out upon long lines,
pining for the tang
of retsina.

You sang of a hero
who, calling himself “nobody”,
seared the Cyclops’ eye,
the giant then crying that he’d been blinded
by nobody–
which makes me sigh
at your sense of humor–

but also makes me sure–
that “man of resource” forced
to wander ten long years
that even the grey-eyed goddess could not
steer him through,
not with her night-sharp owl–
that, yes, you knew a thing
or two
about anger.


Here’s a draft and possibly cheating poem for Brian Miller’s challenge to write like a “blind poet” on dVerse Poets Pub.  

Process Notes–Homer, the allegedly blind alleged poet of the great Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, wrote of Achilles, the angry hero, of the Iliad.  In the Odyssey, Odysseus, that “man of resource”, blinds Polyphemus, the Cyclops son of Poseidon, the God of the Sea, with a sharpened heated log, then is essentially punished by Poseidon and made to wander years before reaching home, while Athena, the grey-eyed goddess devoted to Odysseus, watches, unable to save him from this fate. 

Retsina is Greek wine, which is, I believe, aged in pine barrels and has a taste of pine resin. Some scholars now say that ancient greek did not have a separate word for blue and that the wine-dark sea should be translated wine-blue sea, and even that there may have been something alkaline in the water that made ancient greek wine blue.  Everyone seems to still like that phrase though–wine-dark sea–which is used many many times in Homeric texts.  I was reminded of it in a recent poem by Joy Ann Jones, Hedgewitch.

NYC – Late Seventies

March 12, 2014
Old painting by me (supposed to be Broadway in Thick Snow!)

Old painting/collage by me (supposed to be Broadway in Thick Snow!)

New York City – Late 70s

Dear City, you were just so grey
sometimes, sky more sidewalk, building-paved–
how we loved it, the grit,
standing outside
the Pioneer Market,
up to the neck
with the two towers, pomodoro and fowl
on sale proclaimed the peeling

How great
that anywhere you were,
whatever tiled cavern you climbed out from,
you only need look up
to find out “down”–
downtown where we lived, like the guys
in the Village Voice who hadn’t been above
14th Street sporting beards–

Sleezy Deli to the East, nights, with
its bullet-proof HoHos,
but to the West by day
we could dash into the refracted brass
of the Broken Kilometer, or up a Soho blankfront
to breathe the air of a white room grounded
with the blackest earth–

Of course there was dirt
everywhere, the kind that kvetched in
our pores, even seeped inside the
cupboards as if our dishes too
wanted to wear black–

colanders upturned for star light
on the clothdroop ceilings of Sixth Street India;
“and what else” kippered the Orthodox counterguys
over brined sweetness,
the crash of Chinese opera (we always
thought) at the Lai Gong, some stringed instrument
mimicking struck cat, pork buns 25 cents–

At the bean curd factory on Broome,
the men wore
rubber boots and the guy who retrieved mine
from the blue buckets that smelled
so strongly of soy always smiling eventually
his smooth face lined with creases fine
as a pressed leaf–
when I felt low there was nothing
like that face and the pure
white cakes–

Everyone’s studio worth a visit and time to do it
with the right gig–
men not yet dying
in droves–red lights we could see forever
if we held our heads right–the night never wholly black
except sometimes on a side street
when I tried for my
hands, feet–or when I looked
for your answering gaze–
though when I moved
I could find my swish
sure enough–and sometimes you would
turn back to me–

and we could always just
look up–


A draft poem about New York in the 70’s posted for the wonderful Margaret Bednar’s prompt on With Real Toads–my computer is iffy so will be brief with process notes, but the Broken Kilometer and the Earth Room are two longterm art installations  by Walter De Maria at the Dia Art Foundation in Soho.  The men dying in droves refers to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic.   The two towers of course the World Trade Center towers, which being at the very Southern tip of the City provided a directional landmark.   (Painting by me, doesn’t quite fit, sorry.  Margaret has some great photos on the prompt.)

PS – I realize after posting that I have misunderstood all prompts!  My brain is going as well as computer.  I am linking this to Kerry O’Connor’s  prompt on flashbacks–I will try for one with genuine present as well .  (I did at least write this in NYC in 2014, so a bit of a flashback, I guess.)