Subway Window

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

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Subway Window

Old as a large lizard
and more cold, poverty
stalks the subway, careful
of the closing doors.

Older than a large lizard–
but it does not mind
the new bare-fangled, the evolved

So, the person whose body humps
like a triceratops turned on its side
just across from me
wears fake Crocs,
rimmed by the gaudy with which
manufacturers often brand
the cheap;

track pants of some newly-minted
fabric that, like the still-gilled climbing out
from undersea, doesn’t breathe right,
nor armor against the whip of wind chill,
at least a heavy coat, rumpled thick
as a hide;

but then protruding from khaki cuffs, I see nails
painted navy, and something about
their clasp of the bunched creases
of knuckle, lets me know she’s a woman.

And though she never turns
her head, lets anyone see
what’s beneath the ruffed hood–
still, the face of the face I trace,
a side of cheek roughed
by metal salt skies,
shows telltale softness.

I’d like to share something–
a smile, shrug, some complaint
about the crush, but she stays resolutely squared
towards the back of the car,

I try to see if she looks out
its bleared window, about
a foot away, out
to the flashes of darkness we flee
as we speed into
new darkness,
but what she sees
is very hard to tell
from where I’m sitting.


Here’s a belated draft poem for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads about Age and Youth, and also Bjorn Brudberg’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub about de-familiarization.   The pic doesn’t really go, but there you have it!  


The World According to Them

Posted November 17, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , ,


The World According to Them

You asked why I wore myself so thin–
How else was I to squeeze me in
the world according to them?

You asked why I studied up so smart–
‘Cause the tests that mattered didn’t measure heart
in the world according to them.

Then you asked me why I made us cry–
The truth, I said–that I couldn’t defy
the world according to them.

But now that don’t sound good enough–
an answer off the fraying cuff
of the truth according to me–

a truth curl-curved and edged with cut
jigsawed to jam into spots that abut
the world according to them,

for when the cracks cracked and the frame let go,
then all inside me told me so,
that it was only words pouring out from them,

that it was me who, listening, whittled me thin,
me who kept me so tight within
the world according to them.


Here’s a very drafty poem  for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt In Other Words on With Real Toads, to use a variation of a title of a book (in this case, The World According to Garp), as a title for a poem.  I’ve mucked with this one on and off all day changing it dramatically, but improving?  Not so sure.   (The narrator was much more self-pitying, and blaming, in earlier versions, which finally didn’t sit very well with me.) 

For anyone interested, this grew in an extremely discursive way from a narrative I’ve been writing about a country-western singer.  I had modified that prose narrative to use for a prompt, and then woke up with this sing-song instead.  I may post one of the others, though they are really prose pieces.  Who knows!?  Back on the road again tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens. 


Love in a Time of Thyme

Posted November 15, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,



Love in a Time of Thyme

She recited Prufrock as they walked a lawn
made purple by more
than twilight, each believing
that the mermaids would sing
to him (or her). Oh, they
would eat a peach, which incidentally
was the shade of her cheeks
that summer, the tenor of the bristle
garnishing his.

Not focusing either
on the fact that they talked (unstoppingly)
against a backdrop
of trout rather than mer–
(speckled, not wreathed,
in brown)–
a place where those
who’d drowned
had names like Rube that were passed
to the offending deep stream pools
and were probably drunk rather than waking
from a trance of unattempted

But they, speaking in Prufock,
did not categorize the sodden
as tragic, and after the grass grew damp
about their ankles, moved to Burroughs–because who,
he shook his head, could beat
the Beats
–then on to line and shape–how even
the Abstract Expressionists
were all washed up–

and, with the willful absorption
of the young, clung
to not being understood
and, sort of,
to each other,
purple tilting their vision even with eyes
half-open, the equinoctial light taking
to skin not used to being bared–

purple radiating
from the clouds overhead
or in their heads–
they never seemed to stoop
to what lay underfoot, not

until years later, and then
it was just her, and a peach was just
a peach and a drowned man was known
to leave at least one love behind, who, most likely
had to move to a trailer,
and the curls of mermaids
could only be traced
in limestone,
and she would reach down
to the violet clusters
that more than speckled
the green expanse, crushing one gently
to release its savory scent, and wonder
as she found it again on her fingertips
how it was all just there,
free for the taking–thyme,




Here’s a sort of draft poem for Kerry O’Connor’s “In Other Words” prompt on With Real Toads to make a poem using a variation of a title from a novel designated by her, in this case Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.   My poem has nothing to do with Marquez’s book.

I could not find a photograph I had taken of thyme, which grows wild rampantly and has a beautiful little purple flower, so used this picture of a fawn taken last summer.  I am positive, knowing the lawn upon which the fawn stands, that there is a great deal of thyme beneath and around the deer’s hooves. 

Process notes–the poem has several references to “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” by T.S. Eliot.  The Burroughs mentioned is intended to be William Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch and others.   Also, note this has been edited slightly since first posting, a work in progress.  (Ha!)

For Once

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

Tags: , , , , , ,

For Once

We drove into the driving snow,
the night a sea,
the flakes a wake of anemone,
pale tails pulling ahead,
as we trailed, so fast,
from the deep,
as they rushed, even faster,
past reach.

You had to try hard, you said,
not to look at it or you’d
be mesmerized;

yes, I said, eyes trying to scry
the fleeing neon–
mind trying to fit
on metaphor–
it was as if, I thought, time
had let down her hair,
let blow in the wind
a stranded invitation, as if we following
too could be wild and wet
and headlong–

But maybe turn off
the brights,
I said, me the one who has always failed
to take risks
in life–

But–said you who
would mingle with fate in a moment
if it held beauty
on its arm–they actually help me
see the sides of the road better, see
if there are deer–

True, I said, as if you were, in fact, looking out
to the sides of the road.

Then you said nothing,
and I said nothing,
and so, you drove on
into the snow,
the sea,
the vast leading
and me, I rode


Hi All!  Here’s a poem for Marian’s prompt on With Real Toads about the love of one’s life.

Sorry for missed visits and for long absence.  I have been trying, ostensibly, to work on a novel, but in truth, have been taken up with job and family matters, and doing a huge amount of escapist reading–which has been very informative on the novel front!  (So, I tell myself.)   In the meantime, I’ve missed you all much and hope all has been well!

P.S. The photo above is not of the phenomenon I was trying to describe–the snow on a windshield on a dark night–I did not get a photo of it–but I also like this photo, so put it up.  (It is one I took a couple of years ago–all rights reserved.)  

On Halloween, Thinking About What’s Spooky Hint: Not pumpkins

Posted November 1, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry

Tags: , , , , ,


On Halloween, Thinking about What’s Spooky
Hint: Not Pumpkins

There’s a great garbage patch
in the North Pacific.
It bobs plastic,

all those beer rings,
the sacks that bag things,
the bottles of that water we prefer,
the toys, the gear, aped furniture,
the wrappings of our shiny lives,
the trappings of our dull lives–
(a lot of them at least) land
over there–

Other bits band together
in the North Atlantic,
the Indian, the Arctic–each
has its fellow patch, thatching some large
sea surface, bits seeping
to the deeps.

In the Pacific, the mass
dwarfs Texas (on a good day).
It’s bigger yet
when the eddies stretch.

Breakers break some
to polymer–de baby
of debris–
Oh polymer!

But the mer, le mer, our mere,
still doesn’t like that shit–
what wants light withers
without sun;
st0maches swell
with swallowed gadgets;
others suffocate
in the cratered nets
of ghost fishermen, or similar
knotted tangle–the goal of some
gone game–

Still, we keep at it–
making garbage, buying garbage,
sending it out to sea–

so we can have room
for more.


Here’s a poem for Fireblossom’s Friday on With Real Toads to write about something spooky. 

We are now into November, and I am seriously contemplating a break from poetry–(i) to catch up on my job life but, more importantly (ha!) (ii) to try to get some momentum from “Nanowrimo” national novel writing month–to work on another novel.  It’s hard to focus on a novel if there is almost anything better to do.  But, in my case, if I go without focusing long enough, I lose track of all my scribblings,  and end up feeling terrible.  (Yes, I should be more organized with my notebooks!)  At any rate, I’ll see what I can stomach. Do check back in as I may at least end up writing about writing–if you are interested in that. I know I will miss all of you, and the daily back-and-forth of blogging not to post at all. 

In the meantime, do also consider checking on my very different past novels–Nice and Nose Dive, as well as 1 Mississippi (children’s book) and book of poems, Going on Somewhere.  Nice and Nose Dive are on Kindle for just 99 cents!  Thanks!

I believe that the photo above is okay to use, but I have linked it to its source.  No copyright infringement is intended. (The Millennium Report.) 

Not Nightingale

Posted October 31, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: poetry

Tags: , , , , ,



Edith Cavell, British Nurse Executed in German- Occupied Belgium, 1915


Not Nightingale

When I was little, I read biography–
for the young seek heroes–books about women
especially–a hagiography
of possibilities, of those who were bent

like me, who might too have been raised to please.
There was an astronomer from Nantucket–
no joke–Maria Mitchell–and so I squeezed
a telescope out of Christmas, and stuck it

on our front sidewalk, trying for satellites.
Then Clara Barton, Edith Cavell–not
Florence Nightingale–except to the extent
that any nurse from a then-past war seemed a lot

like Florence Nightingale, and was subject
to confusion with her, none having a name
so apt–itself a balm, a cool compress–
Florence–on a bandaged head–and for the lame.

the grievous–Nightingale–a wing.  But the book
on Cavell was favorite, its cover dark
and lamplit, a woman cloaked in the look
of the secret and stalwart—nothing of the lark,

no, the nightingale, disguised perhaps as wren,
swallow–I know I read it thoroughly
and, on a trip to Brussels, searched on end
for Cavell’s alleged statue, but found only,

with my folks, the little peeing boy–
urinal fountain–I pretended to laugh
but stared hard.  (I was eight.) But what so
amazes me is that yesterday, years past

my crush on Cavell, I first read of her death
in front of a German firing squad.
World War I.  How in the world had that left
me blank?  My aging brain’s mockingbird

crows that I must have forgotten, but how
forget her last night’s words–”Patriotism
is not enough.  I must have no
hatred or bitterness towards anyone.”

Surely, my young mind would have clung to her
figure backed against a wall, would have looked
at that imagined stance from every angle;
Could I really let that go?  Or did the book

protect me, a young reader, undoubtedly
female, offering only episodic
Cavell?  And, if so–  if so–  what else in me,
my learned-scape, has been bowdlerized, picked

over?  I need, I tell myself, to learn more.
About everything.  I don’t want mown
facts, trimmed truths==let me read myself sore,
and those gaps that I still hide–let them be sown–

And let me remember what’s read–if I can’t,
let me read it again, re-catching light
from page and vow to illuminate the slant
of now, telescoping (better) the bright

flares that have lit so many dark trails,
but also, the dimmer lamps, for we old
seek heroes too; and though I love Nightingales,
brave Cavells, though I too would love to be bold–

those who simply have no hatred, bitterness
also fit a pantheon, their song,
whether caroled by day or night no less
sweet–something (while reading) to sing along.

Agh!  This is an absolute torturous draft poem for Susie Clevenger’s prompt on With Real Toads to write about a nightingale.    Edith Cavell was a British nurse who, when working in German occupied Belgium during World War I, nursed both allied and German soldiers, and helped some allied soldiers to escape.  She was tried and sentenced to death and, though many diplomatic efforts were made to save her, was shot by a German firing squad on October 12, 1915. 

Somewhere a fly

Posted October 29, 2014 by ManicDdaily
Categories: news, poetry, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , ,


Somewhere a fly

Somewhere, a fly walks face,
proboscis probing
like a dowser’s forked stick,
as it will,
the plain of cheek,
the ridge of nose,
edging tarsal lace
about the pit of mouth,
cutting a slant
through stubble.

Somewhere, there is a great buzz
over a bulged belly
and a foot that was pounded board
rots to punk,

and a person–somewhere, a person,
becomes less human–
and now, I don’t speak of the dead–
by pinching others apart
as if these others were
flies on the face
of this planet, plucking

would-be wings, hanging limbs
as things, targeting with slews
of water, currents
of all sorts; somewhere,
someone is
stomping, starving,
caging, stomped,

and maybe acts of cruelty
are all too human,
even children trained
in their commission, wires
strapped to small waists,

and that feels the absolute worst,
though, in the area of treating people
like flies, turning people
into fly fodder, it’s kind of hard to say missiles are better,

just because they don’t have waists.


Here’s a very drafty poem, for Gabriella’s prompt on dVerse Poets Pub to write about war.  I had some further lines about waste, but well, didn’t put them in, as the point seemed clear.  I find it very difficult to write about this type of topic.  

And since I am in rant mode:  in terms of  war (and other things of that nature),  I urge everyone to get out and vote. I also urge everyone to support voting, and to call out voter ID laws for what they are–acts of suppression.  I have worked at polling sites, and can tell you that it is not only hard for some (especially the poor, the old and the young) to get original IDs, but also hard to maintain a current ID, especially if you don’t own a car, have some instability in your residence or don’t maintain an independent home (because you live, for example, with family members.)

Also, I don’t buy this business about there not being a difference in politicians.  I agree that there is a lot of venality in politics, but that is not an excuse not to vote. (And not to take efforts to stay informed.)  There are differences in politicians; your vote does make a difference.   Ask any woman who has ever taken birth control or needed it, or any woman who has been habitually paid less than a man doing the same job (i.e. ask any woman.)  Ask any one, like me, who has been able to have major cost savings relating to children’s health care because of the expansions allowed by the Affordable Care Act. 

Finally, please in the midst of this, consider checking out my new book, Nice, which takes place in the time of the Vietnam War.PP Native Cover_4696546_Front Cover


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