"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Flight of a Bouquet

a flower
named weed by science
is magic
to a child
who sees her mother’s bouquet
grow wings and take flight

©Susie Clevenger 2012
 Kerry at Real Toads has given us a mini challenge to
write a Shadorma using the beautiful macro photography
of her daughter, Jaime Clark.
The Shadorma is:
1. a hexastich, a poem in 6 lines
2. syllabic, 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables per line.
3. unrhymed.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

A Stairway’s Climb Into Flames

Stairs, an escape from flames,
but not for us.
You climbed the iron stairs
through anonymous stars
bringing passion’s match
in your fingertips.

Forbidden warmed our skin
chasing away the coldness
of bigotry that judged our union.

In a tiny room bridging here and there
love was all the truth we heard,
the only touch that mattered.

It seemed so perfect until the sun rose
and you, like Romeo, fled with dawn,
leaving me as your Juliet
wrapped in a blanket of inevitable.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

Charlie, my husband, and I went to see this movie in 1968 when we were dating.
I fell in love with it. He fell asleep. Ah, such is romance. :)

Shay at Real Toads challenged us to write a love themed poem using movies as inspiration.
Fireblossom Friday #10 ~ "Lights, Camera, Love!

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From Mourning to Joy

Unfulfilled Dreams © Ella Wilson

Too long I have dressed
in mourning clothes
reciting unfulfilled dreams.

My lips must stop
speaking of the wounds
my heart bears.

Each painful repetition
only applies its needle
to anesthetize hope.

I shall close the hymn book
on my sorrow and free
my spirit to sing joy’s refrain.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

Ella Wilson graciously
 provided her beautiful artistic images
for us to use as inspiration for our written work.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Mute Silhouette

The fog steals
the sound
of my voice
rendering me
a mute silhouette
suffocating in silence.

Alone feels so tragic
in the humid mist.
Its wet fingers
cling to my coat
dragging me closer
to desperation.

I hear the sound
of life rattling
in a metallic heartbeat
across the bridge
above me.

Somehow it is comforting
to feel the vibrations
of strangers making
their way through
the dismal night.
It is an odd angel chorus
singing a salvation song
of daylight beyond my darkness.

Upon a splintered dock
I ponder resurrection
and the oily baptismal waters
splashing below my feet.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Written from inspiration
at The Mag ~ Mag 131

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hope In Green

©John Edwards

Hope arrives dressed
in the color green
to rid shivering roots
of their frosted caps.

A gentle wind sings
a hallelujah song
of winter’s end.
Its echo flirting
with new born leaves.

In an ancient celebration
trees dance among the moss
thanking spring for its
warm kiss upon their limbs.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
 John Edwards graciously gave permission
to use a selection of his photographs for inspiration for our writing.
Real Toads

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Poem In Flight

It is the butterfly
on velvet wings
that makes an
ordinary blossom

In silence it drinks of life
while gracing the garden
with a poem in flight.
Hands reach for the verses
of beauty’s metamorphosis
with hope their dreams
will break through
the cocoons they sleep in.

Summer races
around the sun
arriving too quickly
at its burnt ending.
Soon the butterfly
will take its leave
and eyes must
wait for spring
to read another poem
written with wings.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Shared at Real Toads 

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summer Is Disappearing

I weep against the window,
my tears the rain of
forgotten memories.

Who am I?
Is this yesterday
that peeks through
the fog drifting
among my thoughts?

Just now I saw my mother
standing among the roses.
She never liked cut flowers.
They reminded her of death
with their wilting petals.

Mother is gone isn’t she?
You told me I remembered
that only this morning.

The nurse wants me
to take another pill
to calm me.
Won’t death be enough
time to spend emotionless?

My husband tells me it is summer,
the time of picnics, swimming,
and long moonlit drives
with the car windows rolled down.

My little girls love summer.
They beg to lie on a blanket
in the backyard to count the stars.

I am so cold. When will winter end?
I tire of snow covering the sidewalks.
There is a nice man standing next to me.
Perhaps I should ask him his name.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

dVerse ~ Poets Pub
In Summer-y; Dog Days/Zucchini/Poetics
This is not what most people would expect
from a prompt that asks to write about summer.
My mother had Alzheimer's and I visit the topic
periodically in my poetry. It is something that will
touch everyone at some point either through a family member,
a friend, or personally. I have included a link to the
Alzheimer's Association 

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Dear Emily

You wrote with
a perfect pen,
gentle words
to raise kindred thought
from disillusionment’s grave.

Dear Emily,
Was it with God’s pen you spoke
or a sinner’s hand who knew redemption?

Your silence leaves me without an amen.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Silver Thread

Dream Catcher,
as night inks its way
across my pillow
let nightmares that
would torment
be caught in silver thread
to spin beauty from terror.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Holy Land of Bizarre

before repurposed
was cool drew
a following
to the holy land
of bizarre.

with concrete,
rock and kitchen sink
turned  my
quiet street
into a parking lot.

Visitors spent
a dollar to view
the Nativity Rock Museum
located fifty feet
from my front door.

It was 1972
and I couldn’t
smoke enough
cannabis to
be convinced 
my neighbor’s
creations were art.

It didn’t matter.
The sweet man
was consumed
with his vision.
I just tried to
give a smile
while listening
to Amazing Grace
and staring at
broken baby dolls
winking from
a cement cross.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Mary challenged us to write about one of the 
neighborhoods we have lived in or live in today.
Mine comes from the small town of Kearney, Missouri
where my husband and I lived next door to Claud Melton's Nativity Rock Museum.
He used cement, rock, toys, broken glass and anything else that tweaked his imagination
to create his art. Sadly it is no longer there. It succumbed to the more profitable vision of landlords whose muse told them to build duplexes.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Moth Holes in Dogma

Revelation labeled
me a miscreant
and the faithful
gave me a
verbal boot kick
into the flames.

I was set
at hell’s gate
when I removed
my self righteous cloak.

It’s weight became
too heavy when
light left moth holes
in their dogma.

My spirit had
been shown
there was more
than one path
to our creator.

Evidently love
bears all things
except expressing
God had given me
a change of heart.

Susie Clevenger 2012
Real Toad's A Word With Laurie: Miscreant
Laurie challenged us to write a poem
using the word miscreant.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Not Much Of An Ending

The end of days
is the ash covering
the psyche of those
who look up at the sky
waiting for it to fall.


Growing up cold war
taught me to sit
in the hall with
my head between my knees
while I watched my friends
shut the door on the fallout shelter.

I didn’t do that this time.
I grabbed a lawn chair,
a video camera, and a six pack
to watch all hell break loose.

Wasn’t much to it.
It was more like a wet
fourth of July when
only half the fireworks
were able to reach the sky.

Those aliens who came
looking for specimens
of human higher intelligence
didn’t care much for those
survivalist Bubba Joe’s.

They packed up their
saucers without a goodbye
and burnt the ground
getting the hell back
to whatever galaxy
they dropped out of.

Once the sky cleared
all I could hear was
the neighbor complaining
about how he would have
to eat peas for the next
three years.

So much for Mayan predictions,
guess I am going to have
to get my driver’s license renewed.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

Written for Real Toad's Out Of Standard With Izy

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Monday, August 6, 2012

A Touch of Theater

She dressed for boredom
with the same care
as dinner with royalty.

Pretense requires
a touch of theater
when perpetuating a lie.

May and her husband
resided at the same address
but lived a world apart.

Their marriage had died
but their pride insisted
its obituary not be published.

So each Tuesday night
they dined as expected
on steak and wine at St. Charles Inn.

Sedate lighting hid their tension.
She made the usual attempts
at casual conversation.

Staring at red and feeling cold
he maintained the usual silence,
but smoked a more expensive cigar.

Hair in place, jewels shining
she placed her napkin on the table,
a signal Tuesday night's performance was over.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
 Image: A Dinner Table at Night, 1884, John Singer Sargent
The Mag #129

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sleep Baby Girl

Sleep baby girl.
Heaven don’t
choose no favorites.

This graveyard real estate
might have you sleepin
in the corner, but Jesus
don’t care the color of your skin.

Up on the hill above you
there’s some fine tombstones
rasin’ up from the dirt,
all marked with fancy names.

Those pale scratches
in your stone long gone.
It just sits propped against
the fence for people to wonder.

Folks walk down to you
and put their heads down
sayin’, “Look at this forgotten one.”

You aint forgotten. God been knowin’
your name since the minute you was born
and he keeps sayin’ it when he walks
past you in heaven.

Yes baby girl your body’s still sleepin’
in that corner where you was laid.
Them bones up the hill has grown silent
because death came to show them
they was never any better than you.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2012

Photograph: Forgotten  ~ ©Teresa ~ Razzamadazzle
Teresa at Razzamadazzle graciously offered her photographs for inspiration for our poetry.
Also posted at dVerse ~ Poets Pub OpenLinkNight ~ Week 56

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Heart Compass

The direction I seek
is wherever you are.
My heart is the compass
that guides me to you.

Doubt is a wasteland
where my soul
has never ventured.
Trust is the magnet
that always leads me home.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Written for Poets United The Think Tank Thursday #108 Compass
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Howling Night

You laughed when the wolf approached you.
Its fangs were fierce, but you stood your ground.

The howling night tore the moon,
but the stars in your eyes became  my nightlight.

Smile and I will feel safe.
Hold my hand and I will find the path.
Touch my heart and I will be brave.

The wolf will no longer frighten me
when it stalks me in the night.

It only wishes to keep its freedom.
I only wish to know what it feels like to be free.

Your laughter calmed a beast
while your eyes became my light.

You smiled and I felt safe.
You held my hand and I found the path.
You touched my heart and I became brave.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

Marian's challenge The Wolf Is Getting Married at Real Toads is a song by Sinead O'Conner.
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Somewhere Between Snow White and Puberty

Home-you can never go back.
Is it true? – I don’t know,
but I am climbing stairs
searching for the answer.

The stones under my fingers
hold the dreams of wings.
When I was a child
I wanted to fly beyond
this granite to a fairytale…

Make believe,
I immersed myself
in it with wide eyes,
giggles, and trust.

Somewhere between Snow White
and puberty I lost my way
to imagination.

I didn’t realize how cold
it would become when
childhood died.

My eyes are drawn
to a tiny window
where a white dove
blinks with cinnamon eyes.

I hear it speak to the child
hidden inside of me,
“You’ve always had wings.
You just didn’t believe you could fly.”

Home, you can go back,
even if it is only to reunite
with the child you left behind.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Photograph: Elizabeth Messina

Written for New World Creative Union's Wednesday Wake-Up Call 8/1/2012
Inspired by this beautiful music video featuring the paintings and artwork of Winslow Homer, Camille Pissarro, John Singer Sargent, and Spadecaller. 

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hell Has a Prescription Name

Crawl Through Glass

Hours---mine have been a turtle’s crawl through broken glass.
How did life disappear into a camera shot?
One day I was capturing sand and sea through my lens.
The next I was a semi invalid staring at swollen fingers
that could barely hold a cup.
I can’t quiet the poetry. Fear strikes my brain with its hammering,
“Will you ever write again?”

Feet Can’t Dance

Damn my feet that don’t want to carry me across the room.
Those pain pills on the counter might as well be on the moon.
I can’t reach either destination.
I’m so angry I can’t dance. I am a free spirit glued to a recliner.

Slipping Into Death

My face feels crushed. Pain---I can’t stand it. I don’t want
to go to the emergency room again. Will death take it away?
I am too weak to fight. Darkness is becoming more comforting.
My body shivers from 103 degrees.
Charlie, promise me you will publish my book.

The Erosion of Self Sufficiency

I can’t dress myself….agony is putting on a t- shirt. Potty chair, shower seat…
How did I turn eighty? Angels get tired. I see Charlie’s wings drooping. Windows
all around. The mailbox is so far away. Was it two weeks ago that I dodged raindrops
to see what was inside?

Hell Has a Prescription Name

Double pneumonia, a possible secondary infection attacking the joints,
perhaps you should see an infectious disease doctor, no a rheumatologist.
Have I done anything different? Think, break through the fog.
Medicine...I started taking Cozaar. Side effects, what are they?
Respiratory infections, swelling in face, hands, feet, knee pain, depression,
hell has a prescription name.

Rising on prayers and good thoughts

Not another pill…throw the bottle away. Each day some improvement…
That is what Charlie tells me. Depression is still clouding hope.
Friends and family are praying. Best wishes sent daily.
Standing on my own, where’s my cane? Freedom hobbles on swollen feet.
My fingers are moving again….so many tears. I actually write a few words.
Poetry has returned. Thank you..tiny words with enormous gratitude.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Kerry at Real Toads gave us the challenge to paint with words using the Zhuihitsu method.
My world the last month has been dark so that is the pallet I chose to paint from.

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