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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sing the Funeral Song

Ah broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Come! let the burial rite be read--the funeral song be sung!

Free her corpse from the looking glass,
unbraid her raven hair that hell might see its glory!

She served my heart the bitter tea of love’s spell
only to shatter my affection with her disallowance.

I wished her gone, but the grave was not my desire.
Circumstance found her hung from the ribbon tied at her neck.

The night black and the forest treacherous,
a tree sentenced her to death with its branches around her throat.

Lenore is gone and yet I see her face in every chamber of my heart.
I pray my open eyed nightmares will cease when I see dirt thrown upon her breast!

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Ellen Wilson at Real Toads' Hallow's Edge prompted us to write a Halloween poem,
but her trick was we must use a line from a ghost poem.
I chose Edgar Allen Poe's poem Lenore to open my poem with.

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The Music of Your Voice #WWUC @NWCreativeUnion

Whether windy or still
your voice speaks
through wind chimes
in my garden.

The primitive chimes
are the works of your hands,
tuned by the song you heard
that summer day you
joined metal and wire.

Father, I miss you.
When my heart wishes
you could return,
I step out my back door
and listen to your chimes
playing the melody of home.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Joanne Elliot at New World Creative Union prompted us on this week's 
Wednesday Wake-Up Call to remember our ancestors.
 I was missing my father today so I chose to write about him.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Drops Splash Against My Spirit

Pain travels through my heart
with the speed of tears.

Wet drops splash against my spirit
running into a river of questions.

Why does my precious child
have to suffer again?

I am not brave, fear nibbles
at the facade of my stiff upper lip.

Can I walk beside my daughter
through this dim valley again?

Quiet brushes against my turmoil
releasing its peace to cover me.

I gather strength from the vision
of heads bowed and voices praying.

The atmosphere hums with words
that send hope to cradle me.

Lifted by the palm of compassion
to the heart of God, I am renewed.

My weakness is now dressed in armor
and the valley has become less dim.

Susie Clevenger 2012
 I wrote this from the agony of watching my daughter go through so many health issues. In 2008 she lost her left kidney to cancer. This year has been a tough one for her. She had to have a kidney stent put in twice (one of them fell out.) She had a bone marrow test because the doctor suspected leukemia which thankfully she didn't have. And in the last two months she has had four biopsies. She is an incredible young woman of strength and character. Each time she has to face a health hurdle we draw strength from one another and the knowledge people are praying for her. My heartfelt thank you goes out to all who have helped us along in her journey.dVerse Poets Pub ~ OpenLinkNight

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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Final Ink of Autumn #NWCreativeUnion #poem #poetry

For New World Creative Union's Sunday Snapshot, Leslie Moon chose George Winston's "Autumn Collection" as inspiration to spark our creativity

a leaf in the wind
floating through the season’s change
autumn’s final breath

_______ ooo_______

death falls from brown limbs
crying tears of burnt umber
autumn is grieving


his final poem
dries among fall’s amber leaves
sonnets rest in peace

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Also I shared this piece on Real Toads Open Link Monday

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkins Wait for Trickery's Hands

©Ellen Wilson

Pumpkins wait
in October light
for trickery’s hands
to carve triangle eyes
and wicked grins
into their orange flesh.

Lit with candles they guard
the night when the moon
pulls back autumn’s drapes
to reveal Halloween.

Be wary, be quick
when you come upon
their ghoulish smirks
for it just might be your spirit
they surrender to the undead.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

It Once Was

It once was
But now isn’t.

It once could
But now can’t.

It once belonged
But now is abandoned.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Kellie Elmore ~ Free Write Friday

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I am Entitled to My Opinions

Yes sir, Yes mam
I am entitled to my opinions.

Don’t bend my ears
with your religious rants
or your political pontificating.

Trying to bully me into a corner
with your absolutely right
will only cause me to bare my claws.

I remained quiet while you
gave me every opinion
inside your narrow minded brains,
but my stomach can no longer tolerate
your insidious bile wrapped in
stained glass divine interpretation.

Cease badgering me with your convictions
that only create a divide love cannot cross.
I have my opinions and you are only solidifying
my faith they will never change.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mourning Gown of Splintered Secrets

The lake waits
for the wind to breathe;
freezing her to the silence
of mute stars.

She had worn her mourning gown
of splintered secrets until
its shards cut through
the roses on her breast.

Love should not be made of
onyx and wolfsbane.
The poisonous darkness
kills affection with its applications
of liar’s poultice and nausea.

Dead without a burial
she walks on the tepid water
painting its mirror with despair.
Beseeching the wind to breathe
she waits for it to exhale
and send her to haunt
the flesh of her deception.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

Real Toads' Kenia Cris challenged us on her Wednesday Challenge to take a line
from a friend's poem to create a surrealistic poem of our own.
I chose the following haiku written by my friend Ben Ditmars
as the inspiration for my writing.

The lake waits
For the wind to breathe;
Freezing her.

©Ben Ditmars

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Democracy's Demise ~ #WWUC @NWCreativeUnion

 I planted my feet to the left
while you planted yours to the right
and compromise was severed
with the grisly sound of democracy’s death.

Amidst the carnage
I looked up at heaven’s
cloud of wings to see
a murder of crows
descending upon the carrion
of our disagreement.

Beaded mirror eyes stood above us
reflecting our failure to agree
and the decimated freedom
still clinging to our fists.

“It is too late,” rose from black beaks
as we the people gasped a last breath into the dust.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

com·pro·mise: [kom-pruh-mahyz]   noun,verb, com·pro·mised, com·pro·mis·ing.
a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; anagreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposingclaims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification ofdemands.

May we citizens of these United States come together in peace and lay aside our prejudices to work toward the common good of all our citizens. It is imperative we succeed if we are to retain the freedom and democracy that has sustained our nation for the past 236 years.

Leslie Moon offered Edgar Allen Poe and the beautiful video as inspiration to write

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Routine, A Jealous Master

Goodbye for a while;
life intervenes…
my daughter’s
appointment with the doctor,
the buzz of the clothes dryer,
dinner with my husband.

I must attend to life
outside our seclusion.
Routine is a jealous master
demanding I follow its dictates.

I will return as soon as I can
with a phrase, the color blue
or the way the sun shines on a rose.

You are a poem unfinished
but not without an end.
It waits with my muse
until I can once again
find time to pick up my pen.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Sorrow Silenced With Joy

Morning drug its feet
until the mockingbird
sang it song.

Called from sleep
the sun burst from night
turning ebony into gold.

Another day has risen
from the dust of dismay
to silence sorrow with joy.

Let tears dry and smiles be reborn.
You are the gift the world needs.
Rise and let it hear your voice.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jue Ju Times Two

© Teresa Perin

the oak leaf took flight
twirling in the autumn air
to rest upon brown grass
the death of a season

©Susie Clevenger 2012

Image ~ stockvault

Honest Heat

Were I a virgin shell
I would gladly give you
the pearl secreted within me,
but I am a woman.

Passion will not frighten me.
I need no gentle wooing
or words you don’t mean,
just honest heat igniting mine.

I don’t care about promises
or whether we meet again.
Tonight I want to burn
from flames we can’t contain.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

Real Toads Sunday Mini-Challenger

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Within the Illusion of Alone

The pebbles under your feet
join you to the path of life.
Feel the footsteps of those
who have gone before you
and let them guide you.

Relax into the journey
trusting that within
the illusion of alone
your ancestors walk with you.

It is not the destination
that is your victory.
but the steps it took to get you there.

Susie Clevenger 2012
Written for Real Toads ~ A Word With Laurie: Zen (Meditation)

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mechanical Legions

The ground rumbles
beneath mechanical
legions burying
the family farm
under chemicals
and mass production.

With lantern eyes behemoths
blind the moon as their
bladed teeth chew
through generations
of blood sweat and tears.

Night has surrendered
the call of cricket and owl
to the noise of machines
harvesting grain to feed
a corporation’s bottom line.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Drinking His Choice

She is the last drink
swirling in his glass.
The night proved too short,
his options sparse,
so he was drinking his choice
to the bottom of his glass.

Hell, he isn’t much of a catch either,
married twice, five kids that
don’t speak to him---
a broken down life lived
in a whiskey bottle.

The woman was looking better
through his dizzy eyes,
maybe the two of them
could add up to half of something.
With a gallant stumble he takes her arm
and mutters, “Your place or mine?”

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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The tiny sparrow
sings its winter song
to leafless trees.

It braves the snow
to announce a new day
and the hope spring
will soon bring its warmth.

Buried in blankets
of pessimism,
humanity grumbles
of cold feet and
winter will never end.

©Susie Clevenger
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

I Left Them Unsung

©Terence S. Jones

Is faith no more than stone and stained glass?

A church rises
from the pavement
beckoning me to believe,
but my trust cannot climb
the height of the first step.

My spirit is mere cobblestones
crumbling under my duress.
My mother placed hymns
into the crevices of my path
and I left them unsung.

What does it take to revive a dead heart?

A pew, a pulpit, fire and brimstone
leave me cold and unmoved.
Show me love, compassion, hope,
then perhaps the bitter taste
will leave my tongue.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Leslie Moon at NWCU introduced us to photographer Terence S. Jones
and he kindly provided photos for inspiration. Please take time to
view his work and read the other inspired works at NWCU Sunday Snapshot

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Erratic Beating of Alone

© Ellen Wilson

If this stone angel can pray,
then why do my lips remain glued?
I cannot bear my life without you,
in this silence I am afraid.

Your voice filled my empty space,
within its warmth my heart found home,
now it is only the erratic beating of alone.
My spirit feels the crush of this somber place.

Memories float around me like dust.
I reach for a moment to see it dissolve
into the thin air of loss breaking my resolve
to not let my joy tarnish and turn to rust.

Photographs are all I have of your smile.
It is sunshine in the clouds of my pain
where it leaves a small hope the steady rain
of tears will dissipate in a little while.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Kerry at Real Toads challenged us to write the poem form
"In Memoriam". Sadly all I could create was a poem that rhymed,
 but for me that is a major accomplishment since I rarely do rhyme. :)

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chlorine Fear

Taken under, lungs burning,
I didn’t know death came
in chlorinated droplets.

A foot rests upon my back,
arms pulling me to the surface,
so much water mixed with tears.

My father shouts at me.
Fault dries on my skin.
He knew I couldn’t swim.

You can’t swim and you live an hour’s drive from the Gulf of Mexico?

Overcoming fear isn’t easy.
The water burns my eyes and nose.
Don’t be silly, he won’t let go of you.

Letting go, concrete scrapes my palms,
it is only five feet deep.
You can’t swim on your toes.

Fifty years old and merely a tadpole,
watching children float around me,
but I am in the middle of the pool!

I faced my water demons and found success.

It’s February and the sun feels
like a warm blanket on my skin.
I am surrounded by blue.

Fish swim across my camera lens,
their colors the confetti of a dream.
Yet dreams don’t brush across your skin.

Cozumel, I made it.
Toddling strokes in a concrete pool
freed me to swim in a Caribbean sea.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Stuart McPherson challenged us at dVerse to write on our fears. I chose one that held me in its clutches most of my life...swimming. I remember vividly the day I was pulled from the bottom of the pool when I was a child. It so terrified me I could barely get near the water. Several years ago we were planning our first cruise to Mexico. (Yes, I was going to be in the middle of the sea on a ship.) I so didn't want to be the one who couldn't get in the water. I decided I had to learn to swim. Not only did I learn to swim, but I learned to snorkel at the same time. Quite a feat!
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Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Call Me Crazy

Spontaneous gives
the appearance
of mentally unstable.
I rather like the view.

Let me wear bright orange
when the rest of the world
is dressed in drab shades of normal.

Smile a smug smile and introduce
me as unique, and I will respond,
“Thank you, but just call me crazy.”

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Marian Kent at Real Toads prompted us to use the inspiration
 of Waylon Jennings to create our written piece. 

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Yesterday's Eyes

Image ~ Leslie Moon

Come out, come out wherever you are…
I am here. Can’t you see me?

Hide and seek had lost its magic
among the little girl’s tears
pleading for discovery.

Pressed like a butterfly under glass
brown eyes peer with yesterday’s eyes
into the oblivious stares of strangers.

She wants her mother.
They only want the museum tour.
Eternity has too many hours on its clock.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
 This was written from the image prompt by Leslie Moon for NWCU's

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sand Hallucinations

The Dead Of Night by Mike Zito on Grooveshark

My reality beached
on white sand
and hallucinations,
I send up driftwood
smoke signals
hoping sanity
will find its way
into my brain.

Am I the dead of night
or a human whose
soul has drowned
in waves of hysteria?

My vaporous hands
embrace flesh and blood
in a dance of surf and moon.
With only a mute seashell audience
there is no one to ask but
the beating heart against my breast
to speak my name.

Sound vibrates against my lips.
I beg the voice to speak louder
All I hear are my muffled words
echoing in the wind.

Who am I?
Am I human or a ghost
coughed up by the sea?

Twirling among the stars,
I rake my nails across the Milky Way
wondering if insanity has finally claimed me.

Susie Clevenger 2012
Real Toads ~ Kerry's Wednesday Challenge ~ The Unreliable Narrator

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Monday, October 8, 2012


 ©Jamie Clark

The lighthouse stands silently, its warning light now extinguished.
Jagged rocks dare passing ships to come close,
while seashells arrive with morning tide to give comfort for our grief.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
It is a Sijo poem. You can find the explanation
at Real Toads Sunday Mini - Challenge

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Autumn Fires

It is frost that sets the
fires of autumn,
turning leaves to
yellow, red, and orange flames.

The wind carries their burnt colors
as farewell notes across the grass.

Grand oaks peer into blue sky
watching geese wing their way
to warmer weather while
they tuck their limbs
and wait for sleep.

Fall always sparks childhood memories. Our little home in the country was surrounded by trees,
and in autumn the woods turned brilliant colors. I would spend hours outdoors taking in
the sights and sounds. When the leaves finally let go of their hold on branches, I imagined it
as crumpling raindrops.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Real Toads ~ Transforming Fridays
 dVerse Poets Pub ~ Postmodern (Prose)

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Where The Bluebirds Fly

Concrete, steel, and asphalt
inch their way over meadows,
green grass replaced by gray.

I want to go where the bluebirds fly
before there is no longer
a song, feather, or nest.

I miss seeing spring from my window.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Real Toads ~ Open Link Monday
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mechanical Deflection

Bolted, screwed, and geared
it beats with an artificial thump,
the mechanical medical miracle
to replace the broken heart.

Future distress will be avoided
by its ability to detect and deflect
any inclination to fall in love.

The rusty, creaking replica
of a flesh and beating heart
keeps anger alive and
the calloused damning fate


©Susie Clevenger 2012

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Romance vs Football

She wanted romance.
He wanted football.

She threw a penalty flag
when the last touchdown
had him wanting to play
a game in bed.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
 At Real Toads Mama Zen
wanted us to write poetic drama
in thirty words or less. 
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Eat ~ Dance ~ Pray

Call me a hippie and I will celebrate it. When Natasha Head at New World Creative Union's Wednesday Wake-Up Call encouraged us to dance using the art form of our choice I wrote three words in Google: eat, dance, pray. I never dreamed I would actually find a movement of peace that was founded on these three words. The movement is called Dances of Universal Peace. It was founded by Samuel L. Lewis in the late 1960’s. He believed that when people, “eat, dance and pray together,” the world finds peace. So if that sounds like hippie philosophy, I will gladly embrace it. How beautiful it is to join hands with no agenda other than to show love to one another through the movement of dance.


Peace joins hands with humanity
in a circle of renewal.

War’s boots no longer march
their agony across the oppressed.


Religion celebrates a creator
without division ~ unity their mantra.

The hungry are fed from a common pantry.
Nations speak, “What’s mine is yours.”


Bodies move to the song of earth.
Love has erased the memory of hate.

There is a new world risen from discord’s ash.
Joy now sings its hallelujah song.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Come see how others danced at New World Creative's Wednesday Wake-Up Call

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Cinnamon and Spice Days

Creative Commons ~  Dendroica cerulea

Blowing leaves
the color of milk chocolate
float in the chilled air.

Indian summer
could no longer
keep its hold
on the thermometer.

It had flirted with
yellow leaves and orange sky,
but fall would not be denied.

Amidst jack o’ lanterns
and thanksgiving prayers
autumn dances with the wind
rattling limbs and leaves
to announce harvest’s ending.

Cinnamon and spice days now
grow shorter as nature prepares
for frost and long winter nights.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chair Propped Against Neutrality

Creative Commons ~ Erik Alfredo

She listened to the secrets
plastered inside the walls
as if she was merely
a chair propped against neutrality.

She whispered, “It was not my fault,”
to the demons stirring her memory,
yet they continued to hiss and accuse.

Ungreased hinges and creaking floor
had announced evil’s passage
each night of a thousand hours,
but she had buried her head
in the feather down of pretense’s pillow
and spoke not a word.

She excused her husband’s nightly visits
to his step daughter’s bed as merely comfort
for a child who cried out from nightmares.

There were no questions when the sun rose,
only deaf ears and blind eyes.
Breakfast was served with toast and silence.

There came the day when Pandora’s lid
was torn away by a school room confession.
Her daughter exposed the truth of nighttime lies
and denial became no defense.

The secrets that now whisper are those
of another girl child whose lips can never speak.
She took her pain into the grave and left a note
that simply said, “Mother go to hell.”

I understand the pain of childhood sexual abuse too well. I was a victim.
This poem is not about my experience, but painfully this scenario
has happened too often. I have included some resources for help for 
those who are or have been victims.

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