What I Was Trying To Write

Posted September 22, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,


What I was trying to write

I was trying to write a poem about war.

I was trying to describe
how we are blinded
by certain adherences, whether to faith
or jingo,
how they drag us, one-eyed, into
a Cyclops slog–

how then, I wrote,
we lid our cribbed gaze
in righteousness,
let pride steel love,
train out any tender bend
towards anguish’s white flags, the sclera of
the vanquished (or, just, the scared),
temper mettle
to sword–

then stopped, partly because
I had to look up sclera–it means
the whites of eyes–but more because
I wanted to be clear, not obscure
with slant convolution–

because when I wrote the “training out
of tender bend,” I specifically pictured, men,
ours, so young their skin
shows individual bristles–I think somehow
of piglets but in the sweet sense, long-lashed and
rather soft
behind the neck–
but the necks of these poor men are thickened by
what they’ve learned
to carry; armored as tanks,
they force some dirt-gouted door,
striding cartridges
into a crouch of women, men, folded up
as cranes, bird bones pushed
against creased pulses;

and when I wrote
of “anguish’s white flags,” I saw specifically
the whites of eyes,
the whites of raised palms, the white lines
on the back-sides
of knuckles, and

the soldiers shout a foreign bark
they think means “where?”
or maybe, if it blares on,
“we don’t want to hurt you, just
to search,” but the sounds are din
to the crouched
as if the voices cried for “lobster” in the midst of a desert, and they are
in the midst of the desert,
and the triggered hands look
like great claws,
and the skin that gapes through gaps
in the camo, red,
and the women, their eye whites
flickering now like a terrible game
of shadow against a wall, begin to wail,
and the young solders want
to whale them,
thinking why in the fuck do these people
we’re trying to help keep fucking
with us,
and wish they could kick
something, their boots
so weighted, and their mettle–that is
who they are truly–flaming into something
they can’t temper, and plaster sprays,
cloth tosses, and goats shit skittering,
and the whites of eyes mouth please or no or
something more
unspeakable, and the men hate,
and the soldiers hate,
and the women maybe hate too, left
with nothing, and how
one wonders does this solve
very much.

Which is what I wanted to write, and without homonym,
because no words actually sound
like what war means.


Here’s a poem of sorts.  Draft.  I don’t know about the basic frame.  But it started out with Grapeling’s (M’s) “get listed” prompt on With Real Toads, in which he suggested writing a poem based upon words chosen from the Art of War.  I wrote a poem for that prompt, but deleted the italicized stanza at the last moment before posting.  Then later showed to M who expressed interest, and in response–thanks, M–I came up with this. 

I also want to acknowledge Kerry O’ Connor’s wonderful poem “A Poem Is No Place,” which I read recently and which also has to do with the uses of poetry.  

Am linking to With Real Toads open link night.  Sorry for the length and profanity. 

And the picture is one that I took the other day that doesn’t really have much to do with this poem, but am using because of the different frames. 

The Young

Posted September 21, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,


The Young

How the young curl into themselves
like ferns in early spring,
hard-wired to hold their still-gyred beings,
clasp encircled
by own surfaces,
until, time, as it surely will,
fiddles with heads and bodies–

and, truly, how wondrous is
the unwinding–
fronds loosening like the skin limbs stretch
to encompass,
spores gloriously exposed (if, only
on the undersides),
leaves teething
to get a better bite
of sun
and rainfall–

Terrifying, though, when winds spin
their expanse, when cold
and they can’t coil back
to those clutched self-centers–


Here’s a sort of poem, written under the influence of Karin Boye, a Swedish poet, who is the subject of a prompt by Bjorn Rydberg  on With Real Toads.

A couple of process notes–the picture (mine) is of fiddlehead ferns–those are the ones I had in mind, which have that name in the U.S. due to the spiraled shape in early spring.  Also, one word that troubles me is “clasp” in the first stanza that had been  “small fists,” but small fists seemed to sort limit the poem to infants.  If anyone has any thoughts on these words, I’m happy to hear them.

Angkor What?

Posted September 19, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: elephants, poetry

Tags: , , , , , ,


Angkor What?

If I could be what I am not,
I’d be someone who’d visited Angkor Wat
who, sitting ‘neath the towers Khmer,
found some bliss beyond repair.

But I am not what I am not
and have never been to Angkor Wat,
and bliss is something I’ve been known
to fix until it starts to groan.

So I must face myself as is–
that is myself with a face like this,
that grins, scowls, frowns (most unlike Buddha)
and is always stuck in would’a, should’a.

But this I tell you–I tell you what–
if we never get to Angkor Wat,
some kind of bliss we still have got
though, sure, it sometimes may get mired
in suffering, you know, and desire–
(thank God)–

Whenever you sit just right there
though you are not a tower Khmer
my Dharma still becomes quite clear
to be to be to be right here.

As Bodhisattva, I may be jumpy
and this Nirvana may be lumpy
but I will take it any time
as long as, anchor, you, are mine.


Here’s a sort of nonsense poem for Tony Maud’s terrific prompt on dVerse Poets Pub.  Angkor Wat (pronounced like the English word “what” ) is an ancient Buddhist temple complex in Cambodia, one of the wonders of the world.  And I’ve never been there!  (Though long wanted to go, always finding the Khmer buddhas particularly beautiful.)

Also, the above was supposed to be a free stock image of Angkor Wat–I’m not sure how the little elephant got in there though. 

PS_-this has been edited since first posting.


Posted September 18, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,



The treachery of ardor
is an arrow in the eye
and in the bloody gush
of I-mush and you-mush,
vision schisms to scheme,
where we are only seen
in the cross-hairs of each
other’s cyclops’ glares.

One weeps,
but the salt seeps always
into recapture,
tears wrung out and again,
as if pain were a bucket,
as if pain could be filled up
to its top
then dropped in some deep well
to let us be well.

We fight
as if war could fill that bucket up
but fast
(with something other
than ash)
then full (we might say, won)
let us be done.

But actions, unlike flesh,
do not turn to dust before
we even turn around;
and an eye once lost
is rarely found
in not-looking.


A poem of sorts for the prompt of a word list put together by the wonderful Grapeling on With Real Toads.  Yes, it’s a draft–in the moment before posting I cut out an eight line stanza–maybe the best stanza, but it seemed to just make the poem go on too long.   

Grapeling- Michael–expressed interest in the removed verse so I put it below–it was a second verse and this was one of a few iterations, maybe not the best, but what I took out last minute–sclera means whites of eyes. 

We lid our cribbed gaze
in righteousness,
let pride steel love,
train out any tender bend
towards anguish’s white flags, the sclera of
the vanquished (or simply the scared),
temper mettle
to sword.

Also, please do check out my new book, Nice, available in paper and kindle.  Please also check out my old books, Nose Dive (humorous novel), Going on Somewhere (Poetry), and 1 Mississippi (Elephants!)   They are all pretty cheaply available (most on Kindle for 99 cents, but I am happy to send a free copy to anyone willing to review on Amazon or Kindle–and the review does not even have to be pre-vetted!

PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover

September 2014

Posted September 14, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,


September 2014

On this fall porch noon,
as dark shutters are shuffled in and out
for repainting, and the farther world
reshuffles wars I try not
to read about,
the little bat remembers
a host of slats where he’s packed
his storm-cloud self,

till his wooden shield swoops dayward, shutter
carted away, and he, swung, sweeps the air
like a winged wind,
spanned panic banging against brightness
but not quite the screen door,
till he sites himself, unsighted, on a small spare strip leaning
wall to floor, the wood
that grey-as-a-battleship he knows
so well.

Slipping his quiver behind its two-inch breadth,
side-sliding his cling
into its stripe of shadow, he tries again
to roost.

I confess to not much liking
to, when they are near,
swooping fearfully, sometimes able
to pack my whole self under a low table or behind
a locked door,
but now I stop my sweeping
of the porch, filled with such fellow feeling
for his upside-down tremor,
that I call for help for him
and not for me,
and wait there with him
till relief comes with a soft net,
taking only a few steps back
into the unblinkered blue.

For Grace’s prompt about September remembering on With Real Toads.   A bat did hide behind that little piece of wood after his shutter was moved away.  (I know I call almost all poems drafts, but I truly do feel very uncertain about the ending–and beginning–ha!–of this one.)

Also, sorry for the repeated plug, but my new book, Nice, is at last available in paper and on kindle–only 99 cents.  It is an interesting book, especially for someone wanting to go back to, or know more about, 1968.

PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover


Since I’m in plug mode (!), please also check out my other books, Nose Dive (humorous novel), Going on Somewhere (Poetry), and 1 Mississippi (Elephants!)


Bearing Up

Posted September 12, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,


Bearing Up

She shuffled through life
like a bear wearing shoes,
which is not to say
that she scratched herself
or would take any honey
who would have her,
and, honestly, “hirsute” could only truly describe
her underarms,
or when spelled differently, her work clothes–

but it does mean that she shied away
from most humans
(though not, typically, their food)
and from conflict too
except when her young were near any line of attack, when she would become as ferocious as–
well, you know–

It also explains why she wore socks always,
even in bed, her feet not as furred
as her predilections, and why she could stand no chair long–
bears preferring even a stump to a straight-back–

Shoes aren’t great for bears, but were, you know, manageable
when the kids were..um, cubs,
a mother willing to put up with all kinds of difficulty–
snout full of ants,
the sacrifice of salmon,
even pumps–
for the sake of family time in the den,
or, better, the dew of those summer nights
when they lay together in a flattened corn field,
cubs cradled in the warm and slightly hirsute hollows
of her arms,
staring up at their starred totems–

But it also explains the hobble,
after the cubs had grown away,
and the shoes felt always too big,
or too little,
rubbing her slashed pads, the claws
curling inwards, some
wrong way.

It’s true that there were other bears around–
wolves, mammals, poultry too—
even some very cold fish, all also jammed
into shoe leather–but not being a social creature,
she did not interact with them, except to startle
at their nearby heel clicks
down city walks and tiles, and to wonder, repeatedly,
how the fish managed to tie their oxfords on
so tightly.

Perhaps had she ever gotten dancing shoes, ballet flats,
she may have fared better,
but remembering how she once carried
her erstwhile young, she always went
for a stiffer sole, something with support.
Besides, bears tend not
to be good at ballet, not liking
the barre, much less mirrors–

No, if a bear wants to see some version of itself,
it looks down to those beings it was born to protect,
or up to stars’ paw prints, glinting
in the blue-black sky.

A draft draft draft poem–meaning freshly written, little edited, and probably too long–but for my own prompt on dVerse Poets Pub, meeting the bar, to use extended metaphor. I am also linking to with real toads open link night.

The picture is mine and was originally done to ask people to bear with me in filling in the shoes on the prompt for the wonderful poet and host Brian Miller (who has computer issues.)  But I liked the picture, and it sparked the poem.  For this poem, however, the bear should perhaps have different shoes.

Also–and sorry for the plug–but please do check out my new book, a rather serious one, called Nice.  It is available on Kindle for just 99 cents and in paper back for a bit more.  Also, I would be very happy to send a hard or other copy to anyone interested in writing a review!!!!! 

False Trade

Posted September 7, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry

Tags: , , , , , ,


False Trade

Who will live in yesterday
slipping on the faux sleeve of tomorrow?
That us that can’t say yes, today,
to a present not pressed through the narrow–
the narrow I of our needling, my friend,
as we wheedle a bargain with sorrow,
our right-now breath lent to some other time,
time we pretend can be borrowed–


Here are 55 of the somewhat examined for Mama Zen’s flash 55 on With Real Toads. (I’ve edited a couple of times since first posting–agh!)

Also, some news–my new (and only adult) novel, Nice, is out at last in print on Amazon.

PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover

The Kindle version should be also out very soon, if not tonight, tomorrow.  It will only be 99 cents, so I hope you can get it!   (I think a kindle version can be downloaded to a computer. )

And if any one is feeling especially kindly, I would be very grateful if you could read it and review it!

I will say more about the book in a future post, but I’ve gotten a bit tired waiting for the kindle version to make an announcement so am taking advantage of today!


PS – Kindle version is out now.  Here’s the link.







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