Thursday, June 30, 2011

String Bikinis

image borrowed from bing

String Bikinis

pantylines air brushed
into the night
blush Clorox bright

Michael A. Wells

Posted over on his site Stick Poet Super Hero
Listed as #75 over on Magpie Tales 71

Light of Day

Image borrowed from Bing

Light of Day

A kaleidoscope
Of brilliant colors and lights

Fascinating route
A journey ever so blunt
On those uncharted

Oh! let there be light
Those forever lost in life
Take it by the horn

Grapple with problems
A bright colorful future
Will await us there


Posted over on his site Rainbow
Listed as #81 over on Magpie Tales 71

She Got Galley

Image borrowed from Bing

She Got Galley

Secretly cheering you on
Sending out waves of positive thoughts
To the powers that be
They finally said yes
To your dream
A big dream
Your dream
Right before your eyes

Funny how that happens
When your wish upon a star
The impossible becomes possible
And it doesn’t matter who you are

Your dreams
Become reality
Because you believed it to fruition
You opened your mind to possibility
You gratefully loved it to creation
Now is the time
A time for celebration

Kristen Haskell

Lovingly dedicated to J L Mulvihill who received the galley of her first novel today.

Posted over on her site Living in the Middle
Listed as #78 over on Magpie Tales 71

On the 747

Image borrowed from Bing

On the 747

As soon as I sat down
the seven year old girl
offered me gum
and showed me a postcard
of the airplane we were in.
She was writing her mother
whom she had just left at the gate,
smearing her love
in blue magic marker.
Then she pulled out a drawing
she had made of the wind
and one of a cloud
and a man who had ladders
for legs and eight arms
extending eight hands.
After the heavy body of the plane
lifted off the ground,
she held my hand and talked
about her flute teacher's birds
and the eels she had bought
in a bait store and let loose
on the beach, each one
slithering into the dark
of the green waves,
returning to what she said
she could not imagine.

Malena Morling

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac
"On the 747" by Malena Mörling, from Ocean Avenue.

Paris, Texas (1954)

Image borrowed from Bing

Paris, Texas (1954)

White faces spring
from the crowd:
dandelions in the front lawn.

Ropes so tight I can
feel flies prowl fibers.
Their legs a twisted frenzy.

Police uniforms in flies'
eyes, floating like fish
breath from the river's

bottom, so I stay down,
crumbs. Someone near

hawks soda and beer
to white people splitting ribs,
arms against the platform's

splintering wood.
Nose mashed into lip,
unforgiving as the sticks

and fists spilling
over my face. "You
won't be touching
another white woman."

A dirty child, dirty yellow hair,
perched on her father's shoulders.

She licks a cone wet
with sugar diamonds,
ice cream dripping
father's shirt sleeve.

"Let me have five
minutes with that black
son of a bitch."

Re-routed trains
bloating the sweaty crowd.

Some women curses my ape
mother. Sheriff pulls a knife.

He cuts my arm.
My skin,
the slow fire.

around the break. My arm.

The hangman:
"Nigger, you're gonna die slow."

The man cuts my chest.

My heart beating,
hanging outside.
He starts sawing.

Pieces of skin in strips of bacon.

Adrian Matejka


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Image borrowed from Bing


Bass lines like fat men squeezing
into third grade desks.

Coltrane's squealing right before I was born.

If not,
a pill that makes
the music in my head stop.

Immediately, then I won't know
what I'm missing.

I want dissimilar words, hyphenated
by minty-fresh breath. What good
are words
if no one will listen?

A way-back machine, so I can fix.

William Shatner, circa 1967,
guest host for my 8th birthday party.

I'm wishing for mandibles, clipping
the staccato lilt.

Mandibles for tailoring a new dress.
My woman needs one.

Then X-ray vision
so I can ignore
what I wish for.

I want irrefutable skin
like Luke Cage. Hero for Hire.

In the semi-embarrassment of silence,
I want to understand

why Goya used spoons to paint
instead of leaves.

If nothing else--
a map with the exact location

of the crossroads, so I can believe
what I never should have known.

Adrian Matejka


Magic Snakes Rules

Image borrowed from Bing

Magic Snakes Rules

We always played games in the car
until mum threatened to throw the snakes
out the window if we weren’t quiet
we’d watch the clock blink until
we could speak again
those were the rules.

We listened to the Magic Pudding:
one snake each
and then we heard James and the Giant Peach
and then we had two snakes.
I always wanted the green ones
and Petal always wanted the yellow ones.

We played eye-spy and spelling-bee and
we sang along to Bananas in Pyjamas and
I sang the Queen of the Night
and we all had one snake each.

Petal fell asleep and Mum took over the driving
We listened to Mowgli and the Enormous Crocodile and
Dad ate all the red ones

I fell asleep and Mowgli’s crocodile
fed snakes to the Magic Flute
Mum never did throw them out the window.

Isabel Doyle

Posted over on her site Written in Exile
Listed as #50 over on Magpie Tales 71

Chromatic Nematodes

Image borrowed from Bing

Chromatic Nematodes

Killer beasts, these pretty things,
the undiscovered, undisturbed
for sixty million years,
mutating in the forest canopy,
acquiring its exotic colourings
and colourful life styles.

Transparent, blind, voracious,
dazzling in the sun,
they launch themselves from tree tops,
to hunt in packs
and glide and slide in tight
and fight formations

weaving complex patterns
singing in their half-tone way,
and full of grace - and insects,
birds and climbing things
they catch en route -
to vie with butterflies.

Dave King

Posted over on his site Pics and Poems
Listed as #71 over on Magpie Tales 71

J-Class Eel

Image borrowed from Bing

J-class Eel

Sleek Beauty
in midnight blue hull;
a swift race,
open seas,
Grand Era J class.
A glass eel.

A mud flat
ending-in Epney.
drowned in Severn,
beaten by
a Rainbow.

Pot of gold,
America's Cup;
the story
is now old.
Dig down deeper through wet sand.
Climb up stream like eels.

Ann Grenier

Posted over on her site Knot in Line
Listed as #63 over on Magpie Tales 71

Throw Out Moderation

image by yi ching lin

throw out moderation

throw out moderation –
when the scent
of love is still
in the air half a dozen
flavors later, you
know it is for real

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Y's Bits

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Autobiography as Language

Image borrowed from Bing

Autobiography as Language

Blame military life, family scuttling
from Los Angeles to Germany,

back again before my words
could find the vocal fold of English.

Blame the bilinguality of chance.
German first--ham fisted umlauts,

non-negotiable consonants stacked
by the hubbub of need. Blame

the new neighborhood, four parts
Mexican, no parts half-blood.

Or blame me, cardboard color heavier
than a sneaker in the back, fist

that makes the jaw clack. If the Mexicans
bum-rushing me before school

was bad, my mother making them
lunches was worse. You know they

don't have any food, pushing me out.
Peanut butter and jelly in tow for Alex,

Chucho, and John; brawlers who would
rather swing than understand why I looked

like them, but sounded like the man
at the newspaper stand. Blame pain,

turning everyone a ripe shade. Language
comes before crawling. Blame that.

Adrian Matejka


Blown Away

Glass sculpture by Mats Jonasson

Blown Away

This is love
Gondolas rock with the tide
Your hand resting on my shoulder
As the pale morning sunlight rises
Parting the curtains revealing
A city suspended in light
Art and arias
Waiting to be discovered
As we walk hand in hand
Our continuum revealed
Like molten glass
Murrine and millefiore
Fiery red
Azure blue
Venetian gold
Reflected in our eyes
Sipping wine
Frozen in time
Always there
Never forgotten.

C.M. Jackson 2011

Posted over on States of Mind
Listed as #45 over on Magpie Tales 71


Image borrowed from Bing


By the process of elimination
We little parasitic eggs
Move in fast flowing water,
Drift into ponds and
Welcoming wells
Quickly hatch into embryo
And move to survive
Penetrating a mollusc
A freshwater snail
Enclosed in its shell.

By a series of transformation
We leave our host mollusc
As contaminating larvae
(Or cercariae if you please)
Spread through surrounding water
And penetrate the skin
Of bathers and swimmers
Clothes washers, pissers and shiters –
Usually select children –
One prick and we're in!

We move up your veins,
Into your heart then your lungs
Transform into worm like adults
Climb into your trachea
(Now here's the insult!)
You swallow us and we set up home
In your small intestine or duodenum
Mate for life with our soul mate
Producing millions of eggs
That by the process of elimination
Move into fast flowing water…

That is, except the eggs
That penetrates your gut wall
And transported by blood
Cause trouble in your liver,
Spleen and lung or
Genitor-urinary apparatus.

Anna :o]

Posted over on her site HyperCRYPTical
Listed as #47 over on Magpie Tales 71

Open Doors

Image by Friko

Open Doors

The Endeavour has been great,
for now the task is done;

To sit back and let others judge
is harder than the the work itself.
No critical remark will go unheard.

The expert laying down the rules
remains polite.
Certain of her superior taste and knowledge
she graciously allows a word of praise
to cross her lips.

These ladies stand and stare.
Lost in admiration?
A flash of inspiration?

The day is hot,
the Fernery promises welcome shade.
Here we can stop and study
the programme at leisure.
"Where to next?"

The path leads to the fruit cage.
Why bother to enclose the fruit
when birds have long ago
slipped through the net
and gorged themselves on juicy berries.

A small vegetable garden
bristles with sticks.
The pigeons' favourite food
are the tender green shoots of healthy lettuces.
Healthy for whom?

It's time to go.

"Thank You and Goodbye,
your garden's lovely,
you have a gorgeous spot here".

Ursula White

aka: Friko

Posted over on her site Friko's World
Listed as #49 over on Magpie Tales 71


image borrowed from bing


into the stratum
of color and flow
we hung stunning
in our particular

posturing and
gave relevance
to our pairing,

each colorful
word hanging
by a thread.

R. Burnett Baker

Poste over on his site Efficient Agony
Listed as #37 over on Magpie Tales 71


Painting borrowed from Bing


Went in for a checkup.
Doc said I better have the whole routine.
Thumps, prods, needles, scans,
MRIs, PBYs, FBIs, and PDQs
So anyway after all that he shows me
a pic of what's going on in there.
Kinda pretty.


That red one in the middle, with the stripes?

Means I got about two weeks to live.

Doug Palmer

Posted over on his site Feel Free to Laugh
Listed as #44 over on Magpie Tales 71

Monday, June 27, 2011

Web Mistress

Image by Alex Shapiro

Web Mistress

Music makers and spiders
each deal with webs.
I spin endless pages of mine,
five lines wide, designed to catch
little black specks of sound-
inspiring instructions
to be interpreted by others.
My notes fly onto the page,
get stuck in those lines,
and are summarily digested.

The other day the specks hanging
from the web on my monitor screen
must have looked so enticing,
that they attracted a little spider.
With a vengeance, she glombed on
to the downbeat of a bar I was fleshing out
in a computer notation program. In fact,
I think she was trying to edit me.
I’d written a D-flat there.
But she defiantly tapped on the pitches,
taunting me for my poor choice
and doing her best to save me
from composerly embarrassment.
The D-flat remained.
She glared at me.

Later that evening, I was sitting very still.
I was working at my desk, as the corner
of my eye kept catching something odd.
Something moving.
On me.

I looked sideways, and saw nothing.
I returned my focus to my work.
Again, something almost indiscernible
drifted within close range.

This time, I gazed up to the heavens
from which each elusive object descended:
the top beam of the high, cathedral
cedar ceiling here in the living room.

At first I saw nothing,
but as my eyes adjusted,
I began to notice old remnants
of grey cobweb lace, laden
with the lint of time.
As I watched, small, occasional,
dusty pieces gently made their slow
motion plunge toward my shoulder.
The light glanced each floating traveler
as it passed through the air between me
and its imminent resting place.
It almost looked as though
it was snowing lightly inside my home.
It was oddly beautiful.

Alex Shapiro

Posted as prose over on her site Notes From the Kelp
Line breaks by Glenn Buttkus

Lament For the Death of Parsifal Hoolig

image borrowed from bing

lament for the death of parsifal hoolig

it began to rain cows
and in light of the prevailing situation in the
the agronomy students sowed disorder
the engineering professors proclaimed their
the philosophy janitors oiled the staples of
intellectual reason
the math teachers verified crying the two
plus two
the language learners invented good bad

while this was happening
a wave of nostalgia invaded the country’s
and the couples look at each other as
and twilight was served for lunch by
mothers and fathers
and the pain or the hurt slowly dressed the
little ones
and the chests fell off some and the backs
off others and to the rest nothing fell
off at all
and they found God dead several times
and old men flew through the air holding
tightly to their dried testicles
and old women hurled exclamations and
felt painful stitches in their memory
or oblivion
and various dogs approved and toasted
with Armenian cognac
and they found a man dead several times

near a carnival Friday ripped from the
under an invasion of autumnal insults
or over blue elephants standing on Mr.
Hollow’s cheek
or close by the larks in sweet vocal
challenge with summer
they found that man dead
with his hands openly gray
his hips disordered by the events in
remains of wind in his throat
25 cents in his pocket and its still eagle
with feathers wet from infernal rain

oh dear ones!
that rain fell years and years on the
pavement of Hereby Street
without ever erasing the slightest trace
of what had happened!
without dampening one of the humili-
ations not even one of the fears
of that man with hips scrambled tossed
in the street
late so his terrors can mix with water
and rot and end!

and so died parsifal hoolig
he closed his silent eyes
kept the custom of not protesting
was a brave dead man
and while his obituary did not appear in
the New York Times and the Chicago
Tribune paid no attention to him
he did not complain when they picked him
up in a truck from the city
him and his melancholy look

and if someone supposes this is sad
if someone is going to stand up and say it
is sad
know this is exactly what happened
nothing else happened but this
under this sky or vault of heaven

Juan Gelman

Posted over on Poems and Poetics

Gates of Shame

image borrowed from bing

gates of shame

bike computers, phone computers,
wrist and palm surfers, so pulled
into nano-bites that their prehistoric
elders, larger than mastodons, reduced
first to the size of dishwashers, then
laundry baskets, then bricks, then a fist,
will some day too soon
be a micro-chip inserted first
in our neck and then
our genitals.

glenn buttkus

June 2011

would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?

Boat, Floated

Glass sculpture by JoAnne Ness

Boat, Floated

Delicate, silent chimes en masse,
Pull me to a cool impasse.
Suspended fragilities resist
All preconceptions on my list.
Bonds transcend the mind's morass,
And I am wedded to glass.

Martin T. Hodges

Posted over on his site Square Sunshine
Listed as #29 over on Magpie Tales 71

Flying Through Colour

Painting borrowed from Bing

Flying Through Colour

I boarded an aeroplane,
flew through orange,green and blue
I watched the emergency procedures, thinking:
Is there a whistle to blow for grief?.
The plane landed in the grey and green of
Dublin. I carried my suitcase, heavy
and bulging with a twenty year old's gypsy bundle of
beads, dresses
and hope.
I gifted my father his two favourite books
I had removed clothes from my suitcase to fit them in.

That's how much I loved him.

PG Wodehouse running riot in a country house
somewhere in a shire.
He laughed between morphine shots
'you should try
reading on this stuff'
His body had been stolen by cancer
but his eyes glistered with equal measures
of opiate and love.
'Is there anything I can do?'
I asked quietly, as if speaking
loudly would offend the multiplying cells.

'You can tell me what happens in the end'
my father whispered,
'just in case'.

Brigid O'Connor

In memory of my father, who's 22nd anniversary was
last Friday. I still have the books with a dedication from
twenty-three year old me;
'To Daddy, love Brigid xx'.

Posted over on her site Sort of Writing
Listed as #4 over on Magpie Tales 71

What Links You To

image by yi ching lin

what links you to

what links you to
a place, a moment,
a flavor, a shape
of a memory
polished well,
is a scoop of
felicity, a dollop
of a smile, a
sprinkling of
silver lining

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Y's Bits

Do Not Be Fooled By

image by yi ching lin

do not be fooled by

do not be fooled by
success –
the reflection lasts
slightly longer
than the source

Posted over on her site Y's Bits


Image by Chuck Tague


A phalanx of Canadian geese rose
off the cold green water forming
a feathered spearhead winging
tightly south, past the island,
past the dusky treetops, soon
out of sight, just clarion honking
barely stirring the stillness
of that Fall afternoon, drifting
away from me like spirit birds,

standing there stout, Fellini in slumber,
arms extended, lids half closed,
ready to touch the startling image
of Rainier, caressed in golden radiance,
that glimmering blue-pink ghost mountain,
lifting its head slightly like a great white cat
to feel the kiss of a battalion of angels,
when the crackling shrillness of eagles
came to me, cajoling me

to open my eyes entirely, in order
to greet the majestic nesting pair
that ruled over the lake
flying into view, filling the sky

as they frolicked on the currents,
diving down to skim like bullets
over the smooth dark water, looping
up, soaring, tumbling, flapping, floating
absolutely as one heart with four wings,
mates for life,

and just witnessing I found my own
chest swelling with joy, as we,
wingtip to wingtip, became
that royal pair, weightless in the wind
at God’s feet.

Glenn Buttkus

June 2011

Listed as #36 over on Magpie Tales 71

Would you like to hear the Author read this poem to you?

I Can Fly

Painting by Lino Tagliapietra

I Can Fly

You found me
picked me up
nurtured timid buds

kissed, coaxed
until they bloomed
into wings spread
wide enough to soar

But I am not the angel
you say I am

I am only a bird
not sedentary
enough to resist
the urge to migrate

passing every toadstool
and tree stump
in a passionate flyway
to your longitude

loving a season
until the next
staying until the air
bears just a hint of cool

Tess Kincaid
June 2011

Posted over on her site Willow Manor
Listed as #1 over on Magpie Tales 71

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Before Evening

image by yi ching lin

before evening

before evening
ends and morning
begins, we will
gather for one
last round, our
bellies nine-tenths
golden, dreams
four-fifths clearer

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Y's Bits

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Surrounded By Geometry

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Surrounded by geometry,
we need to become
more calculating.

Still Stroking Strong

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Still stroking strong
this flathead workhorse
rolls past daily.

Does Your Pathway

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Does your pathway
beckon or does
it bark?

He Wore His

Image by Glenn Buttkus

He wore his
name emblazoned
on his chest.

A Lot of Brick

Image by Glenn Buttkus

A lot of brick
buildings need
large nostrils.

Out West One

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Out West one
can find some
fancy false fronts.


Image borrowed from Bing


It was a sunny spring day as
she stood across the street
from the court house...
her heart racing in anticipation.

On a whim
she turned and opened
the chiming door
of the second hand shop...

Poking around for thrifty treasures
always relaxed her...
A ray of light through the window
blinded her temporarily,
bumping her against
the corner of metal bin...

Looking down
she noticed
the unusual
cross stitched
around the antique
framed photograph...

Her breath caught
as her image
in black and white
stared back
at her...

Goose flesh arose
upon the back
of her neck...

Something familiar
filled her gut...
an instant
in the dark lashed eyes,
the shape of her face,
her brows,
her nose
and lips...

Her finger twirled
the air
at the edge of the frame,
as she imagined
the dark,
natural curls
around her finger...

Donna B.

Posted over on her site Discovering the Purpose
Listed as #72 over on Magpie Tales 70

Every Morning Ritual

painting by luke taffe

every morning ritual

every morning ritual
requires a little
give and take –
one more minute
in the shower,
one less spoon
of honey, fifteen
more seconds
on the phone, two
less bites of
fruit, one change
of shirt, three
less tugs on
the hair

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Y's Bits

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

More About Health

Image borrowed from Bing

More About Health

We all know what a good thing blood banks are.
Taking from those of us who take care
to keep ours inside, and giving to those
who are a little less cautious about it.

So, I'm thinking what a good thing it would be
to have a mental health bank.
Where us sane folks, those of us who
keep a respectable balance between
our imaginations and our observations,
can donate a pint of rationality to those in need.
Those who insist on trying to live in the "should be"
rather than the "what you see is what you get"

Both groups would gain.
The latter, a more enjoyable life.
And the former, a chance to re-experience
that wonderful learning curve all over again.

Doug Palmer

Posted over on his Facebook page.

Across the Brooklyn

painting by g. harvey

across the Brooklyn

across the Brooklyn
Bridge, deep
within the tunnels,
out on the
park, shooting
upwards in
a gold-plated
elevator, in the
shadow of man-
made structures,
and on and on –
to each other

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Y's Bits

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Background Music For a Two Dollar Princess

Image borrowed from Bing

Background Music For a Two Dollar Princess

It was something she said;
just a word, a tick of the clock,
a perfect stitch in time,
tapping in my mind – you can’t
be a princess anymore –
tapestry is out of style.
Stop dreaming! Get up and dance
out of the old weave – you’re free!

She’s right. Forget the used to be.
Get out of this musty old shop,
leaving finger prints in the dust.
The only thing alive is the little girl
behind the counter, watching her movie –
humming: “ I know you, I walked with you
once upon a dream…”. The woman with the
tattoos, out back, must be her mother.

I tripped on the upturned corner of a carpet
– out of the magic moment, catching myself
on a table edge, touching the cool glass
on an old photograph of a woman, a beauty -
our eyes met. We knew each other.
She’d been waiting for me, serene in sepia,
framed in solid walnut, set on a fine tapestry.
A priceless find – my two dollar princess.

Ann Grenier

Posted over on her site Knot in Line
Listed as #58 over on Magpie Tales 70

A Locomotive's Backside

Image by Glenn Buttkus

A locomotive's backside
is actually quite

A Solitary Caboose

Image  by Glenn Buttkus

A solitary caboose
on a side track
cannot wag the dog.

Electric Train Moves

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Electric train moves
surreptitiously through the pass,
disturbing no one.

Below Ground

image by prairiekitten on deviant art


This treacherous procession
of words of a HAG
a hag’s words are SEVEN
then she tightens
your black silk hood
Her life is among the ELECT
seen in SCENES of
Daily life in a rural
American town
And then the thought
of mundane domesticity
washes over me
I am WASHED in the
thought of the toil of
women women drawing water
And then the thought
of women dragging waterjugs
their MUSCLES contracting
bigger and bigger
muscles like strong woody cores
And then the thought of
a needle a woman THREADING
a needle wetting the tip
of the thread with her
lips trying seven times
her red and pale mouth
as SMALL as an eye
the needle only a blur
the woman’s eyes of MYOPIA
crossing over to UTOPIA
And then spitting out
a bit of white thread thread
transformed into wet pulp
the shining needle coming
Such difference between those fixations on
HAGS those you see climbing up the ladder
angelic beings with bloody RAGS of
afterbirth You search always the source
‘the fruitful vine’ the hind wing of a
flying ant blending the male and female
spheres spawning BLUE larvae
blue larvae into BONES autonomous
bones washed in saltwater
Is knowledge of the hag a search for
something to grasp—a thickness of
the fat layer beneath the skin her
enormous bunions a callus tearing
like the hymen of a virgin?


And of a hag’s embrace it is LONG smooth
and unyielding her winding arms press
her partner’s body organs
the CRUSH of her knees will fracture
the spine of a youth who cowers
before her but the hero who lies down
beneath her flattening and pushing
his backbone into the earth like the
roots of a TREE
tensing tensing squeezing squeezing
the muscles of his butt
the hero who lies down beneath her
without sloth or greed and feels LUST
and gazes upwards smiling smiling
with pale and red lips
flickering flickering his long eyelashes
flirting flirting with the hag
singing singing to the hag blowing blowing
kisses singing and blowing kisses
to the GOLDEN belly of the hag
That hero will never creep backwards
on his haunches nor be SORE afraid
he will be redeemed


For a long time the hag’s skills were thought
to be at the very least efficient
able to do good works
You must HOLD onto this idea like you hold
onto the edge of a CLIFF
your attention slips SINISTER
you step on a nail and draw blood

The good rural housewife is seen making
mustard she measures closely and tightens
the cap of the jar

Step where you are into the hag’s DOMAIN

Isolated feigning to be BELOW ground
and waiting—her wisdom GERMINATING
becoming active VITAL
She is musing on her version of a

Suddenly you hear breaking GLASS
your neck twisting to the side FORCE
of escaping a freak accident hit and miss
hit and miss
You begin horsing around with letters
of the names of the hag STRINGLA greek
VETULA latin
You see two gray forms moving towards you
then fusing into ONE hit and miss hit and miss
You repeat the RITUAL a gray form moving
towards you SPEEDING up swinging and flinging
her gray wool cape her gray wool cape
saturated with piss
The names of the hag STREGA BRUJA HEXE
illuminate gyrating rotating rising upwards
to the ceiling

She is behind me her elbows winging out
under the FAMOUS piss saturated gray
wool cape
Now she is standing in front of me
And under the cape are a gray donkey’s legs
hit and miss hit and miss a gray donkey’s legs
knocking the mustard jar off the table
breaking glass shattering glass
splinters of glass glittering YELLOW
DEADLY women’s stuff


And of a hag’s COUNTING waterjugs it is
a solitary activity during the cold months
light reflecting off GLASS
And then the image of the shape of her
knuckles STYX in my mind red and pale
hexagonal bumps and stretching your fingers
and cracking your knuckles
you ponder on the degenerating cartilage
the bulbous arthritic knuckles of the hag
You FORCE a grimace ETCHED into your face
like the ancient mask of TRAGEDY feeling
the black letters of the word LOSS
LOSS lashing and scourging your body
All flesh is GRASS
To each her own PLAGUE


Rochelle Owens

Posted over on Poems and Poetics

Au Pair

Image borrowed from Bing

Au Pair

The first thing she'd noticed, as they sat her down for lunch
by the picture window, was flags all doing a dance
in front of houses: was today a holiday?
No, they said smiling, it's just the American way,
and she couldn't help reflecting that in France
nobody needed reminding they were French,

but the neighborhood had turned out very nice,
no fences, big yards, kids racing back and forth;
you could let the shower run while you were soaping
or get ice from a giant refrigerator's face.
She couldn't believe how much the franc was worth
and she had no boyfriend yet, but she was hoping,

and because her father was the world's best baker
she naturally thought of his bakery in the Alps
whenever they passed her a slice of their so-called bread,
and sometimes she wished she could hire a jet to take her
back just for breakfast, but as her great-aunt had said
so wisely more than once, it never helps

to make comparisons, so she mostly refrained.
She couldn't believe, though, how here whenever it rained
the mother sent children out without their coats,
not carelessly, but because she had no power
and nobody made them finish the food on their plates
and bedtime was always bedtime plus an hour,

so au pairs were useless really, except for the driving.
Yes, that was puzzling: after she cracked up the car
they didn't blame her or ask her to pay a thing,
but once she let Caitlin eat some sort of cherry
with red dye in it, and then the were angry, very.
Americans were strange, that much was clear:

no penmanship, and lesbians held hands
on the street, and most women carried a pair
of pumps in a bag they never took out to wear;
it was so disrespectful, she couldn't understand
how the older ones got called nothing, not even Madame,
but then nobody in this country had a last name

which was going to make it hard to write them a letter
when she got back. It was really bittersweet
her visa running out; she was sad that all
she'd done with her days off was go to the mall,
she'd bought a million T-shirts and that was great
but she had to admit it, saving would have been better,

and she knew somehow that when she got on the plane
she'd probably never live anywhere foreign again
which filled her American family with more pity
than she felt for herself, because at least she was coping,
she'd work at her sister's shop and stay in the city
where she had no boyfriend yet. But she was hoping.

Mary Jo Salter

Posted over on the Writer's Almanac
"Au Pair" by Mary Jo Salter, from A Kiss in Space.

Not a Single Tree

Image by Alex Shapiro

Not a Single Tree

With a compact SUV full of evidence
that I’ve spent the past hour
and forty five minutes of my life
running errands in town, I approach
the steep, curvy, deeply-rutted-with-the-
history-of-several-winters driveway
that leads to the joy
that is the modest home in which I live,
immodestly placed at the sea’s damp edge.

Each tire-threatening divot is like a fossil,
telling a silent tale of the windswept force
that has pushed against this hill
for tens of thousands of years,
and against this house for a little less time.
Not a single tree grows here.

Alex Shapiro

Posted over on her site Notes From the Kelp

Monday, June 20, 2011


image borrowed from bing


this girl
has left her soul behind
complete with halo, framed
in glass

and priced to sell at $1.99 -

her gaze indicting all
who pass

Joe "Dogimo"

Posted over on his site A Pocketful of Poesy
Listed as #38 over on Magpie Tales 70

Solstice Paddle

Image borrowed from Bing

Solstice Paddle

We were there at the mouth
of the windblown channel

Near the end of a paddle

The sky was opening up
just as it was closing down

Kokohead stood in a warrior cape
of mist above us

And below the boat rolled
the blue kingdom of knowledge.

We paused there at the culmination
of ten thousand paths:

Six travelers pulling together
in that sacred outrigger.

As the day lay down behind the crater,
One year floated up behind another

And all the births, partings and deaths
we carried with us

Grew wise, then lighter.

Joy Harjo

Posted over on her site Poetic Adventures in the Last World Blog

The Price

image borrowed from bing

the price

if only the past
were as idyllic
as an artist's
vision, and if only
now we had one:

the price of
is greater than
the value of

R. Burnett Baker

Posted over on his site Efficient Agony
Listed as #35 over on Magpie Tales 70

Lindbergh Drove Fast

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Lindbergh drove fast
in his shiny Chrysler
searching for his
lost son.

Unwatched Farm Equipment

Image by Glenn Buttkus

Unwatched farm equipment
first rusts, and then
becomes indistinquishible
from the prairie carpet.

A Day Threads

Image borrowed from Bing

a day threads

the day threads
a shiny
between each
knotted happening,
adding to the
golden length
of an afternoon
well-cared for,
by a multi-
color sunset
at the clasp

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Y's Bits


Image borrowed from Bing


I stare at you.
A silver tear-trail
on a glossy cheek
breaks your heart.

You want to know my story....
I cannot tell you.
My age has made me mute.

I am but dust and
a face with a silver
For sale.

Helen Lee

Posted over on her site Bohemian Belletrist
Listed as #23 over on Magpie Tales 70