My heart’s velociraptor
is vicious when provoked
beyond its elastic limit

Proportional to threat
especially in protection
of its nested Young

Rage of hearts resorting
to scavenging behavior
wound-licks beg deference

Let me predate in peace
relish my relative poverty
& leave my Babies alone



You asked me
to bring
two cardboard boxes home from work
to make a castle
& that’s exactly what you did,
stacked them one
on top of the other, mama can you
cut doors & windows?
you continued
even when mama got a little bitchy
about cutting skinny strips
from cardboard
(it’s not easy you know)
I know
thank you
attaching strips to flat pieces
look here’s my castle
with beds & thrones & windows
a balcony with railings, impressive
but just as you imagined
there it is
are exactly right (good mama)
as mama never could have imagined
right here

Linking this up with Kenia’s prompt to the Real Toads, very late.


Package Store

Sign your name for a bottle of wine.
"Your pen doesn’t work." You gotta be gentle.
Scribble. Scribble. Quizzical look.
"You can read that?" I got your money.


A Toad's Challenge

My muse has been mysterious lately, and sometimes altogether on vacation. Writing and posting here’s been slow coming as the result. But also because I was working on this:
I received a very particular and interesting challenge from Grace, and have worked hard to meet her challenge. So please pop over to the Imaginary Garden and give it a read.


Happy Birthday, Mark

Unsleeping, or Freezing, or Treading Water
Funny, your stitch
in my side now aches
under my breast
as your leprechaun voice
chills to eskimo breath
& washes out like sand
on Popponesset Beach.
Death comes so early
this time of year--
Reposting this on Mark Kelliher's birthday. Also, International Pat Benatar Day. Miss you, Mark.


Be My Valentine

On a day
when romance is obligatory
My love for you
still’s far from ordinary

You’re my rock
in bad times & even worse times
We’ll make it
because we ignore all the signs

Kids these days
could learn from old-farts like us
Talk it through
then get down for a happy (censored)

Babe, you know it’s true
I’d be unloved & unhappy without you

My old man, be my valentine, today & every day.



came short
for this to happen:
quicker tongue,
and your
hand is sweaty,

Izy has the Real Toads writing erasure poems from local news stories. I couldn’t resist using this story of life imitating art (triple-dog dare ya!): Easthampton middle school student touches tongue to cold pole, gets stuck; freed by firefighters



January’s bleak grey
jogs blanket memories
journeyed between lovers
just in time to stifle
joyful recollection,
jammed in journal pages,
jaundiced now, a trifle.


Yes, This Is a Good Time, Thank You Very Much

Now that you’re ordinary,
cozy up
next to someone whose indifference
makes your heart go thunk thunk.
Remember your extraordinary
superstar days
for review when atrophied hope
most aspirations.
Don’t bother with dreams anyway,
as no one gives a flying fuck
what happens to you.
Can I get an amen?
Guess this would be a great time
for knee-falling & begging for blessings.

The Blessing Bringer by Lisa Graham

I’m grateful that Grace has introduced we Real Toads to the hopeful, beautiful art of Lisa Graham.



It’s dark in the closet with the door closed.

If I open it a crack,
words will spill out,
enough to gather & tuck into a nest
from which I might take flight,
because I know return is not only expected,
but desired.

Kerry asked the Real Toads to think about our creative spaces.


Groundhog Day

What's the time again?
Woke up to find, sure enough,
everything's the same.