i got two dogs.

one’s nice, one ain’t.

them two’s my babies–

called skillet and shotgun.

come springtime,

if the road weren’t muddy, sometimes i wouldn’t know where i’d been.

there’s my tracks, and theirs, one to either side.

skillet got burrs,

shotgun caught a pellet,

and my dress was torn, but i can’t recall how.

best as i can guess,

it was the same old song–

should’ve left the mean one home,

but one gets lonesome without the other,

so i turn ’em both loose

when the moon is full,

and the usual cautions don’t catch hold.

bus stop

Posted: 11/30/2014 in house of crazy, house of strangers

i was at the edge-of-Detroit Northland bus stop, minding my own,

reading the novel i’ve crawled into lately.

figures he’d pick me out.

figures he’d hassle the one middle-aged white gal in the whole place.

It was a long ten minutes

with his ugly face in mine.

with his nasty lips talking shit in my ear.

i can still hear his dumb-assed air of non-existent authority:

“i asked you a question! are you stupid?”

i would have loved to fight him,

and younger me would have.

instead i had to sit there saying “leave me alone” and wishing the bus would come.

I’m glad two young men finally helped me out,

let me escape.

they looked like trayvon martin or michael brown.

nassy-man looked like cliff huxtable.

just goes to show, somethin somethin, but i’m too jangled to put it clear.

meanwhile, i’ll have this cut on my cheek and nick on my lip

for a week or ten days, i guess,

to remind me of my vulnerability.


a poem in three tenses for Real Toads mini challenge.



oliver larch

Posted: 10/25/2014 in house of crazy

don’t bother looking for oliver larch.

he didn’t die.

he’s been here with me,

counting frogs that fell from the sky.

mama washed out my mouth with soap

for tellin a lie,

but oliver larch

calls and cries

from under the snow where no footprints go–

with a look of surprise

instead of eyes.


herotomost says write about something that was “your thing” when you were young. I used to scavenge the bookshelves at home, in hopes of finding paperback books about strange and creepy (but supposedly true) occurrences like the disappearance of oliver larch, or rains of frogs, or such like. i found three or four, over time, and would curl up with my new find and devour it. i never forgot those stories, and have never lost my fascination with the unexplainable.


Posted: 09/14/2014 in house of weather, house of women

she came and stayed too long,

talked too much,

and was too touchy-feely,

coming around corners when i was half dressed

and short on sleep.

this morning it turned chilly and she was subdued,

sitting at the kitchen table with her hands around her coffee mug

and her suitcase open but empty on the bed in her room.

she will head south,

and i will have my house to myself again.

everybody likes her and she will light it up some other place,

while i feel a little guilty, but

mostly glad to see her gone.


for real toads mini challenge.


“forgive,” said the chick with the crystals and candles.

“it’s the only way to heal your heart.”

she’s as soft as a broken egg.


mama, i don’t forgive you.

you blew a disease into me with every poisoned word.

i thought you hated me for being not enough like you,

but you hated me

for being too much like you,

and for screaming at the top of my lungs

the things you swallowed down and choked on.


kill that girl

kill that girl

kill that girl

but dress her nice so the neighbors don’t talk.

Oh, but mama,

I talk.


I say here’s my heart

for you, mama,

now that you’re as soft as a broken egg.

here’s my heart,

every piss-yellow rock hard sharp spiky bit of it

for you.


a gift.

i’ll leave it on the table as i leave

and your friends will say,

“who’s that girl? one of the staff?”

and you will say,

“yes. i don’t really know her”

so they won’t think badly of you

for raising a heartless daughter.


for artistic impressions with margaret

aunt sticky

Posted: 07/27/2014 in house of crazy

aunt sticky poured froot loops on the griddle,

followed by the empty box.

she had, with tender care, put fruit sections in my juice glass,

and emptied the pencil jar into my cereal bowl.


mom and dad are in san antonio

trying to turn blue back into red,

and i am here, watching the cereal box go up behind aunt sticky.


factors to consider for my future:

1. it takes the fire department seventeen minutes to get here.

(at least, it did last time.)

2, aunt sticky always looks so crestfallen when she realizes that she’s made a mistake.

3. it’s good to live.


let’s go eat in the front yard, i tell her,

and she likes the idea. she smiles and grabs her art box.

when the firemen arrive, i am trying a dog biscuit (they aren’t very good)

and aunt sticky is trying to turn blue into red by adding yellow.

colorful, that is what people call my family

when they’re doing the lying called kind.


for play it again toads #7 at real toads. i used some words from grapeling’s list.


Posted: 06/01/2014 in house of change

lipsjohanna was a big girl,

my best friend back in seventy-something.

johanna was a funny girl,

could mimic anybody and crack me right up.

johanna had a nice mom–

“she thinks you come over to see her.”

johanna open and parse out the cold pills,

then bang a gong.

sleep well, johanna,

johanna so long.


for Flash 55 at Real Toads, hosted by the super superb Hedgewitch, and also for Mag 222.