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.

12 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 12 ~ One Sentence / 40 Lines

Sounds daunting, doesn't it? One sentence in 40 lines. It was the NaPoWriMo day 11 prompt. It showed up here at 12:01 a.m. mountain standard time. It was fun to write, and I hope you all like it. It gave me a little break from darkness--I feel grateful for the prompt.


If miracles
were pancakes
I still
would not have enough
to stack 40 of them
in this one
insane sentence
that drips
with adjectives
like sweet
and sticky
down the Page
du Jour’s
endless and empty
white space
ready for
mass consumption
at least
a reader or two
who stop along
their NaPoWriMo way
to feast on this
one poet’s
feeble attempt
to create
a 40 line
poem that
one flipping
long sentence
to say
that means
or nothing at all
without running on
or needing
more butter.

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

11 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 11 ~ A Sestina

A big chunk of my Sunday surrendered itself to the following sestina. I wanted to attempt at least one during NaPoWriMo. Prime number 11 is a good day to post it. The first stanza was inspired by a television commercial with an ape walking through chest high water. It’s a commercial for an upcoming documentary, Born to be Wild. I have not seen the show. That image drove this sestina, and I devoted a great deal of time to incessant revision. :-) A sestina contains 6 six-line stanzas and a three-line envoi. The last word of each line in the first stanza is repeated in a specific order in subsequent stanzas. The last three lines, the envoi, contain those same 6 words in a specific order as well.

an under-towed sestina

Chest high in unrestrained current
an ape lumbers up televised rivers
advertising a world that slowly disappears
as humanity continually eliminates diversity
perpetuating only what we need to survive
like nothing else matters, but human agenda.

Detrimental to earth’s health, human agenda
hypes up missiles to counter Gaddafi’s media current.
It’s a miracle America continues to survive
as it flushes billions into war’s bloody rivers.
Applauding its melting pot diversity
individual dissension all but disappears.

But, bumblebees and buttercups disappear
from prairies and rivers and hives, honeying an agenda
of vanishing species— demolishing diversity.
We bring home baby bumblebees on currents
of memory and nursery rhyme rivers
where polar bears and honey bees always survive.

If obliteration continues, people might not survive.
Unintentional annihilation might make us disappear.
Building lives with commerce round rivers,
promoting a virtual pocketbook agenda,
distracting the masses from life’s dying current,
aggrandizing self, assholes like us eradicate diversity.

Bumper stickers read: celebrate diversity!
Darwin claims that the strong fish survive
while small scale genocides defeat empathy’s current.
Reddening capitalistic lenses, compassion disappears
and selfish serpents endorse their own agenda.
Progressing through canyons, they stifle life’s rivers.

The last of the humans will gather at rivers.
In themselves, they will recognize diversity.
Stories will rise as each voice creates agenda
yarning out what we need to survive
before every remaining creature disappears
into time capsule’s unopened current.

In the river, there swirls an island where honeybees survive.
An ape flounders in diversity of flow— towed under, it disappears.
A common agenda volts after the ape merging with humankind's current.


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

10 April 2011

NaPoWriMo ~ Sunday Wordle for You

After a handful of poets responded with a piece to last Sunday’s wordle prompt, I created another one. I pulled these words from the works of three poets who posted their poems at Writer’s Island today. Four words each came from Andy Sewina’s She Can Laugh, Whistler’s Annunciation by Ron at Scrambled not Fried, and Pamela Sayers’ Mr. Corruption.  Thank you all for your poetry.

My piece came quickly.  The last three lines are a haiku and a riddle.  It is a literary reference.   It feels post apocalyptic to me.  If you want to give it a go, link to your piece in the comment section.  We are one third through April!

rambling rumblings

scrambling scumbags laugh
as they scatter through the
hundred year old hovels
of their underground minds
where dandelions remind them
of their gloomy youth
as feeble orphans
fed on fury
a crucial component of corrugated ash

words disintegrate
in cobwebs as some pig hums
about a spider

I posted this at Writer's Island so more of you can rise to the prompt.  As we say, the more the merrier!

NaPoWriMo 10 ~ Battle of the Little Big Horn

Brief Intro (scroll down if you just want to read the poem):
The Battle of the Little Bighorn took place on the Little Bighorn River in Montana. It was more famously known as Custer's Last Stand. Indian people called the Little Bighorn the Greasy Grass. This is a work in progress, and I welcome feedback of any kind. It might become part of a larger piece I’m mulling over. The word wasichus is Lakota (Sioux, Oglala) for white people. “It is a good day to die” is a Lakota saying that means it is better to fight and die, than to be captive to the wasichus. There are reports from both sides of Crazy Horse being bulletproof.

My resources for this poem include James Welch’s Killing Custer: The Battle of the Little Bighorn and The Fate of the Plains Indians, and Flight, by Sherman Alexie. I read Flight today, to escape from everything else. What a fun and interesting trip. While Flight is a dark story, large chunks of it read like poetry.

Teachers: Jospeh Bruchac wrote a picture book illustrated by S.D. Nelson, called Crazy Horse’s Vision. Picture books offer a great introduction into American Indian culture.


Greasy Grass

Under stars, dance and song
readied them for the wasichus
warring encroachment.
Strategies established,
warriors howled preparation.
Some tethered mountain hawks
to their hair— hawks
that woke to bone whistles
during hand-to-hand combat.
Crazy Horse painted his face
with lightning and hail
which rendered him utterly bulletproof.

The next day, 25 June 1876
cold steam rose in a circle with sun
“a good day to die” on Greasy Grass.

Some Indians scouted for America.
In Custer’s camp before embarkation,
Bloody Knife, an Arikara
faced the rising sun and signed
I shall not see you go down
behind the hills tonight.

By late afternoon
attack plans sweltered
for the Seventh Calvary.
Crow scout Half Yellow Face told Custer
You and I are going home today
by a road we do not know.

Strategically systematic Sioux and Cheyenne
outwitted the seventh cavalry with
a cyclone of horses, arrows and guns.
Custer fell.

Through evening’s feathery descent ,
Oglala women and children
ululated victory songs and
posthumously butchered bodies.
Legend needled awls in and out
of Custer’s ears to open them
for listening in the afterlife.
Gouging out eyes, the victors
rendered their enemies blind
in the great beyond.


09 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 9

process notes:
Two or three revisions, and it ended here. I’m not sure what I think of this piece or where it came from…sometimes they just roll out of our fingers without thought. This is the ninth day and 9 is a magic number. Who knows where Saturday rolls, as it rises from the darkness beneath dawn.



reprehensible self-promoting agenda
covers who you are
while your children
suffocate and die
beneath your goddamn mothering

wake up
wake up and smell their lives
passing before your life
you blood sucking pig
eat what you spit out
or die

we the people are tired of your
it’s all about me agenda
roller coasting across
the days of our lives


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

08 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 8 ~ my day

Process Notes:
This piece came rather quickly and writing it was cathartic. This is a snapshot of one of my literacy classes. I work as a reading and English teacher for middle school students who struggle with reading, some of them are non readers, they are aliterate. One class with seven students is particularly difficult to manage. Today I almost cried when I lost them. Fury, and the fear of tears sent me into the hall so I could gather myself before addressing them. As I never leave my classroom, they quieted immediately, maybe fearing my return...feeling remorse...shocked into silence...mocking me? Don't get me wrong--I love my students and I love that they feel free to be themselves in my classroom; if they are themselves they are more open to learning. It usually works. They pushed too far today, and I lost them. A day of instruction flushed. Children fall through cracks.


my day

Disrespect taps its pencil
unable to sit still.
Peers titter and
trash talk
until curricular delivery
falls flat and
my blood vessels quiver
like gills in air.

Weathered and tethered
I am temporary.

Days engender decades.
Seconds spent distracted
ingest erudition later.
The entertainment
belching brings
will wane.

Pedagogical plunder
plunges children
deeper into cracks.

Allowing authenticity
combats apathy, so
fish stories fly
crossing lines that waver and bob.
Tapped out boy peacocks and
carps criticism to rouse
his rival, and all eyes
turn toward me.

Stifling an eruption,
I leave my students,
stand in the hall
and breathe.

Shout out to Big Tent Poetry for the prompts this week, and a place to post. While I didn't follow it directly, my goal was to write a piece with lungs in it. That was prompt 3 this week.

I'm also posting this at Writer's Island, and am grateful to them for a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays.

07 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 7 ~ genocidal declarations

L. Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz in 1900. It became a movie in the United States in 1939, and continues to be a hit today. From 1890-1891, Baum published a small newspaper in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In his editorials, he advocated for the extermination of American Indians. Uncovering the Wizard contains mostly Baum’s words from the end parentheses to "In 1876," although I did use some of my own words, and formatted Baum's like a poem. Here’s the source I used for the piece: L. Frank Baum’s Editorials on the Sioux Nation.

Uncovering the Wizard
Columbus saved the Indians from themselves.”
-Rush Limbaugh

The road to Oz is bricked in yellow veneer
polishing a sheen on L. Frank Baum’s
genocidal declarations.
(Peek now, behind the curtain.)

Their glory fled
spirit broken
manhood effaced—
better to die
than live as
miserable wretches .

Wronged for centuries
to protect civilization
we better follow with one more wrong
wipe these creatures
untamed and untamable
free from the face of the earth.

History will remember
these despicable beings
History will speak in later ages
of the glory
of these Kings of forest and plain
that Cooper loved to heroism.

The early Redskins of America
will be no more. We cannot
honestly regret their extermination.

In 1876, the Carlisle Indian Industrial School
took Captain Richard Henry Pratt's motto
as it's own: Kill the Indian and save the man!
scaffolding for cultural architects.

And now, we’re off to see the Wizard!

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

06 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 6 ~ Biker Chick

For today’s piece, I wrote about someone who I knew I’d never be: a biker’s old lady.  Let me fill in some back-story.  A few years ago, one of my 8th grade students asked me if I was a biker when I was younger.  I said no, and he said, “Oh, because one of my friends thinks you probably used to be hot.”  J  I can’t help but love that story, and wonder at its origins in this young man.  In this piece, I imagine life as a biker chick.  Yeah. 

live to ride – ride to live
How could you not— hanging
onto the back
of some long haired biker—
tits so big they bruise against his back and
push your tiny tattooed heart
out through your black leather vest
until it floats upon your cleavage
like a small red feather,
bouncing with the current of the Harley
as it rumbles in between your legs.

High on the Shovelhead’s seat
through retro goggles
you regard the stretching highway.
Free for miles,
your hair whips a wild wake.
The tramp stamp on your lower back
personalizes a cliché
live to ride ~~ ride to live
blowing out the tailpipe of your old man’s ride.

Shout out to Writer's Island, where poets can post their work every day in April, and on Saturdays all year long.

05 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 5 ~ Lines from old poems

Process Notes:
Pamela at Poetry With Me wrote a piece a week or so ago that is made up of lines from her old poems (Ashes Find a Way Back).  I liked the idea, so used it tonight. This piece is taken from some of my 2009 poems.  It was fun to go through them and create something new. Most of the lines are intact from old pieces.

magic's meal

A full moon rises
transparent and bright.
The poet glimmers
this night when darkness
hangs the moon on her shoulder
in the glassy waters of Vermillion—
an object of this moment
that bedecks the air
and lift its voice up.
Magic, it binds the sky
to her earth
eating words
so later she can give them life.

Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post work every day during April, and always on Saturdays!

04 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 4 ~ Fish Tales

Fish Basket

Sensing dishonesty, the fish journeys past
dangling lures of prodigious preconceptions
preferring fallow flies with speckled feathers.
It imagines buzzing as it swims up
and snaps its supercilious jaws.
It swallows its own omnipotence
(hook, line, and sinker).
Harried agitations settle it into
a pocket between trout and perch
whose docile gasps indicate submission
in this dark and wickered space.

The wordle has words drawn from three different poems.  I like where my piece wound up, poor fish.  If you wrote a piece, post your links in the comments below.  I can't wait to see where they took you.

03 April 2011

Wordle prompt for your use

Here's a Wordle created from Sylvia Plath's Mirror, Emily Dickinson's The Railway Train, and a piece I wrote after reading those two pieces. Four words from each piece made the wordle. If anyone wants a prompt, give this wordle a whirl. I'll post a piece tomorrow, and would love to see you give it a try! If you use the wordle, link it here, or in tomorrow's Bozone post.  Thanks for stopping by!

NaPoWriMo 3 ~ Your own death

Process Notes:
The prompt for day three at NaPoWriMo asked poets to “write a poem predicting your own death — at night in Omaha at the Shell Station, in an underwater Mexican grotto after a dry spell.” It was an interesting process. I’ve revised it a dozen times, and it may see some revision yet (no piece is ever entirely finished!). It feels like a hopeful piece to me, if not a bit unrealistic. Maybe it is in hope’s nature to grasp at straws?

A prayer for Earth

I will die on the high plains of central Montana
when lightning strikes my sternum.
Jolting me rigid
its power will transform my energy
into dancing molecules
that will never think of me again.
Perhaps one day they will bounce their way to Bahrain
joining millions of misplaced molecules
set free before mine.
Together, let them rise into something other
something that will shift equilibrium,
and appease our quaking mother.

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

02 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 2.1 ~ Poetry Tow Truck

Process Notes: Here is the prompt from Donna: For today’s prompt, choose something that is either common in your everyday life, like Plath’s mirror, or some novel new piece of technology, like Dickinson’s train. Then try to write about it in a somewhat cryptic way.
I read Plath’s piece that Donna provides at Poetry Tow Truck, and came up with this piece.


I am metal and compact. Every day my journeys
carry harried lives filled with fast food silage.
Most of the time I wait outside, until they need
me again. But then they sing loud and clear
to the music I breathe and we make wind together.
Square Butte buzzes by in a blur, while hills roll
their fallow fields into broad blue sky.

Miracle am I!

A technological wonder,
I always make distance go by.

NaPoWriMo 2 - Article Erasure

Process notes:
This article on NPR got me thinking about peace and democracy. Does democracy promote military action? Is “peace and democracy” an oxymoron? Aside from the parenthetical addition to the last stanza, all of the words below came from the article. I cut and pasted it into a document and deleted words in “erasure” fashion. All but the last four lines occur in the order they appear in the document.



It's no surprise
pockets of protest
challenge President Bashar Assad.

Alarm bells in Washington punch.

The situation is threatening
to unravel intricate
relations with allies and foes.

Strategic setbacks
usher in the unknown.
Tensions bind freedom and reform.
Uprisings press an explosive gauntlet
as Syria’s military is still
on Assad’s side.

Syrian hands try
to manipulate America.
(consider Lybia)

We exile peace in democracy.

Thank you to Writer's Island for providing a place to post every day this month, and always on Saturdays. Check out the participants at NaPoWriMo.

01 April 2011

NaPoWriMo 1-1

89 brings April

Driving home on highway 89
the air hangs heavy.
South a mile over hills that roll
the Little Belts parallel the road.
A trying window of blue sky
glimmers dim in a scalloped wall of gray
hovering above the pine-treed range.

To the north Mount Baldy disappears
under clouds letting loose
winter’s last blankets.

High on the belly of Montana,
a dreary drizzle receives aplomb from
faded yellow grasses
that glow in the gloaming
of this April Fool’s drive.


Process Notes:
I drove my daughter to her dad’s house today after school. He lives about 100 miles down highway 89. It’s a trip I make often, and today the day hung dreary. The landscape is beautiful. The air felt saturated, and we have winter storm warnings for tomorrow. In Montana we joke that the only thing constant about our weather is that it changes. The drive provided fodder for prompt 5 from NaPoWriMo. "5. Use a form of water in your poem– ice, drop, drip, drizzle, mist, etc." Visit their site for more poets who are committed to creating verse every day this month.