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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 30! ~ Of Crows and Karma

A bleached crow drank every
fruitful gram housed in June’s
karma letting mayhem’s nightshade,
omen prayer quickly race scaldingly toward
Udl’s venomously wretched,
xenic yellowed  zythepsary.

©Susie Clevenger

Marian at Real Toads gave us an alphabet challenge with these instructions: It's a simple challenge, really. Starting with the letter A every next word should start with the next letter of the alphabet. Well, I managed to get the entire alphabet in mine. I was high on caffeine and little sleep. :) I have included some definitions in case there are those who thought I made up words. :)
1 to 30, A to Z!

Udl: Flying demon from Austria. He tells about war and bad luck by his cries.

Xenic : -noun Chemistry. Xenic acid is the aqueous solution of xenon trioxide, a stable weak acid and strong oxidizing agent.

Zythepsary: -noun. A brewery

I made it, 30 poems in 30 days! This was my first attempt at writing for NaPoWriMo. Even with the sad loss of my mother-in-law I was determined to meet the goal I set for myself. Thanks to all my lovely toad friends for all their inspiration and encouragement this past month. I couldn't have done it without each one of you!
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Monday, April 29, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 29 ~ Dandelion Verses

I gather my unfinished verses
into a dandelion bouquet
hoping these weeds of thought
will not prevent budding inspiration
from blossoming into poetry.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 28 ~ Varied Definitions of "It"

“Nothing is more deadly than a deserted, waiting street.” 
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Early morning intuition opened the front door
at the sound of a barking dog to discover
an uneasy feeling justified.

Crime stepped from the shadows
propped on an uncle’s shoulders
forcing each one of my family to face it.

No one could decide on what “it” was.

Mama said, “It was that damn boy
crawling across the night to bring
his evil to our doorstep.”

Dad said, “It breaks my heart.
He is my brother, but I must turn him in.”

My little sister said, “It was so scary to see
that white t-shirt come out of the dark.”

I kept my thoughts to myself.  The “it”
tormenting me had risen from my nightmares
and was eating toast and drinking milk.

We all thought those tail lights disappearing
over the hill would be our freedom from the
thing we couldn’t agree on, but our lives
weren’t free of the unexpected lurking in the night.

Two evenings later on a quiet, waiting street
peace was undone by shuffling feet, badges
and guns demanding we surrender a man already gone.

Rattled, angry and fearful each one of us was trying
again to define the thing that unsettled us, but
the only thing we could agree on was the hope
the “it” an uncle brought to us would never return.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Kerry has us celebrating Harper Lee's birthday by taking a quote from her novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" and using it as inspiration for our written work. A Birthday In April ~ Harper Lee

I actually got to meet Mary Badham who played Scout in the movie version of Harper Lee's book, "To Kill a Mockingbird."
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 27 ~ Black Suits and Bold Lies

Mantella: This poisonous frog from Madagascar, Mantella baroni, also acquires its toxins through its diet. One of the primary contributors is an ant that is endemic to Madagascar, Anochetus grandidieri. Photo: Valerie C. Clark.

I am dressed to kill
so take a hint to look
and not touch.
Take me out for a bite
and that may be
your last lunch.

You have come uninvited
with your matchstick flames
reducing my rainforest backyard
to burnt logs and plowed fields.

Madagascar, you see with
near sighted eyes the grain
to feed the immediate
while leaving the future to starve.

All my favorite eateries are disappearing
to the bloated assumptions a lost frog
is nothing to the salvation of man.
After all you tout, "It was we who
were given dominion."

I wear my poisoned haute couture
for an explicit reason to warn of intent.
It Seems humans prefer to wear their
daily garb of black suits and bold lies.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

You can read more about the man made and natural threats to the Mantella here.

Hannah at Real Toads informed us that today is Save The Frogs Day and challenged us to give a voice to a frog. Each living thing on our planet is precious and we sadly we are losing too much life by our neglect. Transforming Frog Day!

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Friday, April 26, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 26 ~ Words In An Electronic Desert

There’s that blinking again.
I scratch inside this cramped
muscle cage wanting to run
while she waddles her fingers
across an electronic desert writing
and erasing words in the sand.

I purr my plea to set me free,
but she holds the leash tighter
clipping my claws with someday.

She thinks of me as one of her
domesticated cats that rub at
her ankles begging for food and attention.

I am a tiger meant to run; feel the sun
upon my fur; stand my ground against
any beast that dares cross into my territory.

Damn, just when I see my roar breaking
through the walls of this crumbling zoo,
I feel her tears drip from my eyes.

Her sorrow drains me of my anger.
I hear her tell me I am the strength that lifts her,
the music of her voice, the courage to walk
the valley when its dark, and laughter
when pain stalks from every shadow.

It is odd how a moment can change perception.
Suddenly I see not a locked door but an open portal
where words left in the sand are leading both of us
across an electronic desert to freedom.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Fireblossom challenged us to write about the animal within.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 25 ~ An Apple's Coffined Sleep

Jealousy didn’t like what a mirror spoke
and turned a poisoned apple in to coffined sleep.
Snow White’s tale of an evil queen,
seven dwarfs and a prince
proved love had the power
to reverse the sting of animus’s venom.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Izy at Real Toads has us writing Cliff Notes of our favorite stories. She also set a limit of ten lines. Out of Standard ~ Cliff Notes
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 24 ~ Freedom Buds in Ash

Am I merely a last letter
you’re compelled to write
because guilt holds the pen?

Your goodbye preceded you.
Lips couldn’t wait to whisper
leaving in my ear.

Go on to new love.
My tears will not
be the ink of pleading.

I gave you who I am
and refused your editing
into what you wished me to be.

Goodbye's flames will not consume me.
Among the ashes of your rejection
lies the budding leaf of my freedom.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Susan at Real Toads has us writing of hello or goodbye. I chose goodbye. There are times goodbye is the blessing you didn't seek. When the pain clears you see it was for the best. Hello/Goodbye

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 23 ~ She Speaks an Unknown Tongue

“Women speak two languages - one of which is verbal” ~ William Shakespeare

If I could translate
the language of her body,
then this uncertainty
that plagues me
would no longer
be my affliction.

She frowns on the
tip of a smile;
beckons with a wink
while her eyes speak no.

Am I the only male
who cannot read her sighs,
the tap of her foot,
the fingers twisting
the curls at her cheek?

I haven’t the gift of clairvoyance
so I tread the troubled waters
of misconception each time
I hazard a moment’s trust
I can decipher the unknown tongue
her body speaks.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Susan at Real Toads has us celebrating William Shakespeare's birthday by using one of his quotes for inspiration for our own writings. Unfortunately I missed the requirement to write a sonnet. For shame, I lay my head low and weep. I failed to meet the request of a sonnet to grace my page. :)
A Birthday in April ~ Shakespeare I also shared it at dVerse poets pub ~ Open Link Night Week 93

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Sunday, April 21, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 21 ~ Lune

a devil's moon
shone full and blood red
in autumn's bleeding

i will come to you
when twilight
dances with sunset

At Real Toads Grace has us writing lune. The Sunday Mini-Challenge ~ Lune

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 20 ~ A Woman Is More Than A Bloody Sheet

You tempt me with seeds and flesh
when I hunger for a new day that
is not fraught with my body’s pulse
wishing for a touch born from
the flames of Diabolos hand.

Disthius would have my heart melted
on his platter of conquests and then
toss me into Skasila’s abyss
to drown amongst the maidens
who sacrificed pink innocence to his touch.

Mother did not name me Artemis to have
me bow my knees to lust that would leave my
womb a crib for a fatherless child.
I will outlast Dithius’ attempts to seduce me
into giving up the crown I am to wear
when I reach my eighteenth birthday.

He would raise his sword of double standard
to proclaim me a harlot unworthy to rule
because I no longer possess the virgin’s proof
the council will demand before I claim the throne.

When I am seated as queen, my first ruling will be
that each child a man has called bastard will become
wards in my care and given my last name, Mathias.

The song of submission no longer sings in my ear.
I will stand as tall as the name given to me at birth.
I am a woman who will teach her sisters they
don’t need bloody sheets to prove their worth.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Kerry at Real Toads had us writing story poems from illustrations by Virginia Frances Sterrett. I thought I should share the meanings of the names I used to help in understanding the piece better. First of all I made up the name, Disthius. Why, I am not sure except it came to me and I liked its sound.

The following are Greek words:

Diabolos ~ devil
Skasila ~ heartbreak
Artemis ~ Goddess of the Hunt and protector of women
Mathias ~ Gift of God

 The link to this challenge is called The Lark And The Toad, how appropriate. :)

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Friday, April 19, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 18 ~ We Judge a Broom by its Flier

We judge a broom by its flyer
thinking wicked has no heart.

Red shoes with bright glitter
spoke of going home for one
and holding on to a memory for another.

Four hands one prize made
two spirits fight for what
they already possessed.

A young girl always had home within her
and a witch didn’t need magic shoes
to help her remember.

Compromise was never mentioned.
It was a tug of war between
I will get my wish and you won’t.

Clicking heels found Kansas
while a bucket of water
left melting green slush.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Izy at Real Toads challenged us to use the word melting,but it was with a catch. The poem must not contain elements of fire or ice: no heat, no cold. I chose to use my poetic license and twist the movie version of The Wizard of Oz into my own interpretation. Oh, and Izy didn't say the whole poem had to be about melting. :)

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 18 ~ Flowering Yes

Stop gathering your
thistle no’s into
a bouquet of failure.

Pluck the weeds
from your garden of dreams
and let yes flower into I can.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads it was my turn to offer a prompt to inspire writing and I chose Encouragement. We all need it, but wouldn't you know it was the hardest for me to write. I am struggling with forgiveness and what better time to seek words of encouragement to lift my spirit from the bog of I can't than when I am first thrown into its mire.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 (playing catch up) Day 12 ~ Melted Crows

Art by Chelsea Bednar

A canvas of melted crows
and echoes of Poe
hangs as a dark
reminder nightmares
deceive with promises
of nevermore.

Sunlight orange
will not deter
the haunting that waits
between awake and asleep.

Crucifix and hope
lay as odd bedfellows
with insomnia
as they watch night
walk across bloodshot eyes.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Margaret Bednar generously supplied the art of her daughter Chelsea as inspiration for our creativity. Artistic Interpretations With Margaret

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NaPoWriMo 2013 (playing catch up) Day 11 ~ Coin Purse Shells

My husband fidgets with
the energy of a child and
watches the horizon for
his first glimpse of Mexico.

“I can’t believe we are almost there.
I have never stepped beyond the shores
of the United States and soon we will
touch our toes upon the beaches of Cozumel.”

I line my pockets
with coin purse shells
holding treasured white sand.

Money cannot buy the joy
of blue water and dreams
etching their way into my memory.

How does one write words
that do justice to the beauty
dancing across my retinas?

I want to stay, plant my hope
among the waves and feel
them splash me with renewal.

Mexico, your colors will be
the sunshine lighting my thoughts
when darkness tries to have its way.

 “It seems we left pieces of us in the sand of Mexico doesn’t it hun? Home looks different. There is so much clutter and threadbare nerves here. I wish we could go back, say the hell with getting ahead and just live on tortillas, love and dreams.”

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Corey at Real Toads has us writing Destinations and Dialogue

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NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 17 ~ Death by Intent

Yesterday fortitude
was tested by demon
machinations bringing
hell to a race.

Perseverance to bring
the perpetrators to
justice began moments
after the act.

Humanity suffered
a heinous attack
while cameras captured
death by intent.

Susie Clevenger 2013

Aprille at Real Toads challenged us to write dactyls. It seems it is a poetic animal with three feet. Oh this poetry thing is tough! Get Listed ~ Aprille's Choice
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NaPoWriM0 2013 (catching up) Day 9 & 10

 Maria Sibylla Merian

 NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 9

Seeds of Fairy Tales 

The seeds of fairy tales grow false.

We must chew leaves
and shroud in darkness
to grow wings of a butterfly.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Mama Zen introduced us to the art of Maria Sibylla Merian as inspiration for our writing. Words Count With Mama Zen


NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 10

The Proper Time to Jump

My cardiologist asked the usual question,
“Have you had any palpitations lately?”

I smiled my best, I am perfectly fine grin,
and responded, “No, not even one.”

My tag a long husband picked that moment
to interject, “Tell him what you wanted to do last week.”

With a bold I don’t care what you think I informed
the doctor, “I wanted to skydive.”

With his own palpitations my doctor questioned,
 “Are you crazy? With your history of sporadic adrenaline your
heart would literally  pour out of your throat.”

Without a pause I turned to Charlie and stated,
“I want it in my will that if I am ever destined to go
to a nursing home you find me a plane and a place to jump.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Izy prompted us to document memorable discussions. For the gentle eyed I chose one that wouldn't require an R rating. Document of Discussion

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NaPoWriMo 2013 (playing catch up) Day 7 & 8

I Voyage Through the Unknown ~ NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 7

“A mind forever Voyaging through strange seas of Thought, alone.” ~ William Wordsworth
No one knows the me I silence.
I am adrift in imagination
where there is no lifeboat,
or oar that knows which
shore I seek.

I stare into the light of dreams
that shines only for my illumination.
To ask another to warm their thoughts
with the words that burn my skin
would have them rush to confirm my lunacy.

I will sail as far as the wind will take me
upon this strange sea that beckons my thoughts
to ride the frothed waves of the unknown.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Kerry is celebrating the birthday of William Wordsworth. She offered quotes by William to jump start our creativity. A Birthday in April ~ Wordsworth


 Of Letters and Song NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 8

I can sing the alphabet song
with childish enthusiasm,
but grow taciturn when the letters
refuse to hold hands to complete my verse.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 16 ~ You Smell of Dust

You smell of dust,
wind and today’s dark ending.
You smell of dust
choking faithful into mistrust
where no words can mend broken faith.
I can’t escape this bitter wraith.
You smell of dust.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Marian at Real Toads has us writing Roundels or Rondelets...Yes, I agree it
sounds foreign and confusing. Well, it is to me who struggles with rhyme like it is a muddy bog I can't escape from. Since it is National Poetry month I jumped into the challenge and attempted it. I Say Roundel, You Say Rondelet   
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Monday, April 15, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 15 ~ Swallowing Stones

She scrubbed her words
until they were polished
with the shine of acceptance.

Playing normal was harder than she expected.
It was like burlap chafing her skin.

Just a few days of one act plays
and the season of faux persona
would end with goodbye.

Silently she choked on the stones
she swallowed to keep the peace.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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NaPoWriMo 2013 (playing catch up) Day 6 ~ Song of the Whippoorwill

It is the whippoorwill
that sings of home
where the night sky
is dancing stars and
wishes whispered
to the moon.

I am miles from the
gravel that dusted my toes
on barefoot summers,
but when I close my eyes
I return to once upon a time.

Blessed bird continue your song
of quieter days and winged dreams.
I want to fly to open fields where concrete
doesn’t scratch against my sleeves.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Peggy has us Going Outside.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 (Rewinding to catch up) Day 5 ~ Sugar Man Found

The world erased you
while your lyrics lived on.

Written in vinyl grooves
songs burned their verses
into South African hearts.

Risen from rumor’s grave
you pour your music
into a thirsty world.

A humble carpenter shines
in a sky too often swathed in plastic.
Blessed are we that Sugar Man was found.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Marian challenged us to write about Rodriquez who was rumored to have committed suicide but was found very much alive in Detroit.
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NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 14 ~ Caught Between War and Peace

 Another Margarita ~ Joaquin Sorolla

Neutrality breathes with asthmatic gasps
in air burnt from cannon fire rumbling
its demand for yeah or nay.

Caught between war and peace
life is only a bullet’s distance
from a poppy covered grave.

She prays for her enemies by counting links on her iron rosary.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Hedgewitch has inspired us with the art of Joaquin Sorolla. I chose to write a sevenling. Sunday Challenge ~ Joaquin Sorolla
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day 13 ~ Pansies and Glass Figurines

While I sort through the temporal
you surrounded yourself with
I cry over spilt soda bleeding my heart.

My lips glued with anger
I smile as if nothing matters
except pansies and glass figurines.

Why doesn’t have an answer.
You were love, forgiveness and joy.
Today is too dark for sunshine.

With Ann Murray singing “You Needed Me”
I swallow the failure haunting me and
wonder if salt poured over wounds really heals.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Today at Real Toads Lolamouse challenged us to write in the style of poet, Billy Collins. Accessible Poetry
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day Four ~ Swimming In Holy Water

Yeah, I’m living life
in a beer can baptizing
my self-worth in foam.

Give me another one
and I will put this
dead tin to rest on the bar.

Sorry, was that a choir?
I've never heard hymns
sung in short skirts and heels.

I got soul, but I’m no soldier…
Sunday school’s got its roots inside me,
but God didn’t draft me for his army.

Pull up a chair and we’ll share communion.
I can’t burn if I’m swimming in holy water.
Sure you can preach, just make it a new sermon.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Izy at Real Toads made the challenge easy, watch the video and  write a poem inspired by it. Yep, that is where my muse took me.  Out of Standard ~ Film School Drop Out Edition
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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NaPoWriMO 2013 Day Three ~ Existential Maybe…..Questions Certainly

She was crazy or spend  a little 
more money and buy the word, demented.
Does it matter what word is used when one’s brain
looks like a walnut dried in the sun?
That poor woman in the mirror, the doctor
said it was Alzheimer’s.

Nellie, your husband is here.
No he isn’t. It is his brother.
Oron is on the roof across the street.

Where am I? Who am I?
Goodness, who put crackers in my socks?

It is chilly outside. I need my coat.
I must check the street.
It is always so busy in front of the house.
Just a peek before I step out.
Damn! It is only the hall!

Someone told me about God once.
Did he forget my address?


More Questions

Does asking questions
really bring answers?
For every point
there is a counterpoint.

Do I accept an answer
simply to allow sleep
because questions
would have me shredding
my pillow from tossing and turning?

My gut feeling is not the same
as someone else’s……
Yet I am told to trust mine.

Perhaps answers are never answers
until I believe I have no more questions.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Kerry at Real Toads challenged us with existentialism. That seems way over my head. I find myself in that predicament often. The first part of the poem refers to my mother who had Alzheimer's.
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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day Two ~ Sentenced to Pinches and Silence

Seven years old
and color blind.

“Why do those kids
always sit in the back
of the bus?”

A collective gasp
and a driver demanding,
“Shut that girl up!”

Curiosity sentenced
to pinches and silence.

Wide eyed innocence condemned
for not seeing black and white.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Fireblossom over at Real Toads has us in
a time warp. The year is 1958. The little girl
in the poem was me.
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Monday, April 1, 2013

NaPoWriMo 2013 Day One ~ Death, Life and Oxymoron

We stave off death
by killing life.
We wipe our chins
with the oxymoron
and pick flesh from
our teeth.

Greedy, bloated, and grumbling…
we pass our days in the land of the bountiful
dreaming of our next meal while brandishing
a television remote as a sword to slice images
of the hungry from our conscience.

Judgment waits with its empty plate
to see if we will repent and share our harvest…

Greasy fingers hold firmly to silver forks.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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