Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Snare

The Snare

Those notes you play
beneath the stars
as sweet as wine
as red as Mars

keep me hung
and strung on fire,
a golden fuse
burning beads of lyre.

My peacock fan
can't stop the blood
that paints my skin,
the traitor flood

of feelings trapped
as night runs strong
to keep its foot far
from the snare of your song.

What use the art
of lace and gown
when all I am
is so quickly unbound?

Your blinded face
eclipses your lines.
You play for yourself
not for me or mine.
How often I've run
from that puppeteer's tune,
till you sing me back
to fish for the moon.

~December 2015

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a few quick and extemporaneous rhymes for

Image:  Das Ständchen (The Serenade) 1918, by Gerda Wegener
No copyright infringement intended. Source

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Talking To The Corner

Talking To The Corner

Up the nowhere ladder only
to slip on the bottom hours,
to push the first reverse
abrupt turn of the key

dangling eternity
from unwinding entropy--
but still
but still

--one has only memory
against the dark, the data
of  dada that
comes dwindling in.

It's a time of closing
a trance time, a folding, a looking away
from an edge inlaid with endings
where the only beginning

is bending the limits
of the bloody art
of letting go.

~December 2015

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Dada: a nihilistic artistic movement of the early 20th century in W Europe and the US, founded on principles of irrationality, incongruity, and irreverence towards accepted aesthetic criteria
~Collins British Dictionary

Photo: Tristan Tzara, 1921, by Man Ray
Fair use via

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Down On The Coast

Calm Day

Down on the Coast

Three ragged rocks in the bay of the heart
smoothed and seamed by the tailoring spray
now pressed flat as the long wave fades
the water stills, the tide splays
with all its fleery flotsam,
ambergris and driftwood caveats
pulled to deeper decay.

Eleven pouting lemons in a cobalt blue bowl,
secret and sullen as xanthic mollusks,
bitter suns curdling morning to fractions
piercing the tongue with soured satisfactions,
as if to say I told you so
but you just had to 
keep adding sugar.

In the dim gaslight of a half-sincere dream
the medium saw the house burn down, beam
by beam, red walls glow to nothing, saw drawn
in charcoal ectoplasm all the burnt debris--
daguerreotypes of she, of thee
wet framed in blackened ash, 
ruined before time for tea.

Tonight I dream your absinthe aftertaste
gulping loss, coughing up your waste
choking on the acrid gnosis
of each indifferent clumsy phasing
in and out, fractured in either placing,
making and unmaking 
the mask of a sailor's face.

Three rocks in the bay of the heart;
name them as you please or will, so
smoothed and seamed in glinting calm,
blue-ruffled in a bay without a mark;
still mirrors lit by day that in the dark
will founder any cockswain lost at sea
who seeks to come to anchor in that lee.

~May 2012
revised December 2015

Reposted for  real toads

Nothing to do with the holidays, just an old wash of words as the pale winter sun enters Capricorn.

Image: I've once again borrowed the work of my friend Petteri Sulonen. Thanks, Petteri, as always for the use of this shot:

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Winter Fuel

Winter Fuel


The broken elm
brought down by ice
will make a winter fuel,
cells burnt to ghost-ash
in hearth's fire heart.
Birds sing in his hair no more
only the crackle of demons
whistling the jig of fitful flame.
I gave myself once
to the fire of your touch
a broken trunk, a winter fuel.
 My snapped
lost their smooth skin
as the fire burned in
and the demons laughed
and the ghost-ash fell;
but still 
in the rimed December
of want and desire,
to your thickening ice
I'd rather be fire.


Dead night lengthens,
 cheap lights press upon the sun.
In gaudy December,
want and desire
both need a fire.
Anger is a winter fuel,
fear its dear
disciples: the frost-marrowed bones
whiskey-rage comes to melt,
the sleet of hot bullets
fired at the dark
from behind
a clean shirt of lies,
a mask with no eyes.
The bodies fall
like broken elms
unrelated, remote
stacked on concrete;
winter fuel
that burns cold
as Hel.

~December 2015

This poem took rather opposing directions--I have decided to include both.
The words 'winter fuel' are taken from the carol 'Good King Wenceslas'

Process notes for part II:
"HYDRO, Okla -  A series of shootings along I-40 have resulted in two deaths Thursday morning.
The rampage started near Hydro and ended in Custer County where a suspect was arrested...
Authorities say he targeted one vehicle in a road rage incident, shooting several times at the car. The driver was shot and killed..A few minutes later near Weatherford, officials say the suspect shot at another vehicle, killing a woman. Around 1 a.m., [the shooter] was arrested for driving under the influence..." ~kfor news, oklahoma city

In Norse mythology, Hel was the realm where the dead went to abide with the goddess of the same name, located in Niflheim, a world below of frozen ice and cold.

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Images: Winter Fuel, © joyannjones, November 2015
Footer: Vehicles at Hydro shooting incident, courtesy No copyright infringement intended.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Holiday Of Death

The Holiday Of Death

On her wedding day night
she took off her white dress.
In the morning she cut it
into square piece on piece, took up
her needle while a bird sang
outside her shut window.

There was nothing she could do
to cheat the day she'd die
coming with the first child, or the fifth,
or the winter gone damp in her lungs,
the summer miasma out of the swamp,
or the cut half-cleaned gone rotten.

She began sewing her shroud,
on that first wedded day,
a duty she had, to be laid away
neat as a rose tight in white bud
though her skin grew rough, though her blood
too often ran red down her leg.

She hummed as she sewed
in the dim light she found
when the work of a dozen hours was done.
She stroked her shroud-dress, felt the holes
in the lace, the soft trapped space where beauty
was circled with a terminal grace.

When the night came
that death slipped in,
she sighed on her bed,
turned her face from her kin,
who'd finish for her the last hem stitch,
for she was on holiday from here on in.

~December 2015

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Images: The Happy Day, 1892, by Joaquin Sorolla (Detail) Public domain via
Effigy of a Young Woman, unknown graveyard, unknown source, via internet.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Night Gardening

Night Gardening

The night gardener bends his back to the black earth,
rakes the day's colors empty with eyes turned down.

Beads of pearl sweat drop on the soil as he
lays out his curving beds along the waterline

planting a course of  brick-hedge seeds that spring up
their flowers in concrete lanterns, beautiful and foolish

under the untended wildflowers of the sky.

revised December 2015

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Images: The Starry Night, 1888, Vincent Van Gogh,
Public domain vis
Manhattan Skyline at Night,
wallpaper, source