Monday, December 30, 2019

Letting Nature Rip Old Pains

“A nightmare is mere fodder for poetry.” ~ Kerry O’Connor

Last year’s screams are being swallowed by the shrieking storm that’s the year to come. My skeleton grins in the rain, letting nature rip old pains, readying the soul for the fresh flesh frock that twists broken pieces whole.
Yes, there’ll be more pain.

But don’t despair (or attempt to flee) when life cracks her relentless whip. To run, a body has to show its back. To bear agony (and persist), a soul must bare her teeth.

Rebirth, by Patricia Ariel
for the Imaginary Garden’s “Play It Again! with Real Toads”, where our beloved Kerry lists some of our favorite prompts and invites us to “PLAY IT AGAIN! and AGAIN! and AGAIN!” I chose Izy’s challenge, “Chew through your own chains”. She asked us to “create a list of three words or phrases specific to the worst job [we] ever had and craft a poem having nothing to do with work.” My words are “skeleton, pieces, despair”.
linked to Poets and Storytellers United (Writers Pantry #2: Storms and Stones and Warmth). 

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Of Your Twilight, the Darkness

Shadows can’t be without light… just like me. Without you, twisting my limbs in our secret garden of little deaths, I can’t find the Self that makes Me. In the Solstice of my tale, you are Sun—new growth, old blaze, life… I know you fear full night. I taste the truth in words you touch to my lips, in caresses you banter to keep, in every rebel gasp my voice rips out of that bit of your mind you’ve wished didn’t whole who you are…
let me be the heart
of your twilight, the darkness
balancing the bright

for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #9

Friday, December 13, 2019

My Ink and Your Feels

We dance in a garden of ink and feels, plant words out of dreams our wants make real. Your patience puts a gentle hand on the small of my back. My eyes are fixed on your mouth (sipping, sipping, sipping… all the truths your tongue spills)

and our hearts are naked, exposed to all

who dare to look (and see)

my ink and your feels spelling

poems and stories grown out of our flesh and bone (for all souls).

photo borrowed from House of Hawthornes

 for the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (13 Poetic Bits of Kerry: this piece includes the line “our hearts are naked”, from Kerry’s poem Atlantis Found). I shall also link this piece to Poets United (Pantry of Poetry and Prose #8)

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Mouthless; or, an Interactive Retelling of The Little Mermaid

Watching him through a wet veil, she thought, He’s perfect. So, the decision to exchange her voice for his touch wasn’t difficult to make. Not while his tongue warmed her blood.

They had some good days, better nights.

No, there was no happily anything. Mouthless girls rarely get an ever after. They get foam, unless_____________.

Yes, that “unless__________” is an invitation to change the mouthless girl’s fate. An invitation which you, of course, don’t have to accept. But if you do, then I would love to read your ending to this retelling in the comments. 

detail, from “Morning Walk”, a photo by Mario Azzi - on Unsplash

this interactive retelling (which I’m linking to Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #7) was inspired by the frothy water in two of Kerry O’Connor’s paintings

Monday, December 2, 2019

Scars Are Armor

 embraced scars
make the best armor
of living


- originally shared last year, right before the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, the blog where I first shared my poetry, closed. Thankfully, the site remains open as an archive, so I didn’t wail too violently. Still, I do miss it...  I wrote this senryū for a prompt where Rommy asked for poems brewed out of “words to live by”. I chose the words scars and armor. And since I just got a brand new scar, it feels just right to re-share this bit on Poets and Storytellers United (Writers’ Pantry #35: Change Happens (for the Better, Let’s Hope) Aug, 2020)

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Once Upon a Fall…

out of the shadows,
I shall grow a word forest
to un-shade our feels

when oaks go naked,
I wrap myself in the scent
of fresh lavender

once upon a fall,
my eyes heard a stump screaming
of New York squirrels

for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #6

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Lust Storm

Love the storm.
I am all lust without you.

I am the love storm, all lust
without you.

Love, am I all lust
without you—the storm?

Am I all storm without
the lust you love?

Without you, I am the lust storm
all love.

photo by Nick Fewings - Unsplash

for Kim’s Weekend Mini Challenge: The Uncertainty of the Poet, over at the Imaginary Garden.

Friday, November 22, 2019


She put her Self in their hands.

They made a fist.

She pushed against their hold, bit through finger bone with her teeth, and turned the screaming into wings.

- for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #5

Friday, November 15, 2019

Behind Her Self-Crafted Collection of Masks…

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” – Brené Brown

Through a mask

she speaks to all
of authenticity.

And I wonder,
what does her tongue know
of mirrors?

Can a muffled ear feel
truth that lies
outside its own skull?

“Do you know? Can you feel?”

No response parted her lips, but
her rage was sweet
behind her self-
crafted collection of masks…

honest and violent.

the wee notes

- this is my frankensteining of two poems (a cherita and a stitched blackout) I shared on Instagram. You can see the originals (which were posted about 3 months apart) here and here. The cherita was my response to an earlier prompt.

- my muse and I have been organizing words (and procrastinating), so it’s likely that the rest of 2019 will bring more frankensteined pieces. And if we are very lucky the organizing (and editing and rewriting) will turn into a book for 2020. 🤞🏽

- for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #4, Rommy’s first hosting (Welcome home, my “tea-adoring, music-appreciating, witchy-flavored, nerd extraordinaire” friend!).

Saturday, November 9, 2019

What I Know Now: Letter to My Pre-Breast Cancer Diagnosed Self

Dear Two-Breasted Magaly,
June is as hot as jalapeños in a Sahara mood, and you’ve just received a breast cancer diagnosis. You aren’t scared. You aren’t crying. You are no stranger to serious illness. Still, I must warn you that this flesh-eating beast is going to be different from any other disease-demon you’ve had to kick in the teeth before.
No, I am not talking about the riot of side effects breast cancer treatment will brew (what you’ve read on the topic is brutally accurate: it is going to hurt, it is going to alter your flesh and bones, it’s going to seriously suck for a while). This disease will change your feelings towards certain social concepts (i.e. labels such as “breast cancer warrior”, wearing the pink ribbon).

Right now, you understand that calling oneself breast cancer warrior and wearing a pink ribbon are creative ways to fight against something too ugly to face fully uncloaked. You might be partially correct. But Im writing this letter—13 months after your breast died so that I could live—to share with you what I know now: I claim the label and wear the ribbon because awareness is a caring weapon most warriors are grateful to show and tell.

Unconditional Love (and 13 fistfuls of my liveliest cackles),

So, there is a chance that I was not all that thrilled about going to the hospital.

 And it rained on me.

 But then, the sun came out to shine on autumn leaves (and me).

the wee notes…

- the title (and part of the post) was inspired by my reading of What I know Now: Letters to My Younger Self, edited by Ellyn Spragins

- for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #3

Saturday, November 2, 2019



Her word was a minuscule spark in a vast ocean of shouting men. None but the farmer and the seamstress, sitting to her right and to her left, noticed that a sound had crossed her lips. The men occupying the dais seemed beyond reach.

“If we cut him, he will lose too much blood to stay conscious,” the head of The Council said. “He burned our barn. We should burn him until he reveals where the rest of his horde is hiding.”

She raised a hand. The farmer and the seamstress did the same. The council failed to see them.

“Burning is as inefficient as cutting,” the Security Chief said. “He might get an infection before we get what we need out of him. Partial drowning will break—”


Slowly, the council began to quiet… until the room was completely silent. Not because the men had heard her, but because she had left the back of the room, walked past the landowners, past the merchants, past the families of the councilmen, and was now standing next to the metal folding chair that held the gagged prisoner. The seamstress and the farmer had followed her to the front. Others had followed them, too.

“This is Council business, my dear woman.” The head of The Council smiled. “I’m sure—”

Whatever he was sure of was consumed by a united, “No!” that got louder and louder as more of the people continued to chant their outrage.

The man on the folding chair would pay for the arson. But there would be no torture. Her people were better than that, even if a handful of old men had made them forget for a time.   

for Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #2

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Wild Woman Crafts Gardens Out of Her Wounds

 “Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?” – Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

The world weeps
for the Wild Woman.

“Your blooming days are gone,
they tell her. “Life gutted you
and Death is flying in to fill
your sky, balance
dangling from its beak. You are
afraid of the end, we
understand you just too well.”

The Wild Woman shows how
she has crafted gardens out of her wounds.
But the world’s eyes are wept shut. Still,
the Wild Woman speaks her truth, and hopes
for working ears:
“I don’t fear the fall—
a forest is not afraid
of decaying leaves”
The world weeps and weeps
for the Wild Woman
they can’t see.

September, by Cat Schappach

a not-so-wee note

- since I know that some of us are much too human to keep from drawing certain conclusions out of poetry, I should clarify that I am not dying just yet (at least, not more than any other living thing). This poem was inspired by a recurrent theme in my life: the way some people continue to tell me that they understand why I would want to curse the whole world. I keep telling them that I don’t want to curse the world—certain presumably human creatures? Maybe. But not the world—I enjoy the world. Projection is a curious thing. I do wonder how much happier some of us would be if we took the time to see, accept, and embrace the reality in front of us, and dwell less in the doom and gloom preconceptions can paint over our eyes.

- for Poets United Poetry Pantry (498) and Sanaa’s Weekend Mini-Challenge: Take a chance and step into the mythical realm, at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (find a piece of art… and create your own poetic mythology around it).

Friday, October 18, 2019

If I Had Been Kafka’s Gregor Samsa

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” Franz Kafka
I have not been able to read a printed book on the train for some years now. My hands and arms and I can’t quite manage holding a book, in the needed position, without significant pain. Flipping through the pages of a book was my favorite thing to do while commuting… When the pain forced me to make a change, I started people hearing while riding.

People hearing is just like people watching, but with eavesdropping included. I’m not talking about spying or trying to overhear other people’s precious secrets. No, I wouldn’t enjoy that. I am referring to letting my ear near conversations others might be having on the bus, in line to pay for groceries, at the airport…   

Yesterday, while riding the 1 (the 1 train, that is) from Manhattan to The Bronx, my people hearing curiosity and I were served several treats:

- a woman with two dogs, said to one of the pups, “If you’re mommy’s very good girl, and you pee on that asshole’s rug, mommy will give you bacon.” I never found out who the asshole was.

- a very old man (no, he didn’t have enormous wings), told an invisible friend, “Cut your nails when they’re looking. Hit them in the eye. Hard in the eye. That’ll stop it.” I’m still wondering about the identity of the ‘it’ that needs stopping.

- a girl told her companion, “If I’d been the Gregor guy, I would’ve eaten my whole family. Some assholes deserve to be eaten.” I’m quite glad to inform you that I wasn’t the only people hearer who shook with laughter at the imaginative teenage girl’s cannibalistic choice of imagery.

It’s very likely that I will never stop missing the joy of reading a paper book while riding the bus or train. But I am grateful for the unexpected (and rather uncanny) gift that came out of the change. Now, if my skull and I could only get rid of the image of a teenage roach devouring the unsightliest of familial meals.


 - linked to the Interactive Moonlight Musings, over at Poets United, where my favorite person in the whole wide world, invites everyone to write an article (in 369 words or fewer) inspired by the Positive Side of Change.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

From the Depths of Darkness, a Light

“In dark we see, in death we rest; a beautiful frightening magic.” Khaya Ronkainen
On the cover, an exhausted moon watches over the world through a shroud of blood and darkness. Each page reminds us that borders break bodies and devour souls, that inaction is mother to despair and death, that hope turns to myth when humans forget that the whole world—dirt, beast, bloom—is made of the same star stuff: chaos raging in the dark, conscious thought fighting to kindle hope.
from the depths
of darkness, lived ink
can birth light

From the Depths of Darkness, by Khaya Ronkainen
cover by Ayala Art
painting (on the background) by Shelle Kennedy

- on her Wild Friday at Poets United, Sanaa invited us to pick a poetry collection that has touched us deeply, and write a response poem. I chose From the Depths of Darkness, written by Khaya Ronkainen and illustrated by MagicLoveCrow. Her brief, “dark poetry left in the light” sticks to head and heart for a long time. For instance, the poem bit at the beginning of this post has been dancing around my skull for days and days and days…
- linked to the Poetry Pantry #496

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Pink Knight

In my home, October is New York Comic Con. It’s knee-high boots and pumpkin chili. It’s stories of loved ones no longer living. It’s skulls, cosplay, and wonder. October is black.
I wasn’t thinking those exact words, as my Piano Man and I strolled around the Javits Center, but I was feeling them deeply. Then, a hint of pink caught my eye.
“Look, babe!” I said, picking a pink figurine out of a display, and holding it right next to my delighted grin. “It’s Batman, the breast cancer fairy.”

“That makes it sound like Batman brings breast cancer to people, and…” my Piano Man began to say, but seemed to change his mind halfway. “Well, I guess the tooth fairy takes teeth and leaves money. Maybe Batman takes tumors and leaves—”

“Life and laughter and bad-ass fairy dust?” I asked, gently shaking Batman above my head, making sure all the fighting dust landed on my chemo-thinned hair.

Then my Piano Man and I kissed, before adding The Pink Knight to our October.

In my home, October is New York Comic Con. It’s knee-high boots and pumpkin chili. It’s stories of loved ones no longer living. It’s skulls, cosplay, and wonder. October is black and pink and fierce.

Batman, the Breast Cancer Fairy
  bits from Instagram

Monday, September 30, 2019


“I don’t want to get stale.” – Mark Frost
I almost wrote a limerick today. After the shuddering became less violent (I’m obviously allergic to rhyme), I decided to shamelessly copycat Kerry, and write an American Sentence for Rommy’s “Try Everything!” prompt.
the poem (inspired 2 of the stickers on my laptop—thanks 13 gazillions, Emma!):  
Pre-Moth-Girl sips tea. Scissor-Lass thinks sharp. Differently-odd friends fit.

creepilicious stickers by @MiznaWada