Friday, February 27, 2015

Change Becomes Us

Change Becomes Us

The blackbirds increase
while the doves softly dwindle
year by year.
The sea is less a brine
than an acid.
A fatal heat sprouts seeds
a ten thousand years' gone sun.
The Great Construct is shaking

as the plague ship
brings out its black sail.
Change becomes us, as change
becomes stasis, the ever-
fluctuating constant in
an insoluble set.

In the soundless hour
before curry-clouded dawn,
the sky is reshaped
by an unfortunate light.

It seems foolish to write of love
of the past
of the breath that fell
from stars to earth
while we are bound
to an irrational god
who asks us to eat chaos
and shit sanity.

~February 2015

Photo: Blackbirds, copyright joyannjones 2014

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pete and Repete's

 Pete and Repete's

Back when I threw away the North, sick of being
Honeybunch Kaminski, 
and came South to be the sweeter, 
smilin'-for-a-dime grits-totin' Rita,
I wrote some verse,
perverse but not diverse
about your tiger eyes because
the ram was a disguise and
I knew you had the spotted skin
big cats can never change--
and so you showed me.

Down the highway from Nelda's
where I trickled out sweet tea and pepper sauce
(7 different varieties) stiffed
by shriveled 'pokes who found me too remiss
in my amateur bottomless
refills, I heard there was a joint
called Pete and Repete's and wondered if
there the hamburger dills were greener, but ended up
at Girlie's to learn the trick
I wouldn't turn, hustling joe and pancakes
in the dusty starlight night.

I  missed you on the day
you came up plumbing,
found instead my cat-eyed body-man  
deep in the buckwheat thicket
his pulse on mine in temporary candlelight 
he never understood, a repulse of who he was
that couldn't stay. Main squeeze: Tvarscki, cigarillo
and the thousand fifty lies that kept him
shiny as hammered chrome. Those Karo eyes
that still saw only Honey in the wild bunch
gone in the black blizzard,

tho the afterlight remains, pouring a bottomless cup of shadows
repeating down a dead-end red dirt road.

~February 2015

posted for     real toads

Challenge: Get Listed
Grapeling (Michael of it could be that)  provides us with a list of words that reflect each other in spelling but have no meanings in common, and asks us to use at least two of them or invent a few--I have tried to do both, though I have strayed a bit from the pathway in this, my autobiographical indulgence and not very serious cautionary tale of the Lovely Rita, non-Meter Maid.

optional musical acompaniment

Process Notes(and/or Spoilers): I worked at several diners including the ones named(except for the famed "Pete and Repete's Restaurant" in Purcell) when I first came to Oklahoma in the seventies.  From what I can find out on google, they all seem to be defunct. I couldn't stand being constantly hit on under my own name, and stole and wore the name tag Rita, left behind by a less stoic ex-waitress, thus assuming my first pre-Hedgewitchian alias. (And yes, the slogan I wore in a strategic spot on my uniform apron said : 'They're stacked better.'  ) My current husband's company did all the plumbing work for the Girlie chain, but we never met until much later, under very different circumstances. But that's another tale.

'poke is short for 'cowpoke' and for those who haven't known the joys of waiting table, 'stiffed' refers to not receiving a tip.

"Black blizzard" is a 30's term for the worst dust storms of that era.

The character Honeybunch Kaminski, by counterculture cartoonist R. Crumb, was one with whom I strongly identified at the time.

Images: courtesy google image search Cup of Joe source
Girlie's source
No copyright infringement intended--will remove at request of copyright holder.

Saturday, February 14, 2015



You said you'd give me the moon
on a piece of toast
or at least the sweet-hot peel
of her cinnamon skin.

You said you'd raise from the grave
my heart, the ghost
to fill with black-burnt warmth
that could begin

a beat to bring horned dancers from the trees
life to lift me lurching from my knees
a revenant in red
that's what you said

that night in the glimmering swell
before the Fall
but it was Carnivale.

~September 2014

posted for     real toads

Sunday Mini-Challenge: Promises

Karin Gustafson (ManicDDaily)  asks us to think about the promise behind the chocolates, broken, or missed, kept or imaginary. This is just something that popped up in my head a few months back, and seems appropriate now, as Carnivale is winding down in Venice 
and it is about a promise, of sorts.

Photo by Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters
via google image search source
no copyright infringement intended

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Love Letter

Love Letter
[From/To Self]

An hour choking at the compassionate basin
coughing up the vinegar of your indifference,
pen an ungainly stick insect that jolts and poses
on the leaf, leaving behind its pinprick holes
and black tar droppings.

Your saloonful of buffalo girls are
making a mud-wallow of your business--
broken bottles, shots at midnight, the clumsy winding
and unpicking of the bandage, the childish rush
to clean the wound,
needle threaded with a flame
to poke white hot into your swelling
bringing only tainted blood and no relief.

There's no hero dawdling home upon
a handy wine dark wave, no velveteen nurse
to blot the nightsweat from the page,
no diagnostician or connoisseur of blight
to assure you fatality is a condition
that with proper care and rest
may show improvement.

There's only one who loved you once
and whom you've since
taught better, and no one here at all
to read a letter
never mailed.

~January 2015, rev. February 2015

Process note: I have added the subtitle (from/to self) above to clarify the intent and the point of view, ie, the 'you' here is the writer.  I have reached the point where I am through with rewriting and editing this for now, and the poem still apparently doesn't make itself clear. Apologies, and at some point may revisit to do a better job.

posted for     real toads

Kerry's Challenge: Is Love a Tender Thing?
Kerry O'Connor (Skylover) asks us to ponder some of the more obscure corners of this thing called love. Or even " to write to the theme: Love Thy Enemy or Love is The Enemy or Love, Despite Your Enemy." This is a poem about love and the inner enemy.

Image: A Lady Writing, 1665,  by Johannes Vermeer
Public domain via

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Estuary

The Estuary
A sestina

In the dream estuary mud is alive with flamingos' coral flow
their yellow toes buried in the face of the mirrored moon
beaks spooning up warm worms that turn on the ebb
of yesterday to bolts of storm-worked silver
among the reedy songs long rimed with salt
that paint a mime's blank white on the changing river.

Summers' weeds black-lace the ice-pock craters, edge in river,
stubbling down to staggered stems where nothing flows.
Still, here we basin weeds and snow together, sweet and salt
spiraled milky smooth, stranded in a sudden fall of moon;
the coming sea that floods each tarnished top with circled silver
cries before dying in our arms, a white-boned ebb.

We are also in that moment, alien and identical, an ebb's
shoulder from the places where we touched. In the tangled river
language of affinity and loss, you write your silver
runes upon my hair; we hear we've lost enough. We sift the flow
for comely bits of iron comedy, for relics of the servant's sinking moon
trapped in columned hours bleached and bleating in their pillory of salt.

I keep my eye on rock-torn shingle whitened by a sepulcher's salt
wound, you watch the blue horizon stretching from this pebbled ebb
to the birth-blood of a blind thing whelping her litters of moons,
dropped to drift aimlessly off on the tick of the restless river
that I have learned to welcome, flood and flow,
as my inconstant lover, servicing me with lenience and quicksilver.

In the dream estuary, wading a hundred thousand silver
roads that ache with snow, winding fingers through a century of salt
I measure each brackish heartbeat in your flow;
I feel you pulse my throat at my own life's ebb,
a meeting where the ocean loves the river,
a shattered, reshaped promise to the robber moon.

I hold you as the ash tree holds her vain-caged moon,
an empty outline far from rock reality's shot at silver,
yet full of light, a fuzzy gilding on the dimples of the river.
I forget the bitter glint of trickling salt,
the painted mime's black tear on this masque's ebb,
remember only what receives us dreaming as the estuary flows.

Between the weeds and snow, flow the moon and go;
the blend and ebb of silver sing together. Neither sweet nor
salt, sea nor river, yet two are one at last and changed forever.

~February 2015

linked to      real toads

The Tuesday Platform

"estuary: that part of the mouth or lower course of a river in which the river's current meets the sea's tide."

Photo: Allegheny River, Winter
copyright Diana Lee Matisz 2015
Used with her generous permission. Thank you, Diana!

You can find more of Diana's exquisite work on her Instagram page, here, and more about her, with links to all her blogs and her Red Bubble store, on her About Me page.

Friday, February 6, 2015



In the moon and in the night
and in my secrets I was born.
Not in the morning rain, the blasting grey,
not  in the deadspace between the end of wars
and Endless War.
No, it was night, eternal night
tropical, of silent birds and gathering grasses,
that haloed round my denim figured cradle.

There I first heard the fireflies
scratching at the door,
there watched your fingers quicken
as ligaments of iguanas clack their claws
skittering cross a maze of key-coloured stones,
coaxing out the asymmetric dance--there,
when the moon was a melting blob
discarded from the candle-batch,

sinking as extravagant dawn
laughed another vow she couldn't keep,
lipsticked and wrapped
in purple-orange chemise,
undressed soon enough to naked slate
as night completes
its locust-rasp of snow and cloud
made insect brief.

Inside, the fire crackles a millennium after,
like fingers walking over a
brittle rustle of paper faces, quick-
covered by the mirror before another's 
wick-lit eye can truly see
who it is that holds them thrall
in shine and flicker, 
above a winter moon handmade to fall.

~February 2015 

posted for    real toads

Challenge: Kumulipo
"The "Kumulipo" is an old Hawaiian prayer chant that poetically describes the creation of the world. The word literally means "beginning-in-deep-darkness." Here darkness doesn't connote gloom and evil. Rather, it's about the inscrutability of the embryonic state; the obscure chaos that reigns before germination." 

Image: the Snake Charmer, 1907, by Henri Rousseau
Public Domain via 
Pardon me for re-using this favorite image, but it was the one in my mind when this poem came through.