Friends, looky looky! I am honored and very pleased that two of my poems are featured in the inaugural issue of Hellbent, a fantastic and beautiful new magazine that is the brainchild of editor/founder Yvette Chairez. Also featuring compelling art, short fiction, and poems by Tim Schaefer among others. Congrats to Yve and her partner in crime, Alyssa Ammirato. YEAH BABY! Click and enjoy!
Clouds obscuringkid carrying an amplifierriding a bicycleVolkswagen backing into trafficcar ahead refusing blinkahsbut that’s okayI know where it’s headedfollowing blue blissall of us like wayward gretelstracking crumblinesto the cloudsanticipating our last supper
Corey & Real Toads: THE LAST SUPPER
Torn creases,raggedy-edged,stuckwith yellowed tape,directionsfading in the oceanof my arms, push pinslocatingfuture pain pointsalong the organ corridor,beginning with the heart.
This idea came to me while listening to The Naked Scientists podcast. Sharing on The Tuesday Platform in the Imaginary Garden!
You can drive all dayto reach the ocean, spendseveral fragile moments wishingshe were always closer.You might wish to bea fisherman, fantasizeabout tan and sinew, sea glass,surf. The island at the horizonbeckons. But you have a station wagon,not a schooner, and bills pile up.Other mothers on the beach know.You catch one’s eye as she tugsher swimsuit top, allthe diffidence of motherhoodpassing between you.Only gulls are free here, onlychildren in photographs.
For Grace’s prompt to the Real Toads: JUDITH WRIGHT
Sat downto write a poemcalledI Hate That Guybut a photoof Johnny Deppgot merememberinghow he lookslike youHowyour ring janglesa bitbetween knucklesOblique teethcleft chinyourWho was that guy again?
Occasional Real Toads music prompt: IT’S A SHAME ABOUT RAY
In awe of your corporeal spaceI sit parked in your station wagonwith the faux-wood trim, reciting linesto your thrust, your roominess.I can’t bear to pull out, preferringyour sweet little tree in my lungs,intoning devotion to naugahyde,wishing after wishing you were here.It’s no secret I’m smitten.I could palm your dash all day,rub your fabric the wrong way justto feel the ridged pleasure of youin my hands, breathingyour reply, verse after salted verse.
For Kerry’s prompt to the Real Toads: POETIC VOICE
Listening to your songabout summer in CaliforniaBeach Boys and Spoonful-timeinexplicably brings to minda Pennsylvania momentthat probably happened in winterBilly Idol’s sneeron the big console televisionin my grandmother’s sitting roomwhich come to think of itwas a bedroomI guess she had a 3-bedroom apartmentwith a writing desk in that TV roomand another in the living roomthough I never saw her writingat either oneIt was the eightiesevery season had a White WeddingAnyway keep on with your summer songsbecause it’s always winter here
This was somehow inspired by listening to Ray Mason perform a new song called “Not Everyone Can Live in California.”
Maybe you were sentto remind me of my bellyfull of bold assertions,or perhaps you were meantto paint my dreamssuch that I remember what I am.You are part of what liesbeyond the here,and now I've found a circle.Maybe the aliens burnt you in the dirt,fueling you with enough evidencethat I believe you.
Gentle Readers, today is the anniversary of the Roswell thing, so I give you my perennial-favorite poem. "Roswell" was published in my first book, Responsive Pleading, which can be purchased via Amazon or directly from yours truly.
Pulled over on the highway,huddled on the berm,eyes skyward,reverent--Distant cheers,toddler shrieking in Spanishas fog meets fireworks contrailsin thunderheadsroiling over farmlandsresemblingthe day after--So many cars criss-crosscornfieldson sleepy roads,one wonders where they all came from,to whom they return--People who know better.
Flash 55 in the Imaginary Garden
These are picturesof peoplewho were murderedbecause they are black.Nine community members,murdered in churchnot by a shooter,but by a racist terroristwho strove to start a war.Children played deadin order to stay aliveon the anniversaryof a slave revoltplanned by the founderof Emanuel African MethodistEpiscopal Church,as the confederate flagflewover the Charleston state house,full-mast today.These are the namesof the people we murdered:
Reverend Clementa Pinckney
Ethel Lee Lance
Reverend Daniel L. Simmons
Reverend Depayne Middleton-Doctor
For Shay’s prompt to the Real Toads: PICTURE THIS
The kind of Junethat’s caught off guard,when love goes lowin the wake of all that rain.You are left picking violetsgreedily,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.")
Remember that conversationabout a void, the stars,another dream? Only last week,far from the cavernyou’re stuck in now.Consider constellationsas chill embraces youlike a long-dead lover’s arms.Scratch them on the wallssufficiently crypticallyfor posterity to wonderwhat caused that collision,so much heat, such bright nights.
For Corey’s prompt to the Real Toads: THE CAVERN OF MY THOUGHTS
It’s cold for June,but I’ve learnedthe cycles of things,like flush followed by quiet,rain followed by tall grass.We made it through Maywithout 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.
In offices and cubiclesBehind closed doors in buildingsOn sidewalks, in crosswalksSliding down slides in parkletsAt McDonald’s and the marketThey all talk about how our loveCan never baby possibly beI’m gonna scream it from our rooftopScrawl it across the skyWear it on a placard around my neckListen here, talky talky peopleMy baby’s love always gets me highMy baby’s love’s all I need tonightMy baby my baby my babyAll right
Jammed out & scrawled out for Izy’s OUT OF STANDARD
My notebook falls opento a page of ballpoint pen drawingsby my son, who had been sittingon a curb waiting for a parade.My own scratchings scarce, inspirationis welcome when it surfaces.Who could fail to be movedby 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 admonishmentof an artist to never stop drawing,evoking this advice constantlyand with reverence, as though toldfrom on high instead of under a tentat the Westhampton Fall Festival.Obviously, this is a good thing,a lucky thing, a moment’s one-off wordsetched deep in the psyche of youth,the notebook that is life’s pleasure,treasure a mother hopeswill be unearthed over and over,the mind’s riches providing sustenancefor a lifetime of waiting on parades.