Thursday, April 27, 2017

Do You Have Anything For Leaving?

Do you have anything for leaving?
I want heels, devil red,
sharp toes, and expensive.

You know the type.
Those that walk over excuses,
leave a mark, put an exclamation
point on goodbye.

Hell, I’ve been living a country song
without giving a shit about the music.
He kept singing the same tune
until I couldn’t take another sour note.

He had a love affair with the bottle,
the smell of cheap cologne, and
saying it wasn’t his fault.

That pair! Yes, those are the ones.
It doesn’t matter about the cost.
I’ve been living it, now he can pay.
Oh, and I don’t need the box.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2017


Real Toads ~ Writing Shoes

(No, this isn't about me, but I know plenty of women who have needed these shoes.)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tin Can Dry

Art by Karin Gustafson--all rights reserved

Bloom where you’re planted?
We are tin can, half priced
dried out skull plants.
Please don’t go on about
a glass’s water line.
I’m too thirsty for optimism.

I’m not sure about the current move.
She bookshelved us to spine up to
someone called Mary Oliver.
I hope she comes back soon
with that drink she promised us.

It is cooler in here. I am so over
that yellow marble and your
constant poem babble in my ear
about light nesting us in hope.

That bird keeps looking at us.
We don’t have any fruit,
there’s not a worm in the pot,
and I stopped blooming weeks ago.

Oh, wait…yes, yes…
The lady with the savior complex
is keeping her promise….WATER!
It feels divine…. My roots are twitching.

I think I just might get used
to the feel of this shelf we’re sitting on.
Stop looking so smug. You know it was
my whining that brought us here.
Really? Can I at least enjoy the water
a few minutes before you start in
with the glass thing again?!?

©Susie Clevenger 2017

I am so grateful Karin Gustafson provided her art as inspiration for our writing. You can see more of her art here.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Gather Wildflowers Among Beasts

Vine Wood ~ Agnes Lawrence Pelton, 1913
Fair use, Link ~ Wikipedia

I gather wildflowers
among beasts,
those nameless,
wary watchers
who fear I will
steal spring.

They once
owned Eden,
the prayer path
of migration,
winter before
the melting.

I carry the scent
of humans,
the devastators
who claimed dominion
over all they never owned.

Mother Nature
had warned them
those who speak
with tongues
carried death
on their fingertips.

I’ve only come
to pick wildflowers,
and plant purple hyacinths
as penitence to show my sorrow
humans couldn’t discern
it was they who should
be named beast.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2017

 My late contribution for Earth Day
(Purple Hyacinths are the flower given when you wish to show remorse.) 


Monday, April 24, 2017

Immortality's Feather

Peacock, the shimmer
trapped in your feathers
will not surrender to death.
The glory in your plumes speaks
of eternal gold and breath
reborn in lungs plague blackened.

Your eye feathers hold immortal’s vision.
Life in blood, bone, and flesh sends hope
God will collect our dust to raise our bodies
from tombs hollowed by sorrow.

The majesty of your movement
erases doubt the earth you stride
can ever own the wind ruffling your wings.

Oh what is beauty if it is only defined
by a mirror that denies the glory of the soul?
Blessed peacock, you teach us grace
is the heart’s paintbrush and our reflection
is an inward light no earthly artist
can translate to canvas.

©Susie Clevenger 2017

I attempted a more historical period feel in this poem other than my usual contemporary voice.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bukowski's Bird Baiting

“Holy tongues preach lives
outside their consecration
are incredible fuck ups,
back wash, rainbow trash can liners,
pointless dreams.”
Come on Bukowski, I walked
right through your bird baiting
and never acknowledged the hypocrisy.

Those winged congregations
know how to sing harmony.
We loners sing solos at the top of our lungs
until the world throws us a finger to shut up.

Let’s have a beer, foam our upper lips with silence
until we get a little rose color on the horizon.
We might not reach harmony, but surely we
can find enough unity to create a melody.

Life is always gold before the tarnish.
Honey will eventually spoil if it is
tin spooned with Armageddon.
We can be the soft landing when
blackbirds no longer trust the nest.

  ©Susie Clevenger 2017

Poetic reference for today's poem

Saturday, April 22, 2017


Painting by Mi Young Lee

Summer twilight dances
with shadow cloaked roses
to a sand song playing
on the southern breeze.

Void of sunlit frenzy
dreams wander
among blind windows
in search of hooded eyelids
to explore.

With a mother’s tenderness
night hours stroke
a purring clock
in the calm before alarm.

Silently inspiration collects images
to feed poetry when first light
rises hungry for words.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2017

My heartfelt thanks to Mi Young Lee who gave me this incredible art piece and inspired my poetry. Her joyful, kind spirit is such a blessing. Please learn more about her and her art on her website at Mi Young Lee.

Friday, April 21, 2017


Words throat deep,
truth rimmed, and
handcuffed to outrage
can’t enter my voice.

Ears, always ears
glued to the dark side
of hearing listen
for a chance to rebel tag
a soul brash enough
to speak the truth.

Patience dances with reason,
my spirit screams now,
bloodshot arguments spin forward
against the wall where free speech died.

speak up … SPeAk uP… SPEAK UP!
I’m weighing my words against
the length of the rope, dividing the cost
by the width of the bars.

I feel the day walking along my spine,
hell has a bribe, heaven a gate.
There are too many sisters who will never speak.

Life is not living if you’re seen and not heard.
My body is my body. My voice is my voice.
I’ll roar against the mantide who would rob me of choice.
Speech has a price, revolution a fight.
Tomorrow is too urgent to enter it mute.

©Susie Clevenger 2017


Real Toads ~ "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream


Dark Poetry For The Cruelest Month