Friday, July 30, 2010

Walking Through My Father's Fields, Home

Walking through My Father’s Fields, Home

The windows creaked from the heat
the day we bundled my mother up
and hauled her off like an old Christmas tree,
taking only a couple of suitcases
and her sickness with her—this dying stranger
who hadn’t left the house
since before I could remember,
and whom I’d sat watch over
for more than my 15 years—
watched her wither
like a lake bed, until I was sure
there was nothing left
of her but dust.

Dad said,
“We’re taking her to the hospital.”
I pulled on pants good enough for town, and shoes,
as my father and brother led her out the door,
half the time carrying her and her confused moans
to the old International truck. I climbed in the back.

My father drove faster than usual,
which still wasn’t very fast,
past the barn, the sheds and tractors, the fields.
My brother said the silage looked sparse,
and my father, that it’d gotten scorched by the drought
and we’d be lucky if it lasted the cows through winter.
I scanned the yellow blighted field as we rattled

down the long gravel road
peopled by cows that’d jumped the fence
which we didn’t stop for. They
grew small and quiet behind us
as the trees gave out, and the gravel
turned into asphalt with a bump.
The fields became houses.

The edge of our land bordered the county hospital.
We pulled into the cracked and ugly
asphalt parking lot and waited
while Dad went to get an orderly.
Behind us stretched corn—
I could barely make out the cows
grazing in the field—and beyond that
the road, then the pasture,
and hills. Somewhere back there was the house,
just a mile or so away.

I turned back to the truck as they came for her.
My brother walked over to me
and pointed off to the south to the nursing home
they’d just built on a corner of layout ground
that used to be ours. That’s where they’d take her
when she was all checked in, he meant.

We’d brought her into town so she could die proper.
If she made it through the year, she’d be able to see
our winter wheat outside her window
and maybe think of home.
“Dad’s finishing it all up,” my brother said,
“we can go.”
I nodded and glanced at the truck.

Instead, we walked to the barbed wire fence,
which was overgrown
with a wall of trees and weeds.
We scaled it and plodded
through the still young corn,
not speaking, growing slowly separate
as we spread out to drive the cows
back to pasture.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

At Any Given

at any given

at any given
moment, the
elevator chimes
may start playing
ping pong
so smoothly
that someone will stop
to listen
and forget
to referee the two
and down
the spaces in between

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site YI's Bits

Oh, Purfle

Oh, Purfle!!

Purfling is indeed a word worthy of
much consideration and repetition.
It has the harshness of scatology
and the mystery of some creative
act, like it might have been a word
used in the kama sutra, or that one
might find stamped on rubber goods
at an adult "love" shop.
It also has a scientific ring to it,
like it was part of a very complete
rendering process, before something
could be put in a cyclotron.
Matter has to go through complete
purfling before anatomically it can
separate its atoms properly.
Or it could be a medical term,
that a purfling clamp must be
used during all rectal reconstruction.
Or it might be a gardening tip,
that when creating hybrids, one
must remember the purfling stage,
when the plant genetics are unstable.
Or it could be a aerodynamic term,
that when your plane begins the
purfling, it must be bailed out of,
because here is no recovery from
purfling; it will tear the wings off.
Or it is a racing term, that when
someone is driving 250mph,
in a tight corner, and their wheels
start purfling, one has to pray
that the lugs will hold, or the
front end will just fly apart.
Or it might be a nautical term,
that when a sailor is tying knots
and they get too tight, and one
cannot untie them, you have to
use the purfling tool to loosen
the hemp. Or it might be a
Drug term, like when you are
cooking meth, and it begins to
turn purple, and starts purfling,
you need to run like hell.
Or it might be a hairdresser's term,
for after one puts their hair in
corn rows, after 3 months, when
the larva begins to develop from
not washing one's hair thoroughly,
the ends begin purfling, and it is
definitely time to unravel the hair.
Or it could be a fishing term,
when deep sea fishing for Marlin,
after you put the flashers and
multi-hooks on your gear, you
put six red balls near the hooks
so that the line will begin
purfling; the Marlin love that.
Purfle Rain by Prince.
Bruises can become purfle.
When a leopard purfles it means
he is ready for love, so look out.
Some crocodiles can purfle just
before they swat you with their
tail. Down in Louisiana some of
the older folks mix molasses and
moonshine, toss in some crayfish,
and hot sause, a dash of dirty rice,
and three pounds of sausage, and
hey you got some fiery purfle
for sure. Sea going tugboats have
a purfle safety valve. When the
valve goes haywire, and the
purfling does not commence,
then the tug runs into oil rigs
in the middle of the night.
In the city park in Austin, TX.
there is a statue of Paul Purfle,
who was one of the smart
dudes who got out of the Alamo
before Santa Ana showed up.
Purfle, Arkansas is known for
its prune bread; best thing there
is for lazy colon, or constipation.
Anacondas, after they swallow
large rodents, have an enzyme
that is created to purfle the
bones of the rodent, so that it
can be digested easily.
There is a card game played in
Algiers, using only 40 cards,
and if you are caught purfling,
they will amputate your little toes.
Llamas have three stomachs;
the middle one purfles the ingested
matter, and this turns into lime-
colored saliva, ready for spitting.
The purfle hat in Boliva is always
bright red with a yellow brim.
Purfling is actually a sexual term,
having to do with one person
defecating on another, with a
third person observing. Pretty
disgusting stuff.
Purfling, I am told, is when you
shave the edge of a pair of dice,
and then weight it with clear
resin so that it will come up
7 or 11 more often.
Purfling is when a dirty boxer rakes
his glove laces over a cut on the
opponent, causing it to bleed more
Purfling is something that can be done
with champagne sipped out of a woman's
shoe; kind of gurgling and giggling at
the same time.
When some guys get excited while
on a blind date, they talk non-stop,
and sometimes they purfle food
onto the table, or their date;
caused from excess saliva and
stress masked by stomach
During a yacht race, if a competitor
is in trouble, and wants to stop
the race for a few minutes, he will
raise the Purfle Flag, a pea green
background with a blue turtle
in the foreground.
Back in the late 50's, while
on stage, if you stroked your
crotch too often, it was called
purfling; a move Michael
Jackson turned into a crowd
Purfle is the perfect tie breaker
in a Scrabble game. It is always
challenged, and because it
actually is a word, you get the
advantage immediately.
Believe it or not there is a
Purfle River in Pakistan.
When a speaker or a singer gets
too close to their microphone,
and their tongue thumps the
surface audibly; this is purfling.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted in several places, in several guises, over on Feel Free to Laugh

Blue Ice Wolf

Blue Ice Wolf

I. The Visitation

Like a paper with a bent corner, haphazardly
stuffed in an accordion file, I was lying
at midnight in a hospital room.
It was cold enough
to keep a yellow rose in a Styrofoam cup
fresh for 10 days
without new water.
There was only a film
between waking or sleeping, nothing
opaque. Eyes open or closed
absorbed the same images.

Thus whether it was
a waking sight, or one from sleep, is
only surmise. But with quick
solidity, it was there, standing
oblique to the corner of my bed.

Tall as a man’s shoulder,
and motionless,
his eyes looking straight ahead,
rather than at me. I myself was shivering,
as I often did there at night,
but seeing this presence, I forgot my
discomfort and murmured,
as those who are ill
speak without sound,
“the blue ice wolf”.
His coat, as Stevens says of junipers,
was “shagged
with ice”.

Even though friends have told me
that my apparition was
benevolent, that wolves are protectors,
kindly escorts, some part of me
thought I saw one of death’s messengers. It
felt Egyptian to me, yet neither a jackal
nor Anubis of the desert.

No, the ice was there,
like the chips of it that were my
only sustenance that week, shaping
or glinting his coat until it was
crusted and bejeweled. The Blue Ice Wolf
was there to accompany me as I trod
underground paths. Now, when I peek out
from that place I was a few weeks ago,
I see his shadow still alert,
watching, not
me, but everything that
comes near, listening
I think
to my papery breath
that moves and rustles, even in recovery.
He is watching over me,
as if he is a father.

II. Incomplete Dawn

I didn’t know until now that
he was my Diamond Dog,
once born of the ash heap
near the orange grove.
In this morning’s incomplete dawn,
the creature lopes next
to my invisible King of Spain.

Like feet, soft feet, bare,
sponging into the carpet, there is light,
outside the window, from all
the planets, the cosmos,
in the blue house
where students live. I see
open pages of the geometry text
and hear Sarah’s coated syllables
explain the dancer’s foot pointing out.
It’s the bird wing in the arch,
though even its extension is pliable
and the fractalled knee, all
movements shaded, rather than crisp.

Hilary saw
pillars in her mouth, and Adrien said
“Architecture is power.” Fragments
cling to my palate, wisps or rags
left on hangers. Cavafy saw the boy’s
yielding face, but I look in a mirror
and see the bent foot/I want to hold it
in my hand, his foot, the padded muscles
of Robert’s arms
around me/what longing/what is there
but touch?

Inside, I place one foot over
the other, know we always have our own
flesh to accept and reassure us
in the morning
when everything looks ready
to – what? –
wrap us up in a quilt,
keep us warm,
notice the toes wiggling out?
Teasing air,
taking for granted each breath,
remembering the softness,

even in the blast from the icy polish
and shine off my father’s military shoe,
transformed into the shimmer
of the dog’s diamond paw,
then the Ice Wolf’s blue one,
finally the King of Spain’s luscious royal foot
gloved, glinting gold; and I know
that at last he/they’ve come back,
and are waiting till it’s time
for me to follow them.
Any morning, if I glance up quickly,
when facing the wood
of a Norwegian Maple’s branches,
across the street,
I can make out their shadows:

*The Father of My Country, George Washington,
His Diamond Dog,
The King of Spain,
my Blue Ice Wolf.

Diane Wakoski

Posted over on Poems & Poetics

The Diamond Dog

The Diamond Dog

He hasn’t jumped yet; his square-cut
body like a calving glacier
hasn’t glitter-struck you, hasn’t
revealed its malachite striations,
its contradictions of
Once I walked
on the Mendenhall Glacier or maybe
I dreamt it? Fear clothed me –
rubber boots, yellow slicker, over
wool hooded sweatshirt, all
made of fear’s cloth, as I looked
down into the water, fathomless as
my anger about the past, water I had to
step over, from the boat
to glacier shelf.

Little Dog, you were not there, or I could have
stepped on your back naked,
shedding the clothes of trepidation
I could have ridden you, Diamond Dog –
over, past, and away –
leaving behind all the blame
and regret of betrayals,
the house in the orange grove, the ash heap
from which we both came.

Diane Wakoski

Posted over on Poems & Poetics

Thursday, July 29, 2010

All Muses on Deck

Image by Alex Shapiro

All Muses on Deck

The water rushes in under the deck.
I have found heaven, and it is right here
and smells like kelp.

The expanse in front of me in all directions
correlates well to expansive,
multi-directional thinking.
And, to daydreaming, imagining, conjuring,
laughing and many other happy gerunds.

In fact, it’s so dynamic and distractingly awesomely
incredibly unbelievably strikingly heart-wrenchingly
beautiful here, it’s amazing that I get any work done at all.

Otters, seals, deer, raccoons, bald eagles,
oyster-catchers… ferries, sailboats, yachts…
currents and rip tides and wind
and waves and an inescapable sense
of not only being on a planet,
but on the apparent edge of it,
all pull at my attention.
I pick up my camera or video about as often
as I pick up my composing score pad,
wanting to somehow capture this fascinating bliss.

Looking out from Sidney, British Columbia,
across many Canadian Southern Gulf islands,
to the U.S. San Juan Islands,
there’s always something going on.

Alex Shapiro

Posted over on her site Notes From the Kelp

1. The incredible prose by Alex Shapiro.
2. Line breaks by Glenn Buttkus

In The Concrete

in the concrete

in the concrete
heat, the city
always rubs
and no one
for impatience

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Scary Movies

Scary Movies

Today the cloud shapes are terrifying,
and I keep expecting some enormous
black-and-white B-movie Cyclops
to appear at the edge of the horizon,

to come striding over the ocean
and drag me from my kitchen
to the deep cave that flickered
into my young brain one Saturday

at the Baronet Theater where I sat helpless
between my older brothers, pumped up
on candy and horror—that cave,
the litter of human bones

gnawed on and flung toward the entrance,
I can smell their stench as clearly
as the bacon fat from breakfast. This
is how it feels to lose it—

not sanity, I mean, but whatever it is
that helps you get up in the morning
and actually leave the house
on those days when it seems like death

in his brown uniform
is cruising his panel truck
of packages through your neighborhood.
I think of a friend's voice

on her answering machine—
Hi, I'm not here—
the morning of her funeral,
the calls filling up the tape

and the mail still arriving,
and I feel as afraid as I was
after all those vampire movies
when I'd come home and lie awake

all night, rigid in my bed,
unable to get up
even to pee because the undead
were waiting underneath it;

if I so much as struck a bare
foot out there in the unprotected air
they'd grab me by the ankle and pull me
under. And my parents said there was

nothing there, when I was older
I would know better, and now
they're dead, and I'm older,
and I know better.

Kim Addonizio

Posted over on The Writer's Almanac



I have no memory of your voice. I can’t rewind
and play it back like some tape recording in the spinning cogs

of my thoughts. I have no records, no paint
splattered on the walls of the cave

hollowed between our lives that we two grew within.

That cry I uttered when I was pulled from you,
splayed before the world is also forgotten.

So we are even.

The echoes have been long going,
but are now terminally forgotten, and I can mourn

the colors of all the days we missed by keeping eyes
solely on each other’s throats, but they’ve passed.

Mother, outside, today, there was a purple fire
like Mars riding down to trample us all. The world burned,

and was renewed in light.
I just wanted to tell you.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

When I Grow

Image by Raj Aggarwal

when i grow

when i grow
up, i want to be
a museum. you
and everyone we
know will come
from all around
the globe to see me
not just because
i have still
got it, but because
i have your
eyes, and they are

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

I Dreamt of the Word Ligamiento

i dreamt of the word ligamiento

i dreamt of the word ligamiento –
a bond, a knot, a
fastening. you wrote it
into my palm –
a link, a union, our
attachment. i dreamt of
the word ligamiento
and awoke with a tethered
smile – atadura, anudamiento,
at once coming loose

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Science Update

Science update.

Hi, doc Frankenstein here.
You've probably been wondering
what I've been up to
since that unfortunate incident
with the (unfairly called) monster.
Well; I've been thinking, planning, studying,
and updating my lab.

I now have all of the modern equipment
to do my work with a precision only dreamed of
"back in the day" as you kids are saying it now.
Micro surgery, MRI, CAT, and all these...
well, miracles of your modern science
have made quite a difference in 'product'.
That and not using incompetent hired help.

Little known fact, Igor's real name
actually was Martin Feldman.

True story.

In fact, I don't use any help at all,
I have found a source for materials
(it's a secret) and I deal directly,
so I only get quality goods.
So that with the hi-tech equipment
powered by a top of the line Hobart generator
(no more waiting around for stormy weather)
puts me at the top of the heap lab-wise.

So, I am proud to announce
that my latest experiment is a great success.
Healthy body, and a perfectly normal brain (don't ask)
(and micro surgery, love that micro surgery)
all add up to a safe'n'sane non-monster.

IT LIVES!!!!!! Hahahahaha!

'Scuse me, I love that line.
Only part of all the nonsense media attention
that was worth a damn (pardon my French).
Anyway, the only problem is...well, it's just some guy.
No electrodes, pretty good lookin'
the stitches don't show at all,
and smart enough, but BORING!


Just another whaddya call'im...?
John Doe.
Mr. Everybody.
Man on the friggin street!
Leopold Bloom, fer crissake!.

Plus all my patent apps have been turned down.

Being a genius really sucks at times.

Dr. Doug Palmer
aka V. Frankenstein
aka Lane Savant
aka Douglas Mercer July 2010

Posted over on Feel Free To Laugh

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where You Are No Longer

where you are no longer

where you are no longer
the cherry tree, even
the sky turns a shade
of jealous and leaves
a burning
apparent to only
the most broken

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

The Bank

The Bank

Dad said there was no future in the farm
he’d built with his brothers from the dirt
up, so he sent his sons off to bag

groceries, stock produce, flip
burgers while his brother and the bank
carved up the land and kept

the white meat. We knew fish
and cattle, rice fields and soybeans.
We knew jeans and family, sunup

to sundown, the names of the people
for whom we worked. My brother put in
thirteen years on the line before

being replaced by an elsewhere of lower
wages, looser laws. I filled a desk for nearly
a decade before standing in front of one

myself, giving my time to anyone who would
listen. Dad got old, took a position on
the couch, and filled his hours with TV

and crossword puzzles. These days, he can’t even
hear the trucks laying down a parking lot
in what used to be the family vineyard.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

Yesterday Stretches

yesterday stretches

yesterday stretches
my heart to a more
pliable emblem.
today fills it with
swollen things

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Forms of Love

Image by Karsenika

Forms of Love

I love you but I'm married.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall
and classical muzak is playing,
you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but "I" am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, "I understand the
semiotics of that" when I said, "I
had a little personal business to take care of."
I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you more than I've ever loved anyone,
except for this one guy.
I love you when you're not getting drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it's so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I'm a strange backyard
and you're running from the cops,
looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I'm just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel
like I'm a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace
as the little turn the blood in the
syringe takes when you're shooting heroin,
after you pull back the plunger slightly
to make sure you hit the vein.
I love your mother, she's the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection
to you, even though we've never met.
I love your tacos!
I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes
using the knots you learned in Boy Scouts,
and when you do the stoned Dennis
Hopper rap from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother,
even though I'm nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren't for that I know
I could really, really love you.

Kim Addonizio

Posted over on The Writer's Almanac

Sorrow Is Like A

Image by Zabrina Ledergerber

sorrow is like a

sorrow is like a
game –
will i play today?

in this forest
of windchimes

the sound of you
is locked away

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Painting by Marc Franz


They came at night, while he was sleeping. He woke to their cries, just beyond the light leaking from the clock face by the bedroom window. It read 2:23. He thought the sound was a child, screaming, maybe one of the neighbors. He rose to search the house, but the noise was coming from outside. He went over to the window and peered out, but saw nothing, only heard the screaming which abruptly stopped.

At work, he forgot about the noise amidst the bustle and boredom of the day. On his drive back home, he thought of the movie he would watch on TV, the dinner he would eat, the book he’d read in bed. He pushed his work from his mind and settled into the happiness of pure escape, until the screams started, again, around 2:30 a.m., shocking him awake. This time, he found a flashlight and shone it out the window, revealing the sharp face of a red fox. It howled again, screeching like an infant being devoured, and ran off. Two other forms followed it.

The next day, he researched foxes. All around him, people typed in cubicles. The noise of it, the garish colors, made his head hurt, which was strange; he’d been working in offices like this most of his adult life. He tried to read the screen, but the sharp pain in his forehead made it difficult. That afternoon, he tried to watch a movie, but couldn’t concentrate. He napped instead and ate a light dinner. Still, when they woke him that night, it was a surprise. He went to the window again and watched their hazy forms move through the darkness. Three of them. What he’d read made it seem odd that three of them would stick together. Maybe it was a family—maybe a mother and two cubs. He wondered if they lived nearby, but couldn’t imagine where. The interstate was a couple blocks away. All around, it seemed as though there were nothing but streets and buildings. Still, maybe there was some outpost of nature not far away; what did he know. He hadn’t really paid attention to much outside of his apartment in quite a while.

The next afternoon, he napped again, and this time, he slept lightly. Every branch scraping against the roof woke him. He dozed; time passed like a skipping record, and he sat bolt upright several times only to concentrate on the sound of nothing. The next morning, his alarm woke him and he stumbled out into his day, all the while, wondering why they hadn’t returned.
The next night, he woke again around 2:30. There was no sound. It was perfectly quiet except for the noise of traffic, which he suddenly disliked. He wished it was quiet, so he could hear. He wished he knew more about them. He lay listening for a long while, the image of the whitish face, the red fur, rising in his mind.

The End

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette

July is Preparing

July is preparing

July is preparing
to put on
his sunglasses
and walk out –
he checks
his wrist
once, twice

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Towards The End

towards the end

towards the end
a sprig of forgetfulness
a gathering of nerves
to push away loss

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Monday, July 26, 2010

They Band Together

they band together

they band together
to hold
our stale
memories, longing
for the
of the sea

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Visiting Cousin Rob in Little Rock

Painting by Howard Fogg

Visiting Cousin Rob in Little Rock

His wife was blond and pretty like mom
used to be in pictures. Their house
was so clean I was afraid to sit, so I stood.

These people lived sober lives without fear
of the man screaming in the kitchen,
the woman dying in the bedroom, the smoldering
eruption of frustration, spiked down
like butterfly wings on a page for too long.

We left late instead of staying the night,
my brother grumbling, listening to Jethro Tull
on the radio. In the darkness of Fair Oaks, we came
to a railroad crossing. A train thundered past,

sudden clouds of fire engulfed the roof
of the locomotive. My brother turned
down a side road and paced the thing. The heat
wafted against us. The engine of his minivan
growled, angry as he pulled ahead. The highway
crossed the tracks, we turned and cleared the bump,

for a moment, darkness all around except for that
fiery thing less than ten feet
away, bearing down on us.
I could see my brother’s short hair
framed in fire.

He slowed as it passed behind us, not even
blowing a whistle. The adrenalin
drained out of me, taking everything
else from that day with it, the fear,
the anger. “Why’d you do that?” I said
“It’s late,” he said, “I didn’t want to wait.”
That wasn’t it, but I knew what he meant.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule



What is an impression worth?
A frog. And a jar of ruddy leeches.

When I see frog. I think "Frogs.
Frogs are good to think."
The matter of frog experience first floats,
Then sinks mostly unknowable, spuriously
Into the spawning pond of memory.
It's a rich seminal soup, full of eyes.
Magnified, each a natural universe.
These eyes are vocal once they spring
Breaking through the skins of things.
In season -- everywhere -- then they're out.

Wonders of compromise, they extend themselves
To bridge the poles of water world and padded land.
And the extensions can be perceived from the eyes
As orderly change, clear and strange,
As leggy fish with iguana tails,
As animals flying on all fours,
Fully outstretched, twice their size,
Jumping, climbing piggy-back,
Unabashedly clambering onto one another's backs,
Orange on orange, green on green,
Clinging colorfully, eyes bulging,
They seem a surprise even to themselves.

When they leap
From the dense compact of bone and skin,
The plastic tapestry
Takes shape,
As lightning bolts or spotted lilies on fresh
green waters.
Frogs are naturally good to think,
To take inside as part of insubstantial self,
Changing orders, cruising the classifications.

Their song defeats the ears, allegro!
The rhythmic noise communicates,
Encroaching on all other senses,
Setting forth Reverie.

Against the moon and stars,
Spiked grasses on the mirror lake,
Edging the weeds, where
Sedge-warblers are sleeping on blue eggs.

The scene you see cannot be forced,
Cannot be tidily arranged
By science or dulling habit.

My eyes within no longer truly see.
There they swim in thicker waters,
As comets,
Shooting the across neural galaxies,
Where they re-connect icons.
From a blade of grass, the rest:
The moon, Stars,

Echoing ripples across,
Shattering the constellations,
Ruffling the lily pad,
And its camping amphibious motility.

Making the connections symphonic, concrete,
Like visiting forgotten shrines,
so much depends on Memory.
Glazed frogs transporting -- deja vu --
Faint essences to flush meadowlarks
From the nesting spirit
To wild flights of fancy.
Each a winged message,
Answering unasked questions.
My gaze, pilgrim in a landscape
Painting itself inside,
Inviting me to choose the color and the brush.

This is a risky business,
Uninhibited mindblooming,
On the odd chance a relevant word
Will leap the illogical impasse

To connect, only connect, with senses
Borges used to express his stories,
Outside the straitjacket
Civilized craftsmen have woven
To demand our logical obedience,
To keep the body from amphibious imitation,
To take the surprise out of our eyes,
To make leaping more a looking than a leap,
To channel stimuli through the consensus,
To cloister scholarship in cells,
To regard products over actions,
To pin frogs down on waxen trays,
Pulled limp from jars of yellow formaldehyde
With corroded cork stoppers,
For juveniles to dissect weekly,
Who then think of frogs splayed and of lost loves
When they catch a whiff of strong perfumes,
And of leeches as curious instruments of hygiene.

[Claude Levi-Strauss on myths said: " People do not tell myths; rather myths tell themselves in people." What we do when we make poems, is what artists like Cezanne did when he painted landscapes. Cezanne is reputed to have said about painting: "The landscape thinks itself in me and I am its consciousness." Likewise, the poet is partially in control: the poem makes itself in the poet and the poem is something by means of which we see ourselves, a process of expressing who we are, or -- in the case of frogs -- who we might be.]

David Gilmour

The City, Berobed in Blue

Painting by Gregory Dolnikowski

The City, Berobed in Blue

What do you think has come over me?
I did not feel like this yesterday
but today, all I find myself thinking is,
This could be my last apartment,
my last lover; this could be the last dog
I ever own—as if I were going to die
at any moment. Which of course
is possible (myocardial infarction,
genetic defect, lighting bolt)

The anxiety may pass, but not
the age. Yikes, every moment says
And then, Look out!

Well, what can be done but put
a good face on it? A big one,
round as a moon and glittering
to the last. Or maybe slide into
an om state, where nothing is
something and everything is
more or less of something else

Better yet, maybe it's time to think
about the city, berobed in blue,
which now appears to me in memory
as a good place for a young girl,
who only I can recognize

See how lightly she steps off into
another, and then another morning
And as if she has never done it before,
begins to breathe

Eleanor Lerman

Posted over on The Writer's Almanac

One Too Many

one too many

one too many
birthdays this
week, we have
run out of things
to say, but we happily
take communion
with you, solving
the puzzle of
life with pieces
of heart and hands

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

It Is Common Sense

it is common sense

it is common sense
versus the heat –
the cards are ready
to fold, the dice

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Appropriately On A

appropriately on a

appropriately on a
morning, a phone
is ringing
in an apartment
above mine.
i cannot reach it,
and no one
seems to be making
an effort. in this
manner, the
neighbors and i
are breaking
bread together

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Every Morning I

every morning i

every morning i
wake up a little
farther from

i am stepping
into my bathtub
and the just smooth
porcelain underneath
toes reminds me
to steady myself.

i turn on a cool
stream, but as i touch
the shower curtain,
i am slipping
again –

there is a give-and
take relationship
in each morning’s

i have to keep
a world without
you each time i
step out

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

My Mother Making Donuts

"my mother, my mother, my mother" by Salvador Dali

My Mother Making Donuts

My mother making donuts and jam in the kitchen
piled with stacks and stacks of dirty dishes.
My brother taking us on family drives
in his Gremlin, Saturdays.
My father working half days on Christmas.
My sister and I playing school
until my mother started throwing dictionaries.
My mother eating bowl-fulls of onions with ice cream
and not leaving the house for years.
My father taking me out to the fields to work with him.
My mother throwing tantrums
My father staying out late, drinking while his buddies
scold me for trying to bring him home.
My sister sneaking out her window
after my father threw her boyfriend out.
My brother reading westerns all day.
My father buying plastic sheets
because my mother wet the bed.
My sister bathing my mother and trying
to trim her fingernails while my brother held her down.
Me feeding my mother tuna casserole.
Me at school, fat, in cheap clothes.
My father buying my mother a walker
because she keeps falling down.
My father hiring a nurse to take care of my mother.
The nurse quitting.
My father hiring another nurse.
That nurse quitting.
My brother, my father and I dropping my mother off.
My father visiting my mother at the nursing home.
My mother not remembering.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Great Pat Smith American Dream Poem

The Great Pat Smith American Dream Poem

I have been teaching poetry for too long
I know this
everyone else thinks so too
the trick’s to clear out before they say so

In a dream I am leaving
crossing Central Avenue
wider now than the Rio Grande
heading down and west
past Jack’s and the bloodbank
past Gizmo’s and Blazer finance
saying hello
to my sad downtown that was always waiting

I am taking a job
becoming the best cashier in Albuquerque
my register sings
I call out orders:
sunnyside up
once over lightly

I smell like french fries and Evening in Paris
my nails are polished
my smock is pink
my hands drip nickels

all the regulars call me Patti
spelled with an i
they eat me up
while the juke box plays
Lacy J Dalton
Willie and Waylon
I hum right along
I know all the words
I am cashing in

One day my customer is Busby Berkeley
He leans on my counter lights a cigar
looks me up and down
likes what he sees
and says in a wise voice
Girlie, can you swim?
I show him my medals from the 400 freestyle
the 1958 First Annual Pine Point Maine Open Water Classic
He says Esther Williams is making her comeback
They are calling the movie Born to Swim
if I meet him tonight at 8 at the Y
he’ll let me audition for the chorus

Suddenly it is all so simple
there are no limits
to all the color light can turn water
my stage name is Tammy Aphrodite

I am one of the girls
we swan dive from volcanoes and Grecian Columns
stroking tandem, we angle down
then bubble up like spangled lilies
slim fish chlorine virgins
who cares about tenure
I lose the need to breathe
I could stay down forever

In a world all light and water
I am the wet,
the wordless angel.

Patricia Clark Smith

Posted over on Bobby Byrd's site White Panties & Dead Friends

That Is Just To Say

That Is Just To Say

Fire out beyond the Gulf horizon,
leaving riggers and roustabouts drowned
as the massive steel girders buckled
and the mighty platform toppled,

dropping like a thousand shiploads of anvils,
plunging headlong rapidly down along
those cold oceanic miles to the
wellhead gone totally berserk,

gushing crude like a wild petroleum god,
soon coating the coastline with
a thick tar baby frosting, leaving floating
black death as BP’s summer gift.

Glenn Buttkus July 2010

This Is Just to Say

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

William Carlos Williams

Posted over on Applehouse Poetry Workshop

Saturday, July 24, 2010

At the Very Spot Where

at the very spot where

at the very spot where
sky and earth meet to
duel it out before the
setting sun, there is a
display case,
its curved glass wiped
down hourly
by the baker’s
daughter, a jeweled
exhibition –
where children and
adults eagerly
press their fingers
into the cool, refrigerated
glass and point out the
precise solution
to the day’s frustrations:
a glistening éclair
for an argument lost,
a delicate Dolce
alla Napoletana for
everything else

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

We Fall Into Reptile

we fall into reptile

we fall into reptile
when it comes
to what we say and
what we keep
in our throats.
i have long
marking the way
to yesterday’s
tomorrow –
but we will
drag it out
until recognition
is just a word
left unsaid

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

My Father Spreading Mayonnaise

Painting by Fred Neveu

My Father Spreading Mayonnaise

My father spreading mayonnaise with a fork.
My father calling me sugar.
My father jumping off the tractor,
lifting me from the hard clumps of dirt where I fell,
too scared to cuss me.
My father in the kitchen,
reading as the sun comes up.
My father always carrying a rifle in his truck
to shoot snakes as he cuts levees.
My father pushing my mother
and then standing over her, scared.
My father taking his mother out of the hospital
by force so she could die at home.
My father asking how old I am.
My father catching me stealing from his wallet.
My father glaring at me
and my shoulder-length hair at his sister’s funeral.
My father falling out of his truck, drunk,
and rolling down the hill.
My father lying on the couch for three days in DT.
My father telling me he loves me.
My father on the couch,
uncomfortable in my apartment.
My father in his fuzzy house shoes,
calling my fiancée sweetie.
My father drinking champagne in the rice field
and listening to big band music.
My father carrying his son in law through the house
by the throat after seeing bruises on my sister.
My father meeting his illegitimate daughter
in a soybean field and taking her fishing.
My father sending me hundred dollar bills
through the mail.
My father walking through the woods quietly,
with a gun but not hunting.
My father flirting with the girls
at the grocery store.
My father’s picture that looks
like a young Ronald Reagan.
My father in uniform, on a ship to Japan.
My father at Nagasaki.
My father in a suit at his brother’s funeral.
My father refusing to go to the hospital.
My father’s red skin and black hair going gray,
his legs, blue and veined,
his breath steaming in winter.
My father’s smell of rain.
My father quoting Shakespeare while skinning fish.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

Sometimes You Write So

sometimes you write so

sometimes you write so
out of the blue
as if you have chosen
to use
grey for so long
that i could not have seen
it coming –
particularly well
within a worn fist

Yi Ching Lin

Posted on her site Yi's Bits

We Build Bodies

we build bodies

we build bodies
to live in, structures
to last, and age
is a moving
target, engineered
to see us through

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site YI's Bits

1,000,000 Pennies and the Pea

Image by Jannie Funster

1,000,000 Pennies and the Pea

Bitty child in a red dress
standing short and erect
on the edge of a sea of
copper, 1,000,000 pennies
for the eye to see and
contemplate, pennies that
all have stories of their own,
and shrill metallic voices
all competing for the child’s
attention. Some say dive in,
swim in a sea of pennies,
pumpkin, and others wail
for they have a sad tale of
how little is their worth in
this day, in this place; some
still coated in pocket lint,
some so shiny they dare the
shutter to capture their
brilliance, honest Abe turned
every which way under the
mantle, the ceiling of bones,
God help us, yes, bones, and
as the child peers up at the
golden bleached whiteness of
them, she does wonder how many
lizards & hamsters & frogs & puppy
dog tails it takes to make a roof
over the penny puddle? But all is
well, all is OK in the land of Funster;
for there are no blue bunny bones
in the mess.

Glenn Buttkus

As a responsive comment over on Jannie Funster

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cycle Nonsense

"Cyclist" by Umberto Boccioni

Cycle Nonsense


Riding my bicycle
Up Queen Anne hill
Goin' up's a bother
Goin' down's a thrill
Pushin' on the pedals
With my tongue hangin' out
When I get to the top,
You can hear me shout
You can't beat this
No, you can't beat this
'cause, when I turn around.
I'll race down like a coo-ool breeze.

Doug Palmer July 2010


You on Fidelio pumping and puffing
up the Queen's spine, digging
tread into tarmac, sinew into
energy, spinning your chain,
belaying your aged calves,
and pushing your gluts into cramps,
panting like a pooch
with a helmet on, your tongue
showing a tinge of blue
on its tip, and oxygen finds
its own path through your churned
up capillaries--screaming at the
crest as you spin around and
add the maelstrom of speed
to your chasing of ghosts
and reaching back to a time
when this hill was home.

Glenn Buttkus--in response.

Posted over on Feel Free To Laugh


Image by Lewis Hall



The straight iron legs of the kitchen
chair dig into the linoleum, leaving light
gashes from the table to the fridge. I stand
on its unmoored black cushion to reach
into the freezer. Plastic
whiskey bottles with their spouts
cut off, filled with frozen lard rest to one side.
Their mottled white fat begs use;
it leaks a loam smell.
I stick my nose in, breathe deeply,
imagining bacon ice cream.


I will lie and say I was ten, twelve, old enough
to be unattended, but then why did I need
the chair to stand on in front of the old stove
with burners so coated in grease splatter
we let them burn clean before each use?
Pancakes were easiest, ham steak, another
chair for the oven whose filament also caught
fire sometimes, giving biscuits
a smoky, charbroiled edge.


Wild children, my sister and I nested like rats,
rearranging furniture to fit our games—
Crocodiles in the Carpet
(don’t get bitten!) or Table Slide!
My favorite was when we’d pull a chair
up to a closet and hide in the plywood
cubby-hole up top. Even above the piano,
we pasted pictures cut from mom’s magazines,
scribbled our names in crayon,
left notes for each other: “Meet
me in Mom’s closet. Urgent! Signed Boo.”
I’d run to Mom’s bedroom, climb a kitchen chair
to find my sister, whispering
so the Indian Marauders
wouldn’t come for our scalps
as Mom, lost, stared glazed- eyed at a point
just above and beyond the TV screen.


When we’d exhausted the closet clubhouses,
we’d pull a chair up to the door
between the kitchen and living room,
take turns climbing up to perch,
one foot on each knob
on either side and ride the door
while the other pushed.
Call it sound construction;
by the time we’d outgrown this,
the door was only warped so much
that it couldn’t pull-to completely.


Mom’s china cabinet stood slightly removed
from one wall. The dining room chairs huddled
around a table the polished mahogany
of a coffin, their thin frames curved
like the graceful legs of an insect. Their seats
had collapsed in on themselves, so only one or two
could be balanced upon successfully. After Mom
became sick, Dad never threw anything away.
We thought he was cheap. The house
filled with junk: Mom’s old
clothes, piles of letters and magazines.

The day after Thanksgiving, three years later,
the house burned. Secretly, we were relieved
to not have to face an un-cleanable storehouse
of broken memories, until my brother
and his wife threw out the couch
we had jumped on until the springs
broke, the table we used to slide down,
the piano we hid messages in,
and all the old chairs
no one could’ve sat in even
if they hadn’t burned.
All of it smoke-stained and mildewed, yes,
but also ours. She spent weeks
replacing everything
with new, clean, orderly furniture, chairs
you could sit on without fear of falling through
the seat, closets free of scribbles and bowed
shelves, no more clutter, no more spiders or mice
or Indian Marauders:
a house we no longer recognized.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

They Are Identifying

Image by Barry Yanowitz

they are identifying

they are identifying
each fixed point
in the night sky
before nourishing
it with fireworks

Yi Ching Lin

July 4, 2010

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Huntington's Disease: The Hill

Sculpture by Billy Bond

6 The Hill

After school, I’d trudge the mile
through the thinning houses of the nearest
neighborhood, climb the barbed-wire fence twined

with rust-colored cow hair that marked
our land, and cross the sea of weeds and yellow
bitter-weed flowers by the stock pond, to the big hill

behind our house where, most days, I could already hear
Mom at the back door, moaning out over the hills
like a wraith. This was what it was to be trapped

in a body she could barely control,
a mind crumbling apart.
Dad spent long nights out drinking, Mike and Julie
disappeared when they could. Mom would moan

until she heard Dad stumble home, then collapse
into a hoarse sleep. I thought
she was trying to break my mind. Each night,
I dreamed the secret of escape: all I had

to do was push my legs beyond the limits
of endurance to run faster than a fox
who’s caught the scent of rabbit,
faster than the rabbit who escapes; as long

as no human eye saw me, I could be free.
Mornings, I woke in a stiff body,
spent awkward days avoiding the eyes
of classmates, teachers with
underpaid consciences.

I stood, with the wild wheat swaying in the breeze,
and pounded my thighs to force them
to run, to run, to run.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

I Have In Essence

deviant art by pixelpunch

i have in essence

i have, in essence,
put our conversation
on hold, folded the
sentences into a proper
accordion. in your
commanding way, you
are still pushing
the buttons, but
all i am hearing is the
timbre, the pitching
of your arresting voice

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Huntington's Disease: Bus Stop

Painting by Art Scholz

5 Bus Stop

Every school day, the nurse would help Mom walk down
the winding hill to the bus stop to meet me.

Maybe I was twelve, maybe ten—too old
to still have Mommy meet me at the bus, especially

when, after I crossed Killough to Dodd Hill, she
would grab me in a tight hug, eyes wide

and scared like a wounded animal. I learned to dart
behind the bus, back to a side street,

and down the long line of pines to the Fish Shack
where Mike and Dad worked. The whole time,

the nurse yelled after me, “Boy, come to
your Momma!” while the other kids snickered
and Mom said nothing.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

We Cannot Slow Down

we cannot slow down

we cannot slow down
there is no vacancy here
yet the path puckers

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Huntington's Disease: Johnny Hill

4 Johnny Hill

Summers when Mom was off from teaching
we vacationed on a family friend’s horse farm,
slept in the bunk house, fished in his lake.

Julie taught me to drive on the long gravel road
between the gate and the dock, me sitting
on her lap while she worked the pedals. Mom

wore such fancy clothes for a vacation, we thought,
vivid green vests and feathery hats, while we wore jeans,
tee-shirts. She, afraid to stray too far from the building, sat

in a folding chair, prim and straight, frowned
as her legs twitched, her hands fidgeted like wayward
children, while we snuck off to stick flowers in the liquid

hydrogen tank and stomp them to see them shatter.
There was something draining in the air other
than mosquitoes. Guests came in waves. Dad, after a few,

would dance with the ladies while Mom watched, face
twitching like her hands. But in the morning, they always
lingered in bed, Dad, dozing, Mom, finally still.

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule

If I Am Reading The

if i am reading the

if i am reading the
finesse of your
glimmer correctly
you are shelling
our favorite
moments with
your eyes. i am
solving the
puzzle of finding

Yi Ching Lin

Posted over on her site Yi's Bits

Huntington's Disease: Avon

3 Avon

A quick ride down the hill to cousin
Shirley’s to pick up Avon, Julie Beth

looking forward to playing with her second
cousins, Mary Beth and Lisa, when suddenly

Mom’s legs stop working. Not asleep, not
cramping just not responding. Panic and then

the emergency brake, Julie Beth surprised and Mom
scared as she began to recognize patterns

from her father’s failing years. A moment to collect
and Mom took the long loop back up the hill

slowly; Julie Beth watched her cousins’ house falling
out of sight afraid to complain because Mom was still

C.L. Bledsoe

Posted over on The Dead Mule