Friday, January 24, 2020

Blue Norther

Storm Front

Blue Norther

If I saw you now
blue-sudden as a Norther
borrowed cherokee hair gone snowy
wolfhound jaw locked against
the puzzle in your buckshot eyes

would it be as it was, hard with
love and leaving,
full of the boy who wasn't ours,
of jaguar ghosts, bankrupt sacrifice;

an emptying out, a fumbled
 passing on?

~April 2013
reposted January 2020

55 sharply falling degrees, once for the g-man,
and once more for
 earthweal Open Link

Process notes:  BLUE NORTHER:    Refers to a swift-moving cold frontal passage in the southern Great Plains, marked by a dark, blue-black sky with strong wintery winds from the northwest or north and temperatures that may drop 20°F to 30°F in a few minutes.

Image:Storm Front by Vicious Kitten on the now obsolete flick'r  Fair Use

Countdown to the 55

Just a reminder,  as stated earlier this month, next Friday I will be reviving the Friday 55. The 55 is a form I learned of from a great-hearted and generous man named Galen Hayes, also known as the G-Man, who in the earlier days of the blogosphere posted a writing challenge every Friday: to link a poem, piece of prose, prose poetry, or anecdote on any subject expressed in 55 words, no more, no less. He welcomed all comers, and all forms, though his own posts were usually humorous asides accompanying photos. 

After he passed several years ago, he handed the torch
to The Imaginary Garden poetry site, now archived, where it was continued as an alternate prompt. Then I took it up for awhile, til my personal situation made it difficult to continue, and Kerry O'Connor held the fort. Now that things are calmer here, I hope to be able to host this challenge again. 

It will appear on the last Friday of each month, starting next Friday, January 31st, beginning at 12 midnight CST, and lasting through Sunday. I invite anyone and everyone to have a fling with it (in exactly 55 words, no more, no less.) The challenge is for writers, and the form can be prose, poetry, non-fiction or fiction.

Look forward to seeing you next Friday!

Monday, January 20, 2020



I went to sleep
in the cotton rows
child's hands raw,
belly empty as
my mother's brown eyes
 that hot day she left me
alone by the river mud's soft folded stink.

I cracked my lids
in the hard nitre'd bed where
time cries out loud in the torture of change,
where rain becomes air
on dry roserock hills, deep in the gulch
where the snake promised water
and had nothing but dust

visions without sight,
day without night. I was small as
the sand when I rose up again
on the last thermal's wings,
on the story of gulls, on the wild windy
ballad the dark singer sang
to the tide in my bones.

January 2020

Process note: I've tried to present here the transition from the presence of water, to its absence. The bottom photo is of natural geologic erosion in the Borrego Badlands of California, and the top, work in the cotton fields possibly in Oklahoma(?) around the turn of the century.* This poem tries to bridge the gap between, for what are fields now may in the future become the desert landscape, moonlike and barren, that the climate has made of the badlands, which extend over much of the western part of the US, from New Mexico to California.

Header Image, *Picking cotton, author, location and date unknown, from an Oklahoma heritage FB site, public domain (the people on this site discussed their memories of grandparents or parents hand-working the cotton fields in Oklahoma as children. Oklahoma still grows cotton and was the fourth largest producer in the US, according to this 2017 report. )
Footer Image: Borrego Badlands, California USA, author unknown, Fair Use.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Winter In The Blood

Winter In The Blood

The harvest is lost in the fields
when you're riding the crest of the flood;
spring is forever gone south
once winter gets into your blood.

Do the spirits you send me at night,
who twitch in the day's flame of dream,
long for a life behind glass
where their grief-mirrors silently scream?

I hang up their bottles by noon
as the mist leaves the prickling wood;
how it crawls where the heart cannot come
for winter has got in its blood.

Don't haunt the dead doorway tonight.
Don't put your white worm in the bud.
Don't look through the glass like you know
that winter was born in my blood.

August 2019-January 2020

a quick singsong, for Fireblossom at

"In old southern tradition, hanging bottles from a tree is intended to catch or confuse negative spirits.."

Images: Lace and Ghosts, 1856, drawing © Victor Hugo Public Domain. Manipulated.
Bottle Tree,  Author Unknown. Fair Use.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Green Rose

Green Rose

A scarf of silk night,
green smell of stars;
I spilled

my  flourish of runes,
 flashing thru the tarnish of life
a quick pierce of joy

 from the scatterboned grave
that what was did exist;
that the heart did once grow 

a green rose in the stars,
fragrant and foolish 
before time lost its rhyme

January 2020

an anticipatory 55 for earthweal

The Friday 55 will be back on this blog the last Friday of every month, beginning January 31st.

Images: Emerald Green Rose © Jennie Marie Schell
Rune, wunjo, from the Elder Futhark, meaning joy. Artist Unknown. Fair Use

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bodyless Parts

Bodyless Parts

My heart is pale
as the daylight moon hiding
in the pines, trying to be full
with her south end sliced off;
a bent lamp to light
a ghost's foot.

My mind's black as soil
where skeletal leaves fall
from century's last rose, in the
color of memory wisteria blue, or
lavender as lamb's ear in thick sticky spikes
that trembled like your hand
with the loving of bees.

I would tell them you've gone
put out like a lamp, or a moon
snuffed to new;  bees like to know
but they're husks in their hives
with their fat queen's stilled hum,
legs stiff as your lips so unsaved
by sacrifice, or perpetual labor
deep in the rose hips.

My eyes drip a mirror of scarlet birds.
I'll watch through the glass til all of us die
til our pink watery ghosts flow up and fall,
haunts with the bees in rose sunset sky.

~January 2020

posted for Ghosts

Process notes: 
1) It's a longstanding tradition dating as far back as medieval times for beekeepers to go to their apiaries and inform the bees when someone in the household died so the bees could also mourn.  
2) There is currently a worldwide pandemic of honey bee deaths, thought to be caused by pesticides and resultant weakening of the bees' immune systems. 8 species of bees are on the endangered species list, but not as yet the honey bee. Nonetheless, there have not been any honey or bumblebees in my own garden for at least the last three or four years.

Images: Wisteria and Bee, © Ohara Koson, 1930, Public Domain
Weird Sky, 2015 ©joyannjones