Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rule For Shape Shifting

On the quick reform
from human to beast it is
important to kill
only for food if
you don't want to get sicker,
go rogue, surreal,
end up bad, hunted,
chased into a corner, treed
snarling and spitting.

‎January 19, ‎2011 2:21 PM

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Scene of the Crime - A Magpie Tale

Image chosen by Tess for today's Magpie Tale, Mag 280. Click on the link to see other responses to this image of a face down metallic giant. By the looks of things this summer is a busy one since there are not so many contributors this morning.

The Scene of the Crime

The gray of fallen
things seems leached from the lead sky
and washed by the rain,
draining back into
the gated river beyond dreams
of warmer places
themselves sucked and parched,
wrinkled and wizened and dried
from the wave action
of the neighboring
and turbulent salt laced sea.

In such disturbance
I find you face down
and partial, streaked and drilled through
one hundred five times.

‎July ‎26, ‎2015 11:07 AM

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Watts - Three Word Wednesday

On August 11, 1965, a black motorist was arrested for drunk-driving, and a minor roadside argument suddenly turned into a riot. There followed six days of looting and arson, especially of white-owned businesses, and police needed the support of nearly 4,000 members of the California Army National Guard. There were 34 deaths and over $40 million in property damage. The riots were blamed principally on unemployment, although a later investigation also highlighted police racism. It was the city's worst unrest until the Rodney King riots of 1992.

In this week's post Thom offers us the following prompt:

Metallic; Optimal; Polished

Click on this link to find the contributor list.


Remember those days
with the metallic sunshine
and the sullen heat
even under trees
so burnt the deep shade blue got
up and walked away?
Remember how birds
stopped flying, confused from heat
and water's empty
dish even though we
wished to help them through the spell?
Remember empty
shelves and what we lost
and how we yearned for winter?
Here we are again,
polished and optimal
despite the riot, the rest
of the spilled red blood.

‎July ‎22, ‎2015 6:30 PM

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How Some Dogs Must Feel - Collaboration

This poem was written spinning off the first line in Irene Toh's poem Rouge.

How Some Dogs Must Feel

How she sought me out
I will never know for sure
because I see how
her eyes dart sideways,
then to the ceiling before
she speaks some glib rhyme
about it all.
Something creaks up there rather
like giants moving
some comets about.
After that she looks at me,
back I should say at
me cringing as if a blow
soon will box my ears.

‎May ‎26, ‎2014 5:08 PM

Monday, July 20, 2015

Inner Heat

In my molten heart,
bright colors, bright intentions,
do you feel them rise
in five beat rhythm,
in seven beat counterpoint
reaching to ripe smoke,
to the sulphur shaped
red hot stink of truth, to ash
smeared across my brow?

January 20, 2011 11:30 AM

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Question - A Magpie Tale

The Question

"What would be up there,"
She whispered to me as if
I could have a view
from here and the stones
to peer past the bannister
in any damn case.
The sounds of the war
were just as loud in this place
as anywhere else
though the fusillades
did not yet penetrate
the walls of the keep.

‎July ‎19, ‎2015 1:22 PM

The image of the ascending spiral staircase chosen by Tess for today's Magpie Tale. Tap the link to access the contributor list.

Running On Empty

I Wish I Understood You

Your trace is too weird
and should not be anything
it so seems to me.
I look left and up
and down the way for a light
or for some throughway
with a right turn sign
which could give me peace of mind,
tasting the fine grit
your wheels have spit up
over and over again -
invisible clouds
trying to keep up -
just like me racing with you,
running on empty.

‎July ‎19, ‎2015 5:10 AM

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Death In Hamlet
"Life is hard. Then you die."

He's acted his last
surreal moment, descent
into inertia.
Me: "Cut! That's a wrap!"
And you call, "Kill the damn lights."
He just lies there, still.

‎January ‎20, ‎2011 7:17 AM

Friday, July 17, 2015

The End Of Things

Lord Byron on his death bed.

That I shall die is a primary question
meant to be asked
meant to be lived
and the answer still remains absurd
no matter how I ask,
no matter how you cry.

‎January ‎20, ‎2011 6:29 AM

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Stella - Three Word Wednesday

Written for Three Word Wednesday. Check out the creativity of all the other participants using the links you find there.

This portrait is true except she is a happy dog, neither dark inside nor lonely. She does find me boring. I am sure of that. Also, while this image is a good likeness, it is not of Stella. Neither image is actually of Stella but both capture something of her mien.

Stella, The Half Irish Wolfhound

This dog is dark both
inside and out and graying
in the eyebrow hair.
She appears lonely
most times and finds me boring
no doubt because I
do not move so good
these days and though she's older
she can still run, run
til her heart explodes
and her tongue hangs halfway down
to the gray wood deck.

‎July ‎15, ‎2015 9:56 AM

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Backlight - A Magpie Tale

Image offered by Tess at The Mag. Click on the link to see how other people responded to this image of the backlit woman striding toward sunset. Sunrise? I chose sunset as fitting to the mood I was feeling looking at her. Her? Probably.

I am dedicating this poem to a good friend, Marie De Stefanis.


I watched you stride tie
to tie, then crunch the gravel
as your mourning dress
wrapped your slenderness
in the sunset shimmering
in the yellow sky.

The tracks, going west,
were weedy and rusty brown,
the trains stopped long since.

I would have held you.
I wished to -knew I could not-
even from inside
I knew this too deep
to duck, my usual way
most times, most places.

What twisted me up
as you strode toward sunset,
you were still backlit
and I saw your shade
take your lead from you, reaching
its own way forward.

‎July ‎12, ‎2015 6:55 PM

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Inner Dove, The Inner Sea

The Inner Dove,
The Inner Sea

I entered your dream,
your sea dream, your green sea foam
rich in possibles,
even probables
and now I wonder how doves
of the morning shall
color themselves up
far beyond the sadder gray
of their normal lives.

‎January ‎14, ‎2011 1:00 PM

Friday, July 10, 2015

You Have Changed Me

It is my long fate
(and I have not tried to run)
to find your bright fire.

I now invoke all
songs, I now call all long drums
to the central ring.

It is time, this time
stripping the nonsense away
once, once and for all.

‎January ‎14, ‎2011 9:18 PM

Monday, July 6, 2015

I Lack Grace

I slink and sidle
on this path you choose for me,
not well made for it
though you think other
things of my differential
frames of charity.

You say I will do
as if your authority's
my sufficiency.

I've never wanted
you in that role in my life
even though your call
does turn me inside
out. I do whine about all
this munch, drag my feet,
so to say, to speak.

January 9, 2011 2:01 AM

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Santa Catalina - A Magpie Tale

Bathers, 1950 by George Tooker
Offered by Tess of Magpie Tales as the subject of Mag 277

Santa Catalina

Take the morning boat
to Avalon and meet her
on Beacon Street if
you want what she has.

You will go diving for pearls
in a while along
the hot sandy shoals
all laid out on this summer's
tidal bore bearing
down on our pebbled
beach where the sun dogs pile up.

It's hard to focus
on what's what when you
nurse the wounds made by the gals,
the angry young gals
left on the rocky
shoals of the lee side of things.
There's no fresh water,
no fresh water here.

‎July ‎5, ‎2015 2:28 PM

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Talking To The Goddess

Fly if you can... it's a very long climb.

Talking To The Goddess

For the love of Her
I have taken this moment
and ensouled our song
of love as I see
the truth of all the far sky
as if you could fly
just like that instead
of shifting shape as we must.

You a bright birdsong,
me a raven's call,
we wing our way to heaven,
whisper in Her ear.

January 4, 2011 11:00 AM

Friday, July 3, 2015

Recalling Dal Lake

Photo of the day by Maqsood Bhat, appearing here, March, 2014. The view is of a Lake Dal shoreline, near Srinagar in India-side Kashmir. My stay on a houseboat on Lake Dal was perhaps the capstone of my entire two years in Asia, in Bangladesh. This is the high country of India, in the upper northwest corner, nearby the disputed territories with Pakistan. The people are often drop dead gorgeous, with dark skin, red hair, and blue eyes.

Where we stayed, my mother and I, was at a moorage in an ancient garden, said to be planted by Alexander's men - that long ago. Lake Dal is located rightly that such an ancient beginning is possible but who can know the truth? The moorage was owned by E.M. Butt and Sons. I still remember. The guest book contained the signature, "George Harrison". The timing was correct for that to be true too. But how many George Harrisons were hanging out on Lake Dal?

I had a cold. My memory of the place is filled with nostalgia. The boat was filled with wood smoke. I recall being miserable, an upper respiratory distress, much of the time but in my memory the whole thing is luminous. That same journey I was in New Delhi and up at Agra where I saw Shah Jahan's Taj Mahal. To get to India from Bangladesh, you had to fly to Kathmandu in Nepal and then on to India. To get back to Bangladesh, the same. There were no direct flights due to diplomatic complexities. That is why I was in Kathmandu three times over my two year stay in Bangladesh.

Recalling Dal Lake,
Spring, 1969

This boat is too small
and fills with smoke before heat
and if I squint some
this could be some place
in western Washington State.
But George Harrison?
Really? I am in
the bed he slept in some months
past, me with swollen
things and misery
trying to make joy happen
in spite of Delhi
belly - what it's called.

July 3, 2015 1:58 PM

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Misunderstanding

A Misunderstanding

What is it to me?

Your face speaks volumes to me
as if there is more
you should say before
judging me with your deluge.
There's sanctuary
in the coming storm
though the wall is far too low
around all the graves
and the stones too bleak
even for the long time dead.

They may rise up in
the latest reveal
only to be knocked back down
in the coming flood.

As for me, I change
on the wind that now rises
and like thistle down
among old razors
I shall slip past your beacons
into the damp scent
of this late fall blow.

July 2, 2015 1:38 PM

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Orcas Island

Crescent Beach, Orcas Island

Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands, which are located in the northwestern corner of Washington state in San Juan County, Washington.

On Orcas Island

I saw the ferry
appear on the gray waters
and knew you were there.
I wonder if you
noticed your watery moment,
your birth in the sound,
you followed by gulls.
Probably you don't even
think of me at all.

‎January 7, ‎2011 9:40 AM

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