Saturday, September 27, 2014



Was it your lover
you saw in the dream,
a spirit bear on fire,
or perhaps
the chupacabra, a steam
 given off/
absorbed  by
too-hot night?

Some cryptid regardless,
a cambion that comes
when eyelids fall down
before the stare of stars
dropped silent with a burn
from black sky
as morning turns to face you

Fragments of him
of you
litter the lawn.
Meteorite dust
hangs in the air;
the smell of old longings
seeps from the roses

powdery as the skin's
 memory of a hand
that still feels,

of lips that know words
are the dark subsidence
down which you will tumble
to the place of live shadows
where two become one.

~September 2014

posted for    real toads

Challenge: Play it Again
The artful eye of Margaret Bednar (ArtHappens365) once again takes us back thru time to revisit old toads' memes that are gone but should not be forgotten. I chose this one of Kerry O'Connor's,  Superstition or Science? which I missed due to windowsh8 malfunctions earlier this month. 
(I told you I had a poem for it, Kerry!)

Process Notes: A cryptid is a creature which has been reported (or imagined) but not proved scientifically to exist, such as the yeti, or vampiric dog-lizard chupacabra. I have written about  cambions before here

Shared under a Creative Commons License
Footer Image: copyright joyannjones 2014

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dead Woman's Crossing

Dead Woman's Crossing
the ghost of a night bloom, for Shay

When the moon was a witchboat small and tossing
in the fade-time where night can see day as her twin,
down the rough blacktop to Dead Woman's Crossing
came the carnival rolling on a dustbowl wind.
They spindled the midway, freakshow and toss-ring,
before they spiked twenty ripe melons with gin
for Harvest Home in the dark of September,      
so the marks can do what they won't remember.

There was Jacko the clown, stringy as a rat,
Ma's name and a snake his tattoo valentine,
Rudy the barker in a ten dollar hat,
talking apple butter, smiling turpentine.
The Doll from Philly worked the striped gypsy-tent;
her brown eyes had just the right mad dog shine.
Then night seemed to give a coyote-moon cough
that shook her gold earrings, and Katie showed up

with her deathrattle tale of carnival past,
how she, the schoolteacher, met the Fallen Dove
Miss Fannie, too red-haired, too ruined, too fast,
on a September midway, bent moon above;
how love like a cloudburst caught her at last      
a kiss-whisper in place of the stone cold shove,
a granite fist traded for a velvet hand
and a five dollar ring for her wedding band.

The Dove blew out of Texas like a broken branch            
running  from Jesus, Daddy Jim and the law.
When she hit Mrs. Hamm's Saloon and Hog Ranch
she knew she had almost no time left at all
but still more than Katie, hellbound for a ditch,
face pale through the water where the black crows caw.
Thru plugged ears Doll could hear the walking night moan,
thru shut eyes see the bridge where Katie talked on:

The heat lightning flickered as midnight slammed shut,
Katie in a nightmare where she was the wheat
waiting dry in the dirt for the thresher's cut;
too many whiskey hard times in tangled sheets,
one scar too many from a cheap White Owl blunt
while the tumbleweeds wrote her name in the street.
She put on her bonnet, she packed up her grip,
met the Dove smiling with her child on her hip.

They sat down stiff as strangers on the noon train,
the nights and the men left behind in the dust.
They got off at Clinton in the quick July rain
with the last of the wheat burning red as rust.
When the moon was a witchboat sailing the plains,
as diamond eyes came home to lily-white trust
in the carnival night, storm in the willow,
the teacher slept sweet with her red-haired pillow.

The next day at midday, two girls and a child      
left town in a buggy to laugh and laugh last.
Fannie screamed like a bobcat, the wind went wild
when Katie's man came up through the tall sawgrass.
The Dove saw the buck-knife draw a cutthroat smile;
all she knew was to make the scared horse run fast
from the man who had Katie back, all his, dead.
All the Dove had was poison and a red dirt bed.

When the moon's a hook, a witchboat, a sickle
when the last of the wheat stands brown in the ground
while Orion runs after Hecate the fickle
above the dwindling lights of a dying town,
the Dove does her dance to a penny whistle
and a dead woman calls her child with that sound.
The next fall, when Doll's carnival topped the ridge
it rolled without stopping past Dead Woman's bridge.

~September 2014

This was written as a personal challenge, issued to me by Magaly Guerrero, to write a poem dealing with a carnival taking place during the Autumn Equinox, for my favorite poetry website, Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads. More information about it appears there, and in the notes below.

Process notes: Dead Woman's Crossing, also called Dead Women Crossing, refers both to a small community by that name in Custer County, Oklahoma near Weatherford, and the nearby bridge over Deer Creek where the decapitated body of schoolteacher Katie De Witt James was found in August of 1905. The events (other than my imaginary carnival) described in this story are factual up to a point, with completely fictitious biographical details and explanations of my own invention. You can get the details (as far as actually known) of the unsolved murder of Katie De Witt James and the poisoning of Fannie Norton at the link to real toads above, and also from this wikipedia article.

 'Grip' is an archaic word for a small traveling bag. Prostitutes of that era were often referred to euphemistically as 'Soiled Doves,' while 'fast,' 'fallen' and 'ruined' were terms used to describe women who had lost their virginity, were free with their sexual favors or considered  loose morally. White Owl cigars, including 'blunts' are an inexpensive brand that has been made in the South since 1887. They have about the same place in cigar hierarchy as Swisher Sweets (once my own occasional brand.)

Fannie Norton did use the name 'Mrs Ham,' but the eponymous Saloon and Hog Ranch is a flight of my fancy taken loosely from the life of Calamity Jane, who in her youth is reputed to have been a working girl at the infamous Fort Laramie Three Mile Hog Ranch, a 19th century 'military brothel' and stage coach stop near Fort Laramie, Wyoming, also said, like Dead Woman's Crossing, to be haunted.

This poem is written in the ottava rima form, with lines of eleven syllables.

Images: Circus arriving in Seligman, Missouri, late 19th century
Public domain via wikimedia commons 
Dead Woman's Crossing, by Nathan Gunter on flick'r
Shared under a Creative Commons license

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Crystalline Song Of The Rapist

The Crystalline Song of The Rapist

When the party is over
and it's over now
when the fire stops flickering
when there's only a slice
of dry cheesecake moon
to put on the plate
of the last man leaving
I wait for the silence
but it never comes.

There's always a growling
a wheeze-buzzing rattle:
the crystalline song
of shatter on the exhale.
 Everything's off. The train sound--
it's not a tornado,
not even a train.

It's  a treachery 
more intimate
more sudden
 too close

a noise in the war
scuttering from light,
the ardor of the roach whose tactic
of vitality brings ruin to the walls.

 It's a bait and switch art,
 today trumping tomorrow;
this pump-action suck
for the very last drop,
each recoil injecting
ten million
gallons of waste

and it isn't a dream
coming careless and hard
as the beautiful
poisoned  body beneath me
shudders and flops
arches and groans, trying to shake off 
what gives her
but secrets and rape.

~September 2014

posted for      real toads

Challenge: Get Listed
My views on fracking, 
assisted by grapeling's word list, 
drawn from Sun Tzu's The Art of War

Oklahoma, United States has had: (M1.5 or greater)

  • 7 earthquakes today
  • 33 earthquakes in the past 7 days
  • 102 earthquakes in the past month
  • 1,044 earthquakes in the past year

The largest earthquake in Oklahoma, United States:

  • today: 3.5 in Stillwater, Oklahoma, United States
  • this week: 4.0 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, United States
  • this month: 4.2 in Guthrie, Oklahoma, United States
  • this year: 4.5 in Edmond, Oklahoma, United States


Image: Existing injection wells in Oklahoma as of 2014
pump-jack near Kingfisher, OK, both via
fair use, no author given source page