Archive for April 2014

To Some Much Loved Book, Or Another

April 30, 2014


To some much loved book, or another

Unable to be parted,
I took you to my bath
where your pages waved
like the sea–
fine with me, better even–
for I floated then in your open hull
through the primeval family hall
to the shore of my own little bed, where,
my personal moon,
you reflected the light overhead,
my eyes following
the fallen stars you banked–
words, like the room itself,
dark yet lit within.

What sacrifices you made–
sitting up with me, all hours,
shepherding me, when sleep came
and went, from chest-choke dreams to
safely-ventilated boxes
of sweeter sheep,
adventuring tedium, silencing
even taking the fall, at turns,
from the cliffs
of mattress, letting me
come to the rescue–

No grown-up could be
so consistent–
always on page 2, a boa, more adorable
than a fedora, digested
an elephant,
and always too,
on some later page
in one of those parallel universes upon which
physicists base
their reputations,
Charlotte, the spider,
would die.

You gave me cover
to cry–
a corner where still-ephemeral-
but-soon-to-burgeon breasts
could confess suffering, expand
with the pain of another,
where tears felt like water tapped, at last,
from the trunk of a baobab–where being overrun
by baobabs was not, as some might think,
so bad–

Here’s my last draft poem for the month of April 2014–though I think I may have just missed midnight.I am linking this to Grapeling’s prompt on With Real Toads to use some words from a list by St. Exupery (taken from The Little Prince.) I would love to make a St. Exupery-inspired drawing, but I fear I am too late. (Hopefullly some other day.)

Many thanks for With Real Toads, especially Kerry O’Connor, for making this month so meaningful for those of us trying to do the poem a day. Also special thanks to my friend Hedgewitch, blogging at Verse Escape, whose behind-the-scenes camaraderie has been incredibly helpful and to all of you also doing the poem a day (or not) but reading many poems a day–thanks so much–




April 29, 2014



The little cows, their faces white as Noh
masks, their cut-out eyes say ‘oh” when they see
me, their twigged legs skedaddling as if blown–
the calves– with muzzles clean as milk should be,
as tremulous as milk blued by a pail
in a morning when the moon still shines
like an 8 ball in sky’s corner. Do not fail
them–the little calves who emit no whines
that corporations are people, my friends,
who, like chickens bred for cage-bottomed breasts,
topple-heavy, do not understand how ends
justify means, the logic that infests
so many bottom lines that it gets lost–
as if we could eat cruelty, without cost.

Here’s very much a draft poem, another sonnet for With Real Toads, Helen Dehner’s prompt re talking to animals. I think this is only my 29th for National Poetry Month– not sure, so one more to go?

The little calves above have, I think, quite a nice life; the poem is really about factory farming, all too prevalent in the U.S.

A Re-telling

April 28, 2014


A Re-telling

From the start, we cause pain, whether pushing
through mother’s loins or cracked from her abdomen,
raising, in others and ourselves too, shushing
moans and gewgaw howls, trailing ache in crumbs, and
not by the Hansel–that is, not to lead
us home, but to move us on–our over-
sized brains plopped terrified as a treed
cat on our upright stance, our plover
quickstep trying to balance it all–but not
really. We don’t truly try for balance
but to get–to beget, to get get, have got,
get away–wanting both to sidestep the dance
and to caper wildly, to be both bird
and gingerbread–in our beaks, the last word–

Okay, so it doesn’t make much sense.  It’s a sonnet.  And it’s some late day in April, National Poetry Month.  I am linking this to Open Link Night on Real Toads, which has been terrifically supportive of this every-day-a-new-poem endeavor. Thanks to all of you as well.

PS- the drawing, like most here, is one of mine. (Much improved by having the help of an iPad.) All rights reserved.

Later, the Earth Took the Driver’s Seat

April 27, 2014

Later, the Earth Took the Driver’s Seat

They thought the world could be filled with roads
and still would be the world. They thought that paving
was the way to go, and, answering goads
of “faster”, they speed-spread tar, enslaving
every chump-change clump of grass and stalk
till even oak bowed and hemlocks drooped, dying.
The axel beds drooped too beneath their bulk
for they grew huge in their cars, ever vying
for more wiggle room, which in a world
of roads, took several miles, even with
the windows open, bunched arms unfurled–
though soon all rush of air became a myth,
a yarn passed back and forth on the sealed drive
like the tar-dust trunks, said once to be alive–

Here is some consecutive poem–27th–for the 27th day of April, National Poetry Month.  (Agh!)  I am linking it to the Real Toads – “Play it Again, Sam” challenge by Margaret Bednar, allowing participants, thankfully, to use an archived challenge–in this case, I chose a prompt for 14 liners by Kerry O’Connor. (Mine’s a sonnet.)

Margaret’s prompt included beautiful drawings by her daughter and I urge you to check them out. I tend to like to use my own visuals though–the above and below photographs are mine. (I took a bunch of this car, so you’ll probably see more at some point!)



(W)riffing on W (Not Bush)

April 26, 2014

(W)riffing on W (Not Bush)

What words (do I wait upon)
to work wonders?

What words
to wrangle
from wishful winking
weal world well-being;
to wend us west
of woe;
to not warfare
our Womeos,
to wreck war-mongering (wanting not

to even, when whirled whichaway,
make magic–

“We, women…”

Here’s a rather silly one for some late day of April, National Poetry Month, posted for the prompt of Marian (of Runaway Sentence)  on With Real Toads, to use the letter “w”.   Hannah had a specific list which was just too hard for me to use on this late day of April; I’ve tried to comply, however, with the letter, as well as the spirit of the prompt. 

I think/hope women’s empowerment worldwide may be a huge force for positive change  this century.  That said, I do understand that women are a VERY diverse group, and I know that some can certainly be just as warmongering and egotistical as men!  (I still have hope for them though!)  

The above video is the reposting of super brief clip of a woman reading at a poetry slam held for a women’s labor collective called SEWA (Self-Employed Women’s Association), founded by the very remarkable labor leader, activist, community organizer, revolutionary thinker, Ela Bhatt,  in Ahmedabad, India.   I do not know the name of the woman reading.  (She is not Ela, whose picture is below.)   All the women on the stage are SEWA members. 

Ela Bhatt of SEWA (Ahmedabad, Gujerat) (photo by Manicddaily)

Ela Bhatt of SEWA (Ahmedabad, Gujerat) (photo by Manicddaily)

No Place To Lay Head (Asylum)

April 25, 2014

Photography of Lisa Gordon

No Place To Lay Head (Asylum)  (From  A “Firm’s” Perspective)

Sometimes I did
get my danders up–
so many bristled heads
pushing me
into the bedsteads–

Not even a bit
of sacking, potato-faced,
lumped by the press
of Adam’s apple,
too soon split
at the seams–who knew
your own feathers
could poke
so sharp–
even straitened stripes
bunching punch drunk
in the clenches–

Flakes filled
my folds–
eye, sob,
paint, dinner–

Pillow, pill-ow,
I whispered
into their ears,
sure speaking down to them
could help, sure some–the poor, women–knew the language
of down.


This is very much of a draft poem, posted for Margaret Bednar’s prompt on With Real Toads, which asked us to write a prompt based upon Lisa Gordon’s moving photographs of Willard Asylum and to write in the first person from some perspective.  This is written from the perspective of a pillow.    I do not mean it to be funny at all;  I find this a terribly painful subject.
On the good side, this is the 25th day of National Poetry Month.    At this point, it gets hard to tell if anything one writes has meaning! In this regard, I had many different endings and have edited since posting, adding the last several words. Still very uncertain of ending.  

Thinking of Shakespeare, Caught At A Closed Gate —

April 24, 2014



Thinking of Shakespeare, Caught At a Closed Gate–

I hear him cursing “Zounds” (‘His wounds”)
at the dusk-dropped gate, its iron lattice,
even then, mottled with thick and thin.
He presses his forehead almost
into its rivulets, nipping cold, as
Hamnet of an instant pricks
his heart, like a foul hollow tripped upon
in the sluicing cobbles,
that little tiny boy—

How foolish to toy
with what is no more, he thinks,
knowing even as his next breath moves the rain
like a feather
that only one who never had a son
could think
so foolishly.

For his poor fool
is dead.

So, his mind works—words, stones skipping
across a river, light slipping
across a sea—figures
of speech that
from tossed ships
salvage sails
for wings–
even as he pulls his own cloak, sodden–
(for the rain, it seems, has rained down
every day)–
closer than the night, and heads back
to a pallet at the theater,
looking up to the heavens
for signs of gentling.



Here’s a draft poem for the 24thday of April, National Poetry Month, written for Ella’s (of Ella’s Edge) prompt on With Real Toads. Ella’s prompt was to write a poem based upon a sentence from a book. I opened up Bill Bryson’s book on Shakespeare— a section  that discusses the period after Shakespeare lost his young son, Hamnet. Of course, very little is known of Shakespeare’s feeling about the loss except through his plays. I’ve tried to incorporate very loosely some lines from plays, including King John, King Lear and Twelfth Night, and very obliquely, The Merchant of Venice. “Zounds” was a euphemism for God’s wounds or Jesus’ wounds.   The sentence that was the spring board is below:

“A separate question is why Shakespeare moved in this period to Bankside, a not particularly salubrious neighborhood when his theatrical connection was still with the Theatre, at precisely the other side of the city. It must have been a slog shuttling between the two (and with the constant risk of finding his way barred when the City gate was locked each dusk) ….” Bill Bryson, Shakespeare.

(PS – I appreciate that the photo has little to do with the poem!  Agh!)


Off-Season (Flash 55)

April 23, 2014



Istanbul in our twenties, blonde
in the Blue Mosque, toes squishing
into piles of carpet smelling faintly
of toes faced
with overarching tiles, mosaics synced
in their mismatch, sprigs,
prayers, paisleys, but no eyes
except of the men
who watched us in and out
fighting about who would sell us
what we would not buy.

A belated 55 for Mama Zen and also a poem for the prompt and photo of Lolamouse of With Real Toads. The wonderful picture, among others, was taken by Lolamouse at a shop in Portland, Oregon, but the blue amulets look identical to ones my daughter bought in Turkey a few years back, so I am guessing these are also from there. One process note is that it is my understanding that Islam discourages (or even prohibits) the depiction of sentient beings, which means that mosques do not have iconography of people’s faces but tend to focus upon geometric shapes or flowers or calligraphy. The “Blue Mosque” is a popular name of the Sultanahmet (or Sultan Ahmed) Mosque in Istanbul.

This is also some consecutive poem–23rd?–for April, National Poetry Month.

Estranged (Out West)

April 22, 2014


Estranged (Out West)

She broke the everywhere flat
by interpretive dance, saying
“this time I’ve got a good one,
no, really–”
until he pulled to the side
of emptiness
and she jumped up, lay down, flailed,
a complex choreography enacting eggs
scrambled or banana smoothies
under construction.
He never could guess
that her collapse in two
showed the cracking,
her arches her unpeel,
the quiver (frying)
the whirl (time
in the blender)
but as the gravel poked warmth
into her bare
feet, arms, he would
laugh at last,

his throat echoing
the rough swish
of her movement,
all that could be heard in that desert
except the tick of the engine;
you know how cars do that sometimes,
after they’ve stopped.


Another very drafty poem for some day of April National Poetry Month. I am linking this one to Shanyn’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub about road trips.

Epiphanies (of Sorts) around Easter

April 21, 2014


Epiphanies (of Sorts) around Easter

Easter, as a child, meant ham,
a family tradition,
which I thought back then
was a subtle declaration
that we were not Jewish
though I realize now
was probably the only big meat to hand as Spring sprang
when my parents grew up in Midwest farm country.

My in-laws in the East ate lamb,
which always seemed to me
a rather poor-taste communion with Him,
who taketh away
the sins of the world, blood pooling
on the platter,
but I realize now
was likely the least wasteful fresh meat

So, with such food for thought nudging me,
I realized, today, Holy Saturday, that the child whose hands glove glow
in a Georges de la Tour painting, my absolute favorite
when I too was about that age,
is not a girl with her father, also bald like mine, but
Jesus himself with Joseph (“Joseph, the Carpenter”).
De La Tour’s Joseph,
according to Wikepedia, uses an auger shaped
like a crucifix–

And all this time, I thought it was simply
a strikingly beautiful painting, showing, amazingly, how light shines
in dark places and can be caught by hands
shaped by pigment, or
the love of it,
and can be fixed too
as long as the hues hold true
and are kept in place by the rabbit-skin glue
used to prepare the painting surface.

Which is something else we don’t really think of much–
the stuff of paintings,
like the sources of ham and lamb–
all flames of a sort that light us,
waxing our grip,
without, we hope, burning
our fingers–

But I wonder, today,
in this Spring sun
so much brighter
than a candle, how we redeem
the squeals, how
are they too deemed necessary?

All I can think of is the word

Here’s very much of a draft poem for some day of April National Poetry month. I’m sorry if I’ve worn out the Easter theme–but here it is. The painting above is by Georges De La Tour, “Joseph the Carpenter.” I do not claim any copyright in the photograph and think/hope this is fair use. I am linking to the open link night of with real toads. (Again, by the way, I am trying to return all comments, but it is a bit hard right now. I will catch up and I thank you for your kind visits!)