Monday, October 31, 2005

By request?

It has been suggested to me, both here on my blog, and in email multiple times, that I should point out the Paypal donation button, and accept donations to help with the bill from the blood tests and possible trips to Boston in order for Scott to donate blood/stem cells or bone marrow for the bone marrow transplant that we hope will save his brother's life. (Rest of the story is here, here , and here) The transplant is scheduled for early January, and though we don't know yet whether he's a match, we do already have the cost of the testing to worry with. Besides, Randy's a new father, with a wife and a 4 month old little girl, who just a few months before he was diagnosed, bought a house.

So here is the donation button, should you feel the desire to donate, it would certainly be appreciated, and would be put to good use. Feel free to leave a comment in the "payment for" slot, if you'd like to specify whether you're donating for Randy's family, or for our expenses, and trust me, your wishes will absolutely be respected and followed.

Sunday, October 30, 2005



Will he become someone else?

When the flame of autumn
is far behind and the warmth of
spring is yet ahead; when he's lost
in the palest of Januaries, surrounded
by some unfamiliar town full of
snow and strangers and they take
all that is his and replace it,
will he become someone else?

She says he already has.

Poetry Carnival 10/30

Poetry Carnival 10/30

Being the host of the poetry carnival gave me the opportunity to announce a theme, and being autumn with all of its color and smells and sounds, I thought imagery would be a good one to go with. This weeks carnival is intended to be a sensory experience, so sit back and enjoy the show!

Garnet of Glittering Stew shares a wonderfully aural rendition of a rainstorm and its
"Xylophonic riffs singing a sweet, wet, tinkling blues."
in Babbling Drops.

Vickie, from Contraptions also used rain as her inspiration this week, but with a very different version of rain that
"Drizzle drips like a persistent faucet
and the tears slide unchecked from my eyes.
The grayness of the day penetrates deep
to mix with the ugliness that is me."
with her poem called Rain Bath

Martin of Complete and Utter Poetry tells us about
"Sweet somethings whispered
More felt than heard"
in his short but tactile piece entitled Afterwards

.:A:. from English, August directs 55 words into a performance with Drama
"The plot thickens
The stage
Is set

The players improvise
They forget
Their lines"
The Science Creative Quarterly gave us two names to have a look at this week:

Brian Willems has there a collection of poems whose simple outlook offers some unique insights.
Untitled (humans)
When humans are
a simple glance
in a museum
they shine
And Jonathan Cohen is showcased as well with his poem about Einstein at Princeton, part of which reads
"Einstein sits and thinks under the dark trees
surrounding a white cottage - where no war
came, even during the years when young men
flooded out from this campus, cold from tap
like the beer they'd drunk at the Tiger-
town Inn just before their first induction."
Billy Jones, a.k.a. Billy the Blogging Poet sent us a light-hearted piece about chicken farming and the Story of Howie's life with his poem entitled "Howie the Chicken Herder"
"Howie ran a chicken ranch,
he'd herd them to and fro,
saddle 'em up, ride 'em hard,
and brand a few, you know.
At night he'd build a campfire,
the chickens gathered 'round
to hear ol' Howie play guitar
and sing his chicken sounds..."
Daniel of Talking to Myself sent in an image-rich piece that includes these lines:
"shadow-dancing in the reflected light -
to the "hiss/pop/crack" of music played -
a cacophony of wood percussion."
in this sensual picture called "Firelight."

And Adam at Adam's Blog sends us a bit of Wal-Mart humor:
"As I walked into Wally World,
The man smiled,
Trying to say ya'll like a southerner
But sounding like a wannabe."
Take a look at the rest of The Wal-Mart Singer

You can have a look if you'd like at my entry, a 55 word poem, about:
"..a promise unkept,
dangled low and round
against the horizon, swaying
on the tips of spent corn..."
The other 38 words are here in To Defy Gravity

Violet from promptings gives us a picture in her poem - as well as an accompanying photograph -
"Peacock ferns Eden-lush
draw us into the dim, cedar-canopied wood..."
and the end result is a beautiful sight to see in Langley Woods

Vijay has joined us as well, in his first ever poetry carnival submission from My Serenity:
"So calm, so serene, the full moon rose ;
The impure beauty kindles the desire.
Yet as if all the world now suddenly froze,
I stare at the officious flame burning without fire."
Go have a look at the rest of Starry Moon.

Dan Weasel A.K.A. Andrew Nichols, our carnival founder has joined in with a lovely piece at his blog, Philosophical Poetry that starts like this:
"Like a sullen teetotaler fallen off the wagon,
poetry skids first this way then that,
brooding over a world of details
and shivering in its skin."
This piece, My Lady has a mood you can really sink into.

Ms. Taken is also new, not only to our little carnival, but to blogging too. Her new blog is called Elicit Beauty, and she says:
"I have heard an angel fall."
in her piece, which she's dubbed Untitled but Something About Wisdom

Thanks to all who participated, we grow a bit with each new edition! I hope some of you will consider volunteering to host the next edition, which if my calendar serves me right, will be on November 13th.

Tagged: , , , , ,

Friday, October 28, 2005

Putting our Heads Together

We went to the lab this morning, and they drew Scott's blood. Now we just wait to see. We won't know until at least Wednesday, maybe Thursday, if anyone is a match. All of you keep us in your thoughts, or prayers or meditations or finger crossings or whatever please?

Curiosity is killing this cat!

I did a whois query on my tetris visitor because it's driving me crazy. Unfortunately, I don't know if it told me anything! Anyone care to tell me what all this [link] means?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Poets got a brand new hub!

Looking to hook up with other poets? Well there's a new hub for those of us who write poetry that you should really take a look at. It's a group blog of sorts, only, well, somehow different.

Poetisphere says of itself:
"Poetisphere seeks to bring the poets of the blogosphere together by linking you to the best original poetry, poetry criticism, and poetry events from around the web.

If you're a poetry blogger, we hope to both highlight what we think best in your work and to point you to what we think best in the work of others. . . "
I'm thinking this is not just a good thing, but a very good thing! Slide over and have a peek, and if you're a poetry blogger, go ahead and sign up!


I got up at 7:30 this morning and, knowing I had a hectic morning full of phone calls and research to do, followed by a 10:00 a.m. appointment for myself, I hit the showers. While in there, I decided the best plan was to just call the closest hospital. I figured if nothing else, they'd at least be able to give me some information, and if I was really lucky, they'd have the facilities to do the testing themselves.

By 8:15, I knew that Union Regional could draw the blood, do the labs, and return the results to the hospital in New York. I got the fax number and other info from the lab tech I spoke to, made an appointment for tomorrow morning for Scott to go in (even though the appointment wasn't necessary) and proceeded to fire off said information to my sister-in-law via email, so she'd have it all ready by the time the doctor made it into the office there. Most excellent, and I was feeling much better, except that the lab tech couldn't tell me the one thing I really needed to know. Cost. Nor could I find anyone that could answer that question for me. The only thing I could find out is that the prices we were finding last night were for bone marrow banks, where the fees are discounted or covered by one charity or another, not the same (no doubt inflated) cost that is indicative of a mainstream lab.

Tomorrow morning Scott will get his paycheck, and cash it on the way to the hospital to pay for the testing. The cash will be on hand to do that, and even if it turns out to be the whole damn check, we'd do it. Our bills aren't shit compared to Scott's little brother's life.

Unfortunately, whatever does get spent at the lab tomorrow will come out of something fun, like the rent. And no, my landlord isn't going to be sympathetic or understanding. Tough shit, this isn't a negotiable plan of action. Sometimes you do what you gotta do, simply because it's right, hell, is there some other choice? No.

So, we'll see what happens, hopefully the powers that be, or however you refer to Him/it, will take care of the other stuff for a little while eh?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My Husband the Bone Marrow Donor

My brother-in-law has Leukemia. ALL to be exact. They say this type has a pretty good cure rate, but needless to say, we've been really concerned for months now. He's had some serious complications, infections, internal bleeding due to liver testing, a collapsed lung due to internal bleeding due to liver testing... But, after a doctor/hospital transfer, he's getting better now, though how much so is hard to judge when you're 850 miles away. My sister-in-law and I just got off the phone, and they're going to do a bone marrow transplant now. Actually, it's a stem cell transplant, but it still requires finding a match, which is most likely going to be a sibling... Quite possibly Scott. Suddenly, at 9:30 at night, I'm scrambling to find information on the wheres and hows and whens and how muches. Pretty frustrating at this hour of the night, when all doctor's offices are closed. I can't seem to find a web page for any local doctors or hospitals that give me the information I need.

Any of you fellow NC Bloggers have any info? I may go insane by the time I have been able to set an appointment for Scott to go get tested, and figure out how we're financing it. All the information I can find is that it costs somewhere between $45 and $95. Without health insurance, believe it or not, even coming up with $45 is going to be a stretch between now and Friday.

I know that doctors and hospitals can't do this shit for free, but it's really frustrating that money takes precedence over life when it comes to the US health care system.

Can't wait to figure out how to finance TWO trips to Boston where they'll want to do further testing if he's a potential match, and where they'll eventually be doing the transplant if he does turn out to be a perfect match. We'd give up body parts for Randy, or any other of our family members, either one of us would... I just don't know where the money is going to come from to do this. I hear that The Red Cross will pay for travel expenses, that's something I'll eventually have to check into - but I'm trying not to get the cart in front of the horse here.

One thing at a time right? First things first, finding out where they do it, and how much they charge - and making an appointment. Ugh, I just want to be able to pick up a phone now and make an appointment for morning, you know?


I just came from Dark Sparks, (linked from the right side bar over there) and he has posted a poem that reminded me of my childhood, reminded me of one of the very few good things I remember about my years in Coxsackie, New York.


We lived in a 4 family apartment house on Lafayette Street, and across the street was a catholic church whose name I've long forgotten. And in the front of that church was a horse chestnut tree, and come autumn, I would cross the road and collect the horse chestnuts, also known as buckeyes, or conkers. I would collect them by the basket/hand/pocket/bag/box load. Anything I could collect them in, I would. I loved the color, a deep rich mahogany, and the texture, all smooth and round, and the weight, like rocks, only... Better somehow, more beautiful than any rock I ever found in Coxsackie.

In Ken's poem, the subjects carry them in their pockets, and feel the weight of them, and because I had done the same so many hundreds of times as a child, it was like reliving the memory more than reading the words. I remember the way that my coat pockets would bulge, the way they would bounce when I ran and slap against my body, all lumpy and heavy. I remember the way they smelled like earth, and the contrast of that with the cleanliness of the autumn air. I remember feeling young and somehow free, and I remember David, the boy next door, and how I was in love with him despite the fact that he was a good 5 or 6 years older than I was. I remember believing that he loved me too because he'd let me play with him and his cars in the dirt under his porch.

I remember the big red barn that I didn't realize was once a stable, that sat behind my apartment and his house, and the dank dusty smell that would sneak out of the darkness through the empty eye-socket windows, and how they'd watch us when we were feeling brave and stupid and we'd climb the oak tree and sit on its roof and let his Hot Wheels race down the corrugated tin in their perspective lanes just to see which one would meet its death first. I can't imagine how many we must have destroyed together, launching them off the roof's edge and smashing them into the ground 2 stories below.

All that from conkers.
So often I equate that time of my life with all the bad, hard things that happened in the years I was there: My father's leaving, the bullying and constant fights for survival, the sense of desolation and emptiness, the loneliness and confusion left in the wake of going suddenly from an over-protected child of 2 preachers to the daughter of a single woman who worked too much and had discovered drinking and partying and men with motorcycles, the shock of the change from never being away from both parents at the same time to my 16 yr old sister becoming my primary caretaker. . . I honestly forget that there were good feelings and good times, and memories that make me smile.

Thanks Ken!

Meeting of the Minds/Chapbook Enterprises - my story, my warning

I have made posts before about my publisher. At first I was so thrilled with being published that I ignored warnings about dealing with her from other people who had previously dealt with her on a professional level. Then, things were going so well, and so quickly, with the publication of my chapbook that I had nothing to complain about, nor did I have the chance, such was the speed at which things were moving.

Shortly after the book was released, I had a few indications that things were not quite what I'd hoped, such as only receiving half the number of copies I was promised, and many of the copies I'd received being damaged in the binding process, or just poorly bound, crooked and creased. I tried, however, to forgive this, ignore this, or convince myself that it was a one time thing.

Then I began getting complaints of buyers getting copies in this same condition, or better yet, not receiving their copies at all. Shipping time was horrendous, one order was never even seen, responded to, or filled at all.

There were also issues with the publisher being "too busy" "unable" or "unwilling" to fulfill the promises made before publication. I was promised a web page - and my book cover was indeed put on a web page with a blurb and an order button... an order button that was linked to a paypal account with a faulty email address, and a button that seemed to work intermittently. Then I was promised that there would be advertising and press releases. Neither ever came to fruition.

I was promised quarterly reports and payment. The first quarter ended on July 5, 2005, the second ended October 5, 2005. I have yet to see a penny of payment. I did receive my 'report' for the first quarter, but haven't even received that much for October.

I am now 6 months post-release. My emails go unanswered for days and/or weeks, when they're answered at all. The replies I do receive are nothing more than thinly veiled excuses for why I haven't been paid, which basically amount to the fact that the money simply isn't there due to (her) personal reasons. She claims to have come up against some personal crises that forced her to move, and go without internet connection. What in the world does that have to do with the money from the sales of my books? And if she has no internet (which is her reasoning for not replying to me most of the time, since August) why can I find 2 different places that she's posted or in some way left evidence of her online presence since then? And how is it that she's corresponding with other people via email during this same period?

The moral of this rambling post is this: should you be approached by Shaela Montague Phillips, or submit to Blue Steel Publications||Meeting of the Minds Journal||Chapbook Enterprises et al and be accepted for publication. Beware.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Question

I have a question for my readers. It's a simple and straight forward one, completely based on your own opinion:

Is education a good thing, or a bad thing?
Feel free to elaborate on your opinion when you respond if you'd like.

Points of Interest

Most bloggers are stat freaks, always checking how many visitors there are, watching their numbers rise and such... I'm no exception, trust me - but I think I'm different. Most people are most interested, or at least talk most about, the search terms people use to get to their blog. Me? I'm more interested in where people are from. City, state, country... And oddly enough, what ISP they use. Now, honestly, I don't care if you use AOL vs Road Runner - what I like looking at is the address of your ISP. Right now, I have a couple of visitors from Washington State University in Seattle. Actually, I have several regular visitors from Washington state, but these 2 intrigue me because I can't figure out how they found me (no referring link - ugh!) and because the ISP addresses are "" and "" That's right, pacman, and tetris?! Um, ok... But they're hitting specific posts, as if they had subscribed to my feed, only, they're visiting OLD posts, which are obviously NOT coming up on any feeds anywhere, and so, I'm baffled by their regular (almost hourly) visits over the last 24 hours or so. And I'd understand if they appeared to be search engine spider bots, but they don't appear to be that either... So I'm seriously curious as to how they're finding the links to my old posts out there in the ether...

So... If you're one of these people, and ever actually hit the front page, do me a favor, before I lose my mind trying to figure it out, and lemme know eh?

Humor and Funerals

I dislike memes, but with a meme I can decide to participate or not. Forwards, however, are non-negotiable. You get them, like it or not, tough shit, and I, as a rule, hate them. But as with all rules, there are exceptions, and I received one today that, though meant to be funny, really brings up a subject that is in ways close to my heart.
"A father was at the beach with his children
when the four-year-old son ran up to him,
grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore
where a seagull lay dead in the sand.
"Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked.
"He died and went to Heaven," the Dad replied.
The boy thought a moment and then said,
"Did God throw him back down?"
How do you reconcile this for a kid? Try doing it with their baby sister, not just a mangy bird. I think it was a really good forward. It was full of cute little quips about kids and religion, worth a good giggle, but this particular part really hit home with me. Thanks Heather - for helping me see humor in something I struggled with at one point. I still have no idea if I handled the viewing and funeral the way my kids needed me to, but this little bit of humor was a nice addition to my day.

Scary Food Stories

Tarheel Tavern #36
Scary Food Stories

As the mother of 3 girls, who had learned to cook from a talented chef of sorts (or so she has always said of my father) it was important to my mother to teach us the intricacies of cooking. I, as a stubborn hard-headed child who rebelled against most anything my mother tried to teach me, resisted her efforts. I told her at the age of about 10 that I wouldn't need to learn to cook, I was going to marry rich and eat out a lot. She still gives me a hard time about that, since I've never even dated a man with money!

Anyway, I never learned much more than how to boil water without burning it, and then married a NOT rich man at a very young age, who amazingly enough, expected to have dinner when he got home from work, and even more unbelievably, he expected it to be edible! Silly silly man! He was most definitely sadly disappointed. The years since I left home at 16 have been filled with cooking mishaps and nightmares. I remember french fries that damn near burnt the house down, (not that I didn't know how to bake french fries, but apparently, I didn't know how to remember that I'd put them in the oven!) and then there was my first attempt at country style steak over rice, which resulted in a beautifully smoky flavored pan full of charcoal briquettes.

I've come to terms with the fact that I'm no goddess, I'm not exactly Martha Stewart. I've even learned, for the most part, to overcome my domestic disabilities, and can cook most any meal requested of me. But it tends to be like listening to someone play Beethoven by rote, but without heart. For me, cooking is a chore, but at least one that I can do perfectly adequately.

Baking however is a whole different story. My mother is an amazing baker. She makes cakes that make you drool, and decorates them like a pro, seriously, she did it for money for a while. So the year my oldest son turned eight, I decided I was going to drag out her cake-baking books, and make the ultimate in birthday creations. That year he was fascinated with magic tricks, and all the gifts he requested were of the magical variety, and I was planning on making the ever-so-popular magicians hat, complete with the rabbit coming out of the top. It looked simple enough, beginning with a round 2 layer cake... I figured the worst part would be the taste of the black icing... Oh how wrong I was!

First, I was pregnant with my youngest son at the time, and some old wife told me that baking while pregnant is always a bad idea. I've believed her ever since. Aside from that, it was early July, extremely hot, and the A/C was on the fritz - never the best case scenario for sculpting icing. I mixed and poured according to the directions on the box, preheated, baked and timed according to the same, and, lo and behold, I burnt the cake, and had the opportunity to realize that, apparently, my oven sat on a bit of an angle... as evidenced by the fact that both rounds were thicker on the one side than the other. Knowing there were only a few hours before the little party people arrived, I opted to trim off the high spots and the crispy bits, and hope that the design would have them all so awed that they wouldn't notice that it tasted like licking the grill. Ever tried to ice the cut edge of a cake? Yeah, so then we had icing with cake crumbs mixed in. Black icing, brown crumbs, but hey, the kids would buy it if I told them that it was on purpose, right? I mean, they were only eight!

As I worked my way around the outside edge of the cake (turn, ice, turn, ice) the parts I'd already iced began to ooze, sliding ever downward, so that by the time I got back to the spot where I'd started, I found that the icing was more of a puddle on the cake plate than anything else. Of course, the best course of action then is to turn on the A?C, even though it doesn't actually cool very much, and try to re-spread the icing directly in front of it. No, that didn't work, but after enough tries at it, there were enough cake crumbs mixed in to sort of 'stiffen' the icing and make it look only slightly molten.

Next, there was a cardboard donut, wrapped in aluminum to lay on top of the cake, thus forming the hat's brim. It too had to be iced in black, but at least it was horizontal, and would hold the icing! Unless of course, it was cut with the center hole too large, and therefore, won't stay on top of the cake, but rather, falls to the bottom, scraping away all icing from the sides as it goes...

Do you have a mental image yet? Let me remind you, it was mid summer, in the 90's, the oven's been on, there's no A/C, I'm pregnant, stressed out, pissed off and cussing... Oh yes, there was much cussing that day. I've spent hours trying to find a picture of what that cake was supposed to look like. I haven't found one. I'd like to believe that's because no one's been able to actually accomplish such a feat of baking 'magic.' I do have a picture of how my poor son's eighth birthday cake looked though:

Thanks to the local Bi-Lo bakery department!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

To Defy Gravity (55 words)

To Defy Gravity

It's eighty-five degrees
and the harvest moon
is just a promise unkept,
dangled low and round
against the horizon, swaying
on the tips of spent corn
and sunflowers -
a sensuous redhead
rustling on a soiled stage.

I smile beneath her lies
and rise, dabbing sweat
that obeys gravity
in the depression
between my October breasts.

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Friday, October 21, 2005


Yup, I don't do memes, but this is the second one this week right? *sigh* Sorry!
This is the "Spreading the Joy" meme. Basically, you search your own blog for an entry containing the word "joy" and repost a bit of it and link to it, so that others can read it, in its joyous entirety, and be overjoyed with joyfulness.

When I saw that Garnet had tagged me, I groaned... not only am I a non-meme-er, I wondered if I had ever used the word joy in my blog at all! I haven't exactly been, you know, gushing or whatever lately - so, thankfully, there is a list of alternate words (amusement, bliss, cheer, comfort, delectation, delight, ecstasy, elation, exaltation, exultation, exulting, felicity, gaiety, gladness, glee, good humor, gratification, happiness, hilarity, humor, jubilance, liveliness, merriment, mirth, pleasure, rapture, regalement, rejoicing, revelry, satisfaction, wonder) and realized there was no way I had used most of them, so I searched for joy, and this (and a few others) is what I found:

Special Days

"...Christmas. In all its gift wrapped jingle bell flashing joy, our joyous trips to the battered woman's shelter to enjoy the spirit of giving (with the selfish benefit of watching those little kids' eyes light up) what could possibly be more special a day!? And added to the mix this year, somewhere in there between pumpkin pie and eggnog, will be the birth of another baby. Is there really anything more special than that? First cries, first feedings, isn't there something simply gorgeous in watching a newborn baby yawn..."

This entry was for the Tarheel Tavern recently, and it found me on one of my warm-fuzzy days. It was supposed to refer to a special day and I was feeling so sweet and loveable that day that I couldn't pick just one out of the hundred times a year that you have the opportunity to make a special day out of an ordinary one.

I was listed as an 'alternate' on the tag list, so I'm not tagging 5 people like I'm supposed to. Hell, I never tag anyone anymore with memes that I choose to do, but feel free to take part in the spread the joy movement!

Here's what to do:

Search your blog for the word 'joy' used in the context of 'happiness'. If you cannot find the word in your weblog, you may use any of the select list of synonyms below. "joy - amusement, bliss, cheer, comfort, delectation, delight, ecstasy, elation, exaltation, exultation, exulting, felicity, gaiety, gladness, glee, good humor, gratification, happiness, hilarity, humor, jubilance, liveliness, merriment, mirth, pleasure, rapture, regalement, rejoicing, revelry, satisfaction, wonder."
If your weblog does not include a built-in search engine, then you can use Google to search it only for the word you wish to find. If you've found the word and it was not used facetiously or sarcastically, good for you. All you need to do is link to your earlier entry, and write a few words about that joyous moment. If, however, you have no joy (whole words only) in your weblog, you must dig deep in your soul and find something wonderful in your life right now. One little thing that fills you with warmth, that bubbles you over with quiet happiness, or tickles you with its good-hearted hilarity, or makes you glad you just took a breath, and are getting ready to take another. It doesn't have to be anything big. A smile someone gave you; your cat on your shoulder; the way the light angles through your window and casts rainbows on your floor. All it has to be is something genuine, something real, something that matters to you. Because we all need joy in our lives, and need to take the time - from time to time - to recognize it. And sometimes, we need to pass it on.

Even if we're a big pain in the ass when we do.When you've dealt with your own joy, pass the quest on to five other bloggers.

Blog Find

They say that blogging is the wave of the future, that it has the potential to change the face of the future, of media and news outlets, that it will be the vehicle by which we are educated, informed - how we will voice our opinions, how we will be heard as a global society. I don't doubt a word of it, and I think it will bean extremely good thing - that it already is a good thing, and that all of the above is already happening.

I also believe that there are blogs (much like mine) that are a bit like the tabloids:entertaining, but not overly informative. There are some that resemble literary journals, some that will be the opinionated self-serving rags that we see in print today. There are politically charged 'magazines' for the left, for the right, for the libertarians, for the mainstream, for the kooks, and for the mainstream kooks. Truth be told, the vast majority of them are useless blather that serve no real purpose and appeal to only a select small population of the blogosphere. I personally go days, weeks sometimes, without finding a blog that I feel really deserves any attention, and so, when I find one that, at least to me, really holds some potential, some true insight, it makes my day, and I share it with the small population of the blogosphere that, for whatever reason, finds my little plot of webland worth reading.

"Whose life are you living anyway? [link]
What should we do with our time, our life and our energy? When everybody claims to know what is best for us who should we listen to? The short answer is yourself.

But first you must have clarity of mind. . . "

"A Change is Gonna Come. [link]
On this planet we have isolated ourselves from each other in countless ways. We are divided by the color of our skin. We are divided by religion and borders. We are divided by age, intelligence and gender. We are divided by language and income. We are divided by education and politics. We are divided against each other and it is all illusory; a hoax. . ."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Poetry Carnival!!!

I'm post-dating this entry to keep it up top. New entries will be below this.
Time to let this sink a bit, since I'm screwing up with the post sticking at the top of THEIR page as well... sorry guys!
The Poetry Blog Carnival is going up right here on October 30th!
This month I have decided to use a theme, a bit like Daniel did last round. What I'm looking for is imagery, be it visual, audial, tactile, etc...You name it, but play with my senses!
Submit to in the following format:
Your Name (or pseudonym):
Title of Blog:
URL of Blog:
Title of Poem:
Permalink URL of the Poem:
Excerpt to showcase:
The deadline will be October 29th at noon, and I'll have it posted by noon on the 30th.
I'm looking forward to all of your submissions!
If you haven't joined the poetry carnival yet, but want to - sign up for the google group at We're hoping to expand our membership, and our network of blogging poets, so feel free to join us!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Another Full Moon Post

God I'm a sucker for a full moon in October, when the air is chilly and smells like absolute purity. The autumn sky is so surrealistically clear tonight. It's unbelievably beautiful outside, each star is perfectly crisp, like a painting. I just want to stand, gawking up at it, slack-jawed like the village idiot, and let the beauty seep in. I was so overwhelmed by it that for all the poetry I wanted to write, all I could manage were useless cliches about diamonds and velvet and backlit tapestries pierced with holes... Pitiful in comparison to the words this night deserves. Maybe I've written about it too much, but I can't seem to express just what effect a night like this has on me - it's primal and spiritual and leaves me speechless and frustrated by that lack of words.

I wish I could paint, or take a decent photograph or something... something. God it's beautiful.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Why do I post these?

"There is a notable sincerity to your writing which is very bright, but we feel it fades for want of polish."

*Bangs head on desk*

Would it make me a loser to admit that a rejection has left me with that sick feeling of disappointment in my chest?

And it was a great rejection letter even! Very complimentary. I am rarely complimented and rejected simultaneously... I am also rarely so determined to see my name in a particular publication, or so personally affected by rejection.


I think the thing that gets me is that I know they're right. I've been lazy lately, lazy and a little cocky.

Straighten your ass up Erin and ya might just eventually get in there!

The Colored Funeral

this is a rewrite of the post directly prior to this one
The Colored Funeral

It's like the graveyard in autumn:

feathered Sunday hats are held high
above acorn faces smoothed with pain.
Mothers and Aunties, wail, weak-kneed
to the ground like wind blown leaves.

Creased mahogany skirts in patterns
at their feet, swirled by afternoons
crisp with the scent of earth
freshly folded over a winter crop.

And as the wind keens in the oaks -
cold hymns sung through fingers
laced in a canopy of prayer -
the cicada is finally silent.

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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Autumn in the Graveyard

Autumn in the Graveyard

Have you ever been to a colored funeral?
It's like Autumn in the graveyard:

Feathered Sunday hats are held high, defiant
over acorn faces, smooth with pain.
Mothers and Aunties, weak-kneed, wail
to the ground like wind blown leaves.

Mahogany patterns skirt their feet, creased by grief
and the air is crisp, scented with winter planting.
Turnips are turned, left in favor of greens.

And there is wind.

Limbs sway with cold keening for the locust,
though their songs may have interrupted dreams,
for sleepless is yet preferable to dead.

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Wet Envy

Wet Envy

It's been raining since last Thursday
coating cars and roads with wet October.

The first acorn finally fell
lost its grip and slipped
from dripping branches
to its cracked-head landing
on the neighbor's porch roof.

The tin-tang-scuttle-thump
startled me from the grey
that has washed away this week,
and I imagined hungry squirrels
in holly berry bickerings.

I envy them. Niceties are wearisome
in the onset of a winter chill.

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Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day - October 15th.

Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.
~Ronald Reagan 1988

It isn't something you discuss over lunch with your co-workers. It isn't something most people think about at all, unless they've experienced the loss of a child. Those that have think about it all the time, and yet, we don't discuss it as we'd like - it creates such a level of discomfort in those around us that we learn to hold our tongues. Actually, when we lose our baby(ies), we often lose friends as well because people just don't know how to deal with or discuss this extremely painful and tragic occurrence in our lives.

The result is that the silence continues. People remain uneducated to how to help those who are dealing with the grief, while bereaved parents remain isolated in their grief and feeling pain and loneliness that lead to guilt. Guilt and frustration that our children have become less human in the eyes of others, that they seem to become secrets, taboo, a shameful subject we aren't welcome to discuss.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and I for one, am going to do my part to end this painful cycle. It is a phenomena that grieving parents shouldn't have to face. Our children deserve to be recognized and acknowledged, and only through public awareness can that happen.

It's estimated that nearly half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, not to mention deaths caused by illness, injury, Prematurity, Cerebral Palsy, SIDS or birth defects, so chances are that either you, or someone close to you, has lost a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. Each of those children have parents and grandparents who are left devastated by the death, and alone in the shadows to deal with their pain in silence. Raise your voice today in an effort to make our children's lives matter.

Do your part to shed some light on our pain so that we don't feel the shame so often associated with our tragic loss. Wear a pin, put a magnet on your car, Attend a candlelight vigil or march, or just talk to someone about it today, you might just be surprised to find out that the person you talk to has lost a child, and by how much they'll appreciate your gesture.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Car Magnet

Order Now
Approx. 3 7/8" x 8"

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Oh My Charlotte


OhMyCharlotte is a citizen journalism website for Charlotte North Carolina. Apparently a fairly new thing, but definitely new to me. I only heard of them for the first time yesterday.

It's an aggregated blog, with feeds plucked from various Charlotte area blogs. I don't know who decides which feeds are chosen, but according to my referral pages in my stats, mine was. I don't see anything very newsworthy about my T-shirt story (which was a prompted post for the Tarheel Tavern) but I just wanted to say thanks and help get their name out there, because I think it's going to be a good thing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

My Favorite T-shirt

The UAW-GM Quality 500 is Saturday - Scott plans on taking Brendon. He goes every time he can - always for free thanks to WIXE of Monroe and their contests He won the tickets that got me to Lowe's the first time as a matter of fact. The first race I went to was the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May 2000. I was so excited too.

We parked a million miles away and walked up, passing hundreds of vendors selling koozies and flags and hats and and pictures and posters and t-shirts and just about anything else you can think of - all emblazoned with the car numbers of your favorite drivers. I, being a Mark Martin fan, bought a #6 tank top, because you have to buy something to remember your first race by, right?

Once we, and the accompanying throng of fans, made our way through the gates, I realized a few things:
1. Pizza tastes better when it's too thin, too greasy and too damn expensive, when you buy it at the track.
2. The race comes with a distinct smell - an amalgamation of racing fuel, grilled everything, beer and sweat.
3. The infield is comprised of an entire counter culture of people that you'll never meet the likes of anywhere else.

Anyway, here we are, propped up on top of the WIXE party van - livin large redneck style, eating free Bo-Jangles and drinking Mt Dew like there's no tomorrow, and screaming our fool lungs out trying to encourage Martin in his #6 to move his ass to the front. I love Martin, and by god I think he might just do it this year, but 2000 was not exactly his best year. It was however the year we met Matt Kenseth and his Dewalt #17, and the year Mark took Matt under his wing. So, when Mark wasn't doing so well, I couldn't help but secretly hope Matt at least did well.

Now I have to admit, proud as I was of my shirt, thrilled as I was to be at my first race, excited as I was by the roaring of engines as they flew by at what seemed like impossible speeds, so fast, I don't think I ever actually knew which car was which (the best I could do was figure out the main color in the color scheme lol) I got bored. It grew tiresome. The noise and the fuel began to give me a headache, and I got restless. damn woman, right? I know, I know. I also began to get pretty pissed of at Old Mark and his cordial polite ways - it seemed he was just letting everyone slide right by out of manners or something. Eventually, I began focusing less on the Blue and White blur and more on the Yellow and black one.

And what an impressive blur it was too! That rookie blur of speeding 29 year old took off like he owned Lowe's. And by the end of the race, he did - he owned Lowe's Motor Speedway and the 2000 Coca-Cola 600 as his first career win, and I got to see it.

So this is a picture of my Mark Martin #6 tank top that reminds me of Matt Kenseth's Rookie year and my very first Nascar race, back when Nascar was Nascar, and Winston Cup was Winston Cup. Screw Nextel!

Go Matt?

Now for my confession - this isn't actually THE shirt. I was too lazy to unpack all my non-pregnant clothes that I packed up months ago, so this is a nearly exact facsimile. Please pardon any lack of authenticity :)


Wednesday, October 12, 2005


I'm in the middle of writing a piece that draws a rather odd parallel, a metaphor I doubt many others will see. I wonder what that means about me, as a writer, that I can acknowledge this without worrying much about it? Perhaps I've gotten a bit cockier than I should. It's just that I really like this idea, and I think, without the metaphor coming to the fore, the poem has its own merit, enough to be what it is on its surface.

Unfortunately, the ending is giving me a fit, so we'll see what we see.

I just got home from an orthodontist appointment with Kassi. It's been far longer than it should have been since her last visit, but they cancelled the last one and we couldn't seem to get a hold of them to reschedule. No one would answer the phone or return phone calls when we left a message. When we arrived this morning, they have revamped their entire system and lost one of my favorite receptionists. I don't know if she left and that's what caused the problems or if her not performing her duties caused the problems that precipitated her leaving...

It doesn't really matter, I dislike this office set up, dislike the personnel, dislike the drive up there (45 minutes in Charlotte traffic) and the orthodontist himself, sweet as he is, is wearing this as an excuse to continue going there.

I have an appointment for myself tomorrow. I'm sorry that I'm not the more warm-fuzzy type who looks forward to these things, what with fetal heart beat monitors and sweet-smiley nurses, but I dread them. Every visit is more and more like a trip to the orthodontist, only a much shorter drive. Maybe it's because the due date is looming larger and larger, sneaking into my near future, rather than my distant future. Only 9 weeks and a day to go to the projected date of arrival, however reliable (or not) that is, and I'll freely admit that I'm terrified. The concept of labor and deliver ties my intestines in knots, and the idea of another newborn, well, I'm afraid I'm not entirely sure my conscious mind has accepted that as fact.

Silly, some women reach my age and haven't had any children yet, they ache to get started, tick-tock-tick-tock and all that. Me? I thought for sure that by now I'd be done with this pregnancy bit.

The kids are all in a year-round school, which means that every nine weeks they get out for 2 - 3 weeks. They've been out for what, today anyway, seems like an eternity. I love my kids, I love spending time with them and doing stuff and going places. Most of the best moments of my life have been the spontaneous accidental moments that happened without any planning or expectations, you know? But after a few weeks of 24/7, I honestly just need them to go back to the nice reliable school routine. I feel that way more often lately - I guess I just need more alone time, as if there's any such thing when you're incubating the youngest, and it finds it necessary to remind you of its presence every, oh I dunno, 2.6 seconds.

To be completely truthful, I'm exhausted, I feel like every waking moment of my life is spent doing for someone else, and considering I sleep an average of 3 hours a night, that's a lot of doing. I know, it isn't going to get easier, I'm no dummy, and I've been through it a time or 2 before, but - sigh - I'm just tired is all.

So there's Wednesday in a pair of strappy sandles. Happy LOST watching to all, and to all a good night. I have shit to do that I don't feel like bothering with (grocery shopping, dinner making, laundry folding - how I wish the word 'nap were in there somewhere) to start and finish before my one and only vice comes on later.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Did It

I am non-confrontational. I am peace-loving and, in many situations, entirely too submissive for my own good.

Today, I was not. Today, I put my foot down. I surpassed what, at one point, had become something of a friendship, or at the very least, what I perceived to be a mutual respect - and spoke my mind. I demanded what I deserve, using all evidence in my possession to overcome the inevitable arguments.

I put aside my fears for the ramifications, my concerns for the possible effect on future business dealings in the world of publication, and my good old home-grown southern belle sweetness to insist that I receive satisfaction in a situation where there is no doubt that I'm in the right.

I do not feel empowered, though maybe mildly proud of the guts I finally scraped together to accomplish this not-so-small feat of fortitude. My guts are like jelly and I'm worried about just how, in a world of backstabbers, overly sensitive poets, and seriously female females, this will be twisted into a weapon upon which I will soon find myself professionally impaled. For that, my dears, is simply how things work out for me.


I'm Sorry Mama...

Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day, a project spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights, advocacy and lobbying group in the United States of America. National Coming Out Day also celebrates the October 11, 1987 LGBT March on Washington.


Ever wake up with the sense of impending doom?

Yeah, good morning to you too world. I hope it's just some weird left-over remnant of a forgotten dream I was having, but I'm too familiar with this feeling to believe that.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pointless in the Blogosphere

Is there a point to having a blog that doesn't allow comments? Personally, I think it's damn cowardly to voice some highly controversial or emotional opinion, and not allowing anyone to respond. Makes me think that the blogger who does so sees the weakness in their position and fears the confrontation - fears taking the chance of being made to look like a damn fool and being proven wrong.

Maybe that's just me, but it really irks the shit out of me to come across a blog like that.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Still Life on Sunday Morning

Still Life on Sunday Morning

The art of silence hangs, habitual, over breakfast:
pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon, limp like he

likes. Color bleeds, apple into orange, crystal
and silver, washed by morning light and she hides,

behind salt and pepper lines of the paper. Partial
profile barely shows; below the fold are yesterday's

hot items. She studies comics like Picassos, values
their beauty and pities imprisonment in frames.


Seriously need some opinions on this one folks... it's written for a solicited submission, and I'm not sure about it. Theme: Living Arrangements

Baby Names

So we don't know the gender of this child, and we've been beating our brains out over what to name "it."
We wanted a name that started with a B, and preferred an Irish name, especially if it's a boy. However, B names are hard to come by in the Irish/Gealic/Celtic circles, or at least, names that don't suck are so we've come up with the following, with the help of our wonderful children.

  • Bailey - Gaelic - derivitive of Bailintin - Valiant
  • Brock - Celtic - Badger-like.
  • Conner - Irish - Exalted
  • Donovan - Gaelic - Dark warrior
  • Quinn - Celtic - Wise
  • Brianna - Celtic - strong
  • Brooke - English - Stream
  • Ciara (pronounced Kee-air-uh) - Irish - Saint
  • McKenzie - Irish - Wise Leader's daughter

At the moment the combinations we're leaning toward are:
Ciara Brooke and Donovan Quinn. So much for the "B" names eh?

My daughter, funny lil thing that she is, thinks that we should use the following names:
Girl - Brooke Lynn
Boy - Brock Lee

Isn't she a hoot!?

And all of a sudden in the last 5 minutes, we like Brianna Brooke...
poor kid'll be a week old before we actually name it.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Special Days

This week's Tarheel Tavern theme is "Special Days" and I've been thinking about it for a few days now, trying to decide which way to go with it. I honestly consider these early days in fall to be special. And somehow this year I'm really finding a huge amount of comfort in the change of the quality of the air and the (so-far-ever-so-slight) change in the colors of the yard and garden. Autumn has always been sort of magical to me, and therefore one of my favorite seasons. But I don't think that's what the host had in mind, so I think I'll go in another direction.

So then, there are the upcoming holidays. In a house full of children like I have, the next few months are absolutely packed with special days. There's Halloween, with its bags full of candy and unrestrained incognito-chaos, the costumed parties and the only opportunity all year to be rude enough to actually just come right out and ASK FOR CANDY! Then Thanksgiving for us all, with too much turkey, family togetherness and tryptophan naps during half-time - and of course, Christmas. In all its gift wrapped jingle bell flashing joy, our joyous trips to the battered woman's shelter to enjoy the spirit of giving (with the selfish benefit of watching those little kids' eyes light up) what could possibly be more special a day!? And added to the mix this year, somewhere in there between pumpkin pie and eggnog, will be the birth of another baby. Is there really anything more special than that? First cries, first feedings, isn't there something simply gorgeous in watching a newborn baby yawn - tiny little fist curled and drawn to its beautiful little lips?

So what have I decided to do for this week's Tavern theme? I haven't decided a thing, there are far too many special days in life to pick just one...


"I begin then, with my list of truisms, every one of which, I
know, with certainty, to be true."
~ G.E. Moore

Poetic Acceptance is more than just a vaguely emo-teen-ish cutesy title to me - it really is a philosophical premise, a personal truism. There are times when you either accept, change, or go crazy. I suppose it's a bit reminiscent of the serenity prayer. The secret is in the knowing whether to accept a situation or to try to change it. Sometimes, reality in and of itself makes that decision for you - death, for example, cannot be changed, it just is, and must be accepted. (Unless your religious/spiritual beliefs lend to the assumption that death is not final, such as in the case of reincarnation. But speaking in a practical sense, someone else's death, or more precisely, their absence from our lives due to that death, is an unalterable truth.)

That finality and inarguability is probably the hardest part of death to come to grips with, the most difficult to accept, and yet, isn't it easier to not have to make the decision? There is no choice, you simply do what you must. When there is a choice to be made, that decision making process is by far more complicated.

Is a particular situation changeable? With how much effort? Is the effort worth the result? Can you do it alone, or will you need help?

I find that if I can change it on my own, I tend to lean toward toward attempting that change, but if I must rely on someone else, I will normally opt to accept. This isn't laziness or lack of motivation - it is a form of acceptance in itself. I accept that I cannot cause someone else to implement a change on my behalf; they must see that change in a way that benefits them, and in a way that leads them to the willingness to put forth the necessary effort. If they don't, they most likely won't bother.

Unfortunately, it isn't that cut and dried, thanks to the very human emotion we call hope. I hope too much. . . Isn't hope supposed to be a positive emotion?! For me, I wait and hope for far too long that some other individual will see the personal benefit of the change I desire. They rarely do, and I land smack dab in the middle of choice number three... Going crazy trying to change something that I can't, wasting precious time that should be spent coming to the acceptance.

Perhaps I'm learning how close "acceptance" sometimes is to "resignation."

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Not a Tanka

Autumn Contemplations

The lilies have wilted, weighted
by the dogwood's scarlet berries
and red-tipped leaves -
one pitiable death born
in the beauty of another.




I was forced to learn
the answers cannot be found
in a pool of light
so I flounder in darkness
straining my eyes and searching.


Monday, October 3, 2005


Made my submission to TMR last night... wish me luck! I have the hardest time selecting which pieces are my "best." I hope I chose the right ones to send to them. They say they respond in 2 - 6 weeks. I can handle that. I think that's part of the reason I haven't submitted to Ploughshares; it isn't the rejection that I dread, it's waiting 3 months to get it ;)

Still waiting to hear from Melic. I have a strong suspicion that my submission got lost in their recent shuffle, since their deadline is a monthly rolling deadline and it's been well over one month. I hate when that happens, at some point you have to decide whether you're being impatient, or if there's a reason to think you should contact them, then take the chance of being wrong and pissing someone off.
**Guess I was hitting the bottle when I read these guidelines, they plainly say "less or equal to 4 months..."
Glad I went back and re-read before I contacted them! DUH Erin!

Also still waiting for word from the Tigertail Anthology. I don't know why I submitted there, call it a whim. Their guidelines were sketchy and unclear, which means there was no statement as to a response time, or projected publication date. Basically, they're one of those, "shut up and wait" subs. I've been at the shutting up and waiting for 3 months now, but with an anthology the wait is more extended than it is with a monthly/quarterly publication, so I'll just keep waiting for now.

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Sunday, October 2, 2005

It's Time Again

It's really time to make some more submissions. Angie suggested I submit Mimosa Skirt somewhere, and it made me realize how few poems I have waiting around for a response. So I've been considering just where to make my submissions. I'm really leaning more toward print journals than ezines right now. I won't get into the conversation about whether online publication holds the same prestige as hard-copy publication. That's a discussion for another day now isn't it? What I will say is that I've been published online, several times in several zines, some more noteworthy than others, but aside from the chapbook (which as far as I can tell has been a miserable failure, and quite possibly a rip-off to boot) I have never been published in print.

I am, at times, embarrassed by my lack of credits when writing up a bio, particularly when submitting to a more reputable journal or zine, which is where I want to start focusing my efforts. In other words, I'm having a hard time deciding where to send submissions to. What journals are worth embarrassing myself for? If I'm going to lay myself out there all naked and vulnerable, I want it to be worth the humiliation, so that if and when I start receiving acceptances from print journals, they will be substantial credits, not fly-by-night, useless names on a list that no one of import would recognize (or worse yet, a list they'd laugh at.)

I had seriously considered Ploughshares. Crazy, I know, an absolute guaranteed rejection, but I really wanted to do it. Somewhere along the way I chickened out on that. I can't explain why, I'm not afraid of being turned down by them exactly, because I would expect to be rejected but, well, it seems like an effort in futility - a misdirected pointless submission that I can't really financially afford.

The Modern Review is a definite, I was really, for some reason, impressed with the tone of their rejection. I should have done what Vickie did and go for the free issue, but that felt like I wasn't willing to invest in a magazine I want to be included in, so I didn't, because I do want in The Modern Review, and the least I can do is support their magazine. The ironic thing is, I can't afford the damned subscription.

Other than those two, I'm really unsure of where to submit.

I'm tossing around the names of a few local/regional publications, like The Greensboro Review. They've been printing for nearly 4 decades, during which time they've published poets such as Ezra Pound. They seem well rounded, well organized and well respected, and are at the top of my list. Unfortunately, I discovered them on September 17th, and they're reading for the next issue closed on the 15th. (Yes, more irony.)

Another North Carolina journal I'm looking at is the Oyster Boy Review, and again, submissions closed in September. They open again in January, and assuming my newborn-baby-depleted mind can retain the idea, I intend to submit there as well.

Of course there are others that aren't so local, some that aren't so traditional - some university based presses to look into, etc...

We shall see!

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Saturday, October 1, 2005

whois pacman

Output from ARIN WHOIS

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Address: 4545 15th Ave NE
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Parent: NET-128-0-0-0-0
NetType: Direct Allocation
Updated: 2002-08-08

TechHandle: UW-NOC-ARIN
TechName: University of Washington Networks and Distributed
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OrgAbuseName: University of Washington Security Operations
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Not a creation poem

A Memory of Smoke

He took night into his breath --
inhaled the light of meteor trails
and exhaled the ebony sky above him.

These were momentous sighs, embroidered
with sapphire and opal threads, each
a stitch of vapor in the space of tomorrow.

They issued from his bonfire chest
like birth wails and high tide; cicada songs,
bowed and powerless, rose to greet them.

There, drawn in the raging flame of sea
with one whispered proclamation, was dawn.

This was spawned by a list of Round Robin prompts posted here by Vickie


Fall is a Beautiful Liar

Fall is a Beautiful Liar

There never were words to describe it -

The cicada song grows wearisome and
he sings despite his wings
being seared away by August.

The jade velvet of flower beds
has not weathered well under
the heat of fevered weeding;

always stroking - twisting - pulling -
where has the ease of nature gone?

The lily's curves have turned to wilt
and the morning glory is sleeping in
past the humid languor of summer.

All that remains are grubs that thrive
on the chilled skeletons of September.
There is no promise but that of death

and there never were words to describe it.