Archive for February 2015


February 28, 2015


The passageway to warmth
is as wide as it need be–
the breadth of your body, the breath
of your body–
sighs sized to stretch us both
into foreshortened
a night narrow
as two spoons.

But when, feeling lone,
the brain becomes a dislocated bone,
when crevices hutch stone, darkness thickens
and even walls pass judgment,
one confuses ways-away.

Some mistake an unlit oven
for possible passage (the speckle
of its inner midnight misread
as splotches of star),
consider cuts channels, purge
as release, oblivion
a coveted tease–

when–I have to believe–
if time could just be waited upon,
warmth might alight in windowed panes,
great trapezoids of sun winnowed
from the meanest cracks,
brightnesses to bring us back
into blink and dazzle,
a radiance that lets us wear
its raiment as our own, quickening
whatever lists into its frame and, too,
what simply looks on.


Here’s a poem originally written for a personal challenge given to me by Corey Rowley  (Herotomost) on Real Toads, and posted there.  I have edited the enjambment a little and am re-posting on my own blog and also for dVerse Poets Pub open link day, hosted by the wonderful Claudia Schoenfeldt as Claudia and Brian Miller pass a torch at dVerse Poets Pub to Bjorn Rudberg.  Brian and Claudia have definitely offered a passageway to warmth for me in all their online poetic endeavors and have my heartfelt gratitude.  




February 27, 2015



Dawn always.

The first taste (and, okay, also the aftertaste)
of dark chocolate.

The undersides of leaves
blown back
when the wind blows leaves silver,
then slack.

Eyes that care for you.
Eyes that reflect a light you had not known
you carried.


But why, I ask myself,
in this poem that moves
among the revelations of dawn
and the back-leafing
of silver,
do you keep in
the chocolate?
You who never eats

All I can think of
is how sweetness
must always be
re-learned–how else
can some of us remember
the recognizing of it?

And of a treat
I was sometimes given as a child–a bonanza,
it was called–ice cream haloed
by bananas in a swim
of dark and shiny–
and of how that hot fudge sheen,
lathered by crenellated cream,
is now a palpable layer
in my father’s remembered smile,
as if he sometimes spoke
in Sundae.

And though this memory is surely–if anything is–
an aftertaste, this poem is not
about comfort food but about whatever pools
in the spoon of the senses,
lighting an opening
that your caught, dim, heart
might some day


A poem of sorts for Marian Kent’s prompt on Real Toads based on a song by Gillian Welch called Time (The Revelator).  Another one that should probably end at the first stanza.  The pic above is of dawn looking out over Central Park in good old NYC.  The bottom pic an old one, made by me.


Medieval Mother And Child (Carved Somehow)

February 25, 2015



Medieval Mother And Child (Somehow Carved)

I don’t know why it is
my babe’s a little man,
nor why he stands so perched
upon my arm and hand–

nor why I mayn’t be touched
by any other,
only that when he suckles,
he’s certain babe enough–

and man.  Then, that my breast
turns round as the sky’s sun,
hard and sturdy-stemmed,
in his fine-fingered palm,

as a pomegranate;
I fear then–oh, I fear—
that such rubied pride will burst
in fountained drops near

crimson, prisming the air
in their first flood,
but darking to a sluice
of side-slid blood,

our every round gullied
by its rivulets.
No babe can be so held
as to tourniquet

that flow; nor arms so braced
to hold off sorrow’s touch.
This, I know. Yet, e’en the wood
in me craves so much;
where stone, I long,
where bone, I mourn.


A draft poem of sorts, written belatedly for the wonderful Brian Miller’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub asking for something medieval.  I am also posting for With Real Toads Tuesday Platform.   Above is the picture (copyright infringement not intended) of a medieval German madonna and child from New York City Metropolitan Museum.  Below is a non-medieval madonna and child in Uruguay, whose pic was taken by yours truly. 



To B

February 22, 2015


To “B”  (Letter to the Letter to B)

Oh, you’re Bad.
You Ball Bearing Bugle
of Boldface.
You Barrel-Breasted
you Bombolino
Bird of Bray!

Just look at you!  So Brassy
when in Block!
With so much Bleep
from Brow to Base–those Blatant
Buttucks– (or maybe they’re of
the Bosom Bersuasion)–
which, in our Bargaining with
Being, don’t even make
us Blink.

Though in the itty-bitty case (your
bijou brand)–you nearly bury
your bullet, bearing your bubble
as a boot or bashful beard,
braiding your boons and banes
in bismuthed ballyhoo—

Oh B,
how you do Belt out, beguile–
no matter the bull and bile–
as all the while,
you still book beats,
beak banter,
the blues–
you bestest ever



A ditty of sorts for Margaret Bednar’s prompt Play It Again, Sam on With Real Toads, where Margaret asks us to pick an archived challenge.  In this case, I am writing to Kerry’s challenge to write an open letter.  I realized on reviewing this that I’d written a letter to the letter “A” on the first go-round, so thought I’d try “B” this time. 

I was at the Metropolitan Museum last night and took pictures of various “B” things–from beards to boddhisatva–above and below.  

PS – I have a poem up over at Real Toads right now in answer to a personal challenge by Corey of Herotomost. I will probably post it here tomorrow, but if you want to see it, in advance:  Passage












February 20, 2015



Dear father,
who is in heaven
if heaven is as hallowed
as they say.
I miss you and remiss you
every day,
meaning that
I miss you again
and again
but still spend
as if time were money,
a currency that could be
accumulated, counterfeit,
newly engraved;
ever asking you,
who knew better,
to help me stop. 


A sort of poem for Grapeling’s prompt on With Real Toads to “get listed.”  In this prompt, Grapeling asks us to use homonym-type words or words that have different meanings.  I hate to direct interpretations of a poem but I’m including the word father as one of these,  as I feel like the poem is directed more to my personal father than a grander one, but not sure that meaning comes across.  The above photo is not really synced to the poem, but was taken recently at my house in upstate New York.  This is a second story room, ice on the windows–you can see a speck of tree at the top. 



Brain Freeze

February 17, 2015


Brain Freeze

It is negative nine.
Minus nine.
below zero. 

Or maybe ten–this,
on the thermometer, whose little lines
are too fine
for my sure read–

but determine to go out–
feel, then, negative
nearly ten–hike
some wool long underwear under
my flannel night gown, channel arms into
deep down coat,
tie fur hat below chin, zip
myself in–

The white world is unimpressed
by my quick bulk.
Where nightgown opens (under cover of downed neck)
feels naked as the half moon that hovers
at the trees’ bared heads
(the trees’ bared limbs, that is,
trees not having heads,
except for broccolis, which aren’t
true trees.)

Eyes slip over
the ellipses of a hare
who was apparently just there, at least
his paws were,
pause upon the ice,
glasses also


Here’s a little ditty from one of the warmer days we’ve had in that there was no significant wind chill–the last few days have actually been very difficult to go out in without proper gear–I have even at moments taken to wearing goggles over my glasses (which I hate) to try to protect eye fluids from freezing.  (It was supposedly negative 40 the day before yesterday and yesterday morning. This is Farenheit.  I do not know how they calculate wind chill, but it was certainly cold.)

Posting for Real Toads Tuesday Open Forum. 


On Valentine’s

February 14, 2015

Heart Out of the Box

On Valentine’s

I tell him that a friend has told her son
just to put her in a room
with paper and glue
but I don’t make collages,
so he should stick to the stones.

He says,
“what if I just smother you?”
I think for a second, washing potatoes,
then say, “no, I don’t think smothering
would be good,”
and he says, “what if I smother you
with love?” sending
his best crooked smile, but I, paying it no mind,
pour the potatoes in a sieve, then douse them
with water, then, as a stream pours down
the cabinet–”look, see
what I mean–”

“You were just distracted,” he says,
“talking about me smothering you–you had them near
the sink,” and I say, “no, I actually forgot
it was a sieve,”
and he shrugs and I wipe the floor,
trying to console myself with the fact
that there wasn’t that much
water, and say, “no, you shouldn’t
smother me; that would seem
so aggressive,”
and he says, “you think?”
“It might upset me,” I say, “the last thing I see being
you smothering me,”
and he says, “I’m not
going to smother you,”
and I say, “just put the stones
in my pockets and aim me
for the pond–it would be
like a game,” but he
is doing the crossword now,
and I’m pretty sure can’t be counted on
even for the stones.


I couldn’t resist posting this as a second poem for my prompt on With Real Toads, about promises. The above is a not-very-good photograph of a light sculpture by my dear husband, Jason Martin. 

Ode To Morning

February 14, 2015


Ode to Morning

You promise less and less–
oh, there’s tea.
You still pull that
out from under your half-closed lids
like some energizing
brown rabbit=though now, my own eyes are so damned dry
by the time you wake me, and the whole thing so
old hat, that I leave cups
barely drunk–the leaf muck cold,
as the bag half-sunken, half-afloat, peers up
like a desolate manatee, blinding,
in a circular swamp.

Not like the way tea used to be,
I think curmudgeonly–ly,

which takes me to that first apartment,
its grey moldings trowel-molded by so many layers of paint
that even a Bic gouging at the jambs
(in boredom or plain old pique)
wouldn’t get down
to the wood–
the rooms about ten feet
wide, could fit
a bed. I’d sit in one at the top of Mott
looking over
Houston (I’m talking NYC),
drinking three cups at a shot, hot
and metallically sweet, my pink packets
of Sweet and Low on the ever-ready–
sweet and high–
not on anything, truly, but the sixth floor
of that crumbling walk-up,
and the way your light
was magnified by all the warps—you know, those windows

whose glass proves it’s a liquid, the kind that make the whole world
seem secretly fluid, no matter that it’s hard and shiny
as the hood of a yellow cab, a sunned fender bending
brake lights, calf-fitted boots or someone else’s
the sky sky-blue, best days, from upmost arc
to the pitch of those water towers, soot-black
as a witch’s roofed hat–oh, what

Habituated to the saccharine, I could not even taste
the fakeness of its sweet, just ripped and poured,
sipped and poured, one cup after
another, as if tea
were a talisman and talismen could be ingested
for timed-release–

I like to think that if I knew then
what I know now
I’d have done something
differently, but all I can come up with
is that I would have drunk
at least one
more cup.


Here’s a poem of sorts written for my prompt on With Real Toads, to write about something promising or relating to a promise.  Process notes!  Re pic–I tend to get English tea bags that don’t have strings!  That is supposed to be one of them above.  And I don’t have coasters–so I use an old program (that I never quite get with) to protect my night table.

Lastly, Houston–the street in New York–is pronounced House-ton, like the Doctor or a residence.
And, since I have your attention, check out my books!  (I’ve not done an actual author page, but that link will lead you to them.) Thanks! 


A Gamble, Love

February 13, 2015


A Gamble, Love

If I profane with my unworthiest hand
this holy shrine, the gentle sin is this,
my lips two blushing pilgrims ready stand
to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss–
————–William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.


“The cards–they turned against me, baby–
though every single one I played for you–
‘cause you deserve the best–you, my best lady–
the best a man could have, and that’s for true.”

He bends to kiss my belly with near beard,
shuffling belly, beard and smooth and rough so well,
a warmth is dealt that pays no mind to word,
a heat of coupled past, skin-wanded spell–

and the heap of ash–my heart an hour before,
waiting, stirs as with sharp sticks or flinted stones
as stubble apes a spark—”Not like that whore,
damned queen. I would have had a flush–” he groans–

“You lost it all?” My whisper asks his hair.
Lips to nipple, his reply.  ”All?” I ask
again, voice lower. His fingers mouth despair
and slow.  And, as head lifts, cold finds a path,

a gap between the rise of his chest, chin,
a gulf between my breasts, and seeps to where
hips join, a lunar plexus of thin
chill–“I had great hands,” he says; I stare.


This is both a kind of draft poem and completely fictional!  Ha!  But I was thinking of Kerry O’ Connor’s wonderful prompt on With Real Toads that quoted Shakespeare –”love is a tender thing”–from Romeo and Juliet- and asked for poems on a varied theme of love and enmity.  I thought of these other lines from Romeo and Juliet, which led to a different idea of a hand.   The poem has so many odd breaks, I feel like I should do a reading to make the sound clearer, but life will not make that possible today.  One thing, in my poetry, breaks are only intended to be taken where punctuated–i.e. by a comma or period–and not at the end of a line–  Thanks!   Have a great weekend and Valentine’s Day–



February 12, 2015

Art by Danny Gregory–


There is so much pain
that cannot be
disease not easable, loss that can’t
be found, accidents that will not
an unavoidable heaviness of being
that won’t be breathed away
even if we tried–

But we don’t try
terribly hard–make miseries like mud-pies
as if they were something
to eat, foment
discontent, substitute the non-essential
for the existential, court

Oh, we Cartesians, who think therefore
we be–we bees who harbor
honey, buzz about it,

Oh, we shopping Cartesians,
we non-stopping Cartesians,
we go-Cartesians,
we blow-by-blow Cartesians,
we donkey Cartesians,
we flog-a-dead-horse Cartesians,
we artisans of
cartilege and bone, of bone
and desire,
we beings who often
don’t think.


Another late night attempt!  This time a pseudo-philosophical.  (I have never much for the philosophical.)   As a process note, the word “Cartesian”  essentially means of or relating to the extremely rational French Philosopher Rene Descartes, who, in the early 1600s, coined the idea of “I think, therefore I am,”  (“Je pense, donc je suis  or Cogito ergo sum!”)   

I am posting this belatedly in connection with the dVerse Poets Prompt, hosted by Gabriella, featuring the drawings of Danny Gregory.  Gabriella did a very good interview of Mr. Gregory, whose work may be found on flicker.