Saturday, June 30, 2012


onion skin


There is no accord
no affinity the heart's
rough edge can't abrade,
can't peel away bit by bit; as a cook
unbuttons an onion, so I'm unwrapped to the
raw, each lover leaving rubbing off a skin
a thin epidermal sheet clinging ragged,
rucked off his receding back as he runs, 
already shedding my cells.

I should be nothing by now
but the pearl scallion core
that holds the green sprout;
instead like injured flesh I puff
with a pushing fluid, salt and sere
against the naked pain of movement,
the scarlet inflammation of loss, sweating
out a vapor that pulls from the unwary eye
trickling peardrops of aggregated regret.

A shame that having made my peace
with love, surrendered it up
so many times, it's still a cat I can't
call back, my wayward black spirit familiar.
Only its shades will come as they will,
its films of old sensation, soft
memories crackling, cast off voices
crumpled as the papery skins of 
a whittled onion.

June 2012

Posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub
 Brian Miller is hosting today, and asks us to write about buttons in any shape or form or association.

Shared under a Creative Commons license

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Incubus And The Exorcist

The Incubus and the Exorcist
(Incubus VI)

It's been plain for some time now
that the incubus has lost interest
in mixing any pleasure 
with the pain.
He knows how he owns me.

So finally last night I sent for
the exorcist. With bell book and candle
the proud beadle came,
ringing and reading
and flaming at once.

He laid me flat on the hard concrete floor
(no soft beds for god's paladin)
brandished his lash and lustily
began to chant. The scent of
frankincense grew ponderous
and expensive;

mentally I reviewed my purse
wondering how much 
Holy I could afford.
Meanwhile, the face of the exorcist 
reddened with strain
(I thought) 
and he called on his Lord to

purge me, he called on prim-lipped angels 
to witness, he called on the voyeur Devil
to leave.  I lay panting and naked, 
only remembering the dance.
At last, solemnly shaking his head,
he said that
all that remained 
was the laying on of his hands

and that went fairly well
as his cassock slipped off
and the red shiny scales gleamed,
the cloven hoof came down, and
the hard,forked flexing tail
sparked hellfire,
burning away the past.

June 2012

Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her.
~Shakespeare, King Lear

Posted for   real toads
Kerry's Wednesday Challenge: Very Old School

Process notes: This poem is the sixth in my Incubus series. You can read the rest of them if you wish, here.

Image: Detail from Death and the Miser, by Heironymous Bosch, 1490
Public domain, via

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Walking On The Moon

Walking On The Moon

Since you left
I've been walking on the moon,
in the cold solar shadow, angel- and
demon-forsaken, unmused in a sinless place,
a floating cloud of cosmic diatoms weltering 
in undifferentiated asteroidal algae, working the
eyes of night for some buried beauty, some pandemic
of peace to infect me.

The dark side is
a rock rack, stone bed for the syncope when
white hope exhausts all exits with her rapid retreat.
I undrill in the dustbaths, naked in wallows of comet collisions,
bathed in dunes of ruthless radiance, where stars are
sprinkled in spilled saltgrains over eternity, vague and
sharp on the black velvet tablecloth
I once wore for a dress.

The sun side is harsh, but
even I tire of constant dark at times;
and I know it's the side you see, fat harlequin
croissant of a sickle honeyed with words defying
gravity, toasted in the gold heat of your almondine eyes.
I live on the grilling grid, fancy you making a meal
brioched of dark chocolate void where somehow
I've flavored the filling in dreams.

I walk on and on
light as the dead and sometimes
I find debris; yesterday an artifact
cast from the celestial dig of thee and me,
a vessel that used to glow, pounded to atomic dust, settled
in the flattened shardshape of a heart where I stepped
silent, and stood with the sudden choke
of moon in my throat.

June 2012

Moon @Utrecht-zuilen

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub

If you'd like to hear the poem read by the author, click below:

walking on the moon by Hedgewitch O'theWilds

Header image: A Voyage to the Moon, by Gustave Dore, 1868, engraving
Public domain via
Footer Image: Moon @ Utrecht-zuillen, by HSmade, on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons License

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cat's Eye

Cat's Eye

In the yellow light of the cat's eye
the night is coiled like a lamprey
winding dark flexes in a corkscrew pulse,
leaving its ripple trail faint on the surface,
incising electric heart's current below
where the crayfish and shiners
pushflip against water
in an agony to escape 
that shock-needled jaw.

Under the pressing black of the cat's paw
vision is blurred and thoughts slow.
The gasp of constriction expels in old voices
familiar but fading, soft as lavender budding,
sharp as yesterday's bones, a rictus
retelling the beads of regret,
a damned catechism 
mantra'd to nonsense
reprising till sunup.

In the amber swim of the cat's eye
sun's boat floats in prismed mirage play,
leaf and limb decoupage round the small world's rim
bowled with still water, green branch ears listening
to the cocking of the crossbow, rapt for the slap
of the next homing bolt, where one spider tree
bares her heartwood alone,
blind as the dead
in the fey catnip woods.

June 2012

 Posted for   real toads
Sunday Photo Challenge: The iPhone photos of Margaret Bednar

Images: © Margaret Bednar
Used with permission

Friday, June 22, 2012

Virginia Eliza

Portrait of Virginia Eliza Poe, painted shortly after her death.

Virginia Eliza

She died so young
and yet she lives,
a dark strawflower
pressed in poems,
paper stronger
than ever she was, than 
mind or flesh of brother, cousin,
spouse and spirit who
wrote her, dreamed her.
She was a child
who never changed
innocent, faithful as leaf
to tree till her autumn came.

Then she bled; all women bleed,
but she from her heart
though they said her lungs,
still her harp rang sweetest
when she came to sing 
farewell in the freezing night.
Her cheap dress hung 
from a nymph's frail frame
yet she was wise and wide with love,
a shield, a guardian host,
a black-eyed garden walled in one;
after, a pale fire burning in the brain
a raven crying forevermore.

She still walks the House
where the Ushers fell,
haunts the dank tarns of Wier
where Psyche failed, not strong enough
to keep him from her dead arms
or sing louder than the memory
of her child's high tenor, 
face ice white, dianthus eyes
brimming with a care
that could find no fault
nor feel a lack
though her brief pained life
was lived in ruin;

it ended, after all, as it began, warm
in the haven of a madman's arms.

June 2012

Acrostic valentine written for her husband when Virginia was 23, 11 months before her death from tuberculosis.

Posted for   Fireblossom Friday   at real toads

Process Notes: Virginia Eliza Clemm was Edgar Allan Poe's first cousin. They met when she was seven, when Poe moved in with her widowed mother, his invalid grandmother and their extended family in Baltimore. There was considerable disparity in their ages; their marriage took place when she was 13 and he 27, but the evidence suggests it was her own choice, that they were a loving, happy and devoted couple. Friends at the time said the Poes were more like sister and brother, and the marriage was not consummated till some years later, though some scholars suggest it was never consummated. Regardless, Poe did his best to support and care for her and her mother throughout their lives.  His work was little respected during his own short lifetime, and the couple lived in grinding poverty on handouts and the pittance he earned as a peripatetic journalist. Virginia Eliza Poe died of tuberculosis in January, 1847 at the age of 24. Much is made of the macabre nature of Poe's genius, and the theme of the 'death of a beautiful woman,' which plays a large role in so much of his prose and poetry. One wonders how much of his finest writing we would have had without Virginia.

Images: public domain, courtesy wikipedia & wikimedia commons

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Message

 The Message

On a windblustered day in a landlocked clime
we walked, the dog and I
the beach of the rainwashed mind,

her smell-prance a dance of anticipation
unquenchable, my drag-walk the sum
of slow disintegration.

Dry air faked the sigh that couples with ocean,
fish-fluid, flying fluent and fulgent
with forgotten emotion.

The flotsam thrown up there was viscid and dark
but in a floating smoked bottle
I found a mark

a notation neither flesh nor sublime
no lovenote, just the tedious plea
to make something mine:
If only I could know
what I only see receding.
Knowledge is mean
as alcohol, burning what it cleans
killing what needs to die,
bitter as aloe tasting black, 
soothing on charred hide,
but knowing is the thing we lack
most when we are needing,
only gotten after bleeding.

I looked to the signing to see who divined
this notification pricked out in prime
saw my own name, the only thing mine.

June 2012

Posted for   real toads
Challenge:Ella's Edge
Ellas has asked us to write a poem about "saving one's soul.  A life lesson, a view of your journey..." or a message that might be found in a bottle. 

Image: Miranda, by John William Waterhouse, 1875

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dancing On The Tombs

Dream, M.C. Escher, 1935

Dancing On The Tombs 

By day
she's sane enough

though often the alpha in the herd will lift
a muzzle and sense...something off.
No one wants to come too close
because of the wild so poorly
concealed under the makeup.
Still, by day she's sane enough.

At night, she prowls on Escher stairs
turning back and back among the tombs
dancing to sharps in the Inquisitor's song,
to green voices in trees, nacreous hums in fishscale
clouds skinned over the moon, red yells in demon winds;
her head bobs rhythmically at these, her kin.

She sings to the unquiet dead, adds interrogation
to conversations of chaos, invents answers
too blue to believe, too black to weave
the color she wants. She keeps her ears
out far on their stalks, seeking the Beast
let loose in the moon marbled night.

She has a bed, a sanctum's space, a nun's cell where 
his angelus sounds, yet each night she spins out the
door, dry seed in a whirlwind, clawed half-made from her pod
trying to climb the stars, falling, calling, explaining, wanting
owl hoots for a voice so she can cry without being found.

But by day
she's sane enough.

June 2012

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub 

If you would like to hear the poem read by the author, click below:

Image: Dream, by M.C.Escher, 1935
May be protected by copyright of which no infringement is intended.

Sunday, June 17, 2012



Shadows' prism refracting
gives only a black rainbow.
Scar-eyed, dead rocks impacting
make the wink of the moonglow.

Needlepointed charity
echoes in pity's hollow.
Truth devoid of verity
sneaks in where sense can’t follow.

The music of November
frosts on forgotten meadows.
The harpist sings Remember;
rash words no action shadows.

June 2012

Posted for   real toads
Sunday Mini-Challenge: the Celtic Quatrain
Kerry has chosen a form that may be sheer music in the Gaelic, but in English is truly, as always, challenging in the extreme. Rhyming three syllable words is one thing, but doing it in lines of only seven syllables is quite another. (For a full explanation of the form, follow the link above.) 
Still, this was a very creative exercise for me. Thanks, Kerry.

Image: Shadows.Moonlit Night. Isaac Levitan, 1885, watercolor
Public domain, via

Saturday, June 16, 2012



When I left all I asked was peace 
of the starry void, that
every shrewish hope be finally silent 
yet after me you sent one white bird
only marsh cloud singing,
too soft, too frail to fly far.

I dreamed of you last night--
did you call me?
No, it was just my broken eyes
wanting to see the old calligraphy
strong and alive on the blank page but
that will never be again.

You were dream's pale clerk
troubled, frowning at the paper
on which many things were written
none of them my name.
I stood by your shoulder;
you turned, walking through me.

Waking, I couldn't say
if you or I was the ghost.
The gift of sleep
is taken back and I sit staring
at the perforated day, at walls falling
in this helpless place of the dead

where I've washed up
already chewed by the chimera
stung by the manticore,
wondering what white wings will come
out of the siren darkness, 
what ghost bird is left.

June 2012

Posted for   Poetics   at dverse poets pub

Karin Gustafson is hosting today and asks us to voyage away from the known and explore the theme of exile. 

If you would like to hear the poem read by the author, click below:

Image: Chimera, by Gustave Moreau, 1884, watercolor
Public domain, via

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Absence Of The Bee

The Absence of the Bee
A Triversen

The bees have gone away;
the heavy absence of their humming
matches the blossoms' wither.

On shrinking stems
flowers petal-fall closed parasols
and pink petticoats peel away.

Black beetles are blind
to orange-anthered hats,
preferring unseemly chewing.

The attention deficits
of waggish bustling wasps
and dizzy moths puzzle pollination.

The tickling of an occasional ant
wandering from his pheromone trail
can't trump a bee's tumble.

The silence of life
without bees
is intense.

June 2012

Posted for   FormForAll   at dVerse Poets Pub
Prompt: Triversen
For a complete and proper explanation of this simple and eloquent form, see the article Gay Cannon has written for this prompt at the pub, and catch some poetry by Wallace Stevens at the same time.Win-win situation.

Process notes: The metaphor used in this poem is that of Colony Collapse Disorder, a term applied to the mysterious disappearance of worker honey bees which disrupts agricultural crop pollination and causes bee colonies to fail. We are experiencing a high incidence of this throughout the United States right now. No one is quite sure why, but disease, parasites and genetically engineered crops containing pesticide seem to be the dominant factors.

Image: Photo manipulation of the herb borage,  a bee attractant.
© joy ann jones 2012