Wednesday, January 30, 2013


some are cold and blue
the proteins formed
crystallized points
never forgotten
slept upon over time
an acupressure bed
of stored energy
released recuperatively

Prompted by Verse First ~ Icy at Poets United.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

"They will kill me . . . "

The dissonance of a political dissident
Sounded cliche
To my United States of American
Ears accustomed to hearing,
"My dad will kill me if he finds out"
And other idioms of death
Thrown about meaninglessly.

In my defense I did not know he was
Dissident; he was just a groom.
He was not just another Mexican.
But all those countries south,
To the average United States of American,
Are the same.
Even Guatemala in the 1980s.

When Immigration went on raids,
Carlos was afraid.
He always said,
"They will kill me if I go back."
How cliche.
When Carlos was deported,
We never heard from him again.

     **     **     **     **

History is the current event
Of yesterday
Within your comfort zone.
It is easier to take sides with the dead.
They don't require your helping hand
To pull them from a grave.
Your hands remain clean, not bloodied.

Your mental assent to their cause
Does not demand your personal descent
Into terror.
You can bury your head in the
Sands of history
And leave it there,
Safe from the sandstorm around you.

Know your history;
Escape the condemnation of
Repeating it.
Know that no one sits on the sidelines
Of its making.
Active or passive,
We all have blood on our hands.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Colors Learned in Preschool

The pigs,
That's what we called them,
Walked right in to wake me up
From my preschool nap.

The teacher,
She liked orange
Because it is a friendly color,
Chewed them up like a BLT.

Despite her indigestion
The pigs took me out
To the sidewalk by the green grass
For questioning.

They squatted in front of me.
It didn't stop my terror.
I'm pretty sure it tied my tongue.
Really, what could I have said?

Little white girl in a black neighborhood
Did not understand
What the problem was.  Is?

But I knew it had something to do with
The Twinkies.

My mom's friend was black,
You see, another color.
He looked suspicious
Picking up a brat like me.

He was pretty cool,
In retrospect,
Offered me a shiny red apple
Like First Lady Obama would.

But there were other colors
On the shelves
At my eye level
Like bright spongy yellow.

And I do remember throwing a fit.
And I do remember getting snatched
Up into his arms
With neither the red nor yellow.

I'm glad I wasn't there
When the black and white,
How ironic,
Cars surrounded him.

But I was taking a nap,
Because after the parade
He took me to school
And I fell asleep after Sesame Street.

Today I read Blue Ribbon owners
Will bid on Twinkies
And Ding Dongs
And other artificial colors.

Maybe I will drink their cheap beer
And remember an old friend.
I could do that.
But I won't eat a Twinkie.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In Whose Image Build We Fences?

If I were homeless,
I would find a big box.

If I had an old car,
I would roll up the window.

If I were a subdivider,
I would fence my yard in privacy.

If I were a rancher,
I would use barbed wire.

If I were an emperor,
I would build of blood and bone a wall.

If I were a god,
I would warp time and space to keep me in and you out.

But if I were One,
I would not want any fences.

Prompted by Verse First at Poets United.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Shut Up

It doesn't matter.
I don't care.
I haven't the heart.
Just leave it there :]

That's enough.
It will pass.
It's not enough.
It never lasts :]

Just walk away.
There's nothing there.
I don't matter.
It doesn't care.

One Hundredth Monkey

It is written that poetry and mathematics
Are incompatible areas of study.
On what planet?
The universe and all that is in it
Is written in the letters of numbers,
From laws of motion and gravity 
Holding earth together
To the golden mean of the human body.
This language in the hands of a poet
Would create an awesome poem
And it might sound like a composition
By Bach or MozArt 
Read by the voice of Aslan
Singing worlds together.
Borodin the chemist composer
Of symphonic poem
Was not an oxymoron
More renaissance man
Like Leonardo
Our planet needs more of.
A think tank of them
Might achieve
World peace and unobtainium.
On what planet?
There will always be a Roman soldier
To effect the death of Archimedes,
He who wrote only one poem.
There will always be a fanatic mob
To scrape off the skin and
Beat down the likes of Hypatia.
There will always be a library
Set on fire burning answers
To our numerological fate.
But one day there will be
The One-Hundredth Monkey of our race.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


I never knew my ears were odd
Because they came to points like no one else's
Until I went to school for public teasings
As if I were human, but of some other species.

So when I was eleven
I escaped in books of fantasy
And there met creatures elven
And others even more fantastical.

Still I could not shake the stigma
Of being different
And wished my pointed ears away.
Half granted, an ear ripped off one day.

And now I look a bit Van Gogh-ish
With a wish that one ear left
Is enough to grant me passage
Aboard a ship that's sailing west.

Though no longer in a hurry to board her
To lands far, far away
For I've been given offspring here
Who are just as weird as me.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

For Nigh a Millennium

Another sestina . . . 

. . . for Eleanor of Aquitaine . . .

. . . my 25th great grandmother according to Mormon mythology and numerical probability.  This is my first attempt at writing a sestina, but not the first sestina written of one beloved by troubadours.

Latin and literature entrained her mind;
Music and poetry bound the book of her heart.
Fearless on the hunt, with horse become one,
With imprinted hawk aloft her screeching soul.
A girl growing like a rose a beautiful body;
Blossoming, in a world of men, with thorns and spirit.

This granddaughter of a Dangerose spirit
And a warring troubadour's mind
Tempted princes with her lustrous body,
Captured from crusading knights their collective heart,
And released the doves from a singing serf's soul.
And the songs sung of her were more than one.

Of kings she married more than one:
Wearied of the first for his weak spirit,
Poor leadership, and ill-prepared monk's soul;
Recognized in the second an ambitious mind
To secure her land and royal heart.
Gave to both the garden of her body.

She bore and birthed ten babies from her body
And proved to be a privileged fecund one,
Yet still learned to bear a mother's broken heart,
Though it never broke her queenly spirit.
And when her king made sport with ones of lesser mind,
She became the keeper of her own soul.

And thus her king could not condemn her soul,
Though for sixteen years he imprisoned her body.
Nor could he prevent memories of music refreshing her mind
And, because her keep was not a windowless one,
Her soaring with falcons from the aerie of her spirit.
And as queen mother she never questioned the choices of her heart.

She outlived the choices of her heart
And retreated as an old soul
To an abbey to purify her spirit
And free it from her aging body
And teach it to fly to the one
Who gave it and all along enlightened her mind.

For nigh a millennium her soul has flown her body.
For nigh a millennium her heart not that of an entombed one.
For nigh a millennium her spirit inspiring the poetic mind.

Mother Goose OULIPO

I have wanted to live
Under a hill
Earth sheltered
Bermed and of
Constant temperature.
So it is logical for me
To play OULIPO
With Mother Goose's old
WOMAN under a HILL.
So I tried N + 7.
It gave:

There was an old WORD
Lived under a HIPPOPOTAMUS;
And if she's not gone,
She lives there still.

Hmm.  So I tried N + 7
On Edward Lear's nonsense.
Lear's nonsense made more sense.

So I went back to the HILL
In my paperback dictionary
Figuring it is more a game
Of literary potential
Than structured chaos
So I tweaked N + 7
And got:

There was an old WORD
Lived under a HINT;
And if she's not gone,
She lives there still.

And that to me
Is more satisfying.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Work inside
On concrete floor
Rings loud hour after hour.
Rushing here and there
To keep ahead of Nora V.
Hands grow cold
And jaw clenches.
Mind overwhelmed by
Human suffering
Clings to compassion
But feels like sinking.

Work outside
On lonely ground is
So quiet the first half hour.
Gathering firewood
The internal fire lights up
Coat comes off.
Here to stay awhile
Mind empties to
Silence so profound
That at once the forest sings
Welcome to the neighborhood.

A Bird Came Down the Walk: A Cento

There is a singer everyone has heard,     
Trills a wild and wondrous note,   
Knowing he has wings. 
Now he hears a footstep; wakes a sleeping power;    
A change of mood 
Unable to suck in light 
He scans me with a fearless eye.  
My incessant voice is heard  
The warping night air having brought the boom  
Like strings of broken lyres,     
But they hold no secret   
What thou among the leaves hast never known,  
Now vaguely hinted - nothing more.   
The sunlight speaks.  And its voice is a bird.  
A bubble of music floats.
Out of a sound heart and merry throat,
Is it world-old pain that wells?
Oh, tell me, art thou voice of bird or star?  
Oh that I had wings like a dove!  
Flying through the sky,  
The rushing amorous contact high in space together,  
Close to the sun in lonely lands,  
Sound the way I sound forever.  
For then I would fly away and be at rest.
Lo, then would I wander far off.
And remain in the wilderness.  
A feather on the ground -   
An indecipherable cause.    

Thanks to 's Poetic Forms Database.
Read the Bird Poems featured in this cento.

A Cento composed of lines from the following bird poems:  Emily Dickinson's A Bird Came Down the Walk (Title), Robert Frost's The Oven Bird,  Olive Thorne Miller,  Victor Hugo's The Bird, Will H. Ogilvie's The Heron, Robert Frost's Dust of Snow, Ted Hughes' Two Legends, Celia Baxter's The Sand Piper, Lucy Larcom, Richard Wilbur's  A Barred Owl, Thomas Hardy's The Darkling Thrush, R. Moore's Crows, John Keats' Ode to a Nightingale, Eben Pearson Dorr, Harry Kemp's The Hummingbird, Lucy Larcom, Ralph Waldo Emerson's Chickadee, Jennie Kiefer's Meadow-Lark!, Emily Tolman's The Hermit Thrush, Joseph Kozlowski's  Red-Winged Blackbird, Walt Whitman's The Dalliance of Eagles, Alfred Lord Tennyson's The Eagle, Timothy Donnelly's Enrique the Crow Speaks Loudly into the Tuba, Psalm 55, Gary Snyder's Magpie's Song, and Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.



Dreaming a
Now as


Posted for Poets United Wonder Wednesday #17 Wonder. . .  My eighth wonder of the world would be Dreamland.  You never know what you're going to get with your ticket to go there.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Count Dooku's Haiku

Five syllables here.
Seven syllables are here.
What should I put here?

     We, a free-versed family, will learn rhyming form and meter and walk across our pages with lithe poetic feet.  Today we tackle the haiku, because it is short and fits the attention spans of my tween, teen, and aging mother.  My son quick in wit and to get it over with gives us all three lines, the third to match the first.  
     My mother says, "At least it has 5-7-5 syllables, so many I read don't, but maybe I was reading a dooku or iku or sinku or tanku."
     I laughing announce, "Very well, but we don't have a leap of thought."
     My son thinks it, but my daughter's tongue jumps the gap first.  She says, "What should I put here?"
     We're done.  It's raining.  We will now watch Star Wars, again.  But we still don't have a title, so I say, "Let's call it Count Dooku's Haiku."  And now finished we are and rather proud of our creation; it took four of us to do it.  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

ABCs of Oklahoma

A is for Aldean
B is for Bryan
C is for Church, Coyotes, and Cusses
D is for Dodge, Dirt road, Donkeys
C  'cause you can't have Dodge without Chevy
E is for Eggs and bacon fried for breakfast
F is for Four-wheeler
G is for Gum, Guns, and toothless Gums
H is for Horse and bad Hay
I is for Iced tea
J is for Jesus riding a Jackass
K is for Kuntry store
L is for Little towns with Lightning bugs
M is for Mud and lack of Money
N is for Nature and Nothing of value
O is for Outhouses and Oddballs
P is for Puppies abandoned in a box
Q is for Quilt made by Choctaw
R is for Redbone coonhound
S is for Stone house and Snapping turtle
T is for Ticks spinning around in Tornadoes while I'm
Underground in shelter
V is for Venison and Vipers:
     copperheads, rattlers, and water moccasins
W is for Women in jail
X is for X-rays when I fell out of tree
Y is for Yacht, Yeah right
Z is for Tulsa Zoo
     where you can trade turtle shells for birds nests or vice versa.

  By Falls From Tree

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Oldest Professions

I know I have got it
From my baby-blue leggings
To the twirling whip in my fingers
To my long hair curling around my face
A breezy way.
My whip
Never hurts,
Is more to tickle;
And anyway it is a rule
I have to use it.

Yeah, so what if I am walking
On this sleazy street.
My profession usually does lead me
To the other side of the tracks.
I know what you are thinking
When you pull up leering
And roll down your window;
You leave me no doubts
When you open your filthy diseased mouth.
Go fuck yourself,
I have higher clientele.
And if you men looking for some cheap thrill
Mess with me again
You will meet the dagger in my boot.

He is the one,
The one with presence,
The one with it I saddle
For the thrill between my quivering thighs,
For anticipation at the gate
And its opening explosive.
I take pleasure in his sinewy strength.
Even the glory of his nostrils is terrible
And all that is heard is our breathing rush of life
To the place where tears stream from our eyes,
To the place we are one in power
And from which we are both left trembling.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking.
I will not tell you
What you can do to yourself,
Because I admit I led you astray
In telling my story.  But I used to be
Not a prostitute,
But an exercise rider.
For five dollars a head
I would ride a race horse
In a morning workout,
And some I would do for free.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bent, Blocked, Split, and Broken

Before sun, moon, and stars
Were set in the sky
To be our timekeepers,
There was light.
This is the first light
The spirits of trees reflected.

Shadows on a sundial
Spell time.
Time is the absence of first light;
The empty shadow is death.

In a 3,000 year old forest
First light reflected here
Penetrates the temporal body
And the aura of a soul is cast,
A spectral refraction
Of one imprismed
Outside the garden guarded
By the flaming sword
That keeps the way
Of the tree of life.

The forest destructed,
Is a reflection of inhumanity,
But there will always be a forest,

Reflect on that
While peering on inverted worlds
Reflected on the surfaces of water.
The first face
The spirit of God moved upon.

If created in the image of our gods
Would we destroy any forest?
Pollute any water?

Or don't ask.
The tree of knowledge is our downfall.

Under a forest
Or under water
Questions cease
And we can be
Outside of time
Our own godly reflections
Of worm meat and body dust
In drops of dew
Bending back blades
Of bitter herbs and grasses
And let the stars we are made from
Shine of their own accord.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Ketchup and Mustard

The tween and teen
Sling word shot
And packets of condiments
At each other
As follows:

That's gross.

     I like mustard.

You don't have to use a whole handful.

     I'm not.  I'm using half a fistful.

I don't see how anyone could eat mustard.

     I don't see how anyone can eat ketchup.

Still, I'd rather eat a drop of mustard than a handful of ketchup.

     I'd rather eat a handful of mustard.

Too tired to think
Too tired to sleep
Almost too tired to care
And carry adult burdens
And professional headaches
Any longer
This argument over ketchup and mustard
Is healing.


A bald eagle fills the entire sky.
How beautiful!
Now that image fulfills the definition
Of the word ineffable.

Where's my camera?
No, I left it home.
It's only five miles.
I can hurry, get the camera,
And return for the shot.

Half a mile later the eagle cloud
Was nothing more
Than cloud cover.

By Old Lady of the Woods
Trudy Jo Watkins

Monday, January 7, 2013

Long, Long Ago

Long, Long Ago,
On a cello played,
Flushed the ducks
And they flew away
From yet another bow.

A horsehair bow
Tickling their wings
Like a horse swats a fly.

A rosined bow
Aiming sine waves
Not arrows.

My bow
My heartstrings'
Shared vibrations.

As the ducks return,
Their settling on the pond
Creates in me
déjá vu
Like they used to do
Long, long ago.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Infinity in a Box: A Riddle

I'm       Never     Found,    I'm    Not    In     The      storY
Neither            can            I             ever            be            taughT
Fortold                or                gifted                   by               magI
Infinite                universe                   of                  expansioN
Never               will              unravel              my               nucleI
I         and        my       kind        make        up        all         stufF
The                     mysteries,                     the                     knowN
YourToolsInvestigatingNeedsInsatiable: Forever New focI

Highlight Below for Answer to Riddle

The Last Number


Take a drive
Top down
In mountains.
Radio loud
Songs echo
Off granite
Walls of stone.

Your soul
To every
Sun and ice.
Spring forward.
Fall back.

Change state.
Water flows
In One
Your vapor

Friday, January 4, 2013

Song of the Desert Cardinal

He was
Like a drop of blood
In shark infested waters
Sprinkled through the trees
All predators could see.
What was she thinking?
What was she thinking?
My simple wing
She could have hidden
All along.
What was she thinking?
What was she thinking?
I will take her
Now that he is fallen,
Her heart for him
Still calling.
What will she think?
What will she think?
I will woo her in redness
Of sunrise,
Wrap her in plain feathers
And warm down.
What am I thinking?
What am I thinking?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Symphony of Spheres

Poetry looked down and saw one
Belly dancing on a dark night.
She did not know he watched her from a moonbeam
And took her for his slave girl
Until she felt his golden shackles on her ankles.

Poetry looked up and saw one
With a tear-stained face
Looking down on the water.
She washed her face with his wet kisses
And felt his torc close round her neck.

Poetry saw another,
Upon whose shoulders was borne
Burdensome expectations of others,
Unfold his clenched fist to catch a mushroom
And wonder at the handcuff.

Poetry directs their songs,
Conducts his symphony of spheres.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Day Miracle

Arriving to work in my mud-splattered truck,
Crossing into the sterile field of sanitized concrete,
I feel like something the cat dragged in,
Until I see the doctor chewing gum
With his hair sticking up uncombed;
And by the time the kitchen serves up
Black-eyed peas for luck,
I know the day is growing better
Despite the illness spreading everywhere;
And when the patient with dementia
Smiles and says my name,
I believe this could be a year of little miracles.

Posted for Poets United Wonder Wednesday #15 Chicken Soup for the Soul.  Just remembering someone's name is a kindness.