31 December 2012

Tobacco Flower

Image by louisa_catlover

I want to touch your white, pointed petals
Before they burn.
Your flower flesh is much too soft
To kill me quick,
So let me caress your leaves
While they’re still green.

I wish my breath could keep them
But I know it kills you.
So I must keep you
We should take our final gasps

Share me these last days.
Let me carry your picture
In my weak heart.

I will take your sweet bouquet.
I will dig you up and hold you close.
I will wrap a silk bag around your roots.
To keep moist earth
Clutched between their knotty fingers
So they don’t dry like dead bones.
I will warm you in my arms,
Squeeze you with my trembling limbs,
And kiss you again and again and again.

Submitted at The Mag. The inspiration Tess offered is the image below.  I also offered a little reading. My mom was a heavy smoker. My dad was a very light smoker. My brother is a a pretty heavy smoker. And myself, I'm a non smoker.  So this is personal, but really an imagined point of view. 
Image from R.A.D. Stainforth

11 December 2012

Hold Me Tight Forever

Cactus Fruits with clouds, Centanario, Baja California Sur, Mexico 0794
Image by Wonderlane

Let me be your cactus fruit
At the top of the desert.
Ladder up my prickly spines
Until I am part of your skin.
Lean against my green needle bed.
Reach your pin pricked fingers
Up against the stiff sand
And the pull of the hot earth.

Climb just one more stabby rung.
The arid floor so far away now,
There's no need to go back.
No way to get down.
Let the heat have us both.

Sunbeams blister down
My outstretched arms,
Redden your flesh bare back
As the hours glow and sizzle.

Stay with me in this beautiful swelter.
Hold me tight forever.

Sometimes the difficulty of attaining a goal can leave us with something that is just as hard as the process of getting that something. Sometimes it's worth it. This is offered at Sunday Scribblings, under the theme grounded. Also posted at dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night.

09 December 2012


My geometry is going wrong.
The circles are unwinding.
The lines are unstraightening.
The latitudes are not parallel.
My map is not right.

The chemicals in my memory
Have turned corrosive.
They drip down in tiny combustions
That extinguish on the paper.
But not before they burn through
Whole towns.

Too many quick-blaze tears.
Too many holes in the paper.
I can’t see the highway numbers
Or the county line.

Follow at your own risk.

Inpsired by the picture prompt at The Mag for Mag 147.

06 December 2012

Wash Your Hands

Fine Without You
Image from Tribute/Homenaje

In the aftermath, I breathed
And it must have gotten in.
Your weapons were only resting.
Damaged, maybe.
But not destroyed.
Not rusted and bent.
I should have scuttled them.
I should have blown them to bits.

But I inhaled instead,

All the hate in like hot bullets.
Battle weary and weak,
You dress my wounds in my white flag,
Knowing all your little deaths
Are multiplying inside me.
And I know it too, but I’m powerless
Against every internal puncture.
And then you can wash your hands.

You can cease fire.
You can be a saint.

Tiny cuts abrasive in the airways,
Fill my lungs with fluid.
I’d cough out the death in
Wet red that  would drip on your fingers
So people could see that your hands
Weren’t really so clean.

I’d cough it out
But my diaphragm only pulls the heavy death breath
Deeper into my belly.

If you could just reach your hand into my chest,
I’d have you harvest the heart from my body
And I could die then.
With all the blood,
All the blood
On your hands.

Inspired by and posted at Three Word Wednesday. The words were battle, fluid, and harvest. I have also included a very subpar reading.

03 December 2012

This Hungry Space

Image from to.wi

This space between us
Is a dangerous place.
It’s a hungry jungle.
Don’t come here,
Where the tigers haven’t eaten.
You can watch their hunting gaits
From far away.
Would you really want to see their wide mouths?
The whites of their eyes?

This is between us.
This space.
This necessary space.

Your good intentions will bleed
Like a ripe belly
When the teeth go in.
We will leave you
Crumpled in the underbrush
With the corpse of your kindness
And the memory of your smile.

The idea for this actually came from a much more harmless place than the jungle. But it took off in that direction.l I really wanted to record audio for this, but I'm too tired. Inspired by Sunday Scribblings #348.

01 November 2012

Real life tastes like tin,
Like backwash beer
From an old can.

29 October 2012

Neptune Will Not Apologize

Image from mikebaird

Does the tiger apologize for his teeth?
For his meals of meat
Stripped from thighs and underbellies?
Even as the blood glides down his long incisors,
Does he apologize then?
He eats.
He lives.

Does the grenade regret
Arms and legs torn open?
Shrapnel spikes right through the heart?
It does its job.
All it knows.

And Neptune will not apologize
To any man
For his aqueous fists
And pulverizing blue rage.
For his forty days
And nights.
This world is his
And the gods'.

Who do you think you are?

I started this a month or so ago, but hurricane Sandy encouraged me to finish it. I've always been amazed by water's dual nature: the life giver/destroyer. Posted at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

22 August 2012

Quantum Death

Pull me up close
Intimate to your tiny world.
Entrust me
To eulogize your particles.

I’ll be right here
When you smash your bodies to bits
That evaporate
Into microscopic mysteries.

I’ll chart your reactions.
I’ll publish your story.
I’ll tell the world.

Not very polished, but I haven't written a poem in MANY months. I just had to do it. Submitted at the Thursday Poets Rally.

01 May 2012

Zeus Renounces Lightning

The Whole Zeus
Image by Great Beyond

Zeus, crouched over a whetstone 
Grew weary
Of sharpening lightning bolts
To a perfect flash,
Bright enough to scorch the sky.

Hera, his wife,
Had faded years ago
And torn into little pieces
Of old, yellow parchment.

Zeus blew the rest of her out of the heavens
On a god lips' thermal current

Ares and Orion
Leapt off Olympus 
To live with the stars
When the earth was a child.

Zeus had only
The roar of thunder
And the granite of the mountain
To keep his company
Among the clouds.

It was not nearly enough.

And as he electric knifed his immortal heart
He only wished
He had realized it long ago.

Submitted for Sunday Scribblings, based on the prompt, "storm." Also submitted at dVerse Poets Pub.

30 April 2012


night sky with tide
Image from alumroot

Let the night moon come
And pull her ocean flow
Up to my shoulders,
Cozy and damp.

I know her ebb will pull away
The residue of my deeds.
Sink my sins
To the bottom of the sea.
I feel wet and forgiven,

But tempted.
I am still a man,
And she has
The power of the moon.
I breathe in my temptations.
The moon will return
With her watery absolution
In twelve more hours.

Submitted at Poets United's Poetry Pantry.

28 April 2012


You suck the sorrow
Like a leach.
Like you're
Taking out the disease.
Like it will make me happy.
As if I'll smile over a bloody welt.

You take it out
Like a vampire.
Out of my veins.
Out of my arteries.
Out of my pulse.
You don't care if I smile.

You use pain
Like a tool.
Every scar, a screw.
Each injury,
A quarter turn of the wrench.
Tighter and tighter,
Smiling at your repairs.

Yeah, I'm not sure about this one. I just had to write something. I missed yesterday (NaPoWriMo) The idea did come from one line in Adele's Rolling in the Deep.
"Turn my sorrow into treasured gold."

26 April 2012

Primal Paradox

Image from JonasKr via Poets United.

Hello, Coleoptera,
With your cousins in order.
How many more million
Billion of you are there.
Increasing by commas,
So many I cannot count.

I wonder when your wings came.
50 million years before my backbone?
Your six legs?
400 million years
Before I learned to stand
With my feet and toes?

How do you see me?
In image repeat?
Inside out?
Much too soft?

I see you,
The primal paradox.
You've lived so long,
Through earthquakes and ice,
And die in a day.

I see your so many things.
We are born,
And then we get bigger.
Learn to talk.

You are born
And reborn
And born again.
Learning your whole world each time.

Am I better than you
Because wipe you off the glass?

Don't be jealous of me, Lepidoptera,
With my thumbs and warm blood.
And I'll try not to covet
Your beautiful wings.

This is inspired from The Think Tank Thursday's prompt, "wonder," and its accompanying picture. I would not say I'm an insect person. But they are pretty amazing.

24 April 2012


This isn't what I paid for.
I want things to touch.
Things to break.
Things to fear.

I want something
Real as hangnails
Or spilled ketchup.

I want wood and stone,
Trees and rocks,
But all you give me is plastic.

23 April 2012

The End of Gold

Duty calls.
But so does beer
And football
And dirty movies.

I should make a choice.

I choose...
Not to oblige,
Or conscript,
Or submit.

I'm not going to put on shoes
And socks today.
I'll wear a bowtie in the bathtub.
I'll hire a butler
To serve me wine.

I'm not going to the office today.
I'm not going to Safeway
For soy milk.
I'm not going to answer my phone.
I don't care
If you wonder about my well-being.
Your ass
Can go straight to voicemail.

I'm going to take your sister
On a date.
Be afraid.
I've got cologne and breath mints.
And I don't have to
Wake up early anymore.

There are no ties to bind.
There's no more incentive
You can't offer me anything.
Because nothing is ever going to be gold

This is based on the prompt, Duty Calls, from dVerse~Poets Pub. Also submitted it to Imaginary Garden With Real Toads for Open Link Monday.  I tried some more audio. I have to get a better microphone. I read it several times, but I didn't quite get what I wanted, especially in the beginning. Well, here it is anyway.

22 April 2012

The Long Haul

white flag bandiera bianca
Image by portobeseno.

Call yourself "Winner."
Wear a gold prize
On a ribbon around your neck.
Take your victory.
Tally your spoils.
We'll share them later.

But next time you come to battle,
Quiet your war cry.
Then you'll hear,
No explosions,
No rifles,
No airborne bombers.
No gunships.
No war at all.

That's why you haven't seen
Any bodies,
Or tracer bullets,
Or shelled out houses.

 I'll call a truce.
I'll wave a pointless white flag.
If if brings you
Back from the battleground.

Don't you remember
When I was on your side?

I still am. Inspired by Sunday Scribblings #316. I hope the title helps the poem and helps to explain how this poem came from the prompt, marathon.

I'm Still Alive

Image  by Alex Stoddard, posted at The Mag

Shackle my feet.
I don't care.
They're to weak flee
Me from you.

Fill the tank with cold water.
Maybe the hypothermia
Will make me forget.
Maybe you'll have know idea
While my submerged smile
Seems to be at you.

Weld the lid airtight.
I haven't breathed in years.
But I'll blow tiny air bubbles
Just so your spectators can see
That I'm still alive in here.

This obviously made me think of Houdini (though, from the poem you might not tell), but that's a pretty cool coincidence. A lot of my students are reading a micro-short biography of Harry Houdini, and I made a reference to Houdini in a recent poem, Jailbreaker. Thanks, Tess, for Mag 114.

21 April 2012

Blade Runner

Scene from Blade Runner. Now that looks like life in the fast lane.

Tightropes are easy.
5,000 feet up.
Span the chasm.
I won’t even take my shoes off.

But try that on the edge of cutlass
Or rapier, or a razor blade?
I’ll sprint that slicer like a gold medal.
That’s the fast lane. 

A prompt from Imaginary Garden With Real Toads gave me this idea. A poem based on a classic move title.

20 April 2012

Gunmetal Gray

There’s beauty like a woman,
Like calves and thighs,
Lips and breasts.

Or beauty like a rhythm
Percussed across Spanish guitar strings.

There’s brush-stroked beauty,
Understood only by the paints
And the eye.

Then there’s gunmetal gray.
Rifled grooves.
Hollowed points.
Angry beauty.
Touching her trigger
Loading her cartridge.
Staring down the barrel
At the devil's lovely gaze.

 I needed something for day 20. I rushed this, but I really think parts of it have some merit.

19 April 2012

Extra Key

Every next keystroke was wrong,

And more wrong.
Any more like this,
And I’m sure she’ll pack her toothbrush.
I did all I could.

I’ll miss your meter
And your serif font.
Keep the extra key.
I want to see you again.

The inspiration was Poets United's Thursday Think Tank. Basically write a poem based on a quote. I picked a quote by Paul Valery that I placed on the home page of my blog. "A poem is never finished, only abandoned."

18 April 2012

It's Not What You Think

Image from Calico Jack McGurk (though I don't know where it is originally from)

I look like my own man.
In new shoes and a silk tie.
Pressed pants and flat collars.
What I speak sounds
Just like my mind might,
If it were mine.

But I’ve got a secret,
You see.
I’m not quite as honest as Abe.
I’ve got something under my stovepipe hat
My beard is taped on.

I’ve  kept it tucked away.
My secret. My dependence.
Rumpled in thousand dollar trouser pockets
It shapes me like a wood carver.
Whittles to the bone.
When it cuts that deep
You’d all be submissive
To whatever it is.
Even if it’s not what you think.

Based on the Three Word Wednesday prompt of kept, dependence, and rumple. After I wrote it, I began to like the Abe Lincoln reference more, thinking about some information I recently learned about him and the Emancipation Proclamation.

17 April 2012


Another Kevlar cage ruined.
Bars bent like old straws.
Jimmied the lock with a stick pin
And slipped out
Bedford Jail Cell
Image from gloomy50
Like invisible Houdini.

Safecracker deluxe.
Stethoscope ears,
Surgeon’s touch.
And another handcuff key
Tucked under the tongue.

Sniffing steel,
You smell each escape
Like close prey.
Turn the tumblers
With one quick claw.

Lock me up instead.
Deadbolt me down.
Chain me to the bunk.
Board up the windows
And leave me be.

Of course, what else would inspire me. Hard rock. AC/DC's Jailbreak (not that I have anything against Thin Lizzie). Submitted at dVerse Open Link Night. I tried audio again. Sorry, once more, for the sound quality.

16 April 2012

Locomotive Breath

Come here
Hot-bellied King Coal.
Fill your boiler full.
Wail your whistle warning
One more time.

Bring your bunker to me.
I’ll fill it with gold.
Your shining, chilly reward
For the end of the line.

Empty the steam
From your damp lungs.
Send out your smokestack
A  solitary black puff.
One last locomotive breath.

I was so happy when Suzie Clevenger put this photo up at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. I've always the Jethro Tull song title, Locomotive Breath, just sounded so monstrously beautiful. But I didn't really know what to do with it. This is where Suzie led me. I also can't help but think about Thomas the Tank Engine. And as a bonus (or not!), I tried my first audio post. Fairly poor quality audio, but give it a listen.


15 April 2012

Dream It Hard

I dreamed it
So hard.
I had it
Every night.
In the palm of my brain.
I slept so hard
At everything I ever wanted.

I swam to the bottom of the ocean
In a happy squid’s sucker grasp.
I flew shotgun with the red baron
And rode down a bomb
To the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
It blew up in pink bubbles.

I raced Paul Bunyan
To the top of Mt. Everest
In three great bounds.
I looked down at the constellations
And colored them
Alpha wave orange with rainbows
That slung from my wrists
Spiderman style.

I dreamed it
So good.
I saved the world from zombies.
I found Jimmy Hoffa.
I punched the Hulk.
I lived forever.

And still,
My eyes opened.

Definietly a work in progress. I'm not so happy with the ending at all. Submitted at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

14 April 2012

The Jig is Up

I’ve timed your pupils dilating.
I’ve gauged the temperature of your breath.
I’ve measured in nanometers
Your raised neck hairs.
I’m tuned to the pitch and key
Of your every sound.
I smell the oils on your skin.
The jig is up.
I know your tells.

I got this idea from the great Styx song, Renegade. I thought of that song while I watched Tommy Shaw guest judge on Cupcake Wars. Rather unpolished, since it was so rushed for day 14.  Submitted at The Poetry Pantry.

13 April 2012

Everything in Its Place

Image from Theme Thursday

A lonely bottom-dwelling sand grain
Doesn’t know the weight of its dune.
It won’t hear the desert’s windy rhythm.
It can’t know its billions of brothers
Are tiny, old silica men.
It doesn’t feel the bare feet
On its hot, silty skin.
But it knows where it belongs .

The seven seas
Don’t feel the hot flow of the gulf stream
In their wet veins.
They don’t understand how they’ve given in
To the moon’s galactic persuasion,
And will do so again
And again.
But they know they must.

The air in my lungs
Can’t comprehend its composition.
It’s nitrogen doesn’t care
How popular it might be.
It won’t smell the ozone
In its lightning scorched flesh.
And it doesn’t know why
It shouldn’t boil away into space.
But it won’t.

Everything so orderly
In its way.
Controlled beyond reason
Or repair.
Like a randomly perfect mortared wall.
Everything in its place.

Photo and inspiration for Day 13 of NaPoWriMo from Theme Thursday's current theme, organize.

12 April 2012

Master Key.

Image from


I got a car key.
I got a padlock.
A got a combination safe
For hundred dollar bills.

Electric ID badge
Gets me on the factory floor.
For the safe deposit box.
Retina scanned
At the FBI.

I even got a secret knock
For the after hours speakeasy.

But its all bunk.

What I want
Is a brass piece
That turns all the knobs.
It cracks a door
And angels hold it open.
 I want Cerberus to wag his tail
While I pass him by.
Roll over.
Give a dog a bone.

I want it like that.
I want it all bound up.
I want it rolled up tight,
I want it intertwined.
I want time
And space!
I want the atoms in your elements.
I want the master key.

This is poem #2 for day 12. The keyhole picture prompt is from Poets United Thursday Think Tank. I'm thinking string theory and relativity. It's the kind of poem I like to write every once in a while. 

The Dastardly Thief

I wouldn't be so
Dastard at my deeds
To run like thieves
With the one piece you need
To keep from being
Just like me!

Take your heart too?
When I've already used my edge
To run it through?

I guess
I just do.

Umm... not really any notes about this one. Day 12.

11 April 2012

Mountain Man

The draft comes in
Through the concrete corridors,
Between the streetlights,
Like a wooden breeze,
Damp from blowing across a creek,
Smelling like foliage.

The spin cycle quits
And the fridge gets hot.
Serenity like happy deer
And resting goats
Wraps me in its robe.
The soft, velvet squeeze
Eases off my watch,
But scuffs my fingers.
Rough to the touch.

And I hear him.
His whiskers scratch the air.
Why did I even bother
Locking  the door
When he's already located my breaths.
When he's already inside.

Mouthwash drips from my mouth corners.
The razor runs dull
On my scraggled face,
And the mountain man looks
Haggard at me in the mirror.

I give him back my bones.

Some of the inspiration here comes from Three Word Wednesday. The words: draft, serenity, locate. My original idea seemed a bit more cheerful. It began as a conflict between urban and rural. It turned into a backwoods soul-sucker. Enjoy.

10 April 2012


I'll measure it myself,
The ground,
Like a surveyor.
I'll cordon off my final belongings.
My last things,
I'll take them with me to the ashes.
I'll dig with the shovel I keep
Next to the lawn mower and the gas cans.

Image from lanchongzi

I'll sign my name by hand.
Chisel and hammer.
Bit by bit.
Day by day.
The calluses tell me
It's important.
The sweat reminds me
That it means something.
Everything else tells me

I'll pick the day.
I'll lie flat,
Reach up,
And shut the door.
But you'll have to fill the hole.

In addition to me writing this in a feverish rush, o try to stay on track for the rest of NaPoWriMo, I've also been quite interested in a line/idea from a Perfect Circle song. "Tilling my own grave to keep me level." Submitted for dVerse Open Link Night.

09 April 2012


Camel Bone Jewelry Box [1]
Image from RuffLife

Hold me in your embrace.
Lock it like a box.
Whisper your name inside
Before you shut the top.
I want to see the echoes of each letter
Bounce slowly off
The red, pillowy insides.

Tuck me in
Like an old band
With no stone.
Four lonely, gold prongs
With nothing to clutch in their soft grip.

Slide me into a drawer,
In a corner,
Near the back.
I'll be ok inside
With your sounds and syllables.
With the tickle of your voice
At the back of my neck.

Cover me with something
Silk and precious
Before you shut me away.

Even though I missed some days, here is NaPoWriMo for Day 9. Submitted at Poet's United and Imaginary Garden with real Toads

06 April 2012

While You Were Gone

6 turned into 9
And peace turned into war
Bombs bloomed like flowers
Spreading petals of
Bunker-busted shrapnel
Across a garden of sand and bone.

I turned to you
At your return.
The wreckage says that
No one won the war
While you were gone.

05 April 2012

Hand Loaded

Three layers of skin
Stretch its skeletal scaffold
A lot like a man's.
But its brain conjures
Blunt force,
Bullets and ligatures
Behind its epidermal disguise. 

It mimics my shapes and colors.
It plagiarizes my soft touch,
Then gently hand loads the ammo.

Aw Snap! I totally didn't realize it was already NaPoWriMo! I rushed this together just to say that I wrote something today! Submitted at Poets United's Poetry Pantry.