She Wishes By the Seashore

echoes unwise
undone alone
unknown pinkest
surges cresting
not best but most


Cowgirl, Interrupted

You can feel
the bumpy rhythm
of the carousel horse
in your teeth
her low moan
in your clavicle

Giddyap sister
let’s bust these poles
& skedaddle

Out beyond
the grassy sighs
of home
to wide open hollers
sprinkled with a few
frustrated hearts

You are
so delicious
get along, little--

50 words for Mama Zen on the subject of HUNGER


Mail Delivery in Harsh Climates

The mailman
your letter

Shut the door
winterday blue

the inevitable grey
of your words

Wind sharpens
black ice
to cleave my breast

You say
you don’t love me

For Fireblossom Friday in the Imaginary Garden: WINTER


Oh Dammit

Thought me a haiku
committed to memory
promptly forgot it


Making Wishes

Hang on to Sunday’s
mysteries woven in the blue
of night sky and golden honey,
ablutions like specks
suspended in beams
of gauze-filtered sunlight,
just floating there.
And Monday’s workaday ache.
Hold on to every day,
because ghosts come faster
now, waving your immortality
like gauzy flags, or shrouds.
Everything could change--
today’s melody quaint and tinny,
if you remember it at all.

Late entry for Grace’s challenge to the Real Toads, inspired by the poetry of David Huerta. Thank you, Grace.
Sharing on the Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden!


Phantom Clutch

On the whole, heated seats
for manual transmission
seems an even trade. But my foot
still reaches for the clutch
when Charlie Chesterman sings
about that shabby dress,
when turning right on East Street,
when I drive in heels, when I feel
the heat on the back of my thighs
and allow myself
to think of you.

For Corey’s prompt to the Real Toads: ROAD TRIP


So-Called Haiku #48

My haiku's busted
scrambling after syllables
all over the floor



Wondering whether
all our tomorrows travel
fast like yesterdays


This Reason Trumps So You Can Ignore the Rest

You’d like to run off
but objectively compelling reasons
make you stay. Kids, for one thing.
They seem to need a stoop
from which you holler for them
that it’s time for dinner
so get your ass home and wash up.
They seem to need home base.
Otherwise you’d be outta here.
Also, the cat.

Flash 55 for Real Toads, in memory of the G-Man, Galen Haynes.


Daybreak Over Chicopee

    cloudy grey
& hematite grey
    constitutes earthly boundary,
aspirations too other-wordly
            for mortal hearts.


It Will Be Happier

Give up seasonal mirth
for a cheap approximation
if it’s all you have.
A parking lot brawl will do.
Reduce your lover
to a shadow of what you had
like last week’s recycling
left curbside
for someone else to pick up.
Already you’ve forgotten
nights when the bottles were full,
when you got drunk
on her,
how it felt to be seen.
She’s last week.
Tomorrow you’ll go invisible,
park your car the next street over,
walk the extra block.

Susie prompted the Real Toads with this quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson, from whence this poem sprang: "Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, It will be happier." Best wishes for the New Year!


Music of a Fallen Year

Rain on the roof.
Water strumming down eaves,
ants strutting single-file,
snap of nitrile gloves,
steam rising from black coffee.
Skyward maples,
shadows pattering on glass,
entering and embracing.
Not a small amount of terror,
over-loud laughter rising.
Come to bed.

Grapeling’s final Get Listed for 2014 included these words: music, fall, water, glove, steam, shadow, embrace, rise, bed


They Say Love Won't Pay the Rent

It’s a quarter till dawn
and the sky above the nativity
glows iridescent black-blue
like the backdrop
of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour
Here they are, the first family
Baby Chastity
played by a studded tire
(because the baby Jesus was stolen)
Here they come a-caroling
I Got You, Babe.


How Many Licks Does It Take

I think of you
while combing my hair
gently at first
from the ends up
then impatiently
yanking out the knots
and tossing them aside


Heroes We Have Heard on High

Snorting their astral
saxophones, exhorting us
to bend in supplication
like solemn boughs laden
with adoration, bowed
but not breaking, we sing
their glorious refrain
in starry harmony, cowed
and waiting for the coda.

Late entry for Kerry’s word substitution challenge, Christmas Special Edition!


Another Cavalcade of Seasons and Songs

Fold the year’s pain
into renzuru--
everything you lost locked
in the heart,
head full of yearning,
like showy tailfeathers,
all your melodies memorized
in the wings.
Keep your crane of ghosts
and minor chords
creased in your notebook,
carry it with you,
stashed in your pillow for dreaming.

For my Real Toads, inspired by Kevn Kinney’s Broken Hearts and Auto Parts


Buy One Lilac, Get Two Bearded Iris Absolutely Free!

I remember a septic tank
requiring pumping every month,
wide wooden floorboards
painted grey,
a hot-air balloon spotted
in the skylight above the bed,
the 30-inches-of-snow day
and the subsequent river rush.
If I wrote the story of my life,
this chapter would be
long on nature, short on humanity.
But there would be skinnydipping,
kingfishers ratcheting downstream,
and peonies.


The Storied Rose Glasses

like onion skin
stings like hell
before inevitable

But in dreams
washed in pink
& it’s your waves
lapping at my calves

Inspired by Hannah’s prompt to the Real Toads: LAKE HILLIER


Shut Down Due to Ice

Forgot coffee
on counter apples
in drainer feverishly
navigating roads slick
with worry concerning
apples of your cheeks
flushed fever-red
never noticing red light
rode late night only
your argument perfectly
too late to respond
having forgotten black ice
just how slick you can be.

For Mama Zen’s prompt to the Real Toads: HOMOPHONES


This Writer's Process

Write every day for a month,
then stop. Don’t write for one day,
two days, then a week. Take a break,
all the while admonishing yourself
for lacking productivity. Curse,
but colorfully: Jesus Christ
on a bike, I am lazy as shit,
and even less talented. I give up.
Then start writing all over again.

True confessions for Flash Fiction 55 at Real Toads!