Wednesday, June 30, 2010


You could put it down
as youthful folly, or spit out
the hackneyed line about
pride and what goeth after.

It's true, I over-reached,
wanting to limitless kiss
the sun's crisp lips.

I did hold her glowing cheeks
firmly in my palms
for one exquisite breath.

Can you, rocking there
in your comfy prison,
say the same?

There comes a time to sit
astride clouds and burn off
the waxy buildup of childish things.

The weightlessness before
the plunge feels
like it will never end,
but, I can tell you, it does.

This week's Poetry on Wednesday Prompt is a guessing game of "Who am I?" I took a few liberties with the subject of this poem, but he still should be easily discernible.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Clouds without a clock

He peels an azure rind
sure to find click-clack gears clocking
tin-men's timid-toed steps

But these clouds conceal gut
taut strings rain drops plink, teasing out
hours' palsy footed jigs

At We Write Poems, Lawrence Congdon asks us to write an English Haiku (or two), forsaking the traditional 5-7-5 syllabic count for an even-metered 6-8-6. I've put together my pair as two stanzas built around an idea expressed by Jonah Lehrer in his article Breaking Things Down to Particles Blinds Scientists to Big Picture (from the May issue of Wired): "We live in a universe not of clocks but of clouds."

Monday, June 28, 2010


Coins clang, and he clings
while singing their mounting sums
Too precious to spend

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rumble and crack

Early morn's thunder
rumbles and cracks. A crow caws
three times, not to fret

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Now available in paperback: fosebook

fosebook: summer 2010, featuring the poetry and art of 23 international contributors (including yours truly) from the Flowers of Sulfur community, is now available in paperback for $35.50. For those on a budget, you can always get it as a free eBook (PDF format).

Gossip gushes

Gossip gushes through
restless roofed congregation.
Prayer can't fix leaks.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Slippery words spew, and I can't stop their flow

I want to paint it
this plaint
I've worded
one thousand
unrecorded instants
only to see both
the deep and tinny
syllables I thought
vibrantly tinted
dissolve into
pale, gooey-bottomed wails

I should pitch it
this paste
to patch an unfrocked
eye searching
puffy tears for atoms
escaped within
abandoned margins
as narrow as
the difference between
my white canvas
and an emptying hand

I have to plug it
this post hole
bored by my frantic
and stencil a sign:
bold letters below
a starched cuff,
its pulseless finger
pointing out
there's one way
round sniveling sounds

In this week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry Carolee Sherwood asks us to fill in the blank "I want to write about _______, but I don't know how." My poem is more about that blank, than what fills it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


He collects bird bones
to build cut-rate barriers.
The cats still sneak in.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fly with a dragon

The swampy heat draws swarms of bottle-glass
eyed flies who I buzz with their Christian name:
dragon. They hover, dive, then skim tall grass;

Cellophane wings beating hurricanes. Game's
afoot, but where? I've seen the solo flight,
pairs mating, but never so many flames

bounced off blue-green foils by the sun's white light.
Their gather's a check for black plumes of beasts
gone unbalanced to these hunters' delight.

If on mosquitoes they make seasoned feast,
my meek blood inherits to this world's least.

This week's Poetry on Wednesday Prompt asks us to be inspired by a summery song, and then arrange that inspiration the form of a terza rima sonnet. I chose The Flaming Lips song "Buggin" as my muse.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sea Lilies

Sea lilies
I see as silly
sprawled and feathery
arms lift: either
a birthday child's
happy waves
or the crone's
hunger-mad flailing.
Ethereal, they sift
nervous ticks
drifting down with
the dwindled since
seas rose from
an obsession's
bad-mouthed drought
to my sorrow's
sadly doubted drowning.
The miracle of
this one thought
circles up to me
at a glacial pace.

Here's another Wordle prompt, this time compiled by Irene at We Write Poems.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Reverse Christ

Reverse Christ performs
un-miraculous changes.
Wine's back to water.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


A gloved hand flatters
then slides, its eyed sleight graceful
and experienced

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sea rolls

Sea rolls shoulders, smites
boulders mocking loyalty
to indiff'rent moon

Friday, June 18, 2010

Poorly sketched comedy meets creation myth

First a disclaimer:
My god is not
yours, but she is
hungry for a comfort-food
snack of peanut butter
and Fluff brand
whipped marshmallow spread.

(Yeah, I know,
nasty stuff, yet
every god has her quirks)

She's actually
more demiurge,
needy and enduring
a dangerously dull day
ideating at the office
that gets worse when
she opens the gripe-box
to unfold a complaint
pasted in ransom-note letters:

"Too stingy with praise.
Resent the ego stroking
going one way."

"Can't stroke what you ain't got,"
she cracks, tipping back
a cold glass of froth-topped milk.

The bubbling laughter
seizes her
mid-swallow, and
caught up by
a soul-clearing cough,
stars spray out speckling
black tile in a no-longer dark
part of the universe
we call home.

This week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry is another wordle (see the image at right). The wordle vocabulary was borrowed from Dangerous Astronomy by Sherman Alexie.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Looking for clues in a down economy

My daddy said,
"Hard work has its rewards."
I assumed the wages would
at least tread water,
what with prices rising to a flood.

I always did play my part
the way it was
There's a piled-high stack of bills
sitting here to prove it.

The banks won't let me
lay those puppies off,
and I'm too-small potatoes
to get tossed in
the too-big-to-fail bucket.

Someone's to blame,
that's for damn sure,
but with so many likely suspects
I wish I'd been paying
closer attention.

At We Write Poems this week, Dan Rako asked us to walk a mile in the shoes of someone for whom we have antipathy. Being leftward-leaning politically, I have a natural tendency to suspect any movement birthed from the right, but there are some legitimate economic grievances hidden in the sometimes nasty rhetoric of the grassroots Tea Party activists (and discounting the motives of the upper-echelon organizers, who I think have a more nefarious agenda).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The voices in my head speak with perfect accents (POW Prompt 7)

Chi sono io?

My i strayed from its o
decades before the sperm and egg had wed,
hatching me to a self-soaking
tub where the immigrant
pigments of Ermano e Rosa
were twice removed.

Quando dormo
gli antenati stanno sempre
sussurando indicazioni

Rosa e Ermano each descend
on separate planks plunked down to greasy
rock by proverbial boats.
When they do, Emma Lazarus doesn't
warn them the Lady's "give me"
comes with a take.

Provo a sentire
le due parole dolci
ma non posso

Ermano e Rosa each find
American spouses, have American kids
who sprout to twist a native tongue
till an ill-fit, its tang is
left in must and un-dusted
just for periodic trips back.

Ripeto, Chi sono io?
E nel questo sogno
i voci mi dicono di nuovo...

Let's skip the unplugged generation's gap
to where my i reacquaints with its o,
but their made-up past makes
a tenuous tether, so together
Rosa e Ermano drift on
the whispers of a forgotten song.

Non dimenticar

This week's Poetry on Wednesday Prompt asks us to "sprinkle" some Italian into our poetry. Since that's my linguistic heritage, I may have gone a little overboard with the spicing. Here is a translation of the Italian lines:

Who am I?
When I sleep
the ancestors are always
whispering hints
I try to hear
the two soft words
but I can't
(in love)
I repeat, Who am I?
And in this dream
the voices tell me again...
Don't forget

Monday, June 14, 2010

Too early

This bird's gotta call
like nails across a chalkboard.
Sun's up too early.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mid-day dark

Mid-day dark and soft
splashing — rumbles of relief
Rain's inconstant gift

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Persnickety snack

Persnickety snack
won't let yellowed teeth have at.
It wants to spoil white.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pantoum to an Aging Father

Let's offer up our prayers to a finicky Father
who sits in his segregated heaven, rocking
away senility on that rickety chair
with a spare, tall back wrapped in striped wool blankets.

Who sits in his segregated heaven, rocking?
Our Father, keeping his heart warm against the gusts.
With a spare, tall back wrapped in striped wool blankets
perfectly square (but too small to share with others),

our Father's keeping his heart warm. Against the gusts
and idling time, again he stays busy carving figures
perfectly square but too small to share. With others,
these tokens will help the faithful remain fertile

and idling. Time again, he keeps busy carving figures
on the edges of a pesky map. Mad for expansion,
these tokens will help the faithful. "Remain fertile!"
Father cautions, as he watches a big screen TV.

On the edges of a pesky map mad for expansion,
many errant souls who wander are unable to hear
Father's cautions. As he watches a big screen TV,
the devil's slipping him a low-ball offer to buy

many errant souls. Who wander are unable to hear
news heaven's economy is still struggling, and
the devil's slipping him. A low-ball offer to buy,
our aging Father mulls over hot oatmeal and tea.

In this week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry Deb Scott asks us to channel our anger through the poetic form of a pantoum. Whatever anger there was dissipated in the process of writing this, and even its original subject matter was transformed into something completely different.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Rusted rebar juts
through thick dust, its foundation
still lurking below

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Secret Notes

The many faces here
no remuneration.

Dreadful people played
with swollen fingers,
weak after
suddenly being elbowed.

Only two or three seemed
angry and, alternately
thumping and thumping again,
set off to discover
secret notes laughed out
from behind the piano.

Here's a second attempt at the We Write Poems erasure prompt. This time I used the text "Pointed Roofs" by Dorothy Miller Richardson, which Angie Werren had suggested (but which I wasn't crazy about at first). You can see the erasure and original text here.

Charles and Will explain love's inevitable decline (POW 6)

And so it began on a couch with a spilled martini.
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day
when I was wont to greet it with my lays?

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
there are ordinary women
and then there is something else that wants to make you
tear up paintings and break albums of Beethoven
but that wild music burthens every bough.

Not that the summer is less pleasant now.
Our love was new and then but in the spring
and let’s not over-rate the obvious decency...

Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud;
clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
and who is to say the rose is greater than the thorn?
not I, Henry.

And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud
and sweets grown common lose their dear delight
and when your love gets flabby knees and prefers flat shoes,
maybe you should have stuck it into something else.

That night I couldn’t destroy her,
such civil war is in my love and hate,
and it ended in the bedroom: desire, revolution,
nonsense ended, and the shades rattled in the wind.

This week's Poetry on Wednesday Prompt challenged us to write a "cento," which is like a mash-up. The lines, unaltered (except for capitalization and ending punctuation) come from the following poems:

Charles Bukowski
  • i wanted to overthrow the government but all i brought down was somebody's wife
  • a 340 dollar horse and a hundred dollar whore
  • the weather is hot on the back of my watch

William Shakespeare
  • Sonnet 18
  • Sonnet 35
  • Sonnet 102

You can read the full text of the Bukowski poems on the Poetry Foundation's website. To look at the entirety of Shakespeare's written work, go to Open Source Shakespeare.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The effects of succeeding (an erasure)

The leader detects
a foot,
the effects of succeeding
behind him—
his error.

One after another
repeat precisely the
units of
attacking evolutions.

There is rigid adherence
achieved; the last
round dash.

A scream ... men
follow faithfully
and meet
nothing with a
which undermines
the moral material
of lines
in formation.

Simple reflection
will reveal
the observer
as machine,
beneath the same

He must touch
to be positive and

At We Write Poems this week, Angie Werren asked us to experiment with found poetry and erasures. I played around with text taken from "Aeroplanes and Dirigibles of War" by Frederick Arthur Ambrose Talbot and produced this somewhat ambiguous poem. I added no extra words, and I tried to keep the line breaks as is. I did add punctuation for clarity. To see it in its purest form (and read the original text) you can go to the Wave Poetry site.


thunderous laugh convinces
it's superior

Monday, June 07, 2010

fosebook: summer 2010 eBook available

If you sneak a peek over in my right sidebar, you'll see a link to download the new eBook fosebook: summer 2010. This is a collection of experimental poetry and art from the collaborative blog Flowers of Sulfur to which I've been contributing over the past year. In it there is a great mix of verse and visual from 23 international contributors (including yours truly).

It's free and definitely worth the gander. If you like what you see and want it in a more tangible form, there will be a print version available for purchase in a few weeks. We've created a new blog fosebooks where you can keep up to date on this and future releases.


While meaning ekes by
a meager means to survive,
absurdity thrives

Sunday, June 06, 2010


"This world's full of blurs,"
she blurts, awed by the mixtures.
"Next comes blindness."

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Stones don't nod or shake.
If held gently, they'll offer
a silent consent.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Hair in unwanted places

More wiry weeds than hair, they grow
coarse black and at a heightened clip
from ear-top follicles suddenly fertile
after decades of smooth-flesh dormancy.

Add to that a stubborn snout intent
on lengthening and willful fingers bent
on becoming gnarled claws. The horror
signs indicate a slo-mo transition

from man to wolf, but don't let that put
you off your supper. We're all made to fall
apart. Creep on over. I'll take a little
nibble, and we'll howl at forever's moon


This poem is written for Big Tent Poetry's Week 5 Prompt and Jill Crammond-Wickham's suggestion to poetically "join the ranks of the wild and crazy."

Thursday, June 03, 2010


a haze-pinched gaze rests
on the distant gauzy line
between sky, water

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Too much TV can strengthen the faith

It was my nightly recurring teenage motif:

The cramped room with a stomach-knotting
presence, creaky floorboards and one wickedly
white door looming as ghastly and large as
any bad-movie omen about to play out.

Being poltergeist-gripped, it swayed back an inch
before a sudden but noiseless slam
shut that unhinged me toward hasty shouts
of, "The power of Christ compels thee!"

(It's a silver-bullet phrase packed and ready in
the chamber of all aspiring exorcists.)

The devil scared out of me yet again,
I'd wake up with renewed vows to avoid TV
horror fests, and those sensational stories
my mom brought home in her Weekly World News.

At We Write Poems, Wayne Pitchko suggested we write about doors. Digging back into my childhood, this is what I came up with.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Ventriloquism gone awry (POW Prompt 5)

"The Dresden clock continued ticking on the mantelpiece
And the footman sat upon the dining-table
Holding the second housemaid on his knees--
Who had always been so careful while her mistress lived"

— From "Aunt Helen" by T.S. Eliot

It's laugh-out-loud funny
one death
can change things.

If she were here
I'd blame
on a lifelong ill-
fascination with
Charlie McCarthy
or a hang-up
that's lingered since
the bourbon-scented Santa
invited me to sit.

At some point
you've got to
get back on the horse
though my levers
aren't so
easy to work
and, I better get
than a stuffed Pooh bear
out of this trip.

It's still-deep
water under the bridge
she's not.

It may be Tuesday in Chicago, but it's not in Australia where this Poetry on Wednesday Prompt originates. The image of a ventriloquist is what popped into my head first when reading the snippet from Eliot, and yes my mind works in strange ways.


Twirling seeds pour down
confetti into the glare
spring's contest over