Posted tagged ‘poetry’


April 3, 2019


Somewhen a car roams,
the shape of my torso already
ghosting its hood;
stairs I will have fallen down
a stream slips around the sometime rocks
in my pockets;
the sea breathes me.

They all speak late at night, sotto voce–
They think that I don’t hear them.
(They know that I hear them.)
(They count upon my hearing them.)

In the cone that is a too-bright light lit late,
the car hood blinks, the stairs shrug,
the stream blushes – the sea too feels sheepish–embarrassed all
by how they need me
to make them into fates–
embarrassed all of them, but not so embarrassed
as to simply let me be.

Another would-be poem for Sanaa’s prompt on Real Toads about late nights.  It is difficult for me to return comments till this weekend, but will. 


Tried to Make a Nest

April 1, 2019

Tried to make a nest

She tried to make a nest upon his chest,
as if by folding into him
she could get him to hold her.

She liked to think of the light there as blue
but it was grey.
The chill of cement
as she walked to him, then bent to look for
a hollow, to fit into
a hollow,
could still be recalled
by her bared feet,
the hard cement beneath
whatever they covered it with.



Draftish poem for Marian’s prompt on Real Toads about changes in love. 

Evening Porch

August 30, 2018

Evening Porch

I went out to an evening porch
because a bur bit at my heart.
I could not tell if it was you
or your loss that stung so smart.

The crickets rubbed a murmur synched
to a wholeness I could barely hear;
my forehead had to listen hard
harder even than my ears.

The breeze that rose from somewhere North
felt a bit like fingertips;
you too were raised in a place of cold
but rarely touched my face, my lips.

And yet this sweep of ending day
whose deep’s deep blue except where green
speaks to me of you, of you,
and means what I would have it mean:

that you loved me and I loved back,
that foreheads can be made to hear
(as now beneath the crickets’ arc
the stream’s rush cushions far and near)

so that on the planks I walk
beside a door that leads to light,
beside that blue that you’re blurred in,
I find a seat that bears with night

and try to write there till it’s dark,
write there even in the dark,
letters that feel their way along
this burdened page, unburred heart.


Here’s a poem for my own prompt – Going, Going, Gone, on Real Toads.

Painting is mine, though not sure it goes with the poem! All rights reserved. 

Good News, Bad News

January 25, 2014

Good News/Bad News

Good News/Bad News

And then there was the man–look!–
who fell out of an aero plane.  That was the bad news.
But, phew! he fell onto a haystack–
the good news:  that apparently his back
was not broken
through the intervention of
dried grass.
But hey! there was
a needle in that stack–bad news.  Except, wait–
he turned out to have a camel
in his pocket, which fit exactly through the eye
of that needle–good news–
for that took him straight to, do-not-pass-go to,
the kingdom of heaven, not
so much because he was a rich man
but because the haystack hadn’t worked that well after all–
not against a fall
from the sky.

This is the reworking of an old rather silly poem that is actually in my book Going on Somewhere.  I am posting it for Mary’s post “on the other hand” on dVerse Poets Pub.   Check out dVerse.  Check out my books!  

“Love All” (Tennis, Federer, Not Quite Wimbledon)

July 8, 2012


Roger Federer (surprise surprise!) won Wimbledon. I confess to have been rooting for Andy Murray (so the Brits could at last get the title.)  Still, congrats to Federer – it is impossible not to admire his nimble grace and iron composure.

Wimbledon is, of course, played on grass, where Federer excels. Historically, however, he has not been such a winning machine when he plays on clay, particularly on the bright orange surfaces of the French Open.  Here’s a freshly revised poem, written during one of those French Opens.


Would-be Poet

I, who must be purposeful at every minute,
even when lying in bed on a Sunday morning, call to ask you, miles away,
for a prompt, something to write about, something
outside of myself.

You are watching tennis. You’ve taken the phone into
the TV room, but, far
from its home cradle, it emits a steady cackle.
Earlier, you left the TV, but this is
my second call of the morning, and Federer, the champion for umpteen
seasons, is being trounced.

As the silence on your end
of the line extends (but for
the crackling), my mind’s eye
sees your legs–you wear tennis
shorts for the event–they bounce
from heel to thigh, not with impatience, but
compressed excitement, so that your
hips barely rest upon the edge of
that bed (so very far
from mine); I imagine
your face too, gaze glazed
with the brilliant orange
of the beamed clay surface.

I want to shout
over the static: But Federer is never his best
on clay! Don’t you
know that already? Doesn’t
the world?

Instead I whine something
about really needing
a prompt, and you, squeezing words from
the small bits of brain
not glued to the brilliant screen, say, um…
how about…’photosynthesis’?

You are not a poet; you don’t pretend to be a poet; why
do I even ask you, a non-poet, for such help?
I groan.

you interject, with renewed
vigor (someone’s just made
their serve), how about ‘love
and photosynthesis’?

I groan again.

‘Asparagus’ then, you laugh,
making some distracted
but cheerfully inane
remark about how
it’s like your love for me, endlessly growing.

While I, who must be purposeful
at every moment, turn green, so jealous
of the TV that grips you, of
the clay, the ball, even the frustrated
Federer, that uncaringly
hold you so close–but mostly
of you yourself, your ability to just sit there
and watch,
guiltlessly, lovingly, full
of bright orange beams.



Posted also for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night. 


Weather or Not – Villanelles (Traveler’s Wedding Side by Side A Nap)

July 7, 2012

Monsoon Skirt

I am posting the villanelle below, an older one, for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics challenge, hosted by the wonderful Stu McPherson, to write a poem influenced by the weather.   To spice up this villanelle a bit, I have made a doublespeak audio recording of it,  pairing it with another villanelle called “The Nap (Post-Fight)” (whose text may be found here.)   I personally find the mixed audio more intriguing than reading the single villanelle bel0w–there is a really odd music to two villanelles together, that, as incomprehensible as the words are, kind of transcends the texts –at least my texts!

Traveler’s Wedding/Nap (ITunes)

Travelers’ Wedding – Bangkok

The monsoon sky grew slowly thick with grey
as sweat like traffic stalled the steaming city.
It didn’t feel much like the first of May,

not even in his shirt saved for the day,
nor in the Indian skirt she’d thought so pretty.
The monsoon sky grew slowly thick with grey

as they hurried to the bureau where they’d say
“I do”, or if required, some learned Thai ditty.
It didn’t feel much like the first of May;

still was, and, as they found, a holiday.
Closed office doors made clean clothes somehow gritty;
the monsoon sky grew slowly thick with grey.

“Tomorrow then,” they sighed, feigning dismay,
and then made jokes that almost passed for witty.
But it didn’t feel much like the first of May,

stained, like his shirt, with portent and delay
as sweat, like lifetimes, stalled throughout the city.
The monsoon sky grew slowly thick with grey;
it didn’t feel much like the first of May.


Thanks for your patience with this new technique!  I definitely have a long way to go with it.  K.

“Oh, the Red Roofs” – 15th Day of National Poetry Month-Magpie Tales

April 15, 2012

"Red Roofs" Marc Chagal

Oh, the Red Roofs

When young, the roofs I longed for
weren’t crimson but

terracotta; they clustered beneath 
Florentine skies whose Giotto blue was propped by crusty bread
and the dusky wine that poured from pitchers 
sprigged with painted poppy. 

So much better, I thought back then, than the darker shingles
of triangulated humdrum further North, those shelters of bricked-up
dreams that held at best (I thought)
the wafting steam of milky tea.

In my midlife, I sought a specific deep red roof most often seen
from snow, a house whose windows of yellow light
beckoned like lanterns across sky sea,
where too the wafting steam of tea warmed fingers
like nothing else except perhaps (hours later) red wine and your
ribbed side.

Now older–tea drunk, wine swallowed, kisses exchanged–I think
of the deep red roofs of mouths, and beneath them

so many once-housed words– the rounded vowels of terracotta, the
shingles of hinged consonants, letters 
traced on snow-fogged glass,
prayers emboldened by Giotto blue–

Now, older, I think of the deep red roofs of mouths.

The above poem, posted a bit late (I’m sorry), is for Tess Kincaid’s Magpie Tales.  Tess’s prompt this week is the Chagall painting above, “Red Roofs” though I think this poem probably owes more to Walt Whitman than Chagall.

“Sparrow Dreams” (Revisited) – Third Day of National Poetry Month

April 3, 2012

Sparrow Dreams

My child is a sparrow.

The other women hold their babes in arms; I cup mine in my palms, gently, for she is a sparrow, so fragile that I am afraid that I will crush her if I hug, though sometimes I run my forefinger over her small brown head, feeling the soft downiness above brittle skull.

We sit on a bench at Rockefeller Center; it is a grey day, the air only a few shades lighter than the buildings.  Our concrete bench is also grey, speckled with black grains, like crumbs of tar, sand, black hole, mixed with the cement; the sculpted box hedge at my back has, at its hollow depths, silvery branches.

She is not even a baby bird.  As I hold her in my palm, she tilts her head, her eyes bead bright, while the babies of the women around me goggle fleshily; their mothers cooing over them with full-echo cheeks.

I try not to feel less significant.  So, my child is a sparrow.

Then, suddenly, for some reason I cannot  place, I put her down, there, at my side, on the grey stone bench.  I stand, brush my hair back from my face, breath in a space of grey white air.  When I turn about again, she is gone; her soft keel of breast and wing nowhere to be seen.

I search the bench, the bushes; I tug the arms of the women who mill about me.

I cry, I weep, I despair.   The fact that she is a bird means nothing to me now, only that she is gone, my child, my only, my dear.

I wake up weeping. My hands, in the velvet grey of night-morn sheets, trace the soft hard curve of my belly, which is still there, still pregnant.

But all is changed, all is forever different, and I weep on, for I know now that what I am being given is something which may be lost, and that it is a loss that, unlike the child itself, I will not ever be able to bear.

And how, I wonder, will I be able to hold her when she comes–for I know that I must not grip tightly, though she can take flight–

So hard my heart is beating, so fast–

National Poetry Month!  Open Link Night at DVerse Poets Pub!  (Check it out!)  The above which I’m calling a prose poem for these purposes is actually based on a draft poem that I wrote the third day of LAST YEAR’s National Poetry Month.  To view the original, click here!  

Poetics Prompt- Wild Poem – “Kali”

November 26, 2011


I’ve posted this for DVerse Poets Pub “poetics” prompt “wild” and Gooseberry Garden’s poetry picnic.  It’s an older poem about the Indian Goddess, Kali.  Kali is a  Goddess of Destruction, often depicted in a fairly violent, i.e. wild form,  but it is my understanding that this destructive force is also an energy that can be channeled in a protective manner–against obstacles!  Blocks!   Enemies!  (She seems to me to be kind of like a life coach mother bear.)  At any rate, here’s my effort and a new iPad drawing above.


Dear Kali, you are my favorite goddess.
It is your krazy hair,
and all those men that you wear
at your waist.
It is the way that you waste
them with your big mouth,
that you break them in two with your teeth, 
that you bear down hard.

Dear Kali, you are my favorite goddess.
It is the way that you slit,
the way that you split,
the way that you pit
them against each other, heads against heads,
and that sharp spear that you hold
in your hand.

Dear Kali, you are my favorite goddess.
Make me your third eye.
Make me the clasp at your waist.
Give me the weight of fifty men, the hook of the chain.
Dear Kali, you are my favorite.

(PS the poem is in a collection of my work GOING ON SOMEWHERE available on Amazon.)

(PPS – I’m so sorry that I’ve not been in a good position to return comments the last few days.  Thanks to all who’ve commented.  I will get back to your work.)

Another Sestina (Sigh….) “Vacuum”

September 23, 2011

(Supposed to be cigarette smoke)

This is a poem,  a sestina, that I’ve posted before, but I’m linking it tonight to the liv2write2day blog of Victoria Ceretto-Slotto, in which she asks for poems writtenabout the dark, or shadowed, self.  I’ve written a lot of dark poems lately, so could not quite bear a new one, but this poem deals with these issues, at least for its characters.

The sestina is a fairly complex form which uses six six-line stanzas, each line ending one of six repeating words, closing with a three-line “envoie” that uses all six repeating words.  (More about the form in yesterday’s post.)   It’s a challenging form; the  goal is to make the repeated words hypnotic, ironic, thought-provoking, meaningful rather than formulaic or forced.


I’ve posted another sestina called “Pink” which is really a better poem then the one below.  This one was my first attempt and, although it uses the form, it does so by using fairly generic repeating words.  So, it’s a bit of a cheat.  (See, I’m already going to dark places!)

The poem tells a story, but keep in mind that it’s a creative work, which, in my case, at least, means it has large elements of fiction, dramatization, exaggeration.


When my aunt came to visit, they talked
of old times, my aunt hunching over
her cigarette, her heavy breasts held up
by an arm across her middle, my mother
smoking as well, her cheeks like a vacuum
cleaner, puffing out.  She only smoked when

her sister came, then turned into a teen when
the folks are out.  Gestures sullen, she talked
the rebel, as if to fill the vacuum
of her youth, when she never thought she’d get over
all the obstacles they’d set, her own mother
not understanding, no wonder she got fed up.

She loved them, yes, but everything was up
from there–farm life.  Especially then, when
owning land was something, not, like her mother
thought, everything.  You were still talked
about, looked down on, passed over,
a farm not bringing cash to fill the vacuum

of nice clothes, furniture, rugs to vacuum.
Though what they remembered–that night they stayed up–
was when the government took their land, building over
their farm a munitions plant for the war, and when
their father went north to rawer land, and they talked
of joining him when their own grandmother

was “stronger.”  (So they said.)  Loved by my mother,
the grandma favored her in turn, filling a vacuum
in the heart of the middle child, the child who talked
of appearances, sticking her nose up
the others thought, the grandma protecting her when
they mocked, but sick now, her life nearly over.

They worked shifts at the plant, then each took over
the grandma’s care–aunt, their mom, my mother.
‘But who was with her,” my aunt asked, eyes round, “when
she died?”  My mother thought: “I had out the vacuum,
I remember that.  Pulled it out after ringing up
the doctor,” my mother smoking hard now as she talked.

“So it was you,” my aunt said, “when—” “I tried to vacuum
fast.”  But slowly my mother spoke, smoke rising up
like traces of what could not be done over, slowly she talked.




P.S. I am also linking this piece to Imperfect Prose for Thursdays.  in the hush of the moon