Thursday, February 27, 2014

Writing Past Midnight (A Poem)

Coffee, brown mother
Of my daydreams,
She keeps me from my sleep.
And there are too many books
Upon the kitchen table,
Shiny, brilliantly-leathered
Collectible editions and the
Brittle-sleeved vintage reads
With their cold interiors,
Their haunted gothic towers.
And there are too many places
My notebooks have yet
To travel, thick and dented
In their late-night scribe,
Winded as an 18th century
War-time letter, confessional
And contrite, flowery as
a field full of dandelion dreams,
the well-read heart of my pen,
too many words that haunt
my fingers like parasitic black ghosts;
they are small and thimble,
though deep as a swelled shell,
a closed-together ocean
you could dive into and drown,
floating flesh of yesterday’s entry,
a secret place the soul goes to hide,
when the body is dead and
there’s still something left
unsaid between the pages.

Written for a prompt at Magpie Tales.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Summer Rental (A Poem)

I meant to write about an old, rambling mansion, perhaps nestled in the hills of a homely Irish outpost.  Rather, I think I wrote more about it's inhabitant, it's summer guest.  I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!

Clover surrounds the structure
Like a strange night,
A moss-colored linoleum
That spreads it’s claim
Across the mountain plains
Like a preacher on his last sermon
The trees don’t bother to listen,
They already know the
Endlessness of a holiday summer,
Serendipity of butterfly and
The strange-house gypsy,
A marriage of sparkling
Peri-winkle of her iris
And the smoky indigo of wings;
Her sandaled toes that snag the
Over-growth like a flesh briar.
Brash as a new idea,
Light as the white matter of poppy,
She braves the vast prairie alone.
The birds find her absurd
In her twisted hemp and colored pens,
Each one eager for the soundstage
Of her new company, they join
Her merry song and it becomes
The voice of morning, high notes
Cracking the creaking sweep
Of sacred pines in their lazy-sway.
She speaks to the holed rabbits
Of words like love and peace
And they, not comprehending language,
Still understand that the newly-lit
Windows mean exotic food, that her
lavender-scented hands mean safety.

Written for a prompt at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.

Friday, February 21, 2014

"Catching Stars" (Digital Art Photo Manipulation)

made using pspx4 and various free stock images

created for a challenge at The Three Muses.

The Good Fridays (A Poem)

Before I fell in love
With triple lattes and the words of Rilke,
I fell into the world
Of his man-boy jawline,
Skipping high school choir dates
And the book-reading thrill
Of library hours so I could
Dream my days into a
Rainbow scope of movie theatre trysts,
An exchanging of knee-bangs
In stiff-backed chairs where
Time stood whisper thin
Between our hungry teenage lips.
Then the Valentine table linens,
Breathless pen-click of love letters,
We meant everything, but not really.
Between basketball game drama
And the dead-weight of a chemistry class
That broke my creative bones
Like a cracking tin roof
I lost him one afternoon,
His eyes not comprehending
The words to songs I loved,
him not understanding
My need to be known,
My Breakfast at Tiffany’s,
The thick universe of text I lived between,
My morning prayers to the great philosophers,
And me, always serving the doppleganger
By waiting for his Fridays.

Written for a prompt at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

The Owl Ashtray (A Poem)

It was the first thing I noticed
In a too-crowded moving box
Full of my father’s old life,
Nestled like it was made to be
Lodged between the vintage razor
That shaved past so many days
Of my own childhood
Without my ever knowing
And the rotary phone whose
Clear, plastic wheel-of-fortune dial
Halted it’s spinning disk
Soon after the stroke-death
Of my late grandmother;
But neither of those twitched
My fingers to touch
Like the old ashtray,
It pulled into my memory
Like an old movie reel,
Black and white, though still vivid.
Twenty years of emptiness and I could
Still smell the burned history
Of my uncles evening Marlboros,
Smell the four half-drunk cups of coffee
Littering the morning end table,
Salty smell of bacon across the skillet,
My father tinkering in the kitchen,
My mother twitching in her sleep beside me,
And the morning radio show calling
Into the depths of my seven-year-old dreams
That the day was being born,
Colors of the summer day awaiting me impatiently,
Porch swing chains cooing their call
Beneath a country-tick cloud roll,
the red-locust buzz pulling my
Drowsy eyes toward an open window.

written for a prompt at dVerse Poets.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Writing in the Sky" (Digital Art Photo Manipulation)

Created using PSPx4 and various free stock images

Created for an art challenge at Collage Obsession.

Of Poets and New Moons (A Poem)

I guess I love the night
The way most people
Look forward to being alive,
The feral feel of owls and cloud,
Howls from hidden homes, crevices
Made of larva and wormhole.
I love the way Jupiter
Owns so many orbiting moons,
Shredding the dark-hole planets
With the flickering firefly of earth, how
The alien’s roost in their slick, silver
Time machines, not knowing we are human,
Only that a cosmic intelligence
Wavers us maddeningly across
Spiral notebooks, flipped open at random,
Ravaged by an insatiable insight,
It is almost malicious, the way
The need to understand grips
Your throat like a vice,
Ties your hands to the table,
Plucks an eye out for each written page
Because what the poets know,
It is never enough.

Written for Three Word Wednesday.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

"The World Is White" (Digital Art Photo Manipulation)

created using psp x4 and a variety of free stock images

Created for an art challenge at The Three Muses.

'Steampunk Sally" (DIgital Art Photo Manipulation)

made using psp x4 and free stock images

Created for an art challenge at Collage Obsession.

Dinner For Two (A Poem)

Thank you, my dearest,
For the crowded restaurant lines
Of our second Valentines day,
Fake roses taped against
Ten-cent candy bars and
The spider crawl of the
Dark-skinned waitress wearing heels
(in a weird way, she was exotic),
the crying children at table ten and
thick food that tickled my chin.
The bathroom break of chipped-paint walls,
Muffled calls of the crowded exterior,
From the lone trail of tissue paper to
The sauce stains across
The polyester of my pink shirt,
And most of all the precise mix
Of chocolate and gelato
In Tiramisu that saturated my taste buds
So that for a moment I was Italian.

Written for a prompt at dVerse Poets.

Rooms For Rent (A Poem)

The swirl of the city
Can trap you beneath the depths
Of it’s cold brick like a virus,
But she always felt safe
Snuggled inside a twenty-street
Court of mortar and statue,
A waif-like frame in party-girl attire.
Supported of cheap heels and minimum wage,
She’d brave the morning commute,
All New York Times and waving pages,
The busy streets one steady drum beat
Of breathing, moving, bodies
Where strange faces could sometimes
Play tricks on your mind
When struck just right by the shadows,
And the skyline never failed to guide her
Back into the historical vintage wrap,  
A crumbling mid-city mansion of another time,
From dilapidated second floor ‘forever’s,’
Ceiling leaks of the crack addicts habit
To the meltdown of 24B,
Death of a drunkard pouring through vents
Soured of mold, decay, and age,
The poverty of a misplaced Buffalo
In the hungry faces of children who asked for change;
But for her, the old-age rental was a holiday
Of dance-blistered soles and
The moody blues of Broadway plays,
A cacoon of chipping plaster
She always vowed she’d fix later.

Written for Magpie Tales and Sunday Whirl.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sleeps With Butterflies (Digital Art Photo Manipulation)

"Sleeps With Butterflies"
Take you away again
Are you flying
Above where we live
Then I look up a glare in my eyes
Are you having regrets about last night
I'm not but I like rivers that rush in
So then I dove in
Is there trouble ahead
For you the acrobat
I won't push you unless you have a net

You say the word
You know I will find you
Or if you need some time
I don't mind
I don't hold on
To the tail of your kite
I'm not like the girls that you've known
But I believe I'm worth coming home to
Kiss away night
This girl only sleeps with butterflies
With butterflies
So go on and fly then boy

Look good from on the ground
I fear with pins and needles around
We may fall then stumble
Upon a carousel
It could take us anywhere

I'm not like the girls that you've known
But I believe I'm worth coming home to
Kiss away night
This girl only sleeps with butterflies
With butterflies
With butterflies
So go on and fly boy

                                                      ----Song by Tori Amos

Created for an art prompt at Take A Word.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Heartstone (A Poem)

The Gods gave it to me,
Metal comet of my midsection,
Glass sheet of my chest
With a picture-window view.
For years I fed it with
Fairytales and the silk of dresses
For first date ‘hellos’
And the everyday woe it was
To live between four brick walls,
A girl alone, a girl full of dreams.
I carried them around in my pockets,
My heart full of beach-glow.
I fed it with coffee and cake,
A wormhole void of sacred touch,
Until one day it left me
For ground slugs and salted earth,
A cave in my chest that bent
In upon itself like a sinkhole
That I scrambled to fill
With crazed words of mad poets,
Biographical quotes and moon shadow
Of quiet nights when memories
Ate at my flesh like rabid gnats
And all my unlived dreams burned me
Like the spinning rings of a dead star.

Written for a prompt at Poets United.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

She is Epic (A Poem)

She’s the kind of girl
You can’t trust,
You don’t want to touch her
But your hands won’t listen.
She vacuums in stiletto heels
Because it’s ‘good for the thighs,’
Waves at strangers in passing cars
With a tingle in her midsection.
She is partial to loneliness,
An inked letter never sealed,
What she has to say orbits
The milky gleam
Of every new moon, unread.
The conservatives
Would witch-hunt her if they could,
Permanent twilight-gleam
Of her black eyes, her too-dark hair,
She is something unearthed,
An uninhabitable haven
With a solar core that burns your feet.
Even when you wish her away
The words she’s written
Swim the atmosphere
Like a liquid helium
That halts the cold bell of your heart
And melts the metal.
Fearless as a filament midflight,
She’s the type of girl
Who likes to keep the lights on,
The kind of girl you’d like
to take home, though you don’t.

Written for a prompt at Magpie Tales.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

On Sleeping (A Poem)

When I am fully there
I am gutsy,
I grasp each dream,
An invisible feather pluck,
My body full of moonglow,
A citrus cupful of kiss.
I am everything,
I am routine,
My eyelids gather
The floaty grasps of Neptune,
Splendid celestial rings
That dip themselves into
My cupped palms
Like purple coffee
My inner eye roams freely,
Carrying me past pagodas
Full of star-stream,
A white river of molten lava
That flows between my ears,
A gurgling that escapes in
The swift, sleeping breath
Of my open “o” mouth.
Brave in bare hands,
I pull planets from the sky
And list their elements one by one
Cylindered cloud smelling
Of cedar wood and cinnamon vanilla
That even my fingertips can taste,
The type of overcast I could
Evaporate into and not care.

Written for prompts at Sunday Whirl and MindLoveMisery.

City of Rain (A Poem)

Today is a gray day,
Skyline a drizzled overhang,
Black winter birds caught midflight
And all the strange people
Coming from strange places,
Walking across a maze-full
Of cracked parking lot and shopping carts.
The beggar in his brown boots,
Top-hat full of false memories,
The sad children who cling
To the arms of angry mothers,
Upset that rain has stolen
The worth of their day.
Cars full of teenagers zoom past
Rusty truck beds full of grocery bags,
Old dogs wander loose,
Lost from neighboring farms,
Too far from home to understand
That evening is ending,
Headlights are flashing past
And not even the strange
Half-moon platooned cover of night
Will shed all our weary heads
The worry of where
The day will take us
When it leaves again tomorrow.

Written from a prompt at dVerse Poets.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Idle Hands (A Folk Song)

I wrote this piece as a challenge from dVerse Poets Pub, which was to write a song rather than a poem.  For me, they are much the same, though most songs usually have some sort of rhyming scheme.

When I was growing up, I used to fancy myself an artist.  I daydreamed I would one day put flowers in my hair and carry the guitar around singing folksy little tunes (much like the picture of the lady to the left).  However, as I matured I realized I'd never have the voice for singing or the patience for adequately learning to play guitar or piano (although I admire both).

I'm 31 years old now, and I still wear flowers in my hair and those folksy lyrics still find their way into my poetry from time to time.  I think in a lot of ways, my desire to write eloquent tunes and be someone other than ordinary is what sparked my poetically-inclined journey of literature and scribe.

Anyway, here is my contribution to the prompt.  If you will, imagine a hippie girl with her flowers and guitar.  I thought of Bob Dylan before I wrote it, so naturally he found a place in this little folksy lyric poem.

"Idle Hands"

The man on the street
He wasn’t such a bad man,
He gave me his opinion,
I put some change in his hand
And I thought about you
As I walked away,
The silver in your eye,
The gleam in your ways,
Each word a token
I’ve already spent,
The time mulled over you
Just clock hands I lent

Yes, love was a potion
That sit idly in my hand,
And a man like Jesus
Would more likely understand,
That there’s needles in my fingers
Thread in my heart,
I was wishing for Dylan
And you couldn’t play the part,
Sometimes love,
It just walks out on the spot.
Yeah it’s too bad how I felt
Pushed your feelings away,
I’m sorry, I just can’t stay

You never did get
the way the words had to fit,
my love for coffee,
the tea that did sit
upon my desk
while I wrote to you,
the words you read
falling dead to your hands,
and I guess thats when
this all began,
me just needing someone
who could understand,
all of my ways
and the things they did want,
everything that
you're obviously not


As I pulled away
and held the break
I thought about Neptune
And the clouds she waves,
Even all the Greek God’s
Couldn’t make your love stay,
And I’m sorry I sinned
When this all became,
There’s just too much of me
That I’d rather stay the same,
You’re tired of my smile
And the plate that I gave,
We’re both still hungry
So I’d best be on my way


Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Other Girl (A Poem)

I was never the kind of girl
To steady her legs against
The rusty thrill
Of movie theatre boiler rooms,
Or line my nose of
Street drugs and Methadone,
But I used to watch the way she moved,
Stoic and swift, the soft
Of her lips a canyon of stories
I could throw my whole life into.
The secondhand rosary that lay
Limp between her swelled chest,
A silver burst of stirring rhythm
To a beat I could never dance to.
I was all about words and center,
A burning churn in bedcovers, well-read,
But she could never understand
The way the lines felt,
Wedged between my neck bone,
Floating from my mouth.
I think the truth of my voice
Burned into her soul,
Me and my library of word tricks
And wild enunciations.
I wanted to walk her through
Crowded shelves of love stories,
Her mouth against my neck,
Ice cream still sweet on my lips.
I wanted to invite her into
The crowded closet
Of my hearts left ventricle
And allow her to live
Inside my safe place.
Someone who would save her
From herself,
Maybe I could have been that girl.

**Written for a prompt at Poets United.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Swallowing My Patience (A Poem)

During my first year of college,
All young-skinned and slippery
In the dew of new ideas,
I learned what it was to wait…

On broken-down power lines
On a twenty-mile drive
Into a town where the most
Popular place to eat
Served mostly hotdogs and ice cream.
I’d waver my lunch breaks,
Pocketful of work study change
For potato cakes and milkshakes,
Behind lines full of fat people
Who longed to be anything but hungry,
A semester full of psychology.

I learned to stand in long registration lines
Behind hippies struck by deju-vu,
vying for Enough silent eyes
to catch another kiss while I choked
in the dust of a cowboy wanna-be
who stood behind me
with mud in his hair
and the shape of my ass on his mind.

I taught myself what patience was
In a computer lab where
I whizzed through the work
Of desktop folders and graph tabs
While listening to the voice
Of some extraterrestrial God
Speak to me between the buzzing
Dial-up lines and a South American boy
Who couldn’t properly enunciate my name.

My Other Life (A Poem)

In a former life
I lived alone,
My days yawned aloud,
Bucolic in their dirt roads
And open, star-strung sky.
Each morning regained
My stiff senses their agility,
The potential in a cup of java,
The balance of a meal
Eaten in perfunctory silence.
I never missed the others,
Jittery jawbone of a co-worker,
Stiff hawk-eye of boss or friend,
All the prying public ears
In all their coo-coo clucks.
And when boredom itched
The step-weary creases
Of my foot soles,
I’d tiptoe around the hedge-edge
Of tree maze and wildflower,
Embracing the synergy
Of earth and sky,
Appreciating the perfect symmetric
Roadside stretches
Of highway and waterlines,
My alternate reality.

The Piano Player (A Poem)

He said
Spring always reminded him
Of silk dresses,
rims of their sewn edges
Hugging the breeze
Like petals mending
Their strong, poetic skeletons
In the aftermath of winter.

We’d spy
The first flight of a butterfly
On a porch swing
In the country.
Tin trailer and a horizon
Of black-shingle roof
To shed us from the sun.

Two ice teas between us,
We’d talk of books,
The stiff voice of Yeats,
The sheets where Sexton slept,
And like a traveler mid-stop,
He’d bring his melodies to me.

I’d ride the baritone waves
Of his old love songs,
His tan skin and hand joints,
all open-throat and thrashing keys.
And when his fingers paused mid-play,
I’d pray he still had
Something left to say to me.