10 June 2011

Dear Readers,

With sadness but no regret, my writing at Beyond the Bozone is complete. The blog will remain archived here. I may remove pieces if I choose to revise them for publication. All of the work here is mine. Read it and enjoy it. Your presence here is what makes blogging worthwhile.

My ego will have me yearning for Blogger’s followers feature, but it bothers me that Blogger makes it difficult for many WordPress writers to leave their imprint in the comment sections beneath posts. In the comments at WordPress bloggers are able to reply directly below individual comments. That is also a feature sending me their way.

I’ll miss the Bozone, but it is time to move forward. Please visit my new Wordpress blogs gathered stones and undercaws, where I hope you will find the commenting more friendly.



08 June 2011


with your tail so sharp
and your aim so true
I fear the air surrounding you.

You’re a slithering sneak
with a raven’s beak
and the face
of a striking young man.

Your feathered reptilian wings
spread flight in circling rings.
Your neck stretches scales
and your serpentine tail
threatens to impale
little me.
Oh my!
It threatens to impale
little me.

Here is the prompt from We Write Poems. “Think of a child’s painting (like something on the refrigerator). What creatures might there be? Something fanciful, something mysterious, something you’ve never ever seen before! Maybe like something from a dream, or maybe just what your fingers might doodle on their own, surprising you. What might they mean to you observing now? Close your eyes for a moment, let the images dance, be willing to listen to their voices and see what poem they want to write!”

I imagined a creature rising up out of the mist and wrote this in the car yesterday on a Montana road trip (of course I travel with a copy of poetry prompts!).

04 June 2011

it ended before it began

In the gaudy glow of afterbirth
a field mouse burrows its hantavirus hole,
unknowingly pulling Hank the Hired Man
into death’s murmuring abyss.
His chest undulates convulsions
while Misty Winston, the Rancher’s Daughter
touches his common cheek
unafraid of Daddy’s inky wrath.

Her hero lies dying
spinning his way into
purple nothingness.

He stills and her beating heart breaks.

Hantavirus is an often-fatal respiratory disease carried by field mice. It occurs with low incidence in Montana. Its onset is not as sudden as the piece makes it seem. It starts with flulike symptoms and progresses from there. This piece was from the wordle words at a whirling whirl of Sundays.

01 June 2011

a string of piku

swallow dives
backwards in wind
airplane flies
turbulent wind
lives become wind
whoosh! cries the
whistling its sin

A shout out to Tilly Bud, who got me writing piku this week. Tilly authored the prompt at We Write Poems this week. Here it is:
Write a piku. (a cross between a haiku and the first three numbers of pi.)

three lines
3 syllables Line 1
1 syllable Line 2
4 syllables Line 3

choose one or two key words
find rhymes for them
slightly re-write the first piku

30 May 2011

Thoughts of the Lady in Blue ~ A Magpie Tale

Banquet Scene with a Lute Player by Nicolas Tournier, 1625

Ghostly servant painted white,
fading into darkness,
what stories your thin lips must spill
what distasteful tales convey
for surely you have heard it all
in your insignificant way.

Utter them now , spin us the yarn
while this good lady looks at you
every one else at the table is bored
with my uncle’s incessant reflections.

Look at him there, that glass in his eye
as if seeing the maker creating
he oooooos and he ahhhhhhs
while he primps and he paws
one hand in the folds of my dressings.
He’s old and he’s cold and likely to mold
and the stench he sets off nauseates me.

Invisible one please come to me
tonight in the day’s lonely gloaming
the stories you hold must surely be told
with your peppermint breath
my throat in a catch,
we can wander until the moon rises.

A shout out to Tess Kincaid for her blog Magpie Tales.  Visit that link for more takes on the picture as prompt.

SuperShe's Ottava Rima for a Dream

A smile incriminates her sleeping curl,
as swallows dive around her just to play.
With arms outstretched she soars above her world.
She swirls beyond the life she leads by day.
Her dreams create this charming super girl
whose deeds expose her waking life’s decay.
She longs to sleep in perpetuity
evading waking’s incongruity.

From a prompt at One Stop Poetry, this piece is an ottava rima. I continued the theme from yesterday’s piece The Photographer’s Girlfriend, that I wrote from a One Stop prompt. This is the girlfriend’s dream.

Here’s a piece of the prompt:
The classic rhyme scheme in English of ottava rima is a stanza which consists of eight iambic lines, usually written in iambic pentameter. Each stanza consists of three alternate rhymes and one double rhyme, following the a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c pattern.

29 May 2011

The Forgetting

for Len

when the forgetting begins let me mumble my mumblings
when the wandering ensues lock me in our room and
love me

when my vitriolic dementia breeds quiet somber reflection
hold me

encompass me in your age spotted arms
lift me with the spirit of who we used to be
let me ride you like a stallion
when our fallow fields fade
before everything we ever were
gets covered in the grave

This is my first post at Poetry Jam, where the prompt for today is forgetting. 

The Photographer's Girlfriend

Photograph by Scott Wyden

She sighs, surrounding each
of his fingers with her own--
intertwining digits,
imagining his picture
with her
a spandex clad savior
mission complete, flying for fun.
Strength becomes her.

She spreads shock and awe
amongst dwellers behind reflected clouds.
Rising toward that crack of sky,
she leaves him behind, camera in hand,
puzzled and alone.

Surfing around this morning, I found One Stop Poetry. An interview with photographer Scott Wyden is posted. The recommendation for writers is to use his pictures to inspire a poem or a piece of flash fiction in 55 words. Without the title, my poem is 55 words, and fiction. I took the perspective of the photographer's girlfriend, wishing he paid more attention to her, than to his craft.

28 May 2011

mother me a meteor

She orbits, a planet
turning against her
striding self,
afraid of fallen angels
frolicking in yellow fields,
afraid of crying winds
whisking hair into tails—
wild things,
winding life with leaves
whipping in the gravity
of twilight’s last glow.

She envies each of the planets
and dreams herself a meteor
falling a fiery hole into Earth
free from fear forever.

She orbits like a planet
parched and pierced with
no intent and purpose.
Round and round and
she goes—
if she stops
she never knows.

This piece was inspired by words from a Wallace Stevens' poem pulled and posted at a wordling whirl of Sundays. Click on the wordle to visit other responses to the words. You'll be glad you did.

27 May 2011

to the floods

Inundate me.
Pull me into your flow
so swirling limbs become river
washing up on eternity’s shore.
Swirl me through the shelter
of underwater homes
and past the store front windows
with mannequins afloat.

Churning debris
congregates in eddies
as the river’s sisters
drop grey sky
onto Earth.
Taking me with it
to everything else.

Montana is flooding, school is ending.  The apocalypse is in the air.  Video footage of our state right now is amazing.  I've lived here over 40 years, and have never seen this much water.  It's crazy.  The amount of water coming out of the dam in my city is impressive.  One more week of school, way too much to accomplish.  I hope things dry up. 

21 May 2011


Yellow rolls down
steep green hills
where angels

They risk disappointing the Absolute
just to smell yellow in.

Rearranged angels
on the wane
lull themselves
through windows
into carnal beds

Beneath dreams
they utter words like Rapture
and dance among
the yellow.

Click on the wordle to see other people's responses to the wordle below at AWWS.

17 May 2011

Prompt for We Write Poems

The day I read this week's prompt at We Write Poems (to write your own prompt), a movie came into my mailbox from Netflix. It was a documentary called “Wounded Heart: Pine Ridge and the Souix.” A prompt arose.

Watch a documentary film. While you are viewing it pause it to explore any images that strike you as interesting to get a piece started after the movie is over. Keep your notebook/laptop open to jot down images, thoughts, single words. Include at least one quotation from the movie in your piece. In short, turn a documentary into poetry.

Background for the piece:
Russell Means
I started by watching and recording statements and images from the movie. Then Russell Means offended me, and I doubt that he cares one bit. Russell Means is one of the founding members of AIM, the American Indian Movement. They were involved in the takeover of Alcatraz, and the siege at Wounded Knee in the 70s (interesting story, that one). Means was hard for me to watch. It worries me that he can rally hatred amongst his people. I do think anger is justified, but the intensity of hatred I felt from him as an American citizen scared me, and made me think we couldn’t have a friendly conversation.

Paha Sapa, the Black Hills are sacred to the Lakota people. While this is not what the movie is about, it is where I went to escape Means’ hatred. Or possibly salve it (although I am certain Means does not welcome or respect a white woman’s salve). Having the United States’ Presidents sculpted into a sacred mountain at Mount Rushmore, was a slap in the face to the Sioux/Lakota people living nearby. Think about it. Sturgis, the biker rally runs through the belly of their sacred place. America has made the area a joke. Shame on us.


Pine Ridge South Dakota
Give them the Hills

The mountain slides
open between two cliff legs
as Jay Red Hawk’s
indigenous tongue creates trails
bracketed by sleek black braids
before camera segues to
black mold growing oxygen masks
on American Indian children
four and five years old
On reservations in South Dakota
North Dakota

23 July 1980

United States versus
Sioux Nation of Indians

Supreme Court rules
Black Hills illegally taken
Supreme Court orders
remuneration of initial offering price plus interest
— nearly $106 million — be paid

Lakota people refuse settlement,
in trust it grows to over 700 million
(Accept settlement and
validate US theft
of sacred Lakota land.)

National life expectancy rate
for Native Americans living on
the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
in South Dakota
is 48 years for men
is 52 years for women

Indian Health Service created by century old treaty
promised quality health care exchanged for land

one dentist pulls healthy teeth
again and again
leaving rotted teeth in mouths
one big oops

lack of industry and 80% unemployment
drives bodies fueled by firewater
government surplus foods
contribute to obesity
diabetes eats lives
those diseased with alcohol
receive higher health benefits
consuming budgets
crushing lives
creating a system
where addiction pays

smoke wisps and curls
around old ideas

An angry Russell Means
pisses on the BIA
sure that I cannot understand where
he comes from he says

“Culture breathes life into us
I can’t make an American understand
because they have no culture.”
federal government
“Every American is a racist.
Be oppressed for a century or two—
Do you want to know how I felt when the twin towers went down?
Do you?”
Intensity underscores the anger in his voice.

Yes, Russell, I do want to know.
We drove you to your narrow mind.

America, honor and respect our treaties.
Stop breaking promises.

What kind of precedent
do we set for our citizens
when we offer to pay off a people?
Let us demonstrate true honor and
return to them what we stole from them.
Swallow pride and belch hope’s dazzling light.
Give the Black Hills back to the Lakota people—
that’s what they want. Not money.
Give them victory.
Reinvigorate a sense of place.

Jay Redhawk’s boys play with arrows
crafted from feathers and straight on sticks
family spirit fills a movie’s frames.

Russell Means will still erupt
it is his warrior way,
but children’s lives might improve
in the open air of Paha Sapa
where indigenous ancestors once
breathed free.

16 May 2011

Reflecting Tomes ~ A Magpie Tale

Reflecting tomes lined in rows
pages coerced together.
A collision of words lies
trapped in sequential narration.
Stories yearn for the feast of your eyes;
it is you that makes them alive.

Meanwhile, your fingers tease
and twirl through filigreed swirls
recessed upon leather bound spines.
Up to the top, your fingers drop
levering a hardbound down.
Hands caress both front and back
opening pages
dancing a story free.

I am book
I mesmerize you
I take you away from you
I open windows to your soul
I smell inky, pungent, old and new.

paper print typeset font

Once nooks were cosy places
where books with pages lived,
now Nooks diminish the thrill for kids
that a leather bound classic tome gives.

Tess Kincaid at Magpie Tales provides a picture every Monday for writing inspiration. Thanks Tess!

14 May 2011

Jebediah's Fire

Brandishing hips holstered
in leather and rhinestones
her wide brimmed hat filters catcalls,
sunlight, and Jebediah’s rural stare.

She feels him like a chimney
eking smoke up her stack.

Distant bridges whisper stories
textured with his touch.
Lost in lustful reverie
salty infusions begin to erupt
evoking an image
of her gecko slurping
sweat from her brow.

Touching the brim of her hat
she tilts it up, stops and
stares Jebediah straight on.

Before substituting one sure thing for another
she pulls her hat back down
and draws both Colts lightning quick:
twelve shots, twelve bottles shattered.

Jebediah’s mile wide smile
sets her chimney on fire.

This wordle inspired piece came from a wordle I created from three poets' work.  Check out other poets uses of the wordle words, or join the party and submit your own poem.
Click for A Wordling Whirl of Sundays

13 May 2011


if everything is one big thing
as it could well be argued
being bound in these imperfect forms
people persistently muck up the whole

we are inferior manifestations
of the one
we kill
we maim
we eat our own babies
we proliferate evil

being bound in these imperfect forms
a sardonic dance ensues

I want a drink
I want a long line of coke
snorted through a rolled dollar bill
I want Earth’s crude blood energy
I want something to keep me going
I want that damned diamond ring
I want food and TV
I want narcotics
I want five million board feet of timber
I want anything and everything
and I want it

being bound in these imperfect forms
the whole contracts and blackens
into wanton singularity
obliterating now with desire

Sadly, this is the last prompt for Big Tent Poetry. I wish I could have ended on a note a bit less dark, but here you have it. I took the line "being bound in these imperfect forms" offered up by Mr. Walker at Sadly Waiting for Recess. Thanks for the line, Richard. Hopefully my dark take on it is okay with you. :)

10 May 2011

m. l. smoker cento

navigate imperfectly

these confused blood cells
need to ask you if you have ever regretted leaving
if forgiveness were molded in between my hands
dreaming to the rhythm of horses’ hooves
but I do not remember anymore
and the last road you know as well as I do

we are the kids outside the bingo hall
my cries combust into purple flames
swallowed by glaciers the size of ten thousand buffalo

should I roll on the ground
should I say no northern fields, no distance

we might be left to discover the sound
to forget in different ways. No one notices that the wild
gold stalks trapped in a moment of wind
curse and curse throughout the night

listen for meaning as teeth click quietly together
after that, arrival is what matters most

m. l. smoker
The prompt at We Write Poems this week asked that we write a cento. Here’s how they described a cento. First gather some poem lines from one other writer,then without changing any of the content select, rearrange and assemble a new poem from those poem lines.

Then, to add to the prompt, they ask that we pick a poet we turn to for inspiration, or when we are out of poetic sorts. I chose m. l. smoker. Smoker is an enrolled member of both the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes in Montana. The lines in my cento are taken from my autographed copy of Smoker’s book, Another Attempt at Rescue. In her professional life, Smoker is Mandy Smoker Broaddus, head of the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s Indian Education department. After seeing her present Native American educational statistics at a conference in 2009, I wrote a poem for her called overflowing. Check it out if you are interested.

09 May 2011

Max Von Sydow

stone saint
with Max’s young face
tell me his secrets

let me be a stone sparrow
chiseled into stories
of strawberries,
violins, and madness

let me knight you
and ride you through
death’s distant door
all in the palm
of your hand

Tell me
stories of Bergman
On Fårö Island
where the sea
thrashes through
 a glass darkly

and I can
believe in
God through your
so blue eyes


Thank you to Tess over at Magpie Tales for this photo prompt of Saint Francis of Assisi. 

There is a sense of familiarity that comes with some people.  Some are even famous.  I’ve always felt that familiarity with Max Von Sydow.  He is a Swedish actor who got his start in Ingmar Bergman films.  Born in 1929, Von Sydow continues to act.  Early in his career he acted in Ingmar Bergman’s 1961 film “Through a Glass Darkly.” It is the story of one family’s confrontation with schizophrenia.  In the film, Von Sydow’s wife is released from an asylum, and is far from cured.   The phrase comes from 1 Corinthians 13.  It refers to the idea that people will only clearly know God when they die, until that time they see God through a glass darkly. Bergman lived most of his life on the island of Fårö in Sweden.  He filmed Through a Glass Darkly there.  It is breathtaking. 

08 May 2011

The River

She breathes as its current embroiders seaweed
through tiny holes in spirit.
Water slides beneath her.
Branches tug at her hair, snap
and become part of the flow.
The river supersedes her.

In the morning
mist rises and evaporates.
Released from darkness
she eddies,
a silver white glisten
floating on the Mighty Mo.

On Wednesday this week, the body of a missing young woman was found in the Missouri River in my community near where we walk our dogs.  Every year somebody drowns.  Foul play is suspected in this instance, but no one knows what happened.  This piece was inspired by that event, and by a wordle made up of the words of poets many of you visit every day. Look for a new wordle every week, and visit the work of other inventive poets at A Wordling Whirl of Sundays.  We'd love to have you join the group and write with us.  A new wordle is posted every Sunday night at 12:01 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.

07 May 2011

Spring Rain

Pelting droplets interact
with earth’s surface molecules
and release perfumed fecundity
while morning strides its song.

Chickadees’ staccato punctuates
distant dog woofs and
mourning doves coo
a lovely leitmotif.

Rain loosens her and
Earth becomes ecbolic
forcing bulbs to
green her flesh.

The prompt at Writer's Island was "season." Also, Elizabeth started a Wordplay. Ecbolic is word #5. ec-bol-ic > promoting labor by increasing uterine contractions.

06 May 2011

urban chickens

Cheryl’s constant attack on the others
made wringing her neck easy.
That left sweet Sheila, Gita,
funny little Francis, and Mabel.
Yadi did not have the heart for more slaughter.
Gita’s eyes held reproach,
Francis ran circles round his feet, and
Sheila shuddered on the passenger seat.

Screeching, Mabel charged Yadi.
She was the next to go.
Grabbing Mabel’s neck,
Yadi stepped from the bus
and wrung it.
Two down, three to go.

Five years earlier Randy, Jim and Pryor
converted Phil’s old VW bus
into a coop for chickens-
one named for each roomate's mother.

Since that day, Randy and Yadi
turned cooking eggs into art.
Every day the men devoured eggs.
Strata, soufflés, quiche, and frittatas
scrambled, over easy, and baked.

When the city condemned their house,
they chose to make a meal of their momma hens.

Randy, Jim, and Phil held the three remaining girls.
Yadi and Pryor sang a whacked out version
of the Ozark Mountain Daredevil’s Chicken Train
while three necks twisted then
simultaneously snapped.
The men settled in to plucking the birds
and telling tales
about these five feathered friends.

Too much wine with dinner
led to turn-taking
with sledge hammers
to bash the bus in.

Randy squawked
a fine imitation of Francis,
flapping his arms
and dancing circles
through their yard.

Yadi chanted and started a fire in the pit.

The five of them sat
facing flame, feeding it,
filling it with wood and stories,
watching one another
drum the earth
until dawn
colored the edges
of the sky.

Ten days later,
right before dusk,
the fire department
burned their house
to the ground.

From across the street,
the men watched it disappear.
Yadi said,
“If I was God,
I would be fire.
Fire keeps people humble.
Fire leaves only ash.
Fire annihilates with no remorse.”

Then his voice broke.
Yadi grabbed his head in both hands and said,
“I cannot tell my mother I ate Gita for dinner.”

This is a (mostly) true story. When the Big Tent asked us to revise a piece, I went straight to Urban Chickens. It didn't require a huge revision. I played with line breaks, changed the phrasing a bit, and did some general polishing.

Head over to Big Tent Poetry and take a gander at some more poems that were revisited this week by their constructors.

05 May 2011

Wordplay 4 ~ daedal

Dae-dal 1. intricate: complex 2. ingenious: skillful,
may imply cunning, or cleverness 3. decorated with
many things: especially natural wonders.

** ** **
Intricate doodles covered the margins
of Marissah’s mind, off to the side
where she kept her daedal ideas.

04 May 2011

WordPlay 1-3

A big thank you to Elizabeth at 1sojournal for inviting readers to journey through a word a day with her. I visited today, and found the first three words. The first piece is dark, but then, so is the word. You should go take a look at Elizabeth's word play, too.

A defensive obstacle made by laying felled trees on top of each other with branches, sometimes sharpened, facing the enemy.

abatis punctures
Ceasar’s heart, lungs, and stomach
orchestrated rabbit chase
leads to beagle bleed out

evil neighborhood boy
brewed from bestial beginnings
carves tally three in old oak tree

B horizon
layer of soil: an intermediate layer of soil beneath
the A horizon, containing some organic matter and clay

round hard shelled bugs
curl in the B horizon
protesting my work in dirt

to laugh hard: to laugh convulsively and loudly (literary)

Her incessant cachinnation raised eyebrows.
She watched her spirit fly from her mouth,
and wondered why they looked at her that way.
Could they see it, too?

03 May 2011

limits ~ we write poems

on being myself

A brick-by-brick disguise
distorts who I am
as rippling renditions
radiate centrifugally forced
fractions of me.

Limited because,
the real me
might cleft your fictions
and flash opposing
through your eyes.

Trembling, I venture out
only when the roots of trust
begin to inch their way through
those heavy red bricks.

It’s always a gamble.

Inviting eyes pull me in
or cold eyes adjudicate
and dismiss me.
Weeding out their tenuous roots,
I fill the holes they leave
with an invasion of thyme
that releases its scent
as my heart gently bruises
against bricks in my wall.

Here is the prompt as provided at We Write Poems:
What are the limits, fences, boundaries you choose to stay behind? How do they affect your choices? Do you occasionally step over, across, or slide beneath them? Is there one place in your life experience where you push beyond those limits? What happens when you do? And what do you feel when you do that? Do you make limits in your poetry writing? Are there personal taboos of words or experiences that you steer clear of? Write about limits you have set, or ignored for next week.

02 May 2011

The Beast ~ A Magpie Tale

Smoldering Fires
Clarence Holbrook Carter (1904-2000)

Columbus Museum of Art
everything I’ve ever
known is changing

smoke and flame
vent a roiling dance
out the sides of
the beast
and my baby coos

he coos
he is a soother
this one
yellow against the
two fingered fist
that holds our ending

pills we’ll ingest
before we become

merging with
the searing red flow
the beast could heave

there is no time
to leave

Visit Magpie Tales for more takes on the picture prompt.

01 May 2011

The Train Whistle: A Sestina

Whispers of revolution fall from hillsides
as Ezekiel quiets his riotous visions
straining to hear the aching message
the night train scribbles.
Praying for his people’s resilience,
praying for oppression’s end, he screams.

On this night, the train whistle screams
and Ezekiel guides his horse through hillsides.
Trembling himself, he blesses his mount’s resilience.
The stallion first appeared to him in convoluted visions
animated with hieroglyphic scribbles
that carry a fierce and formidable message

of revenge. Spreading the message
from a train whistle’s screams
Ezekiel’s black steed scribbles
him through dark evening hillsides
to disseminate his visions—
revolving, revolting, resilient:

Truth. Truth that builds his people’s resilience
through the strength in his message.
Prophecy emanates from his visions
as the deserving oppressors scream
their blood creates rivers down hillsides
and bodies lie scattered like scribbles.

He copies the form of the scribbles
pressing down charcoal resilience.
For the illiterate folk on the hillsides
a frame heiroglyphs that night’s message.
Ezekiel cannot reconstruct the night’s screams
but they live in the people’s visions.

His own people relish Ezekiel’s visions
they decipher the hieroglyphic scribbles
and thirst for the train whistle’s thrumming scream
They named his stallion Resilience
and celebrate his strong saving message
singing ballads on festival’d hillsides.

In the dark, Ezekiel’s visions ride high on the back of Resilience.
Famed and framed scribbles induce reminders of that night’s message,
and that low whistle screams, beneath every new moon on the hillside.


I've posted this at A Wordling Whirl of Sundays. Head over there to take a look at other responses to the wordle this week.

30 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 30 ~ Letter

Here's the prompt from Poetry Tow Truck: Have you ever told poetry how you feel about it? For today, write a love letter to poetry itself – or to a favorite poet or poem, or to words, or to a person that brought poetry into your life…interpret the prompt however you like. And keep poems in your life every month, not just in April.

Thank you for the prompt, Donna. I read Donna’s piece first, and it was about her first poetry crush. I went to the same place. I have not read nor thought about Rod McKuen for quite a few years. It was fun to revisit some of his work on the Internet. One of his pieces made me know that I would be okay no matter what happened in my life. It follows my letter to Rod McKuen.
Dear Mr. McKuen,

Thirteen year old me
floundered through identity
and craved popularity

fourteen year old me
hid in my high school library
reading your plain language poetry

you saved me
behind the stacks
identifying with your angst
and yearning your desire
we got to know each other
your words entered me
and sent me to Safeway
after a purple spiral notebook
where you became my first muse.

You saved me, Mr. McKuen
when saving is what I needed most.

Clouds are not the cheeks of angels,
and you Sir, helped me push some from my way.

May love shine its light
through your life every day.

Walk in peace,

Brenda Warren


Eight: Pushing the Clouds Away
By Rod McKuen

Clouds are not the cheeks of angels you know
they're only clouds.
Friendly sometimes,
but you can never be sure.
If I had longer arms
I'd push the clouds away
or make them hang above the water somewhere else,
but I'm just a man
who needs and wants,
mostly things he'll never have.
Looking for that thing that's hardest to find--

I've been going a long time now
along the way I've learned some things.
You have to make the good times yourself
take the little times and make them into big times
and save the times that are all right
for the ones that aren't so good.

I've never been able
to push the clouds away by myself.
Help me.

A HUGE SHOUT OUT to Rob at Writer's Island.  Thank you for providing a place to post our poetry all month long.  It's been a fun ride.

29 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 29 ~ driving anxiety

A big snow should pass through later today. I'll likely skip the drive and figure something else out. When I'm a passenger, I love driving through snow, but when I'm a driver my anxiety is bigger than I am.

Would you like some cheese with your whine?

I can’t go driving in the snow
white knuckling it down highway 87
working muscles into knots
It’s April 29th.
April 29th!
Why is it snowing anyway?
Why is the day I have to drive
100 miles across the state and back
the only day with snow this week?
A 90% chance blowing across that two lane
highway stretching through high plains
dotted with missile silos
and military convoys
dotted with small towns
with at least two bars each
dotted with livestock, deer and antelope
dotted with the trail my anxiety leaves
in its wake.

See, now I go and start talking about wakes,
and you wonder why I worry?

28 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 28 ~ Ekphrastic piece

My muse is running dry. For inspiration I typed "anguish" (emotion, starts with "a") into Google images.  The image below was among the first group that came up.  The piece is in response to the picture.  I'm not sure who took the picture.  The blog where I retrieved it listed it as a photo he had collected some time ago.  Only two more days in April!  



salty sheaths glisten unto her lips
discharging her encumbrances

she remembers reading that
suffering engages freedom
restriction brings release
tears cleanse spirits

and so her throat swallows itself
as desire pulls its way up through
her mouth in an anguished silent scream
a bubbling sulfuric bog

27 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 27 ~ Language is a Virus

April’s end nears! Thank you for reading my work this month, and for leaving your impressions Beyond the Bozone. Knowing that you read and appreciate some of my pieces brings me joy. If you blog, you know.

I created today’s piece while playing with the phrase generator at Language is a Virus. I wrote four short phrases as instructed, and synonyms for the phrases. Then I cut and pasted it all in a word document and was left with this piece; the process is interesting. There is no next time is for my friend David Arnott, who died last December.

there is no next time

a truck’s cackle shuffles off
white flesh falling into ash
talk and smoke
dust to dust
pulverized soul
crumble into nothing
dissipate down eternity’s highway
there is no next time

26 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 26 ~ slightly ajar

slightly ajar

A mason jar of butterfly wings
sits on a shelf in her soul.
Raucous fluttering riots
what meditation quiets
so she falls to the floor
a lotus alive and
she breathes.

The jar’s twisted rim clatters,
flurrying matter’s fixation.
Showers of sugary
powdered snow globe color
settle in transmuted piles.
All distinction dissipates.

waking?/shutting down
waking?/shutting down

She screws the rim on again
maintaining miles of butterfly
wings plucked, jarred, and quieted away.
Safely at bay

until they quiver and flicker little
eyelash tickles like butterfly kisses
to remind her what she set aside
wings on a shelf in her soul.

This piece came from the first of the prompts offered up under Big Tent Poetry this week. The prompt asked that we “write about things in mason jars.”

A shout out to Writer’s Island for a posting place all month!!

25 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 25 ~ not a sonnet

In a bizarre turn of prompts…ha! I read a few of the responses poets had to NaPoWriMo’s prompt yesterday to use a list of words as end rhymes in a sonnet. I tried a sonnet, and do have something in the works…but it just might stay there. Instead, I used the words, or any form I saw fit, in this piece. It’s a bit bawdy, and I don’t do that often in poetry….but my “gut” tells me that it’s about aging.

I must confess to stealing a phrase from poet and blogstress Tilly Bud for this piece. In her response to the NaPoWriMo prompt, she used the phrase, bulldoze the blues. I loved it, and incorporated it in this piece.

Tilly Bud taught me this: If the prompt falsifies your poem, find a way to make it authentic.

Here are the words: rage, doom, age, tomb , sighs, breast, thighs, west, mad, blues, plaid, shoes, fail, mail.

I think aging is best served aloud. In my preference, the last stanza has a bit of a sailor song feel to it. eh hey!


Raging at plaid
my breasts heave out this huge sigh
so they can feel something bigger than
“more than a mouthful’s a waste.”

Black shoes maryjane their way beneath my age,
mad about westward expansion and high heels.
Thighs bulldoze the blues with cellulite crescendos.

Send it in the mail
and if that fails—
it’s all about doom
and a moss covered tomb.

If the world survives one more day—
eh hey—
If the world survives one more day—

24 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 24 ~ Wordle Launch

This is my first response to a wordle at a wordling whirl of Sundays. I had no idea that this piece would evolve from those words; it is quite dark. The first two lines came, and I mulled them over. I decided to just go for it, and write this piece from the perspective of someone who is the creep’s captive. I watch enough crime drama on television that the rest came easily. The last two lines are a Zen koan. They refer to the idea that seeing the Buddha means it is separate somehow from yourself. That image is an illusion. It is not the true essence of Buddhist practice.

cheap and horrible nows

Sharp and piquant the creep’s sweat
diminishes everything else
quenching her desire to live.

Dragon tattoos
clench talons around
children’s pinwheels
in a horrible tug-of-war
while he squeezes his
“magic muscle show
to replenish her soul.”

Over and over
until she finally understands
eternal Nows.

Cheap tissue covers bones.

Illusion steals the real.
Illusion steals the real.

If you see the Buddha on the road,
kill him.

23 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 23 ~ Glimpses

A very specific prompt gave birth to this piece. I’ve been working and reworking it for two days. It was hard to make it flow. It still feels like there are splits in the piece; but I like it nonetheless. I included the prompt so you could see the inspiration. Donna Vorreyer posted it as a Saturday prompt last week on her blog, Put Words Together, Make Meaning :
Today’s poem comes from a prompt by Marty McConnell that she references in this interview in Muzzle Magazine, a fantastic journal.
(stanza 1) tell us what you are not
(stanza 2) say where the light comes from
(stanza 3) give three details about the hardest year of your life
(stanza 4) tell a lie about who you are
(stanza 5) tell us something you remember involving light
(stanza 6) share a good memory
(stanza 7) admit to the lie
(stanza eight) describe an object that exemplifies who/what you are.

mold me

Authoritarian rule is not my style.
Barking orders serves mushers—
living is not herding sheep.

When cheeks buoy receptive eyes
awareness shines its ideas.
Laughter illuminates authentic self.

For me, childhood ended in a rush.
Quick decisions forced action.
My savior died in exile.

I’m the person who never cares
what you think about me.
Like anything you have to say matters.

Lightning cracked open the sky
and the outlines of three tethered elephants
flashed wet in the Nepalese jungle night.

During that journey, children kept petting my hair
and a water buffalo mired in mid-river muck
brought dark men wearing dhotis in from the fields.

I remember worrying what they thought
of the white American girl standing
atop of her 25th year, thin blonde and trembling.

I am clay, malleable by happenstance
shape-shifting from one life to the next
traveler, teacher, mother, lover—mold me.

Thank you to Writer's Island for a place to post every day all month long, and always on Saturdays.

22 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 22 ~ street talk

From a Big Tent prompt that asked us to "write a poem about what you would shout down the street," I came up with a story poem. If someone dropped their purse in the street, I would shout. This piece transpired from that thought. It begins and ends with the narrator shouting in the street.


Street Talk

“Hey Lady!
Hey Lady!
You dropped your purse!”
I hold it up, running
knowing she heard me.
Her arms hail a taxi.
She steps into it and vanishes.

Later at home I plan to
go through the contents
of her purse for identification
and to satisfy my curiosity
about what a high heeled lady
with a real fox stole biting its own tail
carries in her Prada purse
on a soggy Great Falls afternoon
especially when it looked like
she dropped it on purpose

But for now,
I have a lunch date at Penny’s.
Her pesto pasta salad with capers
and a hint of feta cheese
always lures me
into lemon bars later.

An explosion cracks the air.
Patrons rush outside
where flames engulf my Jeep.
I fall to my knees and weep.

“Not the Jeep!
You fox furred bitch!
Not the Jeep!”

21 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 21 ~ Four Haiku

One of my "additional hats" is to organize our annual Middle School variety show. During the last two weeks scheduling and judging auditions took some time. Yesterday, I posted the 2011 Variety Show Line-Up. I wanted to commemorate the day with a poem. Ventriloquist came first, and it came as one line that was perfectly separated into haiku (kismet). This act brought tears to my eyes. Winston is a turtle who sings with pure pitch. It is Winston’s rendition of Crying by Roy Orbison that nearly brought me to tears.

I wrote a haiku for three other personal favorites, as well. Snazzy Dance is hilarious. The girls have physical comedy down to an art. They make more fun of themselves than anything else. Gavotte speaks for itself. The girl who auditioned with The Climb had heart surgery a couple of weeks prior to the audition. Her audition was breathtaking. Her voice quieted us to the bottom of our souls. I looked up The Climb on YouTube and found that it is a Miley Cyrus song. Miley has nothing on this girl. The Climb is our closing act. Tears will flow, and this young lady will move with her class to the high school next fall.


when Winston sings his
reptilian neck stretches
toward the ceiling

snazzy dance
two afroed white girls
poke fun at Michael Jackson
in a snazzy dance

spectacled lanky
violin virtuoso
awakens classmates

The Climb
she becomes The Climb
Cyrus pales beside the heart
in her rendition

Thank you to Writer's Island for the opportunity to post poems every day this month, and always on Satrudays.

20 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 20 ~ We Write Poems

We Write Poems offered two starter lines for poems. One of them, "I'm willing to eat..." prompted this memory poem that came quickly. Like all memories this old, it is embellished. But rest assured the ingestion of worms for Rainier occured on a playground in Montana. Who says that youth is misspent?

worms for beer

When we were 15 Mary Cullum
told my brother
that she would eat anything
for a six pack of Rainier Beer.

At Super Save Sam bought two things,
a Styrofoam container packed
with night crawlers, woodchips, and dirt,
and a six pack of Rainier cans.

“One for each beer,” he said
as he handed Mary the worms.

She stood in front
of the swing set of our youth
behind Horace Mann
where one at a time
she took out a crawler,
and with thumb and forefinger
pulled debris
from its long moist form.

Tilting her head back
she dropped them in
and swallowed without biting-
six lengthy wiggling worms.

Sam laughed, and cracked a beer for her.
She drank it down
in one long drink
and belched,
then howled at the moon
full above her head.

19 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 19 ~ A Sevenling

Several of you have been writing sevenlings, so I surfed for more information regarding the form. I followed the rules for the sevenling form found at The Chop Shop. If you are interested, I've reposted them beneath the poem.

sevenling (in the middle)

in the middle of the table in the middle of the room
three of my favorite possessions loom
a sock, a clock, and a hickory dock

what I touch with my mind disappears
what feels like minutes is years
faster than we sneeze a breeze

beneath mice and everything nice—tick tock


The rules of the sevenling are thus:
The first three lines should contain an element of three - three connected or contrasting statements, or a list of three details, names or possibilities. This can take up all of the three lines or be contained anywhere within them. Then, lines four to six should similarly contain an element of three, connected directly or indirectly or not at all. The seventh line should act as a narrative summary or punchline or as an unusual juxtaposition. There are no set metrical rules, but being such as short form, some rhythm, metre or rhyme is desirable. To give the form a recognisable shape, it should be set out in two stanzas of three lines, with a solitary seventh, last line. Titles are not required. A sevenling should be titled Sevenling followed by the first few words in parentheses The tone of the sevenling should be mysterious, offbeat or disturbing, giving a feeling that only part of the story is being told. The poem should have a certain ambience which invites guesswork from the reader.

18 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 18 ~ John Trudell

When NaPoWriMo’s website suggested a portrait poem, I took the opportunity to promote one of my personal heroes: John Trudell. He shows up in my work often; he deserves April airtime. Follow my tags about Trudell if you are interested in him. He’s also got work available on iTunes, I suggest his CD DNA. The movie Trudell is worth having in any home video library. The image I paint of JT in the first two stanzas comes from a scene in the movie. He was involved in the American Indian takeover of Alcatraz. I write about it in What Happened at Alcatraz if you are interested. John Trudell is a prophet, but not a saint.

In the past I’ve noted that I get hits on my blog from the Russian Federation when I post about Trudell. If you are from the Russian Federation, please leave me a comment, let me know why he draws your attention.

John Trudell
He is extremely eloquent . . .
therefore extremely dangerous.
--FBI memo

A silver bell outshines simple hoops
beneath your black brown hair
whipping through wind
on a boat back to Alcatraz.

Your weathered sunglassed face
reflects ancestral DNA.
The familiarity of your voice
runs through my torso;
its message parleys
It revs me up.

It makes me feel righteous
and wronged.
It makes me feel lied to
and denied.
It makes me feel ashamed
and afraid.

wisdom underscores
words that illuminate
truth from perspective

You say,
“They used their
Manifest Destiny mentality
to justify their genocide.”

I say that to me, “they” is we.
White America
wake up and make amends!

But where do we even begin?

Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays.

17 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 17 ~ Sunday Wordle

I pulled these words from the works of three poets who posted their poems at Writer’s Island Saturday, NaPoWriMo's Day 16. Four words each came from Alias Jinksy 16, Stan Skibinski's An Offer I Can Refuse from his blog Elephant Small, and from Mr. Walker's poem, Never Again, at Sadly Waiting for Recess. Thank you all for your poetry.

I tackled the wordle this week trying to use each word in as few lines as possible.  When I finished using the words, I added three more lines, then came up with the title.  I couldn't decide if I should call it Regarding Media, or Regarding the Government.  Maybe something else?  Anyway....here's the wordle, and my take on it.

regarding media

false flattery scars
every story’s start
inept recountings tarnish
silver sprouted phrases whose crescendos
forever perfume crude messages
to surreptitiously promote
exacting agendas

your fabricated reality
dismantles our past

Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays.

16 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 16 ~ Recipe

I'm not sure what I think of this piece. A friend asked for this recipe, and I decided to try writing it as a poem. Portions aside, you get the picture.


Casserole for Kara

set aside lightly boiled
cubed potatoes and
crumble pork sausage
into cast iron skillet
grease glass casserole
with pork fatted fingers

chop onions
tyrannizing eyes into
medium high translucence
press garlic,
sizzle and stir until
odor opens nostrils

crack eggs into casserole
scramble slow with
heavy whipping cream
shred in Monterey jack
and sharp cheddar
mix it all together
salt and pepper it up

350 degrees and
45 minutes later
butter sourdough toast
and consume

Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays.

15 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 15 ~ Haiku Practice

Feeling short of time, I did these quickly. We are halfway through this month of writing! Spring Break starts for my school district one week from today. Then I can read more of your poems, breathe, and write. Woo hoo!

in meditation
the refrigerator runs
shattering silence

under nirvana
the refrigerator hums
pulling me back up

runs my refrigerator
its contents run me

four haiku rise from
humming refrigerator
must be time to eat

Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays.

14 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 14 ~ If not five, twenty

Barbara at Briarcat (check it out....she plays with words) wrote a five minute poem to a prompt she found out there somewhere.  I loved it, and decided to write my own. I couldn't do it in five minutes, but did do it in twenty. 

To clue you in, an atomic blast is when you pound the face of your fist with another person and then pull away fast while opening your hand.  Oh yeah. 

When you teach, some students make your day, your month, your year.  You know who they are...I wish I could post a picture of this girl "flying" across my classroom. She is a gem.

When I read the poem, it hit me that not one student asked why running round rose bushes is unwise.  Hmmm...thorny issue?


A Day in April

During a discussion
of alliteration,
and consonance,
I write on the board.

Rhea realizes
running around
rose bushes
is ridiculous.

Rhea says, “I
can’t say that word.”

“Which word?”

She points
to ridiculous.

“Do you know what
the word means?”

Rhea nods
and smiles.

We practice shouting
syllables into the air
and we blend
ridiculous together.

We create a
call & response.

Later in the hall,
I see Rhea and say,
“A lingering spring
is ridiculous.”

Rhea’s eyes gleam,
“Ridiculous indeed.”

Atomic Blast!
And we're off!

Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays.

13 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 13 ~ object piece

One of the prompts at Big Tent Poetry this month asked that we write an ode to an object. I'm not sure that this qualifies as an "ode," but the prompt did inspire the poem. Buddha has been in our lives for seven years. Now seven is a lucky number for some, it seemed fitting to mention it on this unlucky (?)13 of NaPoWriMo. It's interesting the sound thirteen shares with thirty. As my grandmother would say, Oi yoi yoi. Seventeen days remain. I wish I had more time, I wish I had more time, I wish I had more time.... clicking my heels together three times, here's my daily poem.


breathing for Buddha

At Rockin’ Rudy’s,
right after
Len and I wed,
your hands caught my eye
from the place where
you sat atop a glass
case of flying frog t-shirts
(it’s a Missoula thing)

Meditative mudras
beckoned me close
to the folds of your
brass saffron robes
when an intake of breath
stepped me back rapt

repeated not thought

At a rack of hats
I angled in mirrors
and still, the glint
of your deeply rubbed
sheen steeped me in.

Breathing does not stop desire.

The family van
seemed a safe place to be
and wait for Len to find
an Elvis Perkins CD.

He came out of the store
with a gleam in his eyes
and you in his arms.

A gift from the universe
my husband
and you.


Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays.