Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dancing with Crabs

Black eyed Hermit Crab

Dancing with Crabs

Little crabling bastard
what makes you think
you matter

You chase what you can’t have
you get what you don’t want
lose what you never had

Little crabling baby
you know that you’re
half crazy

to want what women have
to love what can't be had
to dance, a hermit crab
in a white
ballet of swans.

Little baby crabling
that part
is not for you.

Last Day of November 

Swan Lake

Footer Photo:  Swan Lake by Bella Lago on flick'r
Both shared under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hope in The Madhouse

Hope in the Madhouse


He can’t let 
of the universe know
how small 
hope can be

walking the zoo tiles
a dimebag collector
shooting an empty gun
screams for bullets
limping clacking
on his pegleg

down a corrider in the dark
pursued by dark
following a candle
round the corner
yellow and green
chihuahua sized roaches
turn belly up when he
coats them in a vocal spray
of stinking oily cries
though he was told
screams have no dominion
where life and
death are shaped by 
 a hand of words
a different madness
in each finger

he still runs
from his own hands
 dropping the sacred flower
following a girlchild
with a dim candle

always the messenger
never the message
long he sits looking through
bars of glass at the stars

 so naked yet
they stand the cold
before he signs
his own word


November 2011

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub
Brian hosts the usual wild and eldritch festivities at the pub tonight. 
Come join us. Link is live till midnight Wednesday.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Young Republican Blues

Young Republican Blues
An Ode to Coal Black

When Coal Black sings the Blues
the Blues get scairt.
They hide behind their dumpster
until daylight 
burns them dead.
Or hitch a ride in a rustbucket 58
Apache pickup 
Bubba stole from the farm
lookin for a lost highway
to Hot Lanta just to get some relief
from that Bourbon Street funeral
gris gris mardi gras beat.

When Coal Black moans the Blues
the cats come out
from every secret basement
every graveyard pine
they wrap around her
feet complete, feral ankle bracelets
purring castanets with claws,
brushing off all the mud and blood
from that blue snake tattoo
that winds up her knee
till she yawns and falls asleep
on the Young Republicans' lawn
where they don't purr but
let her be cuz
they're all a bunch of pussies

November 2011

Character used with the kind permission of the real Coal Black
usually found singin the blues here at her House of Pain
unless she's feeding the animals at Shay's Word Garden

Sunday, November 27, 2011

All The Ruby Words

All the Ruby Words

By now the words have surely all been said,
composed with a thousand pens from a thousand heads
and yet I wring out more each midnight, sweet
as lemon curded tarts, or bitter as dread.

Our palindromic thoughts tend to repeat
like nightmares of the same reversing street.       
The dead all come to cut the living wrist
and fill the graveyards with their long retreat;

but kisses, no they haven’t all been kissed
nor whispers of ruby words lost in synthesis.
And so my love, I hope you'll overlook    
redundancy and settle for the gist.

There's no beginning nor an end to what we wrote--
it sparkles still, this ruby at your throat.

November 2011

A rubaiyat plus two for the   Sunday Mini-Challenge  at  Real Toads 
(with apologies to Omar Khayyam for the irresistible pun)

  As usual, in my lazy way on Sundays, I've taken a longer free verse piece which I felt was not quite ready for prime time, and honed it with Kerry's form suggestion. I include it for reference, and just for fun:

All the Words

All the words surely have been
said by now
from a thousand pens,
from a million tongues,
and yet I wring out more and more
here in the long midnight, sweet
as lavender and water or
bitter as salted vinegar
from the same worn rag.

And all the thoughts
surely men, surely women
have thought them all before,
and more than I can
ever think, filling the wide world
with the long knit of the mind
and yet I unravel and tangle them
over and over, these same tired threads.

But the kisses, no,
they haven’t all been kissed,
and the soft birdcalls of lovewords
in the dark, have no ending
as they had no beginning
and so I’ll stick to those, my love
and you won’t mind if
I repeat myself.

October 2011
Image: Ruby by ~NaeturVindur on deviantArt 

Saturday, November 26, 2011



cuts with a dull spoon
pushing not parting,
crushing connective tissue
to an encumbering slop
sticky, tarblack, compressed
not expressed, leaving a residue
of oily maroon heartprints, sharp cries
of assailed bones and feathers.

Still I fear time's blade 
more hungry than your turned face,  
a stone knife of purpose
relentless to render ragged bonds
rippling ribbons loosed
on dark blue wind, insistent
to pull out my stranger's soul
a broken bird struggling to fly
from a filamentous cage

that only death can lay open,
a netting the scythe stroke 
is all too soon to sever, slipping
the cold catch that keeps the captive safe,
the last one who'll ever
call him early.
No, here I'll sit and sing con brio
my softening notes into the sieving lyre
of these lacy humming bars.

November 2011

*con brio: with spirit, with vigour

Posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub
Mark Kerstetter is host today, and asks us to examine our connections to the wild. Come join us. Link is live till midnight Sunday

Optional Musical Accompaniment

Lyrics by Jesse Winchester  here

Friday, November 25, 2011

Musical Interlude~Thankful I 've Got Ears

Just some rock and roll and stuff, that I listen to on days like this. Browse through and hopefully find something you can enjoy.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

That's Bullets--not Bull, folks.

 Some classic Zep; Page does some wicked things with a violin bow here:

Personal favorite:

And for Brendan--this might be why Hendrix was number one on that Rolling Stones Top 100 Guitarists List:

Though Stevie Ray's version ain't too shabby:

Not to mention, David Gilmour at Royal Albert Hall, showing why he should have at least made the top ten:

Finally since she couldn't get behind Steve Earle, some psychedelica for Fireblossom, the original Time, all eleven minutes of it:

Happy Holidays, All. I'll be back on deck with some poetry tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011




Time for clocks
to come out and play,
to dance while I sleep
cartwheeling on tiny hands,
round faces open, confiding.
In the morning whether
I watched or not
I’m one day 

Ignore the digital display
so professionally alarming. 
It’s a temporary
robot, does nothing artfully
but reorders lifeless circuits
shuffling a shiny LED deck
into green numeric
corpselight by 
the bed.

A good watch dances, has
swisselled movements ever
fluid, cogs clogging, no slippage
on time’s sleet, off its bracelet leash
downstreet as it caracoles
with mechanical ferity
a mime most entertaining
to watch if I could 
watch the watch

watching me
but I’m asleep 
somewhere beyond
the concept of time.
Out boxed in blue forever

precise stars move across
immaculate stage, en pointe
in cyclopean ellipses cog on cog, 
engagements too infinite
for the eye to follow
telling me I'm an hour
which is the sum
of a set of minutes
all dancing.
Work in Progress

November 2011

Posted for    OpenLinkNIght   at dVerse Poets Pub

Optional Musical Accompaniment
Take Your Pick

(with Sheryl Crow)

Header Image: Unloved Watch Teardown, image 0239
Footer Image: Work in Progress
posted by Petteri Sulonen on Flick'r  Petteri blogs at Come to Think of It and Unloved Watches

Photos used with the kind permission of my friend Petteri Sulonen, the blog's technical consultant, guardian of the Red Eye, photographer, full time Renaissance Man, and now part time horologist. 
Thank you Petteri, for the photos, and for the inspiration.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Odd Notions

Odd Notions

Grey clouds, rockface of sky
quartz linen folded high
holds the rain that pebbled falls.
Land beaten dry to wet
will take what it can get
unaware what runs or crawls.
Ants digging think they shake it.
Humans think they make it
yield under plough, uphold walls.

Odd Notions

Grey clouds make up the rockface of the sky
all cracks and faultlines, massed linen folded high
holding the rain that froze and pebbled falls
upon a land that sways from dry to wet
who’s learned to wait and take what she can get;
to pay no mind to that which runs or crawls,
to let ants scatter mindless here and there,
to let humans laugh or pull out all their hair,
to give beneath the plough, or uphold walls.

Unconscious of wishes, dreaming out a need
land's tongue speaks without a word for greed.
Each spring she shakes out malachite in shawls;
fields, gardens, woods and meadows all in lace,
green designs cogged into every interface
of a rogue cell which turning feeds and trawls
all that matrix made without a thought,
takes what earth's meticulous labor bought,
till metastasized, it dies by its own faults.

November 2011

This is a little form piece, something called the Balassi Strophe, for Kerry O'Connor's 

Sunday Mini-Challenge  over at Real Toads

The rhyme  scheme is cited as aa b cc b dd b, per stanza (or strophe) for as long as the poem goes. The syllable count isn't specified, but the example in Hungarian seems to follow a 6-6-7 pattern (as much as someone who can't speak Hungarian can tell) as does Kerry's poem here, so I took my much wordier effort below and slimmed it down, but thought I'd post both, just for fun and contrast.

Saturday, November 19, 2011



In my dream I walk beneath candletrees
tall and splayed and covered with
yellow inflorescence, luminescence
flickering to the sky. 
Their seed is hard and black,

difficult to sprout without scarification,
soaking in an acid bath
that mimics the labor pains of
their particular difficult nature.
I pick a pod up, roll it between my fingers,
feel the small flat bodies, so reluctant to live
outside their kind.

The candletrees change in the dark
as everything changes in the dark
to hulks of houses, listing
ruins of a harder wood now decayed
softer than an herb's bough,
greyed rosemary ghostification 
of the neighborhood
once slummed, then gentrified, now gone
into memory’s shacks, weeds where
once crouched the little iron houseboys
with their painted black skin and
flaking red coats holding 

a forever empty ring
to tie a ghost horse
that long ago trotted away.
So passes the night,
the years, the loves,
the life, from luminous yellow
to hard stubborn black
to a distant grey galloping.
I show you flowers in my dream;
I don’t know why you scream
and break glasses for
a bone horse that sails
the vacant air.

November 2011
Posted for    Poetics    at dVerse Poets Pub

Sheila Moore is hosting Poetics this week, and her prompt is on the subject of changes, as one has experienced them in life. This is from a dream I had earlier in the week, and seems to fit the bill, at least better than the politics rant I had up earlier.  Come join us. Link is live till midnight Sunday.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Off the Shelf Archive~November

Yes, the month is well over half gone and I'm just now getting down to thinking about replacing my October All Hallows Special. It's not because of a lack of material, however. I've been introduced to several new (to me) poets this month, some by friends and some by reading, so it's a hard choice. I decided to go with a poem from a 20th Century American poet named Louise Bogan (1897-1970,) whom I discovered while flipping idly through my Norton Anthology. 

Here's her biography at for those interested : Louise Bogan   

I was really struck by her poem Song for the Last Act, so that's my share this waning month.

You'll find it here, in the Off the Shelf Archives.

And to make room for Ms. Bogan's piece, the two for one All Hallows special of Poe and Crane will go into the archives, appearing here for a final nostalgic Halloween revisit:

Halloween Special Two for One

In the Desert

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said: "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter - bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

by Stephen Crane


The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere-
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir-
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through an alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul-
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll-
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole-
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere-
Our memories were treacherous and sere-
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year-
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber-
(Though once we had journeyed down here),
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now, as the night was senescent,
And star-dials pointed to morn-
As the star-dials hinted of morn-
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn-
Astarte's bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said- "She is warmer than Dian:
She rolls through an ether of sighs-
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion,
To point us the path to the skies-
To the Lethean peace of the skies-
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes-
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes."

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said- "Sadly this star I mistrust-
Her pallor I strangely mistrust:-
Oh, hasten!- oh, let us not linger!
Oh, fly!- let us fly!- for we must."
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust-
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust-
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied- "This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendor is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty to-night:-
See!- it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright-
We safely may trust to a gleaming
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night."

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom-
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb-
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said- "What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?"
She replied- "Ulalume- Ulalume-
'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere-
As the leaves that were withering and sere-
And I cried- "It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed- I journeyed down here-
That I brought a dread burden down here-
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber-
This misty mid region of Weir-
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir."

by Edgar Allan Poe

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Haiku From the Fireside

Haiku from the Fireside

Three pines in the dark
what dancing are they doing
while I watch the flames

Winter fire burns
but not as hot as your eyes
glow of coaled emeralds


The logs’ dead ash sits
still as your silent tongue
after heat’s gold horns.


Born from the fire
spark spirits unnumbered as
the tears birthed from heart


November 2011

A few snips that surfaced while sitting sleepless in front of the fireplace last night and into the dawn, feet up, alone with a medicinal glass of vinho verde and the flickering shadows. Those who have bothered to count will see that this is obviously intended to be posted for

Wednesday, November 16, 2011



So many times
you’ve been the field where
storms hailed the crops flat,
your task to regrow them,
the cold eroded shingle
where fire died,
you with numb fingers
in a night of frost and ghosts,
the rekindler. 

let me warm you now 
for that brief time
that I’m permitted
as darkness presses.
Turn the cup upside down,
let your hard hours spill out
to pool in a bottomless green.
Sleep for a season with all life unborn
you the fallow field this once
over which the placid plough horse

passes unhindered, breaking clods of years'
compaction, earth's old demands arable
and dropping open under a citrine sun.
Lightly, surely the harrow passes
in the long afternoons, a music
on those plains where ever they sing
of planting, of the green to come,
not freezes, not blight, not backs bent,
where my rain falls like ocean. Let
every tall crop there be your own.

Let me in you at last give back
seed for root
right for wrong
life for death
and make life enough
when time is done with us
in the dusk of a long coming gleaning,
there'll be love in the last look back
before we blow away.

November 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Janis Rozentals - The Princess and the Monkey

It was a little monkey
with a red hat.
I knew I couldn’t have it.

The cage was much too small
for both of us
even though the monkey
was no bigger than a drop
of black blood

it made the keepers very
angry that I even

'How can we ever
let you out,' said the one
who pretended to be kind
'when you want monkeys?'
As if.

The other, never a great
pretender, made that insect clicking
in his beard. 'Tcha,' he said

or perhaps 'Tsttst!'
I said, 'I thought I heard
the Rapture passing through
and it left parson's widow
but took Loup Garou.'

Heads began to shake
in a dominating palsy.
'I can see,' 

said Insect Beard 
though his eyes were eaten
years ago, 'she’s had
too much room
too much space to think,

two big ears
to hear the devil whisper 
in the window.

'We must make it 
much much tighter 
in here, so not even a hair
from a monkey’s tail, or the
itch of a wolf's flea will fit.'

Then I learned to be
small as a dropped

smaller than a
particled prion that pulls
its sad viral sponge into 
cow's brain, erasing,
or the smallest enzyme 

in the storm boiled lachrymal lake
for there is no sailing allowed in here
or drowning.

Only somewhere a monkey
lost in a little red hat.

November 2011

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub

Janis Rozentals [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Ivan Bilibin 035


When everything is flat and you've dropped it all,
even the silver talisman of his name
when the sky ore falls to vapor in a sulphur flame
unable to fetch from a void spanning ever to never

when the partridge turns blue and pulls out every feather
and too-bent trees hang shattered, broken in the godsway
when the faun sits invisible starving by the lost highway
lemur eyes watching time’s pegged sticks tune up his ribs

when every night wish is caught where no one forgives
strangled by day’s amber noose in unbroken fall
when every chair is placed with uncanny care, yet all
stand empty till the restless dead behind begin to crawl

you can only hide in a chicken-legged house of dreams, actualize
stars and dust, flesh and rust, make a snakeskin grimoire of sighs.

November 2011

Posted for   Magpie Tales  #91

Uncredited image provided by Magpie Tales
removed, 2/2012 apologies to artist
Footer image: Baba Yaga's house, by Ivan Bilibin
Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, November 11, 2011



In her cold bed by the Black Sea's shore
the niece of Circe stirred and felt
her fate, rushing over the wine-red waves.
She slept no more.

The world was still wet in its placental caul
new and vast as the unbordered sky
when she its deep daughter dressed herself
and came to the hall.

The Thief of the Fleece stood proud as the sun
all sweet smiles in a home she must leave
as Eros bid. Her eyes blinked once
and so it was done.

All that tale of love and death
of blood and flight, that was yet to come 
took form there then behind her eyes 
in a final breath.

She beat for him the killing ox,
the drake's quickened teeth. The dragon itself
she charmed  to sleep so the Fleece rode to Greece
between the oar-locks.

They sailed in a darkness rigid and blue,
flickered by death. She cast her spells,
she learned to kill, to make him king
for a year or two.

She poisoned, scried, and hexed to shore,
bore two strong sons to the Argonaut thief,
knowing he’d leave her as thieves always do  
for a princess whore.

The weapon children she drew from their sheath,
the boys he loved and left behind. 
Their blood was hers as it dripped from the knife. 
Their hair lay soft
as a golden fleece.

originally posted May 2011 at one Stop Poetry
reposted for Friday Picture Prompt at Real Toads 

No time this weekend for anything fresh, but I couldn't let that picture pass by and it really reminded me of this poem, rather a quintessential anti-fairy tale, so apologies to anyone who's already read it; I did revise it slightly.

Epistemology: Cosmic Buffet

Epistemology: Cosmic Buffet

At dawn, shuttered
eyes blow open 
when I think of you
I think of every impossible thing
and its sweetness, of vision, of occlusion
the scent of earth’s full cauldron
boiling with herbs, cooled 
with lemon and quicklime
its bay and rosemary steam

drapes in mist the
supplicant body of night, an
odalisque black as all Nubia against
velvet cushions of infinity
leaned back lolling in a thong of skysilk
feline with her secret smile
and white sandals of stars.

I clerk your nightly office,
moon of dreams, and sigh
when you pass, trailing a memory
smile of what could never be.
Then, the butcher’s day returns
and the unspeakable lowing
sounds of life passing
through the bandages.

I think of the blind wrinkled
tortoise of each day dragging 
it's shell toward night, the jolting rocket
voyages to the center of the psyche
unremitting in their toll, 
of bell sounds of foreign
lovesongs in the street

bronzing over the cenotaphs
of what will never be recovered
folly’s coin that will never be remitted
in full; lack, that will never be acquitted
yet salvation creamed on toast
is served here 
at this time

November 2011

For the   Meeting the Bar:Prose to Poetry   prompt hosted by zsa at dVerse:

The poem above was inspired in part by this passage below by Lawrence Durrell, who was a big favorite of mine when I was young. It’s taken unaltered except by the enjambment of spacing and a few ellipses, from Justine, the first book of his four volume hymn to love, sex, sorrow and the eponymous Egyptian city known as the Alexandria Quartet. You could pick almost any page for this exercise, as the whole thing is shot through with poetic prose. This is from the beginning chapters:

Six o' clock...This
is the hour least easy to bear,
when from my balcony
I catch an unexpected glimpse of her
walking idly toward the town in
her white sandals,
still half asleep.

The city unwrinkles
like an old tortoise and peers about it.
For a moment it relinquishes
the torn rags of the flesh
while from some alley by the slaughter-house
above the moans and screams of the cattle
comes the nasal chipping of
a Damascus love song;
shrill quartertones,
like a sinus
being ground to powder.

Now tired men throw back
the shutters of their balconies
and step blinking into the pale hot light
etiolated flowers of
afternoons spent in anguish, tossing
upon ugly beds,
bandaged by dreams.
I have become one
of these poor clerks of
the conscience…
~Lawrence Durrell,  Justine

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Debate Fail

It's that Friday 55 time again, folks, and I have nothing tonight, so once again I've turned to that never-failing source of inspiration, dueling Republican presidential candidates. 

For those who habitually tune out politics, last night the cable business channel CNBC hosted the 57th debate (okay, so it just seems like the 57th) between the field of Republican hopefuls wanting to challenge President Obama in 2012. During this feast of intellectual delights, two things amused me ( besides Newt Gingrich.)

The first was Texas Governor Rick Perry's brain freeze extensively covered today by the entire news media and youtube, so you've probably heard how he forgot which three government agencies he intended to close on day one of his increasingly hypothetical presidency.

The second was ex-CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain, who has been accused of sexual harassment by a variety of women, two of whom won mega-bucks in court settlements, making the statement that for every woman who accused him of such things, after all, there were thousands who hadn't. (Well, what he actually said was "“For every one person that comes forward with a false accusation, there are probably thousands who will say that none of that sort of activity ever came from Herman Cain.” Yes, he refers to himself in the third person a lot.)

Anyway, if there is low-hanging political fruit, I have trouble refraining from plucking it, and so, wrote these two little limericks to amuse myself, and hopefully those reading. No slurs are intended toward any rational human beings.

There once was a gov’ner named Rick
whose pate was remarkably thick.
He’d a plan to dismantle
some government chattel
but forgot which and made himself sick.

Herman Cain went with the flow
and asserted, “I’m raising the dough!
More ladies’ve fanned me
than those that’ve panned me,
would you like sausage with your CEO?”

 Posted for   Friday Flash 55   at the G-Man's
 because I have no shame