A Review (Kinda) of David Bowie's Blackstar (Who Am I Kidding? It's a Poem)

My great friend Nick Zaino has a cool website called The Department of Tangents wherein he writes music and horror film reviews and publishes comedy interviews.

Nick put out a call for friends and colleagues to write music reviews of records he missed in 2016. I said oh! I could write a review of David Bowie’s Blackstar! As I have been listening to it on a continuous loop for the entire year! And Nick responded great, yes!

I sat down to pen my review and realized I had no idea what to write. What was I thinking? So I wrote a poem instead. And Nick, lovely soul that he is, indulged me and published my poem right alongside the words of folks who obviously know how to write a record review.

Take a peek for my original poem. And explore The Department of Tangents, which is chock full of fascinating items (including interviews with literally every comedian you can name, for real). Happy New Year!


What I Learned in the Orchard

I watched an old man
pruning apple trees in December
laddered during snowfall
straining for the farthest branch
and realized I had not considered
that quickening is a year-round
lifelong commitment to growth
through paring back

So you
bygone year of want
you my bygone sister
buried expectations
in awful post-truth
It’s snowing

Still I ascend the highest rung
and start cutting
limbs leggily reaching for sun
because flowering requires tending
brings fruit for sustenance
and only now have I learned
what fruit from labor really means
That man has taught me a few things

For Mama Zen’s Words Count in the Imaginary Garden. My poem went long but I beg forgiveness as frankly that never happens! :)



So the longest darkest night
already came and went
the lowest Fahrenheit mark
accomplished last year
sooty depths of insecurity
experienced under a waxing moon
in a long-ago bone season
so we don’t have to worry anymore

File them all away
alongside the giddiest infatuation
scatterings of September chicory
sweet balsamic on the tongue
baby-milk breath
dust suspended in long sienna rays
all just under the surface
for retrieving in discomfiting times

Sharing with the Real Toads on the Tuesday Platform, typically late but at least I wrote something! *cheer*



He proclaims
Is this time
Great again
Soulless prevarication
From he who cries Wolf

Micro-poetry in the Imaginary Garden


Fugitive Justice

weepy eyes cloud glass
blurring troth for triumph
nothing to be realized
at half-light

Minor-chord score
obscures understanding
in endless gloaming
all the sad songs are so sad
the dark places pitch-dark


Books, Books, Books

Poetry books make beautiful gifts. Get them from me directly for holiday discount: $10 for one, $15 for two, or $20 (plus shipping) for all three. Signed with hearts and flowers by yours truly, and each includes a very cool bookmark. Hit me up in the comments or email me at runawaysentence@gmail.com. Superheroic verse is always in season!



by Siv Cedering
What explanation is given for the phosphorus light
That you, as boy, went out to catch
When summer dusk turned to night?
You caught the fireflies, put them in a jar,
Careful to let in some air,
Then you fed them dandelions, unsure
Of what such small and fleeting things
Need, and when
Their light grew dim, you
    Let them go.
There is no explanation for the fire
That burns in our bodies
Or the desire the grows, again and again,
So that we must move toward each other 
In the dark.
We have no wings.
We are ordinary people, doing ordinary things.
The story can be told on rice paper.
There is a lantern, a mountain, whatever
    We can remember.
Hiroshige's landscape is so soft.
What child, woman, would not want to go out
Into that dark, and be caught,
And caught again, by you?
I want these pictures of the floating world
To go on, but when
The light begins to dim, catch me.
Give me whatever a child imagines
To keep me aglow, then
    Let me go.

Siv Cedering, from Letters from the Floating World: New and Selected Poems (1984: University of Pittsburgh Press). 

Sharing in the Imaginary Garden today for Brendan's prompt: STILL POINTS. Was reading and came across this, one of my favorite poems, and thought to share as I found it comforting.

Siv Cedering was a visiting poet when I was in college. I enrolled in every poetry writing seminar she offered. Siv was brilliant, feisty, beautiful, passionate. I can still hear her voice reading her poems, I can see her throw her head back, that mane of hair, her laugh. She influenced me enormously. She helped me learn and use my words, really to come into myself.


Important to Read and Be Vigilant

Friends. I am not okay, we are not okay, this is not okay. Our nation and our globe are in trouble.

Our mountain was defiled with horrendous racist, anti-Semitic, pro-Trump graffiti. Here in wacky hyper-liberal western Massachusetts, one of the blue-est states. People of color, Blacks, Muslims, women, gay people, people in the sights of Trump and his followers have been harassed, yelled at, grabbed, assaulted, wronged in every way this week all over the USA.

Am sorting through thoughts and feelings. I've been thinking about the vast human capacity to normalize and incorporate pain and trauma, and how that is playing out in our nation, our world, and in my own brain and heart.

This article is really important and I hope everyone will read it and be vigilant:
Autocracy: Rules for Survival by Masha Gessen, New York Review of Books
Save it and read again when you find yourselves (as I do and will) going on as usual with a new normal. "Whenever you find yourself thinking, or hear others claiming, that he is exaggerating, that is our innate tendency to reach for a rationalization. This will happen often: humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable."

Love, M.


In These Times

is really something
with its unerring wisdom
forever on the hips
hauled around
like so much lading
though happier tossed off
without settling the bill.

You carry yours on a chain
in a back-pocket wallet,
mine’s stowed
behind a gold crown,
left mandibular rear molar,
which is how my family
will know me when I’m gone.

We did not anticipate
the cutting
cunning of enemies,
the force of greed.
Our money’s no good now,
our children dispossessed:
We did not account for this.

For Grapeling’s prompt to the Real Toads: What Fresh Hell Is This?


Trick or Treat

At Halloween, you wax poetic
on roaming packs of kids frenetic
trick or treating, gorging chocolate,
razor blades be damned. You'd walk
and run and roam the streets,
bands of ghouls on tireless feet,
laughing, shrieking, no cell phone
so no one told you to come home.

Now you watch your kids. No daring,
urging them to please be caring.
Don’t slip & fall! Please & thank-you
no matter what those people gave you,
thanks for pencils, teensy toys--
act like you are overjoyed.
Be polite, please, and be safe.
On sidewalks, parents congregate

Hovering over progeny,
protecting them from everything.
Meet your neighbors on Halloween!
Friendly chatter, then never seen
again until this time next year.
You’ll re-introduce then, never fear.
Retreat into your house again,
reflect on childhood now, and then.

Re-sharing this truthy poem from a couple years back. Happy Halloween!


Spock Just Read Your Work


Forgive Me

But I am not finished thanking Anita Hill.

I remember standing in the student lounge
in a crowd
my first year of law school.
I remember her suit,
her posture,
her clear voice,
the wave of heat flooding my face
as I thought that's what it’s called?

I remember the wave of shame,
and righteous indignation.
I remember my senator,
Arlen Specter,
who interrogated her and mocked her.
They confirmed him anyway,
threw her away.

She was disposable,
as I had been.
I remember being young and bright,
just out of college,
but I was disposable,
used and thrown away for another's pleasure.
Oh, Thurgood Marshall,
that was the year of my going crazy.

Re-worked and reprised older poem that seems topical. I think it’s new and improved! Am sharing with the Real Toads on the Tuesday Platform... on Wednesday, naturally.


GAWF 2016!

Last night at the Greenfield Annual Word Festival: 6 stages of spoken word wonderfulness, presented by Paul Richmond of Human Error Publishing. The goodness!


A Girl's Life

A girl’s life
     is lived
        in clouds
           like mountains
         behind mountains
  in browns
         behind reds
                used to be
  on rungs
atop stairs
  to catwalks
      run by dogs
      hands up
                  her skirts
                      her mouth


Reading in Emily's House

I was privileged to read my poems for an audience in Emily Dickinson’s house last night.

Yes, that Emily Dickinson.

Still pinching myself this morning. Which resulted in this:

And this:

So much love for my Florence Poets Society comrades.

Thank you to the Emily Dickinson Museum for the opportunity to read.

And much love to wonderful poet and friend Maggie Butler, from whom I received quite a shock (as I thought she was across the ocean from Amherst, at home in Dublin) and several hugs.


Hot Water

that poem in the trash
the one that makes your lip curl
like it actually stinks
rancid words radiating
off you so intensely
just from spending a little time
with that damn poem
that you’re compelled to strip down
and launder its words
in hot water
which is where that poem came from

Flash 55 Plus for Real Toads!


Rocket Ships

Rocket ships
are exciting
but so are roses
on a birthday.
      -- Leonard Nimoy
Roses deliver
but so does a chicory spray
by a toddler

Diamonds excite
but so do love songs
scrawled in chalk
across blackboard sky

Love's lyric
needs no byline
when adorned with adjectives
tattooed above the heart

The etymology
of our love affair
can be traced from the air
like cropmarks

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek original series! This is cause for celebration at my house. I wrote this poem a couple years ago, I think before Leonard Nimoy passed away. It is published in my most recent book, Heart Container. Live long and prosper!



Shriek of blue jays
and a good ole American crow
woke me on Labor Day
dropping the flag on next season.
I could cry.
It’s just too fast,
the passing of plays. Just unfair,
half-time of my half-century
arriving as I still resist adjusting.
Not ready yet for cheerleaders,
courting by a chorus of crows.

Flash 55 in the Imaginary Garden!


The Big Picture

thru sigh-lenses
blurs edges
convexes centers
like funhouse mirrors
bloated without context
It would be kinder
taking the long view
as you
despite protestations do
Maybe try
a wide angle lens

Music day in the Imaginary Garden: LITTLE TINY by Brandi Ediss