Archive for November 2015

Fear of Failing (Dread Aftermath)

November 27, 2015

20151127-094831-35311199.jpgFear of Failing (Dread Aftermath)

Exposure of your inadequacy
is like that hand you don’t want
diddling you;
it has pushed itself down your pants
or up–
you can smell the grimed lines
of the thick-stumped digits; your face

somehow, it is all
your fault–maybe you allowed
your arms to fall asleep
so they could be rolled, logs,
then cinched
behind your back–

Logs joined in the child’s set you
keep picturing
start a foundation, corner
a little brown house-
but you don’t see how your arms, so skewed,
could build anything
that might stand.


Draftish poem for Fireblossom‘s (Shay Simmons) prompt on With Real Toads to write about dread, this, about the exposure of failure. 


November 22, 1963 (Playground)

November 22, 2015


November 22, 1963 (Playground)

Our hair served both
as reins and manes
and we’d just learned how
to canter–one same leg rocking always
ahead of the other–and also
the word for it–

But we knew that late afternoon,
that late November, was not the time
to play–not that recess, which was not
at its right time,
for the president was dead, shot
in the head, the president young and beautiful
as any horse
to a child,
and we let our hair hang lank
upon our backs,
not knowing how else to weep.



A draft poem for today, the anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The pic is from another poem, actually about Kennedy’s funeral, where a riderless horse was led down Pennsylvania Avenue.

I have revised this fairly significantly and a few times since first posting and since people commented.  It has a last stanza that went as follows, but I think it’s better, ending as above, with the hair.   I include this here just because it was part of the poem all day!  

what we’d practiced was
to sweep the air away, to toss our heads,
to neigh,
but the golden fall of that
fall sun was not
a time to run, our president gone,
and all so young.


Doll Legs

November 21, 2015


Doll Legs

I had, you said, little doll legs,
and you, curved ankled,
which meant, though it rankled,
that you would always be the woman
and me, the child.

Tonight, the sky is striated with clouds
that look like scars
or maybe mouths, made to stay straight
rather than curve down, clown frown–
that kind of cry
sometimes found
in sky.


A poem of sorts–you can call it a draft–for Margaret Bednar’s referential “Play it Again Sam” prompt on with Real Toads, based in my case, on Kerry O’Connor’s prompt about the great South African poet,  Ingrid Junkar.

The above pic is of Betty Grable, who supposedly had “curved ankle” legs.  You will note them.  Photo from flicker–no copyright infringement intended. 



Draft (NYC)

November 20, 2015

Draft (NYC)

I think as I walk through midtown Manhattan that I should email you my manuscripts
just in case I get shot or blown up tomorrow.

Shoulders filter the night; I weave slightly (in part because of thick black shoes meant to roll worn feet
into a next step)
even as I pass a guy whose face shows the shadowed hollows of someplace south or east of the Mediterranean, depicted in the news lately as scary hollows–

yet, I feel pretty sure that if I should stumble he would catch me by the arm–

a little behind him, two policeman (each of different ethnicity) and half a block behind–these being tense times– two more–

but also because the sidewalk’s really uneven here, slabbed.

Still, I stick with the cracks, having seen a rat on the smoother path I was about to turn down, a curve through the Park (supposedly safe now
in the dark)–

I want to digress here into a story about a pregnant raccoon in this same Park, how I happened onto her one bright day and, in yesterday’s dim, her silhouette, possibly–but it is too long a story for this piece–even though there is something somehow endearing
about a city that harbors pregnant raccoons in its parks (they get rabies shots) despite
the rats–

this city where also hang Matisses blue as sky or sea dancing
and where in the high glass ahead float paned wedges of reflected neon, blue
as a Matisse.

I feel rather sorry for you trying to figure out what to do with the manuscripts–

me who did not myself give them time, yet who still wants them saved,
who wants them (so much) to walk about in the best way manuscripts can, that is, holding
someone’s hand, in the way a book might hold mine now,
but for the night,
holding that person’s hand through street and room, through comfy chair
and scary hollow, showing that person (if desired)
the silhouettes of pregnant raccoons–and more–a woman
the only need
wedges of light–really, any color
will do–

A very odd draft poem for Corey Rowley’s prompt on With Real Toads about the hearts desire(right this minute.) 

The pic was actually taken by me a few weeks ago, showing light shows that were done before the NYC Marathon–not the neon squares of glass I write of, but cool pics, I thought.  All rights reserved. 

When I Only Thought To Write of Paris

November 14, 2015


When I only thought to write of Paris

I remember when I only thought to write of Paris
when I wanted to wallow in the blue sky
of the basement breakfast room
of our cheap hotel near the velvet of
La Dame de La LIcorne,
or when I allowed myself to taste
good but half-limp croissants like those shoved
to the peeling door
of our bed-sized room near Notre Dame where,
already broken-up,
we wept–

And when I thought the World Trade Center
was horribly gaudy
with its fluted gold columns, burnished fake
as a plastic fire,
its red carpets thick
as the Donald’s wished-for bangs, its long swish
of many
trooped flags–

And later how strange it felt
when my children’s PC New York school
hung the Stars and Stripes over its door,
and how, this time, when we wept
it was like Jesus, not
for ourselves–

And I remember–was it September 16?–
singing in the alcove behind the altar, our West Village church
(because of the crowd)
and how then when we wept, we did not
feel like Jesus but
sorrowful little children, who,
no matter how tightly their hands are clasped
cannot bear the streets ahead
or any more
dark nights–


Another poem for my prompt on Real Toads about writing to an exercise.  I don’t know quite how to express my sadness and fraternite with what is going on in France–a start, I guess–

Angora, or a Female Baby Boomer Looks Back

November 14, 2015

Angora, or a Female Baby Boomer Looks Back

I do not remember this grey
ghosting our days,
gaunting the grass below
childhood windows,

though the air was thick
as boughs then too,
air that could be cut into blocks, stacked
like igloos, only warm.

Still, we slipped
through its chinks, able, so young, to think
a back slide sideways,
to glide from the yawn of bed
(barefoot, or flexing Keds)
to the blood red wood of

next door’s back yard table
where we sparred the way girls do–
in slouching talk and prancing walk–
thighs planking the picnicked planks,
too big, we assumed,
to slip through those cracks–

not understanding that it was not the dark
beneath the wood we should
have feared, but something much more fuzzy

that seems to me after years
like the shawl of this fall morning,
whose sharpness pricks
as sure but fine as that rabbit fur sometimes woven
into wool,
or the itch of the sheep itself–

Why could we not
stand up for ourselves?
(Or, maybe, I only write
of me.)



My rather convoluted attempt at my own prompt on With Real Toads to make a poem from a writing exercise.  Please visit and try for yourself. 

I’m not sure the pic goes with the poem–but I like it–it is my photo taken of leaves falling from the sky.

The Millais Bridesmaid

November 14, 2015

The Bridesmaid

The Millais Bridesmaid

Surely, none will check my hair–
you see, I’ve got them hidden there:
my own style pick
and candle wick–
tools to escape me someplace where

I will my self-same bridesmaid be
unveiling with solemnity
the paper, pen
that beat any Ken,
as I write my way to someplace free–

which may be but a blue-stained sheet–
(for my pick’s a pen with ink replete,
my candle wick–the
inner flicker
that lights my way to where words meet.)

In those linked strands of L and M
I will plait the who I am
as curl of b
and q of c
carries me onto the lam,

the writing lam, where I will wed
all I ever wish I’d said
and where I’ll find
a piece of mind
to nightly warm my blotted bed.

Here’s a very belated draft poem for the wonderful Susie Clevenger’s prompt on Real Toads to write something inspired by a painting by John Everett Milais. I chose the Bridesmaid above.  

I hesitate to post such a silly poem in light of the horrors and tragedies of Paris; so so sad.  

Artificial Intelligence

November 11, 2015


Artificial Intelligence

They went to an amateur museum, where they happened
onto an old wrangler of sorts, known by them, it seemed,
when they were young and green
and once before out West.

And the wrangler remembered them,
in a zestful recollection of wrinkles winking,
and as he spoke
of how young and green they had been
they felt woven again
in the loom of that same youth
in the awkward green
of first love.

Only when they left his room, in the museum,
they read a writing on the wall that noted
the date of the wrangler’s death,
and discussed the animated projection
that stood in for him.

They wondered then how a projection
could have recognized them,
and soon whether they had ever
actually known that wrangler,
and even whether they had ever in fact
been young, green or in the West

Soon, she even doubted that he, who walked beside her,
had ever loved her,
and though he insisted that, of course, he had,
she still stared at him
when he wasn’t looking,
with palpable doubt.


A draft prose poem of sorts for With Real Toads Tuesday Open Platform.  (My life still far from my own; sorry to be late with comments.)  Photograph mine from a small municipal museum in Colonia, Uruguay.  


November 8, 2015



She thought she could be held
by a looking glass,
only after slippering in,
found the spoon ass-backwards, front to flat,
even just her own arms warmer;
so battened them around her,
not noting as she looked down
her crown caught, parted.


Attempt for the wonderful Kerry O’Connor’s prompt on Real Toads to write a micro poem on the theme of the eye of the beholder.  Pic by Christina Martin, edited by me; all rights reserved

Against All Odds (Survival)

November 7, 2015

Against All Odds (Survival)

No crash from headlong dash.
No looped stitch bartering arteries.
Calories consumed.
Looming trains uninterrupted
entering stations.
(Still waiting for it, still
waiting for it.)
Day to day despair repaired
with spared arts, artifice.


A belated drafty poem for the wonderful Izy Gruye’s “Out of Standard” prompt on With Real Toads to write a poem celebrating what in fact didn’t happen.  My time hasn’t really been my own for a bit, so am very sorry to be late visiting other blogs!  Will make it up!

Since original posting, I have changed the title.

Pic is mine–all rights reserved.