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

Monday, February 25, 2013

Digital Safari

Flashes break the night
into white beaded eyes.
The desert can no longer
keep its secrets hidden
in sand and stars.

A digital hunter stalks
the moonless night
armed with technology
to capture roaming beasts
on their nocturnal journey.

A safari held in a human palm
takes no blood nor mounts a trophy.
The only trigger pulled is mounted
on a camera that takes a shot
seen around the world.

An iPhone creates a bridge
between life and extinction
by keeping an animal count
among buzzing texts and
consuming abbreviations.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2012

 At Real Toads, Transforming Friday, Hannah had us traveling to the desert to write about animal life there. When researching for something to spark my muse I came across an article about an iPhone app created by the Zoological Society of London called  Instant Wild. It is used by the general public to view animals in the wild to count and perhaps even find a new species. 

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Graffiti Angel

Like at tomcat
he pisses with spray paint
to mark his territory.

A concrete call of the wild
rages from cigarette burnt lungs.

“We are the world”……
Shit….come sit under
a smog incrusted moon
and tell me about the future.

I’ll throw an F – bomb
into your good intentions….

I was born craving
a crack pipe pacifier
in my manger under a bridge.

If hell has walls, I’ll find
an empty spot for my initials.

“We are the children….
We are the ones who make a brighter day”

Damn, my stomach is growling.
Yesterday the soup kitchen served
boiled promises……
The government has cut food for the poor.

A black van drives by tossing out spray cans….
He and other street kids gather…..

Tires screech as it pulls away…..
The driver sets the coordinates on his GPS….
He calls it in…Yes sir, the enemy is at 125th and Main.
You can send in the drone….code name… Angel of Death.

Susie Clevenger 2013

My graffiti poem isn't sweet...I live in Houston and have worked with kids over the years. There's a lot of anger out there. Unfortunately kids are being thrown away every day. This whole business with drones has me uneasy. I threw in what I hope is only science fiction into the mix. God help us if we don't work quickly to make a better world for our children.

Anna Montgomery prompted us to write graffiti poetry over at dVerse Poets Pub

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rented Hope

Dour was stripped
from papered walls
to allow barely getting by
to repaint in yellow.

Love sealed each opening
to keep out impossible
to stay cozy with a
fireplace made of dreams.

Decorated in giggles,
Barbie dolls, and
overdue utilities,
rented hope
became a home.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Mama Zen at Real Toads 
had us building homes.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Women's Spiritual Poetry ~ Dawn

I was invited to be part of Catherine Ghosh's blog, Women's Spiritual Poetry. These are her beautiful words, "This blog is a sacred space where poetesses, from various spiritual paths and traditions, can come together to share their heartfelt reflections in the spirit of interfaith dialogue."

I shared my poem, Countdown to Brave, and an explanation of why I wrote it. You can read it here. Brave Countdown

Many have asked about Dawn and I would like to share that she is doing well She has had some bumps in the road since the surgery to remove her kidney, but she has faced them with the strength and courage she has always displayed. Tomorrow, February 21st is her 39th birthday. She has asked for suggestions on what to put on her bucket list for the year. If you have anything you would like to share with her, just include it in the comment section and I will pass it on.

Dawn is plotting what she will do to celebrate
her 39th birthday. She has such a sense of humor!
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Does One Dress for Grief

A day of pulled shades,
wishing January 13th
never happened,
and tears in my tea.

I hate goodbyes...
holding on to air
that is empty of
your warmth…..
a phone number
I can never dial again…..
a stone carved with your name.

Self- pity sent an invitation
and I scribbled my yearning
into attendance.
How does one dress for grief?

Sadness stalks me.
Today it is disguised
as spring wind….
It stirs the wind chimes
to play a tune of home,
but you are no longer there.

Time heals….Does it?
There are days I forget….
Maybe that is what healing is,
fewer days of remembering.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

I am missing my father today. He died
January 13th, 2011. Writing is 
my therapy so I channeled my tears into words.

dVerse Poets Pub ~ Open Link Night ~ Week 84
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Antebellum Ghosts

Wind of History by Jacek Yerka

Antebellum stares
with broken glass eyes
at the flooded bones
of yesterday littering
the front lawn.

Moss etches an epitaph
into the crumbling sentries
of pillar and stone that attempted
to defend slavery’s bastion
from the onslaught of freedom.

Centuries lie in rusted amnesia
bleeding its forgotten lessons
into the soil once fertile with rebirth.

Gone with the wind is the grace
of what could have been leaving
ghosts to haunt with agony’s remorse.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Brave Countdown

The morning sun doesn’t know
I will have to be brave.
It rises in the east in ordinary rays.

Another knife has been sharpened
with the letters of my name.
I dread the count to oblivion.

Positive lost its sunny spin
when carvings of flesh
revealed the dreaded word, cancer.

White light stares at me
with its glare of anonymity,
my name already forgotten in sterile walls.

Count down from one hundred.
I don’t wish to mumble in syllables.
Five is a better place to start.

5  (B)
4  (R)
3  (A)
2  (V)
1  (E)

©Susie Clevenger 2013

On November 7, 2008 my daughter, Dawn, lost her left kidney to cancer. She had already gone through numerous surgeries and biopsies through the years.  I am not really sure what was going through her mind on that day, but somehow I think it played out this way.

Fireblossom at Real Toads had us writing free verse.
Free Verse: My Love In Her Wild Magnificence

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Burnt Umber

 The dog days burnt August umber.
Sepia unraveled
spirits yearning for cleansing rain
to wash away malaise.

don’t why we chose
begin our marriage when

the sun toasted each rose upon
its thorny, wooden stem.
Impetuous love can only
see through passion’s steamed lens.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
Fireblossom Friday Fireblossom Goes Old School!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Feathers of Poe

I wade the blue water
to stand in the oak tree’s reflection
seeking its strength to keep
me from drowning in shadows.

Tomorrow drinks of the ripples
around my waist……
I pray the sun will shine brighter
to burn melancholy’s rope
from my feet.

If floats on the waves
bringing me little comfort.
I am scarred from suppositions
camouflaged as dreams.

I watch the birds write
a winged poem in the sky,
hoping the verses will not fall
in feathers of Poe.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
 I have been reading the book Empty Chairs by Stacey Danson. This poem just seemed to be birthed from it.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Broken Wings and Secrets

You took my broken wings
and tucked them in your heart.

My past had invaded my present
with its artillery of fear.

It was your love that crumbled
my wounded walls into safety.

You nudged me to unwind the secrets
from the child inside of me to free her.

On a cold winter’s night I took the first steps
away from the insanity wooing me.

With your hand in mine we sat at a kitchen table
telling  my parents of an uncle’s abuse.

I never thought I would ever learn how to fly
until you showed me where to start.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

It is hard to define love. If I had to use one word, it would be Charlie.
He took a broken doll and loved her back to being whole. I love him
beyond words and for a person who spends her time with words that is quite a feat. 

Susan at Real Toads asked, "What is Love?" She asked us also to write of a moment that clarified that question for us. Real Toads ~ First and Last Lines
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love Divided

You hate yourself,
yet you speak
I love you.

Can I trust your love
when you revile
your own beating heart?

I cannot heal  
the pain you leave

Misery has found sustenance
in the repeated self – aspersion
you drown in.

I wait to hear you say I love you
without the weight of the darkness
you stone your spirit with.

Love is not whole
when you divide it
by hating yourself.

Susie Clevenger 2013
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Thank You ~ Texas Gulf Coast Writers

I want to thank Laurie Kolp for inviting me to speak at the Texas Gulf Coast Writers meeting. I would also like to express my appreciation to the members for their warm reception and kind words. It was a thrill to be able to share my love of poetry as well as the process by which I create.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Speaking Today at the Texas Gulf Coast Writers

February 11 Meeting

Susie Clevenger will be speaking at the next TGCW meeting. We will meet at 6:30 pm in the club room of the West End Lodge Apartments at 4215 North Major Drive in Beaumont, Texas.

Susie Clevenger is an author who refers to the whole world as her muse and translates her observations of life into verse.  As a young girl she spent many evenings dreaming of what lay beyond dirt roads, wanting the freedom to express what was inside of her. Susie recently published her first poetry collection, Dirt Road Dreams, which brought that yearning for personal expression to print.

Susie is a coordinator for the New World Creative Union, and a member of the online writing community, Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Her work has been featured online in The Creative Nexus, Poetry & Prose Magazine, and The Brinks Gallery.

She is also a photographer who enjoys further artistic expression through her camera lens.

You can find links to Susie’s written work and photography as well as links to connect with her on social media at her author’s page:susieclevenger.com
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Surfing the Wind

     riding a
           of wind,

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Beyond Snowflakes

A robin announces spring
while the tulips are still buried in winter.
Hope sees beyond the snowflakes.

The sun shivers in its charcoal sweater
watching the world turn white as
a robin announces spring.

Flower buds stir in their loam quilts
preparing to rise and blossom
while the tulips are still buried in winter.

March winds begin to shape shift from lamb to lion
to warm its breath to melt winter from its calendar.
Hope sees beyond the snowflakes.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
 Hedgewitch at Real Toads has us writing in chains...
Here's the rules for the form:
The rules are simple: write a short poem (or single complete image ) of three to five lines (or more if ambitious, but this isa mini-challenge.)  Choose your lines and subject carefully as you are now going to deconstruct that poem and use each line as the concluding line of a stanza. That is, your first line will end your second stanza, your second line will be the last line of your third stanza, and so forth. Each stanza should have the same number of lines as your original poem. If you wrote a three line original poem, you will end up with a four stanza cascade. This sort of structure will give a slowly building, cascading effect to the piece, hence the name.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

A One Bedroom Apartment in Siberia ~ A Perfect Place

I embrace your jabs into muscle.
It proves I am alive as my legs
contort into convulsed appendages.

You keep my eyes open at night
to watch the moon disappear into sunlight.
I walk with zombie gait to the coffee pot
to share communion with your generosity.

Maneuvering through a fogged brain I scramble words
with speech and pen to form nothing phrases
that pass as conversation or strained intellectualism.

This Valentine ’s Day I will gift you with
heart shaped chocolate from my inner child
who surfaces in tantrums when she doesn’t
get to play without your constant attendance.

Dear Fibromyalgia, we are inseparable,
but I think it is time for you to move on.
I am thinking a one room apartment in Siberia
would be the perfect place for you to retire.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Mary at Real Toads challenged us
to write a love letter to something
we have no love for...
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Small Shoe Talk Radio

Small shoes take heavy, toddling steps
across wooden planks as fingers
connect telephone calls one plug in at a time.

It was the 1950’s in a small town
where everyone knew the cause
of the clatter on the line.

I found my voice early in two rooms
of a dusty brick store building.
I was blond, chattering precociousness.

Warm evenings found me on the front porch
of the telephone office where open windows
carried my voice to everyone making a call.

One ring, two rings, I was on.
I did my own version of talk radio
for each caller holding on the line.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
Victoria Slotto a dVerse Poets Pub had us mining our
childhood memories for inspiration. 

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Only Eight Words #FWF

Eight words and I am lost.
My fingers attempt to conjure
a spell to capture attention,
but sheer effort fails me.

Everything is a whirl of vague
references I cannot connect
with enough allure to keep me
interested let alone a reader
who might stumble across my verse.

Opal denotes fire, but I am
in an ice dream where words
are frozen in stumbling blocks.

My paper is bare of even a scribble.
It feels like a verbal brick wall
beneath my pen.

Eight words, only eight words,
my imagination has packed
its bags and left me stranded.
This poetry thing is not easy.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
 Kellie Elmore gave a word bank as inspiration for her Free Write Friday prompt.  Opal, Vague, Whirl, Dream, Sheer, Conjure, Bare, Allure

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Turning A List Into Senryu

dignity recalls
that you are an idiot.
but it displays grace.

whispers followed her
in waves of condemnation.
she knew how to swim.

innocence believes
night holds no terror for them
evil is patient.

desire is the heat
that burns away hesitance.
no goes up in flames.

exploring new thought
may require unpacking
archaic thinking

tangible requires
far too much reality
i prefer dreaming.

 questions rest on lips
waiting for the right moment.
answers cannot wait.

simple beauty does
not require a pharmacy.
superficial does.

flickering candlelight
ambience of seduction
no snuffed out its flame

©Susie Clevenger 2013
 At Real Toads Fireblossom
gave us a list of words to create from.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Hell On the Tip of Her Cigarette

She spoke from a black and white
photograph the bourbon she had for lunch.

I will smoke
my way to death
and light the flames
of hell by my own hand.

The finger of the holy
can find someone
else to condemn.

I tire of the sound
of their Bible thumping
while trying to keep
their secrets from
escaping closet doors.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
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Texas Gulf Coast Writers: February 11 Meeting

I was honored by Laurie Kolp with an invitation to speak at her writing group, The Texas Gulf Coast Writers.

Texas Gulf Coast Writers: February 11 Meeting: Susie Clevenger will be speaking at the next TGCW meeting. We will meet at 6:30 pm in the club room of the West End Lodge Apartments at 4215...
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Poetry & Prose Magazine January 2013

I am honored to have three of my poems in the January 2013 issue of
Poetry & Prose Magazine.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cinquain Collection

Wandering Into Lost

your wandering
inclination to fear
the lost tomorrows when this day

 ~ ~ ~ ~ 0 ~ ~ ~ ~

An Epitaph in Green

Green moss
decorates the
wings of a stone angel.
An epitaph now covered in
new life.
~ ~ ~ ~ 0 ~ ~ ~ ~

Spring’s Faux Pas
froze the tulips.
Spring hadn’t asked permission
to paint the black and white landscape

©Susie Clevenger 2013

 At Real Toads Marian prompted us to write a cinquain. 
You can read an explanation of cinquain and read
what the other talented toads created at

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Too Many Whys with Champagne

The cage door will open
to free white doves……

Bury me in pearls and white satin.
Marry my corpse to the plans
of a silly girl’s heart.

Even the sun rose in brilliant yellow
to decorate the sky for my wedding,
but gasped in clouds when the altar
was untouched by your footprint.

I am no more than a forgotten silhouette
sitting under an unforgiving moon trying
to bend my pain into forgiving.

I have consumed too many whys
with the champagne while trying to understand
the reason I still bare my maiden name.

It is for the best…..really?
Who decides that is so?
I think I shall hate white roses.
They were supposed to have their thorns removed.
Yet, I am stone bleeding from the
needle stick of their deceitful bouquet.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
At Real Toads ~ A Word With Laurie she prompted us to write a
 phantasmagoric poem.


(Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia) 1. Pertaining or relating to a phantasmagoria; of the nature of phantasmagoria; illusive; unreal.

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