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.


boys & kittens

There was the time when I found the kitten in a box.
A big box. I had come home for the weekend, didn’t
know about it. A kitten. You’d think they’d tell you
about something so simply restorative as a kitten.

You’d think that’d be the first thing they’d mention.
But I had travelled up 79 from college, in the truck
of the dental-student son of friends of my folks,
and I was weary from small-talk on top of heartbreak

though I wasn’t gonna talk about any of that. Maybe
it was fair, silence about The Boy for silence about
The Kitten. Anyway, they fed me, we watched the news,
I went to bed. Tossing in my little-girl spool bed

with the too-short saggy mattress, in my teenaged-girl
room with the Cheap Trick poster and my old boombox.
Rummaging through cassettes, hoping Goodbye Yellow
Brick Road
would make me sleep, I heard it. A squeak.

That was when I found the box, a big box, in the bathroom. 

The tiniest grey kitten, platter eyes pleading with me
to pick it up. Meow! Meow! (How could they be so cruel?!)
That kitten kneaded me, suckling and crying all night long.

The litter had been thrown from the bridge into the crick
in a burlap sack. My sister had found them; her kitten only,
far too young for weaning, survived. He lived to old age,
always suckling and kneading. I found a new boyfriend.

Laurie's word prompt to the Real Toads today is BURLAP. Poem #23 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.



What if gratitude
is but a social construct
designed to bring on
drunken mollification?
Let’s drink deeply from the source.

Poem #22 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.


holiday spread

A frayed cable
spans the fault
in this bridge;
frigid current
If we go together,
it will break.
If you go alone,
you may not return.
Discussing what
is off the map
begs the question:
what remains?
Maybe I should
toss tradition
off the deep end;
serve myself, trussed.

Izy asked the Real Toads to address our guilty pleasures in a poem. This is Poem #21 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.


motif no. 17

Confronting a blank page is like
being jostled, objecting, from a dream
in which you’d far prefer to reside
because then you’d be unconcerned
with what has happened to the words
scattered around on the kitchen floor
like errant cupcake sprinkles,
waiting for the vacuum to materialize
and force an unexpected plot twist.
Such dreams never make any sense
except for their unflinching clarity in
laying bare the impact of misplaced words.

Poem #17 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.


talkin' bout an intervention

Inclined to run far away
today, I’ll instead
remind you, it’s your charade
that’s made you not my friend.
Please get your head
examined, without delay.

I mean, really. Listen, dude,
your rude arrogance,
while unattractive and mean,
seems your signature dance.
I’ll never chance

with you any interlude.

Whew! I've revisited the Macneice stanza to respond to the song "Soon Enough" by Aimee Mann. Please hope over to Real Toads for more poems inspired by Aimee Mann's music. Nobody's gonna tell you to keep your voice down in the Imaginary Garden.

AND this is Poem #16 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.



for Kerry
buoy me, sister-poet
cram all your words
into yon flagon
fling it seaward
my impoverished muse
requires heartening

waft my way
steady as you come
leagues across
wash up on my shore
before your message
buoy me, sister-poet

let’s clasp hands

Poem #15 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.


up against the fourth wall

What if I told you that despite
all the pining in these pages,
all the ache and wishing,
she was never the one, not ever,
despite my many arguments
with myself to the contrary?
Would it surprise you to learn
about resignation and regret,
vast like my mountain’s shadow
or an angel’s reach, about how
my great motivator is today?
You know how some people live
to remember what was, to reside
in memory, joyful or bitter?
Yeah, I don’t live like that.
Not at all. So I write about
love and fucking and flying
(and they’re the same, right?)
and the hard work of marriage,
life lived in the present tense,
how it’s worth traversing every
tunnel to reach light’s blessing.
Well, duh, we knew that. You wear
your heart on your blog, sister.
I guess you're not surprised, then.

Kerry asked the Real Toads to write a poem that "breaks the fourth wall," i.e., breaks the fictionality of our writing by directly addressing the reader. Hope this suffices, though upon reflection, I think I often address the reader directly in my writing. So, hmmmmmm. Oh, and this is also poem #14 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans. Yippee!



You swore you’d never
date someone under 30 again.
You avoided kissing in public,
would not argue politics,
revered The Indigo Girls.
You wondered out loud
whether you could love
someone who drank coffee.

That was the first week.
Later, the chasm between
your offering and my needing
swallowed up everything, left
me sucking through a straw.
But I was twenty-nine, then,
old enough to know better.
I should have heeded the signs.

Poem #13 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans. This lucky thirteen poem was prompted by a suggestion to write about a beverage.



My grandmother’s peonies
yet abandoned, thrive--
I fight the urge to pilfer
as still her mind’s alive,
and thus I strive
to surrender theories.

Change comes in incremental
elbowing and shoves.
Even ignored buds blossom,
no loss of light above--
Transcended love
is never accidental.

Kerry challenged the Real Toads to try a rhyming stanza devised by Louis Macneice. This is also poem #11 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans. Hope you'll consider sponsoring me or make a contribution.



sometimes it feels like
an endless train, many stops
all get on, none off

Poem #10 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.


how to dry towels

Funny what’s stuck
from our time together.

When I do laundry
(and laundry never ends),

I channel that chick
from New Jersey, who was

teaching the Swedes
how to dry towels that time,

as though in Sweden
they don’t have machines

for drying laundry.
The most important thing

is to give your towels
a good snap to air them out.

I snap out my towels
and close lid on all that

with a wink to you.

Poem #9 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.


house & garden

Every so often, we visit the cabin
where we first made love--
Long drive for a moment’s glance
confirming its decayed unrepair.

Then we drive by the red house
where I first nursed our baby girl
and our toddler tried to fly--
Cars rest on blocks in the yard.

My daylilies riot at that house.
My grandmother’s coveted peonies,
bleeding hearts, hosta shine like
dispirited jewels in the cabin garden.

Once home, we confront the stand
of leggy weeds I have yet to cut back--  
That first year, hoping for blossoms
of black-eyed Susan or Anne’s lace.

Bare stalks encroaching each summer,
lilac might be nicer, or dogwood-- 
But I embrace the invading weeds.
They seem to keep our home well tended.

Poem #7 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.