nonsense noise

What is this nonsense foolery
reverbing my old ears?
It radiates annoyingly,
unearthing old dark fears--
What if it forecasts gloomily,
portends the worst of years?
I fear I’ll be dragged noisily
into a world of tears.

Laurie recaps a year of word prompts to the Real Toads, including NONSENSE.



Playing pool & watching girls
with frosted hair and bolo ties
line dancing at the Purple Onion,

the waitress delivers a beer--
that lady over there sent you this.
I look & nod to the lady, who bears

striking resemblance to Brian Setzer
so I sashay my ass over & try out
my best line: Let’s rock this place.

She nods, snaps her head back
& drains her whiskey. I want to lick
her exposed throat and she knows it.

Rock this joint? She snorts. Nah
let’s blow this here popsicle stand.
Gruff and intoxicating. So we did.

My response to Izy's Dubstep Goat challenge to the Real Toads.


hurry down

Faster than starlight
they say Santa Claus comes,
but we wish he'd linger.


sweetest prayer

What if my love were peppermint,
decadent sweet delight?
You’d scarf me down obsessively
no holding back in sight.
Alas, a girl of mortal flint
am I, my flavor slight,
But I can pledge fidelity
       -- and sugar every night.


bygones on high

Our year of wrongs is now undone
and roughly sent to bed,
not worthy of remembering.
So we’ll forget, instead
of holding shade against the sun
or blaming green for red--
We’ll dream of angels slumbering
inside our trifling heads.
photo by Isadora Gruye
Kerry's weekend challenge to the Real Toads is to try common or hymnal measure. This is a common octave.


armed forces

At world's end, 
let's form our own militia--
arm ourselves with poetry.


burning lies

her window,
a shack returns
to its origins
in the crick,
a ladder climbs
to a second-story

liar liar
pants on fire

The window
to radiate
as flames

She finds
her center
by pressing
her belly
the cold wall.

Deceiver, dissembler
Your trousers are alight
From what pole or gallows
Do they dangle in the night?

Can an angel
your window
if the burning bush

She must
speak the truth.

photo by Marian Kent
Written for Kerry's pastiche prompt to the Real Toads, with apologies to William Blake. (The italicized fifth stanza is from William Blake's poem "The Liar.")


still slaying dragons

Friends, I'm sharing a post I wrote and published here in May 2010, along with a brilliant poem by my grandmother. It feels right to share this again today. I wish it did not. Love to all of you--much, much love.

Forever-goneness. A glorious term coined by my young-woman grandmother to describe the end of day. Coined before she met her future husband, before she bore six children. Before her oldest child, her daughter Nancy, died. Run over by a car, dropped off from school and exiting the car on the street side. Before two of her other children, Jeffrey and Becky, died of illness in early childhood, one in a crib and the other in an institution. Before her husband died young, after a long illness, carrying around his oxygen tank, getting his kids to buy cigarettes for him. He died when their youngest child, my namesake, was still a teenager. I was only a baby and never knew him.

I never talked with my grandmother about Nancy or her other children. Or about her husband. Nor have I talked about them with my mother, or my aunt, or my uncle, or anyone. I have always wondered. I observed my grandmother as a pillar of strength and words and opinion. A strong woman, widowed, with a tragic story. I wondered what it could possibly be like to lose your child. To have your child stolen away in a fast flash of metal. To watch your child die, not able to save her. As a parent, that is the greatest fear. Forever-goneness.

Unbelievably, this week I learned that a long-time friend witnessed the death of his sister when he was a child. She was run over by a car, and he saw everything. I had no idea. And since my initial shock, I've been sitting with this, sitting with the child inside my friend. It's heavy. My friend, in his forties, still feeds dragons. Still chases ghosts. Forever-gone, but not gone. He chooses to bear the weight, he would not give it up. The weight is part of his joy and his identity. Remembering. She is not gone. Forever-with.

I had never considered the child witness. Did my uncle, the second-oldest, witness his sister's death? What about my mother? Three living children, and three gone. What do they remember? What ghosts might my mother still chase? Does she feed dragons? How about my aunt, the youngest, born years later? I've been hugging my kids extra-tight this week. Gazing at them extra-long, watching them together. Playing, laughing. Loving. Happy. What you want for children.

A poem by my grandmother, for those who feed dragons in the night:

     Star, bright star, above my tallest tree
     Telling me calmly that my work is done,
     Telling me peacefully to sit and watch the night,--
     Tell me, what will there be when day is done?

     Wind, cool wind, that through my tallest tree,
     Breathing the sweetness of a summer night,
     Breathing away the cares of a long, toilsome day,--
     Tell me--will there be soon an end of night?


epic. dark.

Dead Children dreams
briefly disrupted
by Epic Adventuring--

Middle Earth proverb
Escaping goblins
to be caught by wolves!

Has been translated
Out of the frying-pan
Into the Fire--

Modern Earth epic:
It seems that We
have been caught by wolves.

We took our children to see The Hobbit yesterday. I've read it twice with them in the past couple months, and last night they asked to read again the chapter called "Out Of The Frying-Pan Into The Fire." I hope you recognize that the middle two stanzas here are taken directly from Tolkien's language in the book.

Our children know nothing of the horror in Newtown, Connecticut this weekend, and we hope to keep it that way. Because children should be innocent, viewing our world with wonder and the possibility of epic adventure. Sending love and healing thoughts to Newtown.


time out

No words today.
Your poet needs time
to reflect.

Much love to all of you.


to be hard of edge

Seems on most days
I just crumble
where historically
my cabochon resisted.

I need a faceter
to re-define my edges,
create brilliance
where I’ve grown soft.

Mayhap yon lapidary
will appreciate
the asteria inside
and coax it to blossom.


the truth of legend

Remember that time when the roof caved in?
I mean when it literally, actually collapsed?
Or I guess more accurately, the ceiling fell in,
though maybe it felt like the sky was falling.

I don’t actually remember the ceiling falling
but everyone talked about it forever after,
so, you know how you remember things you don’t
really remember, because you remember the stories?

It’s like that. It entered the realm of family
legend: The Day The Ceiling Fell In. Like the time
my namesake aunt locked herself out of the house
with me inside alone. I don’t remember that either.

Or the time I was locked in a closet or the time
I said my baby sister was so cute that she was
A Sweet Little Pain In The Neck. They’re stories,
and they must be true, because they tell them.

Legends. They just are. All I know is the ceiling
fell, all of it in a crash, making a mess-pile
on top of the console television. And the miracle was
that in that huge disaster, the television was spared.

Fireblossom asked the Real Toads to write about the roof caving in.


alabaster dreams

Sacred, patient slumbering. 

The Real Toads are writing from a fun ink-stained word list this week!


waiting for snow

branches cradle clouds
swollen with the season's child
prepared to give birth


believing in magic

Dear Santa,
please help me make sure
my child always notices
all the magic around him
even though he no longer
believes in you.

Mama Zen asked the Real Toads to share our letter to Santa.


sexual and otherwise

do we 
talk about
sexual respect
instead of simply


for the love of Lucy

Lucy and I
had a little spat
coming home,
but I’m not mad
any more.
Lucy was willing
to make up
this morning,
so it’s all right,


monster loss

You dreamed you lost me--
I drove away without you;

I dreamed I lost you--
someone drove away with you.

In the morning, I held you
and we compared our dreams

offering them up for analysis,
evidence of monster anxiety.

Then, you waved thru the heart
you drew on the window’s fog

and I left in fog for work,
following a tractor trailer

that belched exhaust in streams
like fire and smoke belching

from a dragon’s nostrils.
I gripped the wheel, focused

on driving safely, dreaming
of day’s end, at home with you.


inside the mind

Gentle readers, I have a treat for you! It's a new interview by the inimitable Eden Baylee with the inimitable yours truly. Click here to read:
inside the mind of poet Marian Kent
And! YOU SHOULD BE READING EDEN BAYLEE. I've described her writing as "intelligent, erudite erotica." Here is what I wrote about her second book, Spring Into Summer:
Eden Baylee's Spring Into Summer is a must-read pleasure for any season. Four women, four situations, four opportunities for Ms. Baylee to explore not only the feelings and desires of her characters, but also their surroundings, their choices, and their intellect. This book is satisfying because it's well-researched and expertly presented, in addition to just being hot as hell. The stories almost demand repeated readings.

I'm a fan of Ms. Baylee and very much enjoyed Fall Into Winter, her earlier book of four interesting and erotic short stories that I've read over and over. But with this newer volume, Spring Into Summer, Ms. Baylee has grown as a writer, giving us more complex characters and stories, and moments to wonder about and contemplate in addition to the sexy scenes. Ms.Baylee has a real gift, and I look forward to more of her writing, erotic and otherwise.
Read Spring Into Summer, as well as Eden's previous book, Fall Into Winter, and her recently-released collection of flash fiction and poetry, Hot Flash.


May 31, 1927. Had an interview with a Mr. Bockstice who has a beautiful garden across from school. He gave me an armload of peonies.
Your youthful
garden peonies
followed me
my whole life
until I found the strength to
simply let them go.

photo by Humbabba (Wikimedia Commons)
Poem #30 of 30 Poems in November. I did it! And, it's not too late--you can still celebrate this achievement by making a contribution to Center for New Americans. Thank you, friends, for cheering me on and supporting my efforts. Whew!


thanksgiving week, 1927

More armistice.

Went to Marge’s this evening,
where I answered a reproachful letter
received from Bill yesterday.
She walked part-way home with me.

Marge was over while I did the dishes
but left as soon as I was through
for she doesn’t like to be here
when I’m doing nightwork.

I quarrelled with Marge.

Thanksgiving. We had chicken.
Chick and I were down at Jane’s.
Haven’t seen Marge since our quarrel.
Bet she’s the first to come back.

Mother is sick in bed! Ye gods!
Dear, oh dear! The Sunday dinner
Dad and I cooked! The ham was done
to a cinder and the rest --- !

Marge came back.

Poem #29 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.


grapefruit season

I cannot eat a grapefruit
without thinking of you
and feeling compelled
to document the fact
that I always think of you
while eating grapefruit.

Now it’s almost winter
and I cannot feel warm
despite always wearing my
scratchy sweater, but at least
I have warm memories of you,
as winter is grapefruit season.

Poem #27 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans. 



Pressure builds
behind my eyes,
loosening teeth
like forgiveness.

I wish I could
convince my face
to take up arms
in resistance,

but as my heart
resists struggle,
so my leukocytes
wave a white flag.

The battle is futile;
I may as well give up.

Poem #25 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.



On our Thanksgiving break,
I taught the kids how to play rummy.

Though I told them all about you,
how we would play cards for hours,

I only lasted for six measly hands,
even stopping for a cup of coffee.

How did you do it, entertaining me,
endlessly keeping me good company?

Next, I’ll teach them the rules for war, 
and pinky-swear I'll play for hours.

Poem #24 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.