Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Wizard's Gift

The Wizard's Gift

It came in a box.
Death wrapped in red foil
and silver ribbon
glowing with night's own light,
the dark knowing of its nature.
The wind brought her stiff broom
to sweep the air clean of brimstone stink
but you stood and laughed and reeked
in the midnight sun.

You wore those solemn robes
like stiff wings freshly feathered.
A pretense of hooded eyes cerulean blue 
smirked compassion through the snarl of
each jetblack lash, yet under your
velvet calm was a constant rustling.
Anyone not spellbound in tranced oblivion
would see the barbed tailtip of your starved familiar
thrashing with a scorpion's steel sharp sting.

You held the ocean out in a crystal cup,
tiny hearts tied to the mast, a thousand ships
set sailing in the devil's brandyglass.
Windtossed I watched the mousemaid's fallen tear
grow the deepest pool in a black moon-strangled grove
where the winking fox set the crippled rabbit free
and one absent swipe rang the raven's dinner bell.

Down down went the chambered shell
to the scarlet aquifer;
you curved your fingered claws over my white hand 
until they twined
and flowed together as grains of sand
merge in a dune indistinguishable
and we pulled the fullness up
to our glittering husks from the butcher's well
to drink together the bloodred wine of hell.

~July 2012

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub
I'm the host tonight at the pub for our usual poetic festivities. Come join us in the cool and bring a well-chilled word or two to cut the summer heat. 

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

Image: The Wizard, by Edward Burne-Jones

Monday, July 30, 2012

Waltzing on The Cross

 Waltzing on the Cross
 A Dizain

You, my sweet drifting feather dipped in lead,
faun's startled glance in the soul pool mirror,
piped a masque of muted dancers dressed in red
swirled in a beggar's ballroom bright with fear;
reflections drowned in glass were never clearer.
Our bloodless puppets linked their inkstained hands.
I jumped and posed and waited your commands;
you ground me up and used the paste as balm         
to seal the leaking wounds the heart remands:
stigmata where the ego pierced your palms.

~July 2012

Posted for    real toads
Open Link Monday/Sunday Mini-Challenge
Kerry's form challenge this weekend was on another aspect of the ballade stanza, the dizain: 'a decastich, a whole poem made up of a single Ballade Supreme stanza, a 10 line stanza...' 
with rhyme scheme a b a b b c c d c d .

Image: Bust of a Satyr, by Jacob Jordaens, 1621

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Off The Shelf Archive~July 2012

The archivist has been most remiss of late, plus under medication, but no excuses. It's more than past time for a new selection for the Off the Shelf Page, and it's a good time for one, as I still am a bit groggy and not up for much in the writing department. 

This month, what's left of it, I've chosen a moody and bizarre poem from American novelist and poet Stephen Crane called On the Desert. It makes heavy use of repetition, without rhyme or a true refrain, and for me is one of those poems that give the effect of being in someone else's nightmare, a sensation of grue and creeping darkness. There's a bio of Crane here at The Poetry Foundation   for those who'd like to know more about him.

You can read On the Desert here:  Off the Shelf Archive for September 2012

And to make room for the current offering, last month's selection, Beyond Love by Octavio Paz, is archived below for a final reading. As always feel free to comment on either poem here, as comments are disabled off the main page :

Beyond Love
~by Octavio Paz

Everything menaces us:
time that divides into fragments
who I was
from who I will be,
like a machete does a snake:
consciousness, transparency transfixed,
the blind look of watching yourself look;
words, grey gloves, mental dust on the grass,water, skin;
our names, that rise up between you and me,
walls of emptiness that no trumpet can fell.

Neither dreams peopled with broken images,
nor delirium and its prophetic foam,
nor love with its teeth and claws, suffices.
Beyond us,
on the frontiers of being and time,
a greater life than life beckons us.

Outside the night breathes, it expands,
full of great hot leaves,
of mirrors in combat:
fruit, talons, eyes, foliage,
backs that glisten,
bodies that push their way through other bodies.

Lie down here on the edge of so much foam,
of so much life that does not know and surrenders:
you too belong to the night.
Stretch out, whiteness that breathes,
throb, oh portioned star,
bread that tips the balance to the side of the dawn,
pause of blood between this time and another, without measure.

From El Girasol, Poems 1943-1948
© Octavio Paz

Image: Blue Dahlias, 
© joy ann jones 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Offline Notice

Thanks all who've been by lately despite knowing I might not be able to return your visits--I greatly appreciate it. I'm afraid I'm in for a more serious than usual time with my back. I reinjured it yesterday and all movement is painful. I am following doctor's orders and staying flat on my back till things improve.

So, I will not be posting anything or joining any prompts for awhile. These episodes usually take about two weeks to wear off and return to normal, so see everyone then.

Wish I could leave you a poem but my brain is out of order as well on the required meds, so I'll leave you a picture from my garden.

Oriental Lily 'Casa Blanca'

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


ireland's fangorn


All sun's length she sits
nested high in the world tree
alone, surrounded by
the howling, blue
painted greenwitch
oracle of the ward songs
in her iceglass
barelimb chapel
keeping vigil.
At night when the moon
hangs heavy and hunger
sings to the tides,
she flirts her feathers down to
probe the chambered nautilus
and fetch the glitterfish
called to her
rattling net hung
with bone charms.

She's felt his questions
pressing on her
all day so heavy
the singing
so heavy for something
made of air
the sword unsheathed 
so red cutting from
the southern ocean’s rim.

She can hear him reading
from the old gods’ psalter
feel the sigh as the pages
slip to almost dawn,
till he finds
the leaf forgotten,
the star fallen
just before
the world ends
and the kingfisher flies.

June 2011
revised August 2011 

Asteria was the name given, variously to: " the Titan of nocturnal oracles and falling stars," and mother of Hecate, "the ninth Amazon killed by Herakles when he came for Hippolyte's girdle,"  "one of the Danaids...who, with one exception, murdered their husbands on their wedding nights.." and "..one of the Alkyonides [who, after Herakles slew their father] along with her sisters...flung herself into the sea and was transformed into a kingfisher.."  ~wikipedia 

All in all, a name with plenty of room for poetic interpretation. 

Posted for   OpenLinkNIght   at dVersePoets

Note: Having back problems, so I've posted an old one tonight, and may not be able to do any visiting, but will try to as soon as my body cooperates. I just couldn't miss the one year anniversary party. Thanks, Brian, for linking me in.

Image: ireland's fangorn(Yew woodlands at the Killarney National Park, which is located beside the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland,) by Justin Gaurav Murgai
Shared under a Creative Commons 2.0 Generic License

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Iseult's Song

 Iseult's Song
A Huitain

How used I am to all this weeping
this solitude, this douce tristesse.
How softly emptiness comes creeping
to meet its new petite maîtresse,          
who cries the more and laughs the less
under god's silent black stardome;
where once were the towers of Lyonesse
now only fishes make their home.

~July 2012 

 Process Notes: "Lyonesse is a country in Arthurian legend, particularly in the story of Tristan and Iseult. Said to border Cornwall, it is most notable as the home of the hero Tristan, whose father was king. In later traditions Lyonesse is said to have sunk beneath the waves some time after the Tristan stories take place, making it similar to Ys and other lost lands in medieval Celtic tales..."

 Posted for   real toads
Kerry's Sunday Mini-Challenge: The Huitain
Kerry explains this old French form in detail at the link above.

also posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub
 Karin Gustafson hosts and asks us to get our French on in honor of Bastille Day. I went a bit further back.

Note: I'm under the weather a bit this weekend and so there may be a delay in returning visits.

Image: Tristan and Isolde, by Salvidor Dali, 1944
All copyright remains with the owners

Thursday, July 12, 2012


River reflecton day(^ワ^)


In the arms of the river
crooning rocking
all things come to rest,
or get caught in the net.
Bodies and cowpies
moribund butterflies
mattresses endwise,
cast offs and discards
the rafting mind blind
throws tail over ear
to disappear;
yet the river's no acid-spate, 
no dimensional warpgate.

All of it
and eventually

July 2012


Posted for   FormForAll   at dVerse Poets Pub
where if I'm reading the clues on WaystationOne correctly, Gay asks us to write about writing about it all (ars poetica)
and also, for

the triumphant return of the

Header image: River relection day, by tanakawho, on flick'r
Footer image: Danger, by Leo Reynolds, on flick'r

Tuesday, July 10, 2012



When the Master died
in the red ruins of the night
and the child of slaves became free,
orphaned she ran, a witchwild flame
from her matchstick home
to the hardcobble streets
on her pierced bound feet.

She hobbled in shadow
gnawed crusts cooked in sun
hid with mice till the wounds
closed their lips; climbing the hill,
she looked down at the Corpse
in the snowman, the burnt stinking Tower
raised her arms, crooked her knees

swirled her tattered skirt
and began to dance.

July 2012

Posted for   OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub
This is our 52nd Open Link Night at the Pub--so Happy Birthday to Us, and come be a part of the party, tonight and next week, when Brian and Claudia have a very full schedule of celebratory insanity for us to imbibe.

If you'd like to hear the poem (with assorted background whistles) read by the author, please click below:

Image: Fire Dance, by Paul Gauguin, 1891
Public domain, via Wikipaintings.org

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Lust Among the Chess Pieces

Black knight of the cross
checkered demarcations,
Master of airs above the ground,
you caprioled over my board in full panoply
rattling the table with the
arrhythmic syncopation of
your strabismic stallion's hooves,
lance proudly gripped in fisted mail
as ready to conquer as cavort.
You swept away the pawns
outmaneuvered the Bishop, but
when the rook screeched his mock
from the high castle corner, 
your stiff King of ebony kings
fell dead on the milk blue breast
of the rose white Queen.

July 2012

Posted for   real toads
Sunday Challenge: Photography of Gemma Wiseman
Also, late,
 for A Word with Laurie, who featured the word 'demarcation' in her challenge Friday.

Process notes: 'Airs above the ground"  is a comprehensive dressage term for various jump movements the horse performs with two or all four legs off the ground. A capriole is one such, according to dictionary.com "..a movement in which the horse jumps up with its forelegs well drawn in, kicks out with its hind legs in a horizontal position in the air, and then lands again on the same spot..."

Image: Outdoor Chess Game, © Gemma Wiseman
Used with permission

Undocumented Mist

Day 2: Night Sky

 Undocumented Mist

The night exhales a coolness
that seems foreign after the
hammering heat of the day,
an alien breath wetbacked across
a dangerous border,
speaking another tongue.

So age comes to me running crouched
across the river, buttons missing,
wearing her threadbaring gown,
breathing lines, bending flesh
to slope and flow at gravity's whim,
calling her wares from the rocktop of

a round calcite egg turned silvered stone, 
grit-pocked and bubbled with imperfections,
dirtied in the hard guttered smut of too many
days blown out, all the soft splattering away
from the sun's falling diamond drops.
She's hungry. She's tired as the hour after birth.

I look at last in her eyes, see only another night visitor,
an undocumented gypsy marched thru a hundred
dry gullies carrying her heavy pack, looking for work,
speaking the language of the cool breeze
that mists itself up from the fall
of a too bright day.

July 2012

Posted for   Poetics   at dVerse Poets Pub
Prompt: Whatever the Weather
Stu MacPherson is hosting today and has asked us to write a poem in which the weather figures in some way.

If you would like to hear a rather unprofessional reading of this poem by the author, who got tired of re-recording after many tries, click below:

Shared under a Creative Commons License

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Broken Windows

by alexindigo on flick'r

Broken Windows 

I wake up in the bird loud dawn
and turn on the machines
before my eyes are fully open
the sound of water
turbulent in heat falling
through the cost-effectively
stripped coffeegrounds;
the six notes of the windows sound
drown out the mockingbird
trying to sing through the pane.
Meanwhile, star shoes kicked off,
the sky frittles on the griddle
of the mad cooks who've
taken over her kitchen.

May Global Temperatures Second Warmest on Record
According to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the globally-averaged temperature for May 2012 marked the second warmest May since record keeping began in 1880. 

May 2012 also marks the 36th consecutive May and 327th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average
Most areas of the world experienced much warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including nearly all of Europe, Asia, northern Africa, most of North America and southern Greenland.

 Only Australia, Alaska and parts of the western U.S.-Canadian border region were notably cooler than average...   Credit: NOAA:
July  2012

Posted for  Meeting the Bar   at dVerse Poets Pub
Prompt: What's the Buzz? by Charles Miller
Charles has asked us to , among other options, 
"write a poem that describes the fractured nature of the modern world...[or]
write a poem that incorporates newspaper clippings or other non-poetic material.." Which I sort of did, though my clipping is more messed with and appended to than included in the poem.

Image: Untitled, by alexindigo, on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution Only License
I have cropped and slightly manipulated alexindigo's photo; view the original 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Triumph of Verbosity

The Triumph of Verbosity; 
or Sweeteners in the Surreal Afterlife

Space nor motion
neither can exist
without  a marker, black,
magic, plastically spastic, shooting demarcation
in tommygun spasms.

some point of surety,
love's demise brings flying into the eyes
only cindertears ceaselessly sweated from the worm's
gut of indigo void.

If only I could
measure this stainless steel
tapeworm of loss,
writhing through my night
of sin and scrapple.

No dimensions are assigned
to the bucket of sugar
glimpsed fine balanced on the distant windowsill
until it falls in Icarian flameout,
making a hole in stomach's soft plane.

The plain red coat wore a
perfectly matching blooded scarf, but
there’s a price for every illusion
even a price for words

straight into the twisted lips
of an altered state.
I never answer when you say,
“Are we going to do this
by the book,

or are we just
going to do it?”
There is only one question left:
Bowling with the blind; who
picks the team colors?

July 2012

Posted for    real toads
Challenge: Out of Standard with Izy
The ever scintillating Isadora Gruye asks us to step outside ourselves  and have a bit of fun by writing 'a poem which parodies your own style, structure, or tone.' I tried, but I think it actually reads just like one of my usual poems. :P

Image: The Triumph of Death, by Peter Bruegel the Elder--NOT the younger! circa 1562
Public domain, via Wikipaintings.org

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Unnaturalist

The Unnaturalist

Come to me, my spider-snake
my locust-worm, my vulture-hawk
my hyena-wolf, my caliban-mars.
The experiment ends in the killing jar.

Come to me, my spider-snake;
inside my lab where no lights leak
come close enough so I can crush
your twisting spine, your cambered cheek.

Come to me, my vulture-hawk
to feed on meat already killed
so long ago, so rank, so soft;
duplicity damning as it distills.

Come hyena-wolf, with your needle teeth.
I'll stroke your narrow jewel-eyed head
before I lift my other hand to
stop the pant of your opium breath.

Come locust-worm and build your nest
so near my fever that you grow warm;
starve in the twiggy bed of my breast
stripped by the multitudes of your swarm.

Come my caliban creations all
to the place I've built beneath the earth
where all lies end and none embrace,
where crippled mouths are filled with dirt.

July 2012

Posted for    OpenLinkNight   at dVerse Poets Pub

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

Header Image: The Crying Spider, by Odilon Redon, 1881
Footer Image: Caliban on a branch, by Odilon Redon, 1881
Public Domain, via Wikipaintings.org

Monday, July 2, 2012




What good does it do
to sit and bleed
over all the empty boxes
over all that is not more
than what it is;

I’d as soon play sexton with a spoon
dig my own grave hole
six by six, concrete lined,
as only remember
the bleach and the burn.

When the south wind 
tosses its wild head in the night,
takes the trouble to journey
from that other country where
Aldebaran runs bright behind the Sisters,

all to twist out
a few strands from my braid,
drift them like sailboats
moonracing the dawn on a blue lake face,
dance them on a tickle of its cosmic tongue,

how foolish to yearn for what isn't
when the frogs are singing Puccini
when the red star
is my flower,
the big dipper my urn.

April~July  2012

Posted for   real toads
Open Link Monday 

Process Notes: "Aldebaran...is a red giant star located about 65 light years away in the zodiac constellation of Taurus...it is the brightest star in the constellation and is one of the brightest stars in the nighttime sky. The name Aldebaran is Arabic ... and translates literally as "the follower", presumably because [it] appears to follow the Pleiades, or "Seven Sisters" star cluster in the night sky..." ~wikipedia

Image: Aurora_4592crop_2s, by esapekka, on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons License