Archive for December 2014

No Satin Sheets

December 31, 2014


No Satin Sheets

We were innocent
or well-trained enough
to depict the torture doled out
to girl spies (us)
as the denial of sex
rather than its forcing.

Our captor, a spymaster on the other side (whichever
girl was made to play
that part), held,
in his (her) arsenal,
a one-handed glove to feather
our racked flesh–

Not the glove! we’d whisper,
enacting febrile anticipation
from the bed at the back
of the basement
or the bar of the shower curtain, which we’d grip,
as if manacled, our toes tethering
a balance on the beam
of the pink-mauve tub–

Our hips embraced a pitched charade
of rise and fall beneath the glove’s
hovering shadow
as we simultaneously refused to betray state secrets
and steamed for love.

(There was no glove, and yet there was,
for truly, it was all
in the glove–

as if we understood already
that the touch of flesh to flesh

was not a game–
as if we understood

The mattress was thin, and where our self-pulled limbs
disengaged the worn bottom sheet, hosted cowboys on
bucking steeds, its foam’s fabric sheathe–

but we knew nothing of symbolism,

only that sheets should be satin in this world
where to not be loved
was the worst torment
we could imagine– 

Very much of a draft poem for Grapeling’s prompt “Get Listed” on With Real Toads.    The poem is supposed to describe a children’s game of sorts.  I’m not sure that comes across; maybe a change of title in order.  The image manipulated/ doctored by me. 

Many many thanks to all of you who have made this year not only bearable but special.  I so appreciate your reading, your comments, and, in the case of those of you who are fellow bloggers, your writing and your prompts.  A special thanks to those who bought, read, or put up with the writing of, my book Nice!  

I wish you the happiest and healthiest of new years.  

If the Statue of Liberty Could Speak, Maybe

December 29, 2014



If the Statue of Liberty Could Speak, Maybe

We won’t torch her,
they said, and I admit
I felt relieved, for there was just
this smell–
even after the months of rubble smoking
at my feet
which, despite all the steel
and people, smoldered
of plastic mainly–
an ingredient in so much
these days–

Still, I picked it up, even
though my nose was, as it were,
Some hum

that made me insecure
in what they said and so I held on tightly
to my own, which, is
affixed to my hand anyway and copper—

probably not
the copper they use–you know, sliced
into electrodes–

(Collar it what you will–
re-name rape as rectal
hydration–both begin with r
and smell as sweet)–

But did nothing more–
just stood there–

So, sick now
to my stomach, sick
at heart, sick even unto
my grey-green soles, to the depths
of my scrolled harbor.

There’s a certain foulness doesn’t go away
closed up–a fetid
mess that will in darkness
feed on–its seep poisoning
even as we pretend
like children playing peekaboo,
that we can make the real flee
that we can make a lie fly
that we can make all better just
by covering
our eyes.


A poem I wrote a few weeks ago I am posting as a second poem for With Real Toads open link night.  The image belongs to New York City and is from the New York City Coat Drives campaign.  It is an image that I saw being photographed in Washington Square Park about twenty-eight years ago–so beautiful I think–on a very very hot afternoon, the woman–a Statue of Liberty impersonator in green make-up, sweating.


Not Ready For the Year Now Past

December 29, 2014

Elephant Not Ready For Wake-Up Call


Not Ready For the Year Now Past

This was the year that now is past
though honestly it seemed to last
no longer than it took for me
to write its date down correctly
without a slash through errant three–
And I always thought my learning fast,

but faster still the year that’s been,
fast as a missile, fast as sin–
Tho’ that part’s nothing new, I guess–
the way each year becomes a mess
just as we vow to do [blank] less
in our last binge of [fill it in].

For we always start the New Year late–
If up, we trash the starting gate.
(I suppose I speak for just myself–
others may be New Year elfs–
while me, e’en as I drink to health,
I consign me to a sick head-ache. )

So, this year–this coming year, that is–
this year that sure would bring me bliss
if I could only live it as
a person not like me that was
but as a newbie who always does
just what I–(the me with wits)–

think she should do–exactly so–
for this I tell you, this, I trow–
if I could act as I advise,
my actions would be oh so wise
that Time would take another guise–
not going perhaps exactly slow

but allowing me to grasp its toe
so, I could hang on through its tow–
looking out to my side and to yours
and finding more than blurry blurs–
Instead I’m snagged by all life’s lures
that hook me to the status woe

(You say the Latin phrase goes quo
but I write only what I know–)


A poem for the end of 2014–posted on Open Link Night on With Real Toads.  This is also a poem in a new form I came up with–aabbba- not sure I like it so much–but was thinking of Kerry O’Connor’s new year’s prompt of  December 31, 2011  (as part of Margaret Bednar’s “play it again, Sam.” )  

Pink Dream

December 26, 2014


Pink Dream

She holds the breast to her chest
as if it were a baby nestling,
as if it could suckle
the ribbed cavity,
latching on
to its own past home.

The nipple stares up at her
like the eye of a truncated
dolphin, her arms waves
it needs to surface, not able to breathe
in the trough
of that separated flesh.

She tries to apologize, but her mouth
cannot move;
it, too, swallowed.

she wonders at the will
of the mammalian.

Yes, a strange poem I know.  I am posting it for With Real Toads, the prompt by Margaret Bender.  Margaret’s prompt is called “Simply Beautiful,” and I don’t think the poem fits that, but it was something that came up after looking at Margaret’s beautiful photographs.  I modified the picture above–Margaret’s picture is below.



Not-a-child’s Poem for A Child

December 21, 2014


Not-a-Child’s-Poem For a Child

There are times when no matter your beliefs,
you pray.
These are the times when the life of a child
is at issue,
and you come back, like a child,
to a God who takes care of children,
who guards them and keeps them
through the long night that can be life at moments,
and you ask that God
to forgive you,
as if it was you caused some lapse
in the universe,
as if the universe would have gone smoothly
but for you,
as if you could barter
with the universe,
and you do barter
with the universe,
you know, for the child–this is how humans
and what persuades me
that, really, there is no conflict
between belief in evolution
and belief in God, both of them
taking us to the same place
when it actually matters,
to a place that holds
a child at its breast, that
understands the all
of a child.


A draft poem, linked to Real Toads

The Elephant of the Magi

December 21, 2014


The Elephant of the Magi

They always give the camels all the credit
(forgetting how they smell and nip and spit at–)
while it was me remembering all day bright
the star that showed our way the prior night.

A hard trip all in all, for kings can be
terribly terribly terribly uppity
and frankincense is not the cup of tea
of those who have a trunkal allergy–

But when I finally got us to the town
where that fledgling family’d gone to ground,
I found the trip was worth the camel stench,
and all the sneezes caused by frankincense.

There’s simply nothing like a newborn babe
to lift us from the suffering of our age,
to take away the sins of this, our world,
and make us hope that peace will still the sword.

So I forgave the Bactrian bite, the snort of king,
as heart and both my flapping ears took wing–
they always give the angels credit too
when (miraculously) it was I who flew,
hovering above that tiny little stable
just as softly as a pachyderm is able.


A Christmas poem for Kerry O’Connor’s mixed-up titles prompt on With Real Toads.  The above picture is a collaboration of Giotto and MDD (me!)   (The Adoration of the Magi). 

Cheneyed Down (Caught on their Own Tenets)

December 20, 2014


Cheneyed Down (Caught on their Own Tenets)

They’ve not said the devil made them do it–
but then, they’ve not said a lot–
nothing about the clot
of what jismed through them
at the taking of another apart.

They’ve not said the devil made them do it–
They stick to the pact–
that old trade of soul
for power and largesse–
as well as their wished-for finesse
of a disproven alchemy–
that they might transmute the mess fluxed back
after water is forced through a tract
of head, lung, rectum–
(it didn’t matter up or down
as long as the subject was raped or drowned)–
into some gilded true-point tack
that might be pushed into a chart
where it would stick, smartly,
evolving into an expunged glory–
not, in other words, dissolving
with the rest of the spongy glut
of sputum, gore and gut wrenched up.

No, they’ve never said the devil
made them do it–
and, look, they took no prisoner
on an underworld tour–
one was simply tied down to the floor,
there dying not from fire but from cold–
nothing untoward–
What’s a couple of broken ribs,
dog-collared cardiac fibs?
Water water everywhere
(though not exactly drops to drink.)

They never seem to even think
the devil made them do it,
not able to see through
or past
their prop of big white hat.
How stupid is that?


A draft–I insist on calling it a draft as I know if I read it again I’ll change it some more–

for Kerry O’ Connor’s With Real Toads prompt on Mephistopheles.   I am also posting to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.  

Process notes for those who are not familiar with U.S. politics–Richard (Dick) Cheney was Vice President of the U.S. under George W. Bush, and was and is a proponent of the use of torture (although he refuses to call it that) in intelligence activities.  George Tenet was the then head of the CIA. The Senate Intelligence Committee has recently released a bipartisan report, based primarily on direct CIA records particularly extensive CIA emails, that details the systematic administration of torture during the Bush years.  One of the most interesting findings of the report (based upon an undisputed chronology) was that all useful intelligence was gathered from detainees prior to any torture (or in the absence of it).

The photo is taken from the Huffington Post.  No copyright infringement intended. 

Give Us Our Daily

December 19, 2014

Give Us Our Daily–

Sure, I’d like to earn bread, writing–
but what I write for
is to b-read.

(Well, what I really write for
is to write more.)

But better read
than dead
which is what I would be
not writing.

(Being read is
the better bread
no ifs, ands or butter
about it.)

And so I knead and noodle,
breed words,
shape lines,
give rise to what is sometimes
admittedly half-baked
(always my wry
gets carried away),

feed too
on the b-read
of others, my dear

Here’s a very belated and rather silly poem for Grace’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub about bread.  Process note-I think the word “companion” comes from the Latin, meaning someone with whom you break bread.  Thank you for being mine!

Ps slightly edited since first posting.


December 18, 2014



In the slope out in the yard,
there is a deeper slope
whose uneven slide
stows eventide.

I would like,
like a child in active play,
to roll down its twilit side,
leaf my hair with strands of grass,
land in a spin of laugh.

But I am the child
who lies down
in that depression,
hiding from those
who would seek her
even as she waits for them to near.

We are who we are.

The house by that hill
that holds a hill
is brick-faced, eyed
with glass that, in the day, looks black
reflecting back.

As night falls, some windows turn,
like the gaze of animals, yellow,
while others glower
a powder

blue, ice floes
above the wine-dark lawn, the ground moon
of stuccoed patio,
and the world becomes a sea,
wave-troughed, while you, me–

what do we
become?  We who are
what we are, we with
the contoured hearts,
the chambered darknesses.


Hi.  Sorry to be so out of touch!  This is very very much a draft poem.  I am completely unsure of the last half which I wrote many many different ways.  I wrote it for Grace’s prompt about James Wright, posted a few days ago on with real toads.  

For Mr. Know-it-all, The Host With the Most

December 11, 2014


For Mr. Know-It-All

You beamed a hospitality
that didn’t require proffered tea-
it said, you’re you and I am me
and here’s a place where “we” can be.

Your spot might not suit to a T,
but we fit just fine if some of me–
(with you)–was whittled carefully–
(fifty words worth–no, wait, let’s see

Cause humans tend to err, alive,
why not add another five--)

Oh, gee, man, how I’ll miss your jive.


Here’s a poem for Galen Haynes, the wonderful G-Man, the host with the most, who came up with the form of Flash 55, posted here for Mama Zen’s prompt on With Real Toads to write something less than 75 words with a homophone.

The Friday Flash 55 prompt was so much fun–Galen’s own post witty and wonderfully irreverent, and his persona a joy.  His comments were invariably kind, thoughtful and affirming.  Godspeed, Galen, as Mama Zen wrote in her own beautiful post, and send his family sincere condolences.

PS — Galen was so kind and funny.  He could always tell if a poster was a bit depressed or under the weather.  The above pic is from a post I did when I just couldn’t squeeze out a 55.  The rest of the pictures can be found here.)