Pictures of People Who Were Murdered

These are pictures
of people
who were murdered
because they are black.
Nine community members,
murdered in church
not by a shooter,
but by a racist terrorist
who strove to start a war.
Children played dead
in order to stay alive
on the anniversary
of a slave revolt
planned by the founder
of Emanuel African Methodist
Episcopal Church,
as the confederate flag
over the Charleston state house,
full-mast today.
These are the names
of the people we murdered:

Sharonda Coleman-Singleton

Reverend Clementa Pinckney

Cynthia Hurd

Tywanza Sanders

Myra Thompson

Ethel Lee Lance

Reverend Daniel L. Simmons

Reverend Depayne Middleton-Doctor

Susie Jackson 

For Shay’s prompt to the Real Toads: PICTURE THIS


Early Civilizations

The kind of June
that’s caught off guard,
when love goes low
in the wake of all that rain.
You are left picking violets
gathering large bunches,
hoarding against catastrophe.

Sharing today with Real Toads on The Tuesday Platform. (Epitaph on Robert Frost's grave: "I had a lover's quarrel with the world.")


What Drove You In, What Keeps You There

Remember that conversation
about a void, the stars,
another dream? Only last week,
far from the cavern
you’re stuck in now.
Consider constellations
as chill embraces you
like a long-dead lover’s arms.
Scratch them on the walls
sufficiently cryptically
for posterity to wonder
what caused that collision,
so much heat, such bright nights.

For Corey’s prompt to the Real Toads: THE CAVERN OF MY THOUGHTS


Love, Pass It On

With your peace signs
and flower patches,
reverence for living things,
stashed envelopes,
scraps retained against
a turn in luck,
dog-eared copy
of Our Bodies, Ourselves,
faith abiding, still surprised.
Love, pass it on.


We'll Need a Scythe After All This Rain

It’s cold for June,
but I’ve learned
the cycles of things,
like flush followed by quiet,
rain followed by tall grass.

We made it through May
without the ants coming in.
So I’m knocking on wood,
pulling on a fuzzy sweater,
waiting out the silence.

Sharing this little observation on The Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden.


Alright Alright Alright

In offices and cubicles
Behind closed doors in buildings
On sidewalks, in crosswalks
Sliding down slides in parklets
At McDonald’s and the market
They all talk about how our love
Can never baby possibly be
I’m gonna scream it from our rooftop
Scrawl it across the sky
Wear it on a placard around my neck
Listen here, talky talky people
My baby’s love always gets me high
My baby’s love’s all I need tonight
My baby my baby my baby
All right


Jammed out & scrawled out for Izy’s OUT OF STANDARD


Waiting on Parades

My notebook falls open
to a page of ballpoint pen drawings
by my son, who had been sitting
on a curb waiting for a parade.
My own scratchings scarce, inspiration
is welcome when it surfaces.
Who could fail to be moved
by his steady requirement to draw now,
on this curb, on a restaurant placemat,
a napkin if that’s all there is?
(Put this in your purse, mama.)
My children remember the admonishment
of an artist to never stop drawing,
evoking this advice constantly
and with reverence, as though told
from on high instead of under a tent
at the Westhampton Fall Festival.
Obviously, this is a good thing,
a lucky thing, a moment’s one-off words
etched deep in the psyche of youth,
the notebook that is life’s pleasure,
treasure a mother hopes
will be unearthed over and over,
the mind’s riches providing sustenance
for a lifetime of waiting on parades.



snare drum
rattling out
list of offenses
not listening
not remembering
making you feel
you are one of many

Christ I’m sorry
  (sad trombone)
you are the only one

It’s Fireblossom Friday in the Imaginary Garden.


Death and Science

The faint scar jagging up your thigh
makes you think about death and science
because there were cadavers in a lab
and a good-looking guy named Chaz who knew

a lab tech who could get us in with a little
notice. Of course you knew he was sleeping
with her and that’s why she would risk it. Chaz
wasn’t even pre-med. He was econ but back then

guys named Chaz were sleeping with all cute girls
by definition. Remember why he could goad you
to visiting cadavers in the first place. And why
in a dark med school women’s room you shucked

too-big jeans fastened with safety pins yanking
them up too fast upon a thud which could only be
a reanimated corpse or the campus cops but either
way you were about to be caught and possibly

ingested with blood down your leg from a tragic
safety pin accident what is the point of a failed
attempt to break into the cadaver room but a scarry
reminder of death and science for all eternity

Not sure what I’m doing with this but am sharing on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden anyway.


On Hunter's Wash

Hey! Hey! I'm thrilled to announce the publication by ALL CAPS PUBLISHING of On Hunter's Wash: A Fractured Memoir by Phoenix, Arizona writer and agitator (and friend!) Corey Rowley.
"Creation minds the fort like a seasoned bitch.” Lines like this are the backbone of On Hunter’s Wash, a collection of poetry, prose and experimental fiction from Corey Rowley. Rowley's writing magnifies introspective thinking while holding self up to society's sometimes brutal, and other times beautiful, mirror. This volume is awash in the sort of internal dialogue that is immediately identifiable, but at times not so comfortable.

If you recognize yourself in the pages of On Hunter's Wash, just know that you are not alone. We have all been there. Thank you, Corey, for reminding us.

Obviously, readers, you need this book. Get your copy of On Hunter’s Wash via Amazon: 



Yellowed by pollen and regret
nails gnawed to the quick
not quite remembering that dream
but for a fragment

Knifing poetry
on a picket fence

The lilacs are intoxicating
insistent as they annually are
on celebrating all of Spring’s
failures to thrive

Michael offered a word list from Pablo Neruda’s poems, including: suburb, gnawed, fragment, knife, insistent

Shared with with Toads on The Tuesday Platform. Join!



Suddenly dandelions
everywhere we looked,
in front yards and side yards,
wide meadows, town commons,
that strip of grass
between sidewalk and street--

It was so quiet
as we all noticed
unapologetically yellowing
all that green
with only birds trumpeting
praise for dandelions,
as we were too stunned to sing--

In the quiet
we could even hear bees
dandelion pollen,
considered dandelion gratitude
as bees
don’t have it easy these days--

Then we remembered our machines,
the place of dandelions,
and obligingly
started our engines.

Today. And for Grace’s prompt to the Real Toads: JANE HIRSCHFIELD


Forget About Those Revitalizing Creams

I want to age
with natural beauty
like the craggy maple,
red with buds, scraping sky,
briefly belying the lush to come,
cradling the moon
before blanketing him away
from pining eyes.
No one questions
the value
of the blessed maple,
the squirrels keep her playful,
and each year offers another chance
at achieving perfection.

Very late for Flash 55 Plus. Am sharing today on The Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden. Come share your own poems with the Real Toads!


Let It Be Known

I had
an admirable
and an even bigger
for love

For Izy’s 4/30 prompt to the Real Toads: BANG, WHIMPER, HISS

And HEY it’s number 30 of 30 poems for NaPoWriMo! Yo, April, don’t let the door smack yer ass on the way out.


No Littering

burger wrapper
lit on my windshield
in an instant I saw it all
the crash
the decapitation
body parts strewn across the highway
my husband receiving the news
presented with a bouquet
of severed limbs
my wedding ring
no ceremony

Something uplifting and cheerful for #29.


Mr. Clutter

Sensible and sedate
impressed interior
spongy immense
with glittery necessity
learned to cook
coconut cookies
charity cake
Spartan breakfasts
neither coffee or tea,
of course he did not drink.

An erasure poem character sketch of Mr. Clutter, one of "the last to see them alive," described in the first chapter of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. #28 of 30 in April, and sharing with the Real Toads on The Tuesday Platform. Somehow the photo "poetry spoken hear" seems to connect to In Cold Blood. Maybe it's because it's day 28.


Good Housekeeping

One part homework,
Two garbage nights,
Three loads of towels,
Half-serving cat hairballs,
Tetch of frustration,
Handful of mismatched socks,
Generous helping of Mama, Look!
Blend with equal parts mundane
and small joys.
(Best served with kisses.)
Dinner’s on the table.

#27 of 30 in April! For Bjorn’s prompt to the Real Toads: POETIC RECIPES