31 May 2010

Ghazaling Nows

From the One spring many— distraction cements duality.
Enchantment flips a penny— people resent duality.

Tend each now . . . breathe in . . . breathe out.
Let moments rise and weave in— ferment duality.

Remove preoccupation, be the task at hand.
Tangential rumination represents duality.

When pulling weeds, pull weeds, when doing deeds
do deeds. Focus, lest diversion reinvent duality.

The author washes dishes. Laughter becomes bubbles,
setting free her wishes. She circumvents duality.

Shout out to the Monday Poetry Train, for allowing Monday posts of any kind, and to Robert Lee Brewer of Poetic Asides for leading me to the ghazal. The ghazal is a poetic form with roots in 7th century Arabia. Every couplet should stand alone, although they follow a certain rhyme and refrain pattern. The last stanza should reference the poet.

30 May 2010

Blindsided by Hopper

To commemorate her sixth Christmas in the world, I wanted to surprise TL with a deaf dog. She asked Santa for one, so she “would not be the only deaf person” in our small family of two. An online search led me to Bangtail dog rescuers in Bozeman, Montana only 3 hours away. Most of these dogs were of herding stock, and that gave me some concern as our small house teemed with cats. Nonetheless, at $250 to cover the hand shape training and upkeep of the dog, I was about to take the plunge, when the Deaf school rang me up, urging me to come in to the office.

When I arrived, they showed me a flyer.

“Black Pete
Deaf Dog
Free to good home
Call Skyline Veterinary to set up a meeting.”

There he was, the dog of our dreams. Free.

The sheriff’s department found him on the side of highway 87, head split open, brain exposed. They carried him in to Skyline Veterinary, where they stitched his scalp together. The staff loved Black Pete for four long months, until he was ready to go. Home, with us—where TL calls him Hopper, and he knows the sign for love.

Shout out to Writer’s Island for the prompt, blindsided, or having something unexpected drop into your life. Hopper is a gift we enjoy every day. Serendipity.

Love Ghazal

A mantra for a woman who searches for exclusive love
ends her rumination on a haunting and abusive love.

Enveloped in a fuselage of unintended loss
she can’t escape the dark mirage of bleak intrusive love.

Words in chant when uttered, beneath a star-dropped sky
tease open unfluttered, her soul’s reclusive love.

Syllables will congregate and carry a command
to seep through hearts and generate an unobtrusive love.

In profile on Match.com, Caw chanted as she typed
“Internet Yenta, catch me a catch of mutually effusive love.”

The ghazal is a poetic form with roots in 7th century Arabia. The last stanza should reference the poet. It was interesting to go there. And yes, I met my husband on Match.com. We will be married six years on July 31. It worked for us! A shout out to Sunday Scribblings for the mantra prompt, and to Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides for introducing me to the ghazal. (In the last stanza, I changed my name, Brenda, to Caw. It's a nick I use sometimes in reference to conversations I carry on with crows. ha! One syllable sounded better, and dot com to Caw...you get the picture.)

29 May 2010

First Love

Kyle pressed the accelerator to the floor
“If I can’t have you, no one will.”
The Beetle sailed down
Eternity Street east,
a steep street ending in a concrete
toilet house at the East of Eternity skate yard.

“Stop, stop,
I’ll do anything.
I love you,
I won’t leave,
I promise.
I love you.
I’ll do anything
I love you.”

The words screamed
from my throat
without me.

Kyle slammed on the brakes
at the bottom of the hill.
The Beetle screeched
burning rubber up over the curb
it’s back end twirling toward the toilet house.
All four tires flattened.
Pushing open my door, I ran to the alleyways of childhood.
Hiding behind trashcans.
Heart pounding.
Love. Love.
Why did love bring fists and fury?
Why did love control?

After the alley, I walked
across our dark hometown,
climbed Mount Helena and
slept in the Devil’s Kitchen.

The Devil’s Kitchen is a cave along the rock cliff face of Mount Helena. It is cool and dark. A shout out to Cassiopeia Rises for the prompt, “love” offered up at One Single Impression.

27 May 2010

Gifts for the Magpie

Never one for heels,
Pauline used them for target practice.
Traveling fast down Montana back roads
sling back shoes shot from a catapult
anchored to the bed of her green Ford truck.
With a “PULL!” Pauline pulverized
8 out of every 10 shoes flung.

Locals say magpies still line their nests with pieces of Pauline’s pumps.

Shout out to Magpie Tales for the weekly prompt.


sing for your supper
sing for your sex
sing for the woman
who’ll love you the best
your singing draws her up to you
her face against your chest
she feels the deep down rumble you
and plans to later tumble you
in sheets devoid of rest
sing for your supper
sing for your sex
sing for the woman
who’ll love you the best

The Big Tent Poetry prompt this week was "aphrodisiac."  I thought about things that can get me yearning, and up popped baritone.

24 May 2010

dragon plea

Misplaced dog on linoleum
black on yellow
curled up alone
thirsting the end
of kidney function.

Veterinary I.V.s
fluidify your form.

Please. Please.
Let them slay that dragon.

Hopper is in the dog hospital today. This is for him.
Thank you to Sunday Scribblings for the prompt.

23 May 2010

from chaos rises wisdom

Whirling clouds of pink petals
swirl and carpet the courtyard
captivating kids in class.
Cassie stands and twirls—
hands opened high
hair floating.
Keenan seizes the opportunity
to dazzle us with tecktonik dance moves
learned in our connections class on
“YouTube Fridays.”
Laughter at my head hugging
Tecknik attempts ceases
as I “wow” them
with newly mastered
lotus hands.                 Ha!

The whirlwind ceases
Cassie stands at the window and says,
“The courtyard is peppered with pink petals.”

Raven rushes to the prompt board to record
Cassie’s wind inspired wisdom.

Journals open, writing begins.

This piece arose from a One Single Impression prompt, floating.

22 May 2010

Ken and Barbie Star in a Magpie Tale

“Anyone can catch fish, Ken. Most people clean them before tossing them on the table.” says bitch-and-a-half Barbie as she digs dirt from beneath her nails. Her plastic ball hinge knee creaks when she swings her leg. Ken wants to take that leg in his hands and snap it in half.

Melanoma took Malibu Barbie. It makes bitch-and-a-half Barbie smile just to think of it. It makes Ken want to cry, but his damn face freezes in that dumbass smile. Only two females remain—bitch and a half and her sister, Mod living Skipper, who still mourns missing Malibu Barbie’s tanning tutelage and believes her little girl pink skin keeps Ken’s eyes on her big sis bitch-and-a-half.

“Well we’re not people, are we?” Ken growls back at bitch-and-a-half. “We’re fashion dolls, stuck in some freaky ass story, and these fish?” Ken picks one up. “Pewter. Tell me how I’m supposed to clean them. Tell me.” He grabs bitch-and-a-half Barbie by the hair, pulls her head off and swings it in the air. Slipping out of his hands it twirls to the floor of the room and Jonesy, the house mongrel chews it until nothing is left.

“I like the fish, just the way they are, Ken.” Mod living Skipper purrs. If Ken had moveable eyes, he’d roll them.

Later, the people laugh when a big chunk of bitch-and-a-half’s head shows up in Jonesy’s shit.

A shout out to Magpie Tales for giving Ken, bitch-and-a-half Barbie, and Mod living Skipper a chance to share the drama of their closeted lives.

20 May 2010

Stiffing the Bookie

Wordle created at http://www.wordle.net/
Stiffing the Bookie

crumpled taffeta
lies in piles—
capitulated caparisons
in patterns of light
across the bookie’s purse—
a tincture of risk
(rendered futile with glitch)

in the buff she bows and
pours three shots of 80 proof Smirnoff

two - tinctured with death

later she dresses,
catches her own eye
in the mirrored wall,
and grins,
sapient homo sapien

pocketing the purse,
she doffs her bowler
at that dead
fondling fool,
body already
to cool

Shout out to all the poets at Big Tent Poetry who provided the words for the wordle.  This piece was fun to write.  In some form, every word from the wordle shows up in Stiffing the Bookie.

18 May 2010

wield your shine

short life, rough
never enough
black birds fly
rivers cry to the sea

1-2-3 come dance with me
to the number of our days

snapshots slip
through heaven’s hole
hearts lose hands
children grow

1-2-3 come dance with me
to the number of our days

trouble hits
stand up, commit

illuminate humanity


This week's prompt for We Write Poems asked that we write a poem after listening to music.  Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem's album Big Ol Life, along with a piece from an earlier album, Big Black Bird inspired this poem. The italicized couplets are from the song "What's That" lyrics by Rani Arbo. Take a listen to "Shine On," you'll be glad you did.  Arbo is the singer.

16 May 2010

Trembling Jell-O

**I usually don’t preface my poetry, however this piece has some disturbing content. This is not autobiographical...who knows from where these things arise... (Is that an adequate warning? )

Trembling Jell-O

Trembling Jell-O
and a pool of piss
is all that will ever
be left of this.
“Give us some whiskey.
Give us a kiss.”

Two detectives came storming
came storming without any warning
and took Uncle Peter away.

In a room without any windows
and an ominous mural sized mirror
they questioned poor Lucinda, dear,
beyond the break of day.
She could not remember anything
(not that she wanted to say)
except the smell of his breath
when he pinned her to
her grandmother’s floral duvet.

He growled his words when he said them
then licked at Lucinda’s young lips.
She turned her head and she kicked him
as cops came crashing in.

The lady cop jostled Jell-O in
to the room with only one door.
She said she thought Lucinda looked thin
and she could always go get more.

Uncle Peter brought her Jell-O
a ridiculous thank you treat.
With gusto, he force fed her,
if she ever refused to eat.

Lucinda lay the Jell-O down and hiked her denim skirt high
she squatted over the Jell-O dish, and let her urine fly.

Thank you to One Single Impression for the prompt.

Recipe for Ridding the World of Ants

As if.

Up one arm
down the other
I don’t have the heart
to pinch the little mother
to its death
or grind my foot
into its tiny black form.
Gently between thumb and
forefinger I fling it to the floor.
The cats don’t even bother
to eat them any more
they’ve become another fixture
of this urban house’s lore.

I hate the ants, despise them
and can poison them just fine.
But to personally pummel them?
Spirit urges my decline.

In my husband’s Ohio childhood
his grandpa Lendy poured gasoline
into anthills all over the yard.
He lit it. Whoosh!
Flames shot up from anthills,
Earth lifted and fell
Everywhere Len looked little miracles
exploded legions of ants.

They came back.

They will always come back.

When human beings fade in Earth’s memory,
ants will tunnel through the rubble of our lives.

The Sunday Scribblings prompt is recipe. I started optimistic, but quickly realized that there will never be a foolproof recipe to rid the world of ants. Nonetheless, another ant piece emerged.

15 May 2010

magpie haiku

heart pounding wildly
he poles past my father’s men
me hidden on board

Shout out to Magpie Tales for the picture prompt. 

The Soul Seller's Villanelle

On the island of muses and dreams
Sally sells souls by the seashore
that transmit remarkable reams.

She entices poets with themes
that their muses bring to the fore.
On the island of muses and dreams

Sally guarantees reading regimes
of the souls' words bought by the shore
who transmit remarkable reams.

A purchase is not what it seems,
poets pay for the dead soul’s rapport.
On the island of muses and dreams

you barter your own muses streams,
for the soul (remember, readers galore!)
that transmits remarkable reams.

Sally dangles the key to extremes.
Eternity as a writing whore
who transmits remarkable reams
on the island of muses and dreams.

Shout out to Writer's Island for the prompt. Simply put, a key.

14 May 2010

being's demise

invisible operative
placed amongst us
gains knowledge
gains access
directs activity

invisible operative
placed amongst us
placed where spirit
gets eaten

on spirit’s demise

human beings
lack access
lack connection
to ancestral wisdom
a spiritual disconnect

invisible operative
placed amongst us
erases original dreams
breaks being human

the prevalent reality
of the already dead
lacks coherent action

erase pain erase pain erase
a scapegoat to embrace

invisible operative
placed amongst us
masks being
beneath human

on being’s demise

The Big Tent prompt this week asked writer's to spend time listening to language, and use sound in our poems. John Trudell's words inspired this piece.  He is a Santee Sioux.  He is an activist.  He is a poet.  His body houses an extraordinary mind.  You tube him.  Listen.  Give him a chance.  Check out Trudell the Movie.

13 May 2010

Cursing the Crusaders

Hide me under a burning bush
shove smoldering
branches into my eyes
smote me
for I have sinned.
Place the pot over flames
high enough to boil me slow.

Masticate burning
flesh from bones
until the energy of me
becomes you.

May your hearts burn
forever from the feast.


Take a ride on the Monday Poetry Train.

12 May 2010

Charmed Life

Ida’s silver plated box
sits heavy in my hand.
Life’s charms
mingle inside.

The Charms

A tooth hardened
by time, a cud chewer,
found near the
rock housed Himalayan
village of Manang.
Petrified yak tooth?

A three eyed dzi bead
traded with a smiling
Manang woman
for a bracelet made
when I was ten.

The people of Manang build every
home of stone.
They stand on flat roofs
hair blowing time with prayer flags.
Necks anchor colorful scarves that
brighten the chorus against austerity.

A picture of a people
dark hair dark eyes,
smiling at ll,548 feet
clothing the color of houses
pockets and necks lined with
vibrant red, green, yellow, orange, blue, purple stripes.

A strip of cloth from Manang.

My baby’s shriveled dry umbilical cord.

My great grandmother’s
gold plated locket, that she
gave me before she passed.
On its fifty cent sized front a brass
question mark inlays.
On back, someone
engraved Ida.
Inside remains empty.

A two-root tooth
in Grizzly Gulch.
Young woman, me
floating through forest
barefoot and skirted,
flowers in my hair.

Wolf’s tooth
wrapped in leather
hung round my neck.

Tim One’s ring
that I thought I’d wear forever
made from liquid spoons and
a small jade cabochon that
houses a piece of his soul.

Three large thin abalone buttons
shell still clinging to their

A single earring Little Bird
crafted at the confluence
of the Swan and
Mission Mountains.

A silver and amethyst
locket that carries an angel
sent by an Internet stranger
to keep me safe
when my world
swirls down through
insomniac insanity,
and the only
thing that makes me
feel normal is listening
to humans call Art Bell
at 3 a. m. on talk radio to discuss
bizarre experiences
with alien life forms.

Shout out to We Write Poems for the prompt that had me exploring my own charmed life!

10 May 2010

Ladder Infinitum

Thick reedy grass pokes up
through water and muck
at turtle island.

Our canoe stealths to a log jam.
A seasoned turtle looks at us and blinks
unmoving, while small shelled youth
waddle and plop into weedy wet.

The boat abuts deadfall and floats
until young ones
imagine log and slowly return
to sit in the whispering sun.

Poised nets sweep and capture.
Turning young earth in hands
its patterened underside
until restored
to itself.

The turtle disappears in its dark water weeds
to stand on the back of its mother who stands
on the back of its mother.

Ladder infinitum
to sustain Earth
in space.

Turtle supports Earth in many indigenous stories. I wrote this piece to get myself a ticket on the Monday Poetry Train and to honor turtle, of course. Turtle Island exists near my parent's place in the Seeley-Swan Valley of Montana.

09 May 2010

my courage stone

That precious puller of ocean tides
abides pierced craters collided in its sides.

Meteors hit the moon and
the steadfast man who stands thereon
blows chunks of cheese
in an atmospheric breeze.

Some of its surface sucks up into stars
a piece beats a hole in my yard.

Radar transmits courage
from the little man to me
strength that warms my
pocket just because
it be.

Shout out to Sunday Scribblings for the prompt!


governments reign

itself down the drain


Thank you to One Single Impression for the prompt.

08 May 2010

The Eyeball

It lives in the briny deep sea
its visions filter to me
every day with no notion
scenes from the ocean
enter my mind’s eye debris.

Magpie Tales supplied the unique prompt.

the stowaway

in dreams
he is here
being me

i tell you
when i wake,
but you look
the other way
or say that
dreams are

believes me
when the nightly
conquest slips
into day

at the edges of
thought he peers
through my eyes
and rifles through
my life's file folders

his force intensifies
and i feel myself
dissipate until . . .

I walk in the
world again.



Thank you to Writer's Island for the prompt.

07 May 2010

Water the Marigold

water the marigold water the marigold water the marigold
water the marigold water the marigold water the marigold
water the marigold water the marigold water the marigold
water the marigold water the marigold water the
marigold water the marigold water the marigol
d water the marigold water the marigold wate
r the marigold water the marigold water the
marigold water the marigold water the m
arigold water the marigold water the m
arigold water the marigold water the
marigold water the marigold wate
r the marigold water the marigol
d water the marigold water th
e marigold water the marigo
ld water the marigold water the marigold water the
marigold water the marigold water the marigold 

Side Show Freaks

A big shout out to Big Tent Poetry
for the prompt.


Every night my
diminutive tattoo artist
comes to me. He
mixes his own colors.
“One of a kind,” He says
“That’d be you Lily.”
When Andy asks me my pleasure, I
leave it to him. Still he asks.

Standing on a stool, his needles ink
fables into three rings on my upper back.

He feeds me cream puffs
to “broaden his canvas.” I watch
in the mirror
as Andy illustrates
a likeness of Larinda
falling from October’s Foal,
eyes wild, lips unfurled. These times
calm me.

For 25 cents, people get to peek
through a window into a room
where I sit bare backed,
facing a round mirrored vanity. My
armpits pin a sheet over my breasts.

Sometimes, one of the people catches
my eye and we stare through the mirror
in private thought.
My gaze intensifies until they look away.
Freak, we think.

Lovely Larinda

“And here she is....
Ladies and Gentlemen
long-legged and lithe
Give it up for
Lovely Larinda and the Lipizzaners!”

Lily is the lovely one. Stories spill
from her skin.

Under my breath, I blaspheme sequins,
adjust my headdress, and
tighten the rhinestoned reins
to stand upon October’s Foal. Later
Andy’s needle will seal my soul, as his
ink reveals my love
for Lily
through my shoulders
down my back.

Every person packing the Big Top
vouches for Andy’s story telling tattoos.
Veracity and vision.
Truth through
Andy’s tats.

I nod, and
balance blasts
my stance
on the stallion.

I fear death while falling to it.


(The ladies love it when I lace
luscious stories to the
bodice of their skin. )

My pens print pictures by themselves
the needles ink them in.
The stories inside remain silent
until they speak through skin.

From afar, I watched Larinda
as she combed her long bronzed hair
She stood upon her stallion
and whispered to a mare.

Before Larinda met her death
I drew a tat for Lily’s rings,
it depicts the precise moment
before the end of everything.

Lily will not know the love that
shone from Larinda’s face when she
asked me if I’d ink a scene,
Lily in her embrace.

Instead the horse,
when it throws her,
makes my needles sing:
Larinda and the Lipizzaner
lunge through Lily’s ring.

02 May 2010

Acrostically ADHD

It’s all about me and the
Marvelous ideas that
Pour from my soul.
Unending they
Leap from my mouth.
Slap our hands together
In high fives to
Verify my
Effervescent brilliance.

Drugs designed to deaden impulse.

Message in a Bottle

Kelp cast a surreal green glow on Bainbridge’s
beaches the spring Selma unearthed the
bottle sticking up through rocky sand.
Battered blue glass obscured the paper
cork-sealed and scrolled in a velvet band.

Shelved in the kitchen, the bottle
blended in a cobalt sea where Selma
stored its secrets among butterscotch and tea.

~A message from a princess banished to an isle alone~
~A message from a starving man about to eat his own~

Everything that Selma saw involved a tragedy,
some soul set float long ago for strangers’ eyes to see.
Although the bottle beckoned her, she swore to leave it be.
The message might contain a curse to anyone who read it
it’s better left upon the shelf where she could only dread it.

Then, on her 80th birthday,
Selma popped the cork.
She slid the scroll into her hands,
unrolled it and began,

Seize the moment
Seize the day
Lest worries take your life away