Archive for May 2015

Green Scene

May 31, 2015

Green Scene

This evening will lead to no other night.
This evening will end
no other day.

This evening where all that’s seen
is green–how lucky
is that–
except where that bird just streamed–
a line crossing the t of tree and leaf and grass

My eyes hurt the ache of a heart
that can’t in this green
justify pain–
a farther bird swoops
the verdigris,
this one like the dark dot
of an i, an eye, an I–

Fly, bird, says all that is healthy
in me, all that lets
t’s be, i’s sigh, that breathes in
this evening,
this day,
this night,
as it closes those sore eyes,
then opens them,
looking out.

A draft of a littlest sort of poem, written just for myself.


When Low

May 30, 2015


When Low

I follow as fish whose lip has been caught.
‘Follow,’ I say, but flop flatter than him–
he, who pants hard with lungs he’s not got,
as eyes, like rolled marbles, marl rather than dim.

I can’t strike ahead, but trail as a shade
might shadow the living, one of those ghosts
who tracks Proserpine throughout Hades’ glade,
as if her curls’ currents will dwarf Lethe’s flows,

for quick and lithe even life’s keratin lies
compared to a spirit that flickers like stone,
this spirit I bangle in bright ribbons, dyes,
trying to tangle its bass undertone

with hues and translucence, with light seen through lawn,
the stranded weave tight, though seams are long gone–


Don’t ask me what it means!  This was written for Bjorn Rudberg’s prompt on Real Toads to write a sonnet using a series of rhyming end words.  (The specific words were given by Bjorn.  I have used them all and in the correct sequence, though Bjorn said we could use homonyms and slant rhymes, so I’ve substituted ghosts for goes; a slant homonym.  Ha!)

PS – vague process notes–lawn a type of tightly woven fabric like linen; Lethe a river to the underworld whose waters cause forgetfulness; Proserpine, the Roman name of Persephone–goddess (daughter of Demeter)  who spends six months of the year each year in the underworld after having been stolen by Hades (Pluto) and eaten a kernel of pomegranate there; keratin–what hair is made of!   The picture is a photo of a sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum in New York–I am sorry –don’t know the details of the sculpture; photo is mine; all rights reserved. 

Pps– I am joking when I say I don’t know what it means– I don’t know how others interpret any poems but I tend to be pretty specific (if sometimes obscure) in terms of what I am getting it!  




Porch with a View (in a Valley)

May 29, 2015



by Jason Martin (watercolor on paper)

Porch with a View (In a Valley)

The pollen slips like dance wax
on a porch that has seen many
waxed dances, more
than I remember
and I remember enough.

If I could cast sadness as a weed,
maybe I could root it out.
But it’s one of those stones
that comes to earth’s surface,
no matter how we clear it,
with every till,
every until,
every single then here now.

The trick is to dance over it.
So, I tell myself.
Or maybe the trick
is simply to stand still,
or, more simply, to still–
to let the sadness dance over,
understanding that stones in the mind
weigh about as much
as the dust of dandelions and lilacs alike–

Oh, the slippery mind–
how it wants
to hold things in
its palms; how it wants
to have palms–this perch
at the side of a mountain, these
straitened planks–

This is very much of a draft poem.  I am particularly uncertain of the last two stanzas, and have contemplated (long) ending at the end of the second stanza.  But here I am, with extra lines.  I  am posting it now to move on from it a bit.  The painting is by Jason Martin, and is also used as the cover of my poetry book. Going on Somewhere.   (Check it out!  Along with my other books, Nice, Nose Dive and 1 Mississippi.)

Have a nice weekend. 


Also, a Girl

May 27, 2015

Also, a Girl

When a woman is property,
she’s part of the furniture.

A table where men
dig elbows, take
their fill.

A wastebasket, kicked
to a corner, place
to spit.

Shelf where scuffed
shoes sit.

Her vagina, keyhole crowbarred;
pillows, sweated, punched.

When a woman is property,
she also serves
as a means of production.
Run through
an assembly line, busily dis-

Oh, how rich they are,
who can destroy
their property
like that.

Who blames a table
because it is scratched, one leg
But she feels blame, certain
no one wants
such a table–

She feels too
the table leg–still jammed
inside her–

She does not want it to touch
her inner thighs
so splays her own legs stiffly
to its sides
as if they were stilts,
as if they were splints,
as if they too
were wooden.


I’m back with a rather grim poem, sorry.  This one inspired by (i) reading about the girls released or escaped from Boko Haram in Nigeria, many of whom seem compelled to deny some of their terrible ordeal out of fear that they will themselves be censured or stigmatized.  (ii) This was also inspired by Shay/Fireblossom’s prompt on Real Toads to write a list poem.  I am linking to Real Toads Open Platform. The pic is my drawing; all rights reserved for it, and, of course, for poem.

Note that I was thinking specifically of Boko Haram in Nigeria when writing this poem, but women are treated like property all over the world.  

In terms of my own break–ah–not a good time for it!  Thanks for your real world indulgence.   

Sally & Seemore Samples? (Woes of Non-Illustrator)

May 23, 2015


Hi All!

On my break from poetry, I’ve been thinking about poems all the time!  (Also, doing a bunch of long-overdue cleaning projects.)

I have not yet had the courage to look at the children’s book project–a manuscript for a child’s novel–that I hope to finally finalize.  But I did get myself to do a couple more pics with the book in mind.

When you try to draw pictures for a book, you become immediately conscious of how wonderfully skilled trained illustrators are.  They draw in single defined strokes instead of ten or twenty pale scratchings!  Their characters look the same on every page!  And yet not the same!  Meaning that the characters are recognizable, but the postures and facial expressions change.  The difficulty in drawing consistent human beings is why I usually stick to elephants.

Anyway, here’s a couple of new ones.   I don’t know if I can use them as the little girl is just too young here.    And really the dog should probably not be smiling quite so much.  And these pictures are supposed to take place in an attic; I completely forgot about any kind of sloping roof.

But thought you might enjoy.  (Or hope so.)

PS – girl’s name is Sally; dog is Seemore.

Elephant Break?

May 21, 2015

Hey all!

I love writing poems!  Frequently!   Largely thanks to you guys!

But I have long-standing projects on back burners.  I tend to neglect these when focusing on poetry.  (Especially since my employer also expects me to do stuff.)

In order to resuscitate the other projects (and relieve that slow burn–it really gets to me), I seem to need to take a formal break from blogging poetry.

So, here’s my plan.  I am going to try to take a break from posting poems, but I do hope to keep posting–mainly little drawings and such. (Probably complaints!)

But hopefully, they’ll be fun drawings/complaints.

Anyway, keep visiting!  (If interested.)  Not to make you feel obligated (ha!) but your support is very deeply appreciated!




May 17, 2015




A part of us lives
behind a moat of bone;
it sculls about
our skulls,
on the look-out.

So defended.  Even when it feels it’s been
a pawn, it’s certain it secretly harbors
the queen or king,
of everything.

How lucky that in this bateau ivre
this row of self-deceiving,
we have a skin,
a wall easily pierced
by all’s awl.

How lucky that we have
these isthmuses of
lips, mouth, tips,
of nerve ends;
for it’s the outside that keeps us

for me–the sage
of this minute’s coolish breeze, the frisson
beneath my sleeves,
the warmth of you,
the ripples of the chest
that rises, falls.


Another drafty poem for my own prompt on Real Toads, relating to John Donne’s “no man is an island.” 

Bateau Ivre worked its way in their somehow–it means “drunken boat” in French and is the title of a poem by French poet Arthur Rimbeaud: in the poem, according to Wikipedia, the boat tells of becoming filled with water, thus drunk.

The pic is mine; all rights reserved. 

PS the end of this was edited just before first posting, now edited again to move back to the original–agh. 


May 16, 2015


We hung bells over your changing table, strung
on a thick silken cord–

A tinkle above your tinkle, as it were, or,

For purposes of this piece, it is helpful to understand that the refuse of a little nursed baby often spouts as green as Spring, a new digestive system its own
kind of April.

My fingers were quick
change artists,
but your father’s whole body was sometimes drawn
into gear.

I remember his once clanging those bells full throttle, trying to quell
your wails. He was stripped
to the waist, his other hand keeping
you safe-
father-daughter bonding–still,
you were alarmed–maybe by
his matador’s dodge, the cape
of fleeing shirt tail, or maybe it was just
the green in you coming
to the fore–

The bells were not for babies–
brass.  Probably we should not have hung them
over your head–
still, their weight, their
realness, was also
what made them work (usually)–their rings
more resonant than coo, conjuring
baby awe–

but that day’s jangle of wail
and bell
was like two rivers meeting, a confluence
of conflicting flows, clear and
muddy; eddying sweetness
and screech==

I know now
there is no joy
completely pure, and all joy also
just that–

what is mitigated also

Maybe this is why
bells can’t seem to knell
without some swell of cry
that also cups sky
while children’s cries ring out–
while children’s laughter


A draft poem for my own prompt on Real Toads, about John Donne, and his beautiful lines about bells and connection.  This one more a story than poem, but there it is!  Thanks all.


ps-the conjoined pics, such as they are, are mine. They were much bluer when made!  

Imagining Oklahoma (May 2015)

May 15, 2015

Imagining Oklahoma  (May 2015)

I write of swimming Tulsa’s parks–
it’s rained so much that some have Arks
(Snitched, I think, from church displays–
plastic giraffes in porthole bays.)
But I’ve no boat, nor yet canoe–
the crawl (Australian) best I can do.

Stroking, I ponder the pour of rain–
here in the land of Dust Bowl fame,
where folks went west-er for water, honey
(milk too and, they hoped, some money==)

Or, so it once seemed in older times
a warning time we’d mucked with climes–
that word’s poetic for another, close,
and please excuse my lines verbose–
but State Reg. Nine-Ten-Eye-Eye-Eye-Eight
prohibits that I articulate
that “climb”-start word that rhymes with “pate”
and has naught, says the State, to do with our fate–

Don’t you dare (they tell me) blame fossil fuels
for converting us all to corporate tools–
or else the drillers will pull their rigs
and we’ll have to devise some other gigs
(which would be especially mis-er-a-ble
for those on oil’s-lush payroll–)

So, I guess I’ll just crawl silently
right next to this poor drowning bee–
By the way–you have a Nicorette?
it’s like cold turkey in this wet–
or so he buzzes, busily tells–
somehow addicted to what kills–


Here’s a poem of sorts for Marian’s prompt on With Real Toads relating to Dr. Seuss and Taj Mahal.  I love Taj, but I stuck mainly with Seuss, except I suppose one could also think of Taj’s song Queen Bee–

Process notes–it is my understanding there are intense downpours right now in Oklahoma, while California, even the parts not traditionally dry, are in terrible drought.  The nicorette reference is to the nicotinamides in pesticides which many think are causing the decimation of bees.

Final process note–I am in New York City right now–so apologies for my ignorance of Oklahoma–California too– though I took out that stanza!  Also I am without either pencil, eraser or drawing pad– I really am not used to drawing without an eraser!  Agh! 

PS– I fear that fracking and earth quakes may be an even bigger problem in Oklahoma right now, but decided to keep this poem relatively simple.

PPS – I am informed, upon posting, that this is my 2000th post on this blog.  Ha!  Thanks to you all for the encouragement. 



Fish In Some Kind of Water

May 14, 2015

This picture DOES NOT go with the poem–I just like it.

Fish In Water

We feel
like a fish–
I use here both the royal ‘we’
because I am gold, and
the collective ‘we’
because that was how
I was schooled.

We are not out of water
but tanked.
Our owners, easily tiring of the tedium
of our boxed obliviousness, feed us repeatedly
just to see us fetch.

Sure enough, we’re fired up
by the flakes, swish for the catch
in the mitt of our hinged-jaw maws–

The taps feel to us
clapped applause
even as they shake us
to our cartilaginous marrow.
‘My turn’, ‘no,
my turn,” regaling and hailing
until the sounds dumb
to a clouded sky
with only occasional
dandruff, the food of random

Too much–too little, but still
too much,
until our sheen slimes,
scales bloat, and patches spread
over our once-rich red,
patches pale as the underbelly
of some creature we wot not–

Something is very wrong here,
more than just

A rather strange one, probably linked to nowhere!