Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Skull In The Book

The skull in the book asks me what I'm reading.
We both know that he only wants to criticize.

The train rolls on, works looms.
I had hoped to get in a few pages, but no.
The skull in the book won't shut his pie hole.

I tell him it's about a woman
whose husband has a secret;
it's about a girl
who hears voices from her closet,
and it's about a cat
who stays on the stairs in the dark, watching.

The skull in the book scoffs. 
He wants spies and intrigue and sex.
"There is, Skully," I say. 
He frowns.

For a while I describe the scenery to him. 
He hasn't got eyes, but he has curiosity. 
He tells me to kiss him, he's a Prince.
"You wish."

At my stop, I tire of it all,
and discard my book with the skull in it. 
I can hear him, fuming inside the barrel with the coffee cups
and McMuffin wrappers.

I think I won't go to work.
I stand there for a second, stupid and a little afraid,
like a woman who wakes up not knowing where she is,
how she got there, what this strange body is
or why she's inside it, casting about for a clue.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


I am hiding where you can't see
me, down where the roots find 
winding ways and secret water,
daughter of both silence and 
random lightning strike.

I am hiding where you can't touch,
such a stand-offish lonely sort
aboard a black-winged bird
absurd and glorious in her particular 
vernacular of singular songs and caws
jackdaws and crows
know better than a professor at his books.

I am hiding in the red detritus
I might as soon worship as any
many-strictured deity, and yet,
getting it wrong, being found out--
shouting and giving myself away,
saying yes, I really do reduce to
blues in the afternoon sung by
my own traitor voice on these pages like a kiss.

for Fussy Little Forms: Chained Rhyme.


Saturday, January 13, 2018


Danger is everywhere--
at the bottom of a tea cup,
hidden in the fold of a newspaper,
tucked under the curve of your lover's breast.

Go ahead, scream;
it's your perfect right.

Those trapped in nightmares are paralyzed.
"You sustain me," is a sibilant statement,
often sincerely lisped by those with lipstick on their teeth. 

Another Flash 55 for my BFF.  


Friday, January 12, 2018

Floral Arrangement

When time has come for me to rot,
forget forget-me-nots.

Place touch-me-nots upon my grave--
no rose, nor lily, nor daisy;
and dig it far from madding crowd--
the loud, the false, the crazy.

Say few words, if any you must--
and lace them through with laughter
that unrepentant madmen know--
then silence ever after. 

A flash 55 for my BFF's weekly bacchanal. 


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Post Card

Greetings from Goon Island. 
If you feel ugly or are on the run from Sea Hag,
climb into a cannon and have them shoot you here.
You won't have to shave your legs,
and everything is served Florentine.

Greetings from Goon Island.
I must've got brained, I can't recall arriving or why.
I am 8 feet tall,
and tiny gals who would fit in a tea spoon always insist
on standing next to me. 
I am Blue LaGoon, the mumbling nightclub singer
with the flower in her hat.

Doesn't narrow it down much, I know.

Oh baby,
what I do remember is being Eugenia the Jeep,
arriving in a box with a printed message
all the way from India.
"I have magical powers" said my note,
which I had written
while walking through a wall just because I could.

Greetings from Goon Island.
Here, when I try to signal "yes", I just fall on my face. 
When I try to be HERE
and then
I just go in circles until I'm dizzy.

Despite the kindness of the Goons on Goon Island,
I wish you were here. 
Try to find a cannon.
Watch out for Bluto.
Elocution isn't everything, Toots--
try the sailor's semaphore,
head for the horizon,
and I will watch for you by the silent and singular 
light of the stars. 


For "Rhubarb" at Real Toads.

I have chosen "Popeye" (originally Thimble Theater) characters Alice the Goon and Eugene the Jeep, staples of my young childhood. I watched them faithfully on channel 9 out of Windsor, Ontario.

Alice the Goon was an 8 foot tall gender non-specific slave of the Sea Hag, who had threatened to hurt her baby if she didn't obey. We found out she was a girl when Sea Hag finally called her by name, "Alice." Eventually saved by Popeye, in later versions Alice donned a skirt and flowered hat. She only spoke in mumbles. 

Eugene the Jeep was a creature from the 4th dimension, who managed to land himself here. In print, he was discovered in Africa, in cartoons it was India. He was mailed to Popeye in a box, with a note of introduction. Popeye's reaction? "Well, blow me down!" Eugene could walk through walls and jump from location to location in the bat of an eye. Eugene the Jeep didn't speak either, but he shook his head for "no" and bowed down and swished his tail for "yes."  The military vehicle was named for him because it was small and maneuverable. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


A house
by blackbirds.
A window
where a woman stood
after losing her child.
A lawn
once anointed
with lemonade.
A fence 
repaired three times
by the same hands.
A porch
where a deaf dog
slept away his days. 
No car
and a suitcase in the back.
A letter saying

for dverse poetics. photograph by sharon knight.


Monday, January 8, 2018


What's under the dirt
in the garden by the moon-gray shed?
What's under the bloom 
and the petal walls in my head?

Dangerous, it's dangerous
hooker red and high like this.

What's under the beat
in the heart of a summer night?
What's under your skin
where ravens go blackly bright?

Dangerous, it's dangerous
hooker red and high like this.

What's under your smile
curved with fearless faint regret?
What's under our tongues
gone dawn dissolve and yet....

Dangerous, it's dangerous 
hooker red and high like this.

Dangerous, it's dangerous