Midnight Jasmine

Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash : Midnight Jasmine : I blame myself. The years that keep going by, the countries between us, the many hands that have touched you since, the many lips. You, who were so new. They say you love what you’ve lost. My loss is a desert of books, furniture, people.... Continue Reading →

The Fig Tree

Photo by Jeremy Bishop via Unsplash : The Fig Tree : We walk down the path with our children. Dust rises behind us like smoke.  The ground is littered with figs: small purple bodies burst open to show their red seeds.  Foreignness blooms quietly inside their wounds. All these years I wished to be whole,... Continue Reading →

The Riddle

Photo by Randy Tarampi via Unsplash :   The Riddle : A book is a set of dead symbols. And then, the right reader comes along and the words—or rather the poetry behind the words—spring into life and we have a resurrection of the word.                      ... Continue Reading →

Portrait with Crows

Photo by Alexander Sinn via Unsplash : Portrait with Crows : This evening turned the day’s blaze into rain. Crows beside the window, harsh caws carving a space in my stomach. The bright spot of orange hue in front of me stays. My daughter’s painting, untouched yet by artifice, nor willed into shape. So abstract... Continue Reading →

Finger-wagging

Photo by Erik Mclean via Unsplash : Finger-wagging : Do it in pairs. If there’s no one left in the world, wag at yourself. The rules are simple: find something to wag about. Reading too much. Cheating. Bad eating habits. Lack of exercise. Exorcisms. Out of body experiences. Politics, money, religion. Seriousness or frivolity. Sleeping.... Continue Reading →

Alter Ego

Photo by Harry Quan via Unsplash :   Alter Ego   : I didn’t know what she was: that brittle, reed-like, human-like riddle. A paper whisper. A burn. She made an ark for a language the color of loneliness. Words rushed to her. So did the clouds. It was hard to watch her drown in... Continue Reading →

The Snare

Photo by Tertia van Rensburg via Unsplash :   The Snare : A mind like a ring Sliding shut on some quick thing. ~ Sylvia Plath, “The Rabbit-Catcher” Had it been you, all along.       Had it been you.   Or my fear  of telling the truth.  Of telling the fear.    How do I know. ... Continue Reading →

Family Lore

Leonora Carrington  Self-Portrait: The Inn of the Dawn Horse :   Family Lore : 1. Wrath During lightning storms, my father rows out to sea. The villagers hide behind closed shutters, while the man they once hated lures the thunderclouds away from the shore. From the hill tower, my siblings and I watch the fireworks:... Continue Reading →

Conversation

Vincent Van Gogh  Enclosed Field in the Rain : Conversation : It’s frivolous, this rain, with its .            unreasonable claims .                         on our silence. You stalk the hallway, I crush .            tears in my fist.... Continue Reading →

A Poet Is

Photo by Dominik VO via Unsplash : A Poet Is : 1. An eel, open-mouthed at the mouth of its burrow, borrowing time until the right prey comes along. Fish glide by with their frivolous tails of who kissed whom in the seaweed and who got in trouble with the shark. 2. An owl, morose... Continue Reading →

Fine, Then

Image courtesy of Alien Covenant : Fine, Then : No one wants to touch the skin of this poem, its unhatched enigma. The words sit in rows like alien pods, oozing deceit. Truth is rarely the destination to begin with, but it helps to know where you’re going. Or so I’ve been told. Perhaps there’s... Continue Reading →

Spring Inspection

Photo by Anton Scherbakov via Unsplash : : Spring Inspection : She lies on the couch, legs crossed, eyes staring into the ceiling. A day comes when she’ll have to do something: go out and shuffle through the snow, fall on the ground, stand up and run, smell the bushes for a sign of spring or dog... Continue Reading →

Salt Marsh

Photo by Christin Hume via Unsplash :   Salt Marsh   : Someday she will start writing, leaving her fear behind— a coat on the doorstep. Words, rusty in their hinges, will blow against the old barn, will whistle in the thin rain. She’ll hear a door close with a bang, a dog howl at... Continue Reading →

Compromise

Photo by Hilthart Pedersen via Unsplash   : Compromise : A flask empty of wine on the table. The table wanting for food in a house missing its people. Things are meant to be filled with other things. The sky, empty of birds, has clouds, at least. They carry no rain. Far below, the earth... Continue Reading →

Count Your Blessings

Photo by Taylor Ann Wright via Unsplash : Count Your Blessings : Sneer, counting the moments touched by joy, the ones currently marching like mad across your front lawn. You clearly see them for what they are—frauds, counterfeit, foolish impostors, because, let’s be real, no way in hell do you deserve what brushed by with... Continue Reading →

Amnesia

Photo by Gaelle Marcel via Unsplash :: Amnesia : 1. We’re alone on the brink of this tabletop. .           We rub air between our palms, sweat .           between our bellies. .                      Our voices drop like ripe fruit.... Continue Reading →

The Icon

St. John the Theologian : : The Icon : We crouched in the dirt behind the empty church and watered dry lumpy clods with our piss. We laughed at the yellow jets running between our feet, twin rivulets rushing to meet and flood a colony of ants. Disaster, perhaps, on a miniature scale, but not... Continue Reading →

The Fool

Image courtesy of incandescenttarrot.com : The Fool :  The fool pauses on the precipice of a word. He surveys the great blue. It’s cloudy today. Perhaps tomorrow he’ll write a poem about flying. Today must be rooted in dirt. Step after step after step, the fool descends. It’s been eons since he left the summit.... Continue Reading →

The Wolves and the Crucifix

Keith Haring's wolves : The Wolves and the Crucifix : Based on Keith Haring’s “Suite of Five Prints,”—(“Two Animal Images Falling/Jumping”; “Two Figures with Crucifix”), screenprint on paper, 1982. : The wolves keep coming to my door, they keep coming. Today they hold a cross like a trophy. Ink drips from their paws onto the... Continue Reading →

The Pond

Image courtesy of Solitude Lake Management : The Pond : Writing is like fishing in that silt-choked pond behind your grandfather’s farm, where you knew you were unlikely to catch anything, since there were no fish left, only frogs, and maybe the occasional cottonmouth, which wasn’t something you hoped to reel in, and yet, here... Continue Reading →

Dreaming in Swiss (Again)

Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash : Happy to see my March post Dreaming in Swiss appear on the Ruminate Blog today! "For people feeling overwhelmed by life's frantic pace," says the Ruminate website, "a contemplative and imaginative space changes everything. Join our community, and let's practice staying awake together." Check them out. You won't regret it.

Tentative Futures

Greg Spalenka Divinus : Tentative Futures : You try to forgive words their push and pull. In the garden, the cherry tree has sprouted buds, each one enveloping a heartbeat. You lean against the trunk, listening to the hum under its bark, remembering what it was like to carry that same echo deep in the... Continue Reading →

The Lion

Leonard Myburgh Airbrushed Lion Courtesy of lonehillart.com : The Lion : Every angel is terrifying.                         ~ Rilke He comes in the dark, breaks doors, muscles his way through windows. His wings wrap around my heart like sin. His words run through my blood... Continue Reading →

Rip Van Winkle

N. C. Wyeth Rip Van Winkle : Rip Van Winkle : In the evening she sits on the couch. The sunset starts a fire around her head, like a halo. She reads and her hair streams down in black coils past her waist, past her knees. It hesitates when it reaches the floor, but then... Continue Reading →

Migration

Migrating Snow Geese in Pennsylvania Photo courtesy of WabbyTwaxx via Birdshare : Migration : When the season ends, we flock South to the house of unfinished poems. Tired birds, we crowd in its rooms. Though close enough, our wings barely touch. They sweep the dust off the floor, the cobwebs off the ceiling. We have never tasted... Continue Reading →

The Mirror

Image courtesy of kreuzberged.com : The Mirror : You lie here wide-eyed as if the icon on the wall came alive—the small hand of the woman in red robes resting on your forehead. I wish I could be happy. Tomorrow the squirm in my blood will seem insignificant. The window checkers the bedspread. Meandering sleighs of... Continue Reading →

The Road

Dan Thomsett Snow in Minster : The Road : Just above the road there was this pale hand waving at me. Dust and ashes rose in the sun, The trees seemed to be in winter. Their long, crooked limbs poked into my eyes. I stepped on patches of ice. It could have been cotton, hardened... Continue Reading →

Welcome to NaPoWriMo 2018!

Image courtesy of http://www.napowrimo.net/ : The Date (Notes to Self) : Calm, cool, and collected, Poetry knocks at your door. I know you want to let him in. You should--no argument from me. But firstly, there are some things you might want to consider before cracking the door open and gazing into those dreamy eyes. That... Continue Reading →

On Beauty

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org : “Beauty like that is strength. […] One could turn the world upside down with beauty like that.” ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky “The Idiot” This page is dedicated to the work of human spirit: the things that feed our soul, keep us warm, make us grow. A brooding bird will often pluck its... Continue Reading →

Learning from the Swallow

Image courtesy of  www.stevegettle.com : A good part of my childhood was spent in my grandmother’s village, where I grew up believing that the mud nests the swallows built under our eaves brought us good luck. More swallow nests meant better luck. I remember the joy when yet another swallow family would choose to raise its young... Continue Reading →

Roots and Moss

Photo by Tim Laman : Speaking for the Trees : This page is an homage to things in nature that nourish a poet’s imagination: the roots and moss of poetry that contemplates, accepts, and embraces. So where does one start mapping this nest? Where does the glossary of tangible symbols that permeate a poet’s work... Continue Reading →

Pebbles and Sand

Image courtesy of www.littleterns.org : Poets throughout history have turned to animal and mineral being to express their own because from that storehouse a larger vocabulary of being, particularity, and wisdom can emerge. ~ Jane Hirshfield “Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry” Some poems are pebbles and some are sand. This sounds like the beginning... Continue Reading →

Impetus and Inertia

Photo source: Nividia Cave : I've always wondered what brings a work of art into being. The creative process is a mysterious one and I approach it with trepidation. There have been times when it seized me and tossed me around like a giant wave—and I've come to define those instances as moments of true inspiration.... Continue Reading →

Dreaming in Swiss

Pablo Picasso The Dream : To paraphrase the problem of the Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu, I may be a woman who has dreamed herself a skunk, or a skunk still dreaming she is a woman. ~ Louise Erdrich “The Blue Jay’s Dance” They say you know you've made it in a different language when you start dreaming... Continue Reading →

NaPoWriMo 2017

NaPoWriMo, the National Poetry Writing Month, begins in three days. Nothing like a deadline to light a fire under the caboose. Thirty poems in thirty days is no joke, but someone's gotta do it. This clayandbranches site has been a mere shadow of a thought for over a year. I may yet reach the conclusion that turning it into... Continue Reading →

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