Monday, June 29, 2015

The Night Guitar

The Night Guitar

Sometimes the stars mock the moon,
smaller than a paramecium
swimming in their amniotic cloud,
invisible without
a microscope. Sometimes the night's
guitar is bigger than I am, miles of
twisted mahogany too heavy
to hold.

I stand beside it, 
its ebony frets that reach past
the roofbeam, strings
like bridge cables, its round-windowed keys
bright raptor eyes
looking through me. I stand there
as I would by a trophy fish
hoist swinging up by a pulley

because some nights
are like a bad vacation
full of lousy motels, broken food,
bitching spouses. They take a picture
so all may admire 
the length, the torpid weight of
something huge
and liquid silver made dead

to hang on a failing wall.  
Other nights
the stars are drowned in moonglow,
the neck is a rosary fitting my hands, 
strings bending sweetly against my fingers, 
like the wooly necks of wayward lambs, 
and we play until dawn blows out
the candled moon.

~June 2015 

[from a dream]
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Images: The Guitar, 1895 by Anders Zorn
The Trout, 1897, by Gustav Courbet
Public domain

Thursday, June 25, 2015



barking mad
under Mother Moon
to think there was a we 
for ye to give,
not that you want
to hear that, posed as you pull
your worms from the fire
to do the old wriggle, 
as if waved in your hand, 
they make you a man.

make more of a man
from ashes 
and spit.

~June 2015

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Challenge: Words Count 
Mama Zen (Another Damn Poetry Blog) presents us with a list of words common to a slew of languages which suggest a mother tongue once widely shared, and requests a 60 words or less count.. I looked at the list and this came out without much conscious effort--a snarky tale not deep, but perhaps genetically broad as that same mother word-share.

Images: Untitled, 1978, by Zdislav Beksinski   Fair use via
The Cauldron of the Sorceress, 1879, by Odilon Redon   Public domain

Saturday, June 20, 2015

To Waiting

To Waiting

All morning by the highway
I waited.
The day was a string with
the bead of you swinging
amber and whole at its end.
Dust lifted my hair;
dust was the way the wind
found its fingers
there where I dreamed the fall

of your hair over me--
a wave, a sigh, a landslide, 
the soft brown roots 
of not one tree
but a fern-tangled forest;
 I waited for this 
without caring how long,
alive as a vine that covers
a dying barn, as an apple tree

whose apples are flowers,
rose-white in clouds;
as the bud on the cane
hides the thorn in the rose
as the rose abides  
in the round hip I gave
to soften the ground
each time we'd wait
for breath to come back

from that place
in the dark where
the storm rides.

~June 2015

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Sunday Mini-Challenge: Ode to the Quotidian

Karin Gustafson (ManicDDaily) offers us the example of the sublime Neruda and his odes to everyday things as a springboard, but as always leaves us some breathing room to slip in something else. This is something else, as I usually think of an ode as something a bit more full of  the blood sweat and tears of form than this--still, what could be more quotidian than waiting?

Image: Apple Tree, I , 1912,  by Gustav Klimt
Public domain via

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pictures of a Failed Exhibition

Pictures Of A Failed Exhibition

From the days of my religion
when men were gods
and trees were prophets
painted tall and straight
till the  witches'-broom showed,
I took nothing in the end
but the relic in the bone box
framed by black velvet,
lid so carefully carved
with all my fables.

I set it on a scarlet altar
with seven priests and seven 
blessings, where canvas cherubim 
genuflected with a smirk.
In times of great need, I took it out.
I overlooked its sour smell,
its shriveled  form, and
fervently adored it as I
prayed its intercession
in my damnation.

But each year it just
grew blacker, crackled, smaller,
till opening the casket one day
I saw only a brimstone dust.
Then the incubus came
to please and torment me,
the spoiled trees
were felled, the priests
unfrocked and the cherubim fled,
never having truly felt at home

All that was left
hanging in the chiaroscuro
at the alter was a memory-shadow
shape of a severed thing decayed
pointing out the way
to dissolution. From these pictures
I learned two things:
that evil is good's bad dream;
that evil is insane
for it cannot dream at all.

~June 2015

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Challenge: Fireblossom Friday
The perpetual framer of original challenges, Fireblossom (Shay's Word Garden) asks us to write a poem on any subject, her sole stricture being that the title begin with the words 'Pictures of..." 

Optional Psychedelic Garage Band Accompaniment

Process note: "...witch's broom or witches' broom is a disease or deformity in a woody plant, typically a tree, where the natural structure of the plant is changed. A dense mass of shoots grows from a single point, with the resulting structure resembling a broom or a bird's nest..."~wikipedia

Iamges: The Relic, 18923, by Joaquin Sorolla
Public domain via
Witch's-broom on Birch, via wikimedia commons
Shared under a Creative Commons license 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Cave Light

Cave Light

Darkness is safety
when the eye won't shut;
what can be seen
in the dark warm
where pillars of salt
turn ebony and
 the far sound 
of ocean licks
at time's feet?
Without fail
 I see two
twisting meet 
of  stalactite 
the fallen
also raising
a bridge from 
conduit and 
columned, fused, 
shadows in the light 
at cave-mouth that sends us
its  own soft arms as we span
the rock room and shelter night.

~June 2015

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Challenge: Caverns of Thoughts

Corey Rowley (herotomost, at Mexican Radio, and  recently published author of On Hunter's Wash ) takes us spelunking in the caverns of the mind, our quest to report back on what we see. This was a quick and spontaneous write, so thanks, Corey, and all my patient readers for putting up with whatever happens when there is not the usual excruciating editing process.

Images: Cave Dwellings Near Sperlinga Sicily, 1933, by M.C. Escher
Magic Grotto, 1942  by Remedios Varo
Fair use via