Friday, February 25, 2022

Advice From The Fortune Teller


Advice From The Fortune Teller

"Look up to jump," the gypsy calls.
"It's how you fly instead of fall.
It's a long way down, that last bump,
so fly your eyes like starlings brawl.
That's how you miss the awkward thump,"
the gypsy calls."Look up to jump."

She's jumped before. I try to trust
my heavy wings of wax and rust,
the sky my boat, the wind my oar,
my feathers eyes above earth's crust
cast floating up and sent to soar.
I try to trust. She's jumped before.

But then I see she smiles and smiles
at birds stitched high on cloudy miles
at knifing rocks that slice the sea,
carving waves like bladed turnstiles.
"Just look up and finally be free."
She smiles and smiles, but then I see.

February 2022

posted for dVerse Poets

(for a complete description of this quirky little form, see above, where Grace is hosting)

Images ; The Fortune Tellar, 1933, © Brassai   Fair Use
Floating Woman, photomanipulation © Phillip Igumnov  Fair Use

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Quadrille Of The Poppies


Quadrille Of The Poppies
In Mexico
you wrote me word by word
into the book of your hips.
We traded salt naked
lip to lip; your 
listening kiss
heard the colors come
as poppies and geraniums stirred
rustling from my earth,
turning their dark faces
towards yours,

February 2022

 posted for dVerse Poets:
Quadrille #146: Salt

using words from
where I am hosting for Shay this week

Images: Textile Bookbinding from The Netherlands, ca 1621  Fair Use 
Oriental Poppies, 1908, © Georgia O'Keefe    Fair Use

Monday, February 21, 2022



I was a god's nymph of the deep ravine,
a dancer in the dusk on dandelion greens
til listening to you I felt a dog's duress
that I in your spellsong's locket be possessed.

Under the purple awning of the night
whitened stars beat down in falling flight.
I felt yet didn't hear your naked voice.
I took and later rued an arrow's choice.

And when your always-wooing sleepless noise
drew the jackal out from the sour wood,
I tried to turn and run as best I could;
you played untouched as the snake saw me destroyed.

Even then you could not let me rest,
bright in poppy sleep in the dreaming earth
but played until your will outgrew my worth
and petals bloomed on the stone of Hades' breast.

But as you pulled me up the iron route
I saw my dandelion days were all undone,
and rejoiced in the malediction of your doubt,
freed at last where death and dreams are one.
 February 2022

 posted for Word Garden Word List #14

where I am hosting this week for Shay, who is taking the week off. Come join us!
Note; This poem has absolutely nothing to do with Neruda, but it is what the words on the list brought out. In the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Eurydice is seduced by the legendary music of Orpheus and his harp and marries him. One day the minor god Aristaeus sees and pursues her. As she runs away, she is bitten by a viper and dies. Orpheus famously follows her to Hades' underworld, where his singing persuades the god to let her return to the earth. ".. the condition was attached that he must walk in front of her and not look back until both had reached the upper world. Soon he began to doubt that she was there, suspecting that Hades had deceived him. Just as he reached the portals of Hades..he turned around to gaze on her face, and because Eurydice had not yet crossed the threshold, she vanished back into the Underworld...Several meanings for the name Eurydice have been proposed such as true judgement or profound judgement...In some accounts, she was instead called Agriope which means "savage face" ~wikipedia
Images: Orpheus and Eurydice, 1515,  relief by Peter Vischer the Younger Public Domain
Eurydice Bitten By The Viper, 1508, Titian  Public Domain

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Apple Wine, Bitter Greens


Apple Wine, Bitter Greens

You gave me apple wine and bitter greens
a highwire hawk who'd learned to trick the sky,
a line of lakes where the white moon hid her gleams
in cups of apple wine and bitter greens,
in fantasies, daydreams and guillotines
til we were just a wildfire burning dry
drunk on apple wine and parched of green,
two highwire hawks who thought we'd tricked the sky.

 February 2022

posted for
dVerse Poets Poetics:

Images: Evening at Volga, 1888, ©Isaac Levitan    Public Domain
Courting Redtails, 2008 ©Gouldingken     via wikimedia commons     Fair Use

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Lincoln Frees The Owls


 Lincoln Frees The Owls

Your father had
a cloud of blackbirds,
your mother a wake
of buzzards. You
were more ambitious.
You wanted Athena's owls,
or else to play Lincoln. You
had the bones for it, and you
bought the hat, but feathers
stuck in your throat
when you began to speak
about emancipation.
The owls never complained
about the long hours
you made them be still
on your lap, the skinny mice
you gave them. (It was
unfortunate about the butterflies,
but an owl has to eat.)
In the end we left you, 
the owls and I, in front of
the Ford Theater where later
we would all find out
what it means to be really free.

February 2022


posted for

Thursday, February 10, 2022

The Night Call


The Night Call
The woods are dark
and important with green, restless
with a pushing wind bruising the white
 petals of the moonflowers against
the walls of this house I never enter
that stands at the edge of the dream. I'm
not here to come in from the green dark alive
with a canticle of constellations and the wind strumming
 soft in the moon-colored strings of my hair but
sometimes I watch the wisp of a dead bishop
rigid in the doorway holding the lantern high
questioning the heretic hours, the faceless rain,
the expanse teeming with life between us
that answers in crickets and owl song
and the giving language of pines
he will never be able to speak.
None of these will tell the secret; that I'm here,
 that I'll never come in
to the house filled with traps,
whose convenience of hot and cold
running happiness has leaked
out in sickly anger, leaving that stink
of broken love that clings
to a dead wisp calling,
calling me back to black dreams
I'll never share again.
I'm already gone in the breathy night,
into the green dark, alive.

 February 2022

posted for earthweal's

Photos © joyannjones 2-27-2014, manipulated

Monday, February 7, 2022

Pumpkins, Hornets and Dinosaurs


Our Trance
There he was, drunk as Baudelaire
and twice as fishy when
he unbuttoned the pearled rain from
my shoulders. I'd eaten stars
for dinner, so I didn't care
if it was a trance. 
That night
we were happy as pumpkins.

Archeology In The Dark

After millions of years, archeologists
found the dinosaurs
playing poker and spinning poems
in the tar. "We never knew we were lost,"
said the dinosaurs, "but thanks

Funeral At The Old House

The old house was full of hornets that morning.
Hornets cooked the breakfast( ham and eggs
and mealworms.) Hornets washed the dishes
and went out for funeral groceries.
Hornets paid the bills and mailed them
with the correct postage. They mean well
but they sting.

I keep wondering how
I got shut in with Frankenstein
and the old blind man
who ceaselessly 
lights candles while Frankenstein
smokes all his cigars.
Just lucky, I guess.
February 2022
posted for Shay's Word List #12

Bonus: My favorite poem by Brautigan:

" Lions are growing like yellow roses on the wind
and we turn gracefully in the medieval garden of their roaring blossoms.
Oh, I want to turn.
Oh, I am turning.
Oh, I have turned.
Thank you."
~from Rommel Drives Deeper Into Egypt, by Richard Brautigan 
Images:Pumpkinhead Self-Portrait, 1972, © Jamie Wyeth  Fair Use
Illustration of dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous.© Jorge Gonzalez Fair Use
Vielles Maisons, 1920 © Helene Guinepied    Fair Use
Still from Bride of Frankenstein, 1935, Universal Pictures  Public Domain
Roses and Beetle, 1890, © Vincent Van Gogh   Public Domain   

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Axe, Maul And Wedge



Axe, Maul And Wedge

When you first brought me to the farm, you taught me how to
turn wood into fire. 'To part firewood fiber from fiber, to
 make it small,' you'd say,'you think you need an axe. 
An axe is sharp and  showy; an axe has blade
and bite and swings like the
pendulum of god, but
 what you really need to split the wood is a wedge.'You
smiled your wisdom-imparting smile, 'after all a
wedge was the first machine.' Where the
axe falters, beaten, the maul with blow
 after blow pushes the wedge deep
between the weave of atoms
til wood breaks,
 forced away from itself, no longer looking like anything
that was once alive, dryads' home, birds' harbor,
just kindling meat. And then is the time for
the axe, flying abrupt and wild as
 a silver moon of cyclone through
 the dry strings of bark and
And when it came time for the
 splitting of us, you might say
you were the maul, she
was the wedge and I
the gaudy axe
attacking the last
tough fragments
of what we
to provide for
the next
February 2022

posted for

Images: Wedge, by user Shakespeare, public domain via wikimedai commons Fair Use
Photo of axe via Sunday Muse Fair Use

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Observed In The Wild


Observed In The Wild
I found you first in the green evening
a secret burn of elongated lines
sketched into the mural of bending pines
by wind's unseen ink, traveling the trail
on an old scent caught in the bracken;

then the adrenaline snap
of your head my way.

You called me from my campfire
to answer the brown beg in your eye,
to fall beneath you like aspen leaves
at your season's yellow turn,
as my own summer died around me.

Pulled like gut to the crescent bow
of the reckless huntress, I chased you
through evergreen shadow, along bone-clean
clattered rockfall, dry creeks where
only the musk smell of hope drew me on

past the deadfalls and I would guess at your way
by the arrowhead and adder's mouth rising
in your wake. Too many years you ran ahead
to pleasure a dozen others who never
saw your winter,

but often when the itch was unbearable in
the time-crack of April's acid sun, you
came to me in the clearing, to rub the felt
from your horns on my shoulder and moan
my name like a sacrifice

low and heavy as the white bull
of Poseidon knee deep in the
sacred wave before the knife.

 February 2022

posted for earthweal's
Notes: Arrowhead (Sagittaria Latifolia) and the wild orchid known as green adder's mouth(Malaxis unifolia) are common North American wildflowers. Pardon the mixed metaphors of stag and bull which in time-honored fashion I ascribe to poetic license.You can read a quick synopsis of the myth of King Minos, his wife, the white bull sent him by Poseidon, its pursuit by Heracles and its eventual sacrifice by Theseus here.
Images: Pine Forest II, 1901, © Gustav Klimt  Public Domain
Head of a Stag, 1634, © Diego Velazquez     Public Domain

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Two Crows Make A Zodiac


Two Crows Make A Zodiac
Winters at white dawn, before the first gaudy ransack of a
scold of jays, two crows come to her feeding cup.

They have no elfish hands to hold interwoven as otters 
do, to keep each other close on cold waters, but still

they float down on air as joint motif. Not one crow,
but two, for in any functional lexicon, the complete set
of meaningful units is not one. They eat a dozen peanuts
with the focus she applies eating her mistakes, but with
their own goblin squawk and savoring, a black-suited pair
laughing like undertakers on holiday, the charm of a child's
toys in their round eyes as they celebrate this meal,so much
more efficient than pecking through reticulated rubbish, so
much quicker than sieving crushed bladders or hearts tarry from
asphalt, than abrupt blare-interrupted flutters on the flat luck
of skunk or raccoon, where they must thrust their razor beaks 
like needles through black blood glitter, scrape hard bone
clean to sew lost life from ruined flesh to full feathers. They
are complete either way, but the woman has made it easier.

Two crows make their own zodiac, seven stars make Orion,
the time-twisted woman who sets out peanuts
makes a pageant in vapor, a blood-let of generosity,
a late arrival at sufficiency; for in any functional lexicon,
the complete set of meaningful units
is not one.

January 2022

 posted for
Shay's Word List #11:
This poem makes no attempt to capture  Hughes' style or Hughes' own vision of Crow and his journeys, that epic exploration of folk-tale and myth which rewards the reader's time with much more content and flourish than I could ever hope to muster. 
But when I think of Hughes, I think of Crow, and so, this poem.

Note: For those interested, here is some background on Hughes' collection of poems exploring Crow:
After his wife Sylvia Plath's suicide, Hughes wrote nothing for three years. Then he began a work which was finally published as Crow:from the Life and Songs of Crow. As stated by the Ted Hughes Society, it "holds a uniquely important place in Hughes oeuvre.  It heralds the ambitious second phase of his work, lasting roughly from the late sixties to the late seventies, when he turned from direct engagement with the natural world to unified mythical narratives and sequences. It was his most controversial work: a stylistic experiment which abandoned many of the attractive features of his earlier work, and an ideological challenge to both Christianity and humanism..He looked back on the years of work on Crow as a time of imaginative freedom and creative energy, which he felt that he never subsequently recovered...."

Images: Crows in Winter, © N.C. Wyeth   Fair Use
Detail from Crow's Song © Andrea Kowch  generously accessible at her website Andrea Kowch Studios Blog  where you can and should see the entire painting.    Fair Use