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

Sunday, June 30, 2013


I probably shouldn’t
have written “over”
on the note I left you.

You were so clueless
you thought I wanted
to continue to a second page.

One was enough,
too many actually.
You weren’t worth the pain.

P.S. Don’t bother waiting.
I won’t be licking my wounds
to return for the next punch.
I left town without a rearview mirror.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Haiku Heights #260 ~ Firefly

a nightlight on wings
takes me back to my childhood
firefly memories


gathering wishes
to join my firefly candle
the joy of summer

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Black Clouds On The Sunniest Day

I heard your giggles
and saw your blond hair
as you plotted mischief
with my daughter, Carrie.

You danced through
our photo albums
as you always did,
but the silence became too loud.

Why was it that the sunniest day
had such dark clouds?
 Sunday turned bleak
with a scream spiraling
down the stairwell,
Jamie’s dead!!

It was hard to hold pain
when it was liquid pouring
from one’s soul into
limbs that were drowning.

I held Carrie trying to plug
the tears in her heart with compassion,
but the walls of my own heart
were breached by pain and
I felt them crumbling.

A monster with an unknown face
had come out of the dark
to steal Jamie’s life and leave
her broken body discarded
like an unwanted doll.

Childhood memories were
bloodstained by the unspeakable.
Carrie’s spirit became a crime scene
screaming why and will evil be caught?
Holding Carrie in my arms
I felt her warmth
while grieving the empty arms
of Jamie’s mother that her precious
daughter would never again fill.


©Susie Clevenger 2013

In 1999 Carrie's friend, Jamie, was abducted, raped and murdered by a man who was caught after he had murdered another young woman. DNA from that crime linked him to Jamie's murder. It is so hard, no it is impossible to put into words the pain my daughter went through after losing her friend so horrifically. 

At Real Toads Fireblossom prompted us to speak of loss. Fireblossom Friday ~ Loss

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Gemini/Scorpio/Capricorn ~ Book Review

Three gifted poets, each with their own definitive style, mix superbly into one excellent book of poetry. I am a fan of Shay Simmons, Kelli Simpson, and Joy Ann Jones’ work. They are three of my favorite contemporary poets that with each reading of their work I become more impressed with their talent and command of language.
Shay is a story teller that manages with each poem to create a mood that holds the reader in her spell and often drops you off at its ending breathless.
 Kelli can put so much in such few words. At first glance you think that tiny poem won’t take long to read, but soon realize she has fed you gems you need time to contemplate to truly receive their full impact. Joy is the queen of mythical poetry. Her talent with form is superb. It may be the vehicle of the piece but her words flow through it with ease. Her poetry takes you to realms beyond the present to where there are no chains of electronic immediacy.
This poetry collection is one you must have in your library. The talent of these three women gathered in one book is a rare jewel you shouldn’t let slip through your hands.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hope's Face

© Peggy Goetz

A child’s face is hope….
It bears the glow of dreams
where no doesn’t hinder trust
in the vision of what will be.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Peggy Goetz gave us some of her beautiful photography of faces as inspiration for our poetic creations.  Real Toads ~ About Face

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Monday, June 24, 2013


Stanley Kubrick for Look Magazine, 1949 

Match flame to black and white,
young bodies exhaled 50’s morality
into the brooding gray of rebellion.

Tight skirts, tight sweaters rode curves
to crash into the heat of broad shouldered lust
and answered questions unasked in Sunday school.

Youth rocked mom and dad’s world with voices
that rose above the noise of fire and brimstone
to announce life had a new set of rules.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Written for The Mag 174

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dismantled Chorus

Notes swim in a void,
a dismantled chorus
seeking a writer to join
them to melody.

Death ended the song
before it could be written.
Yet the sky winks at
each mother’s child
searching for an electric prodigy
to pull  magic from strings.

Pale riders on the storm hold
wickless candles chanting “light my fire”
hoping faith will resurrect a voice
from an era where love wore flowers
and lips were brazen enough to speak truth.

Where do the lost go
when the music’s over?
A grave holds the poet
buried in his prophesies
while the world continues
spinning around in electronic noise.

©Susie Clevenger 2013
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Lifted by Ink

Herotomost over at Real Toads challenged us to write something profound. I was at a loss. The best I could do was write about the profound changes writing has made in my life. Life, Love and the Pursuit of a Really Profound Thought.
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Please, Not Shakespeare

The monologue I have chosen…..

Please don’t let it be Shakespeare.
I can’t imagine that mouse could roar Hamlet.
Who am I to judge?....Well, it is my ears
that will be assaulted by his inability.

Oh dreaded happenstance that I should be
in the wrong place when there is no right time
to have the Bard’s work slaughtered by incompetence.

Shakespeare’s words are made to soar
not lay flat upon a timid tongue.

Look, he is smiling as if this were some
whimsy to check off his hipster list.
I wish I could administer the slap
of annoyance to his ego it deserves.

Oh wait…..

Technical problems…….
It appears the microphone
has been touched by my ear’s savior and
has gone as quiet as a tomb before one word
of Shakespeare could be uttered.

I will celebrate my ear’s reprieve by leaving
before there is a chance I might be cursed
by actually having to hear him slaughter Hamlet.

……thank you
My monologue was an original piece titled, Preconception.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Helen Dehner of Poetry Matters provided a list of words for our creativity. Get Listed ~ Helen's Choice

And this haiku....just for fun  :)

with mile high bouffant
she personifies retro
forever sixties

© Susie Clevenger
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Monday, June 17, 2013


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Birthing From Silk

Wikipedia photo, Dolomedes Fimbriatus

I carry a silk purse
lined with my unborn.
Silver spun lace
delicately decorates
the portable womb
held tightly in my jaw.

Patiently I nurture
incubated eggs and
wait for tiny legs
to break the watered film
to announce a new generation.

When the noise of splitting shells
signals I no longer need
to carry my silk accessory,
I hang it on a green stem
leaving fate to determine
which children will find strength
to breach its seclusion.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

I wrote this yesterday for Kay's Sunday Mini-Challenge at Real Toads, but I just couldn't bring myself to include it with the two kitten poems I also wrote for the challenge. :)   Learn more about the Dolomedes Fimbriatus spider that inspired this poem here
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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Paws to Reflect

Photo © Jenn Jilks

Freedom is dipping
one’s paw in a mirror
to test the depth
of its reflection.


Twins tease the water
with furred paws
playing cat and mouse
with their reflections.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Kay has given us the beautiful photography of Jenn Jilks as inspiration for out poetry. The Sunday Mini-Challenge ~ Not guaranteed to be Spider Free
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Friday, June 14, 2013

Hoping to Hear Spurs

Photograph: Merri Melde

If I could rope the sun
I would lasso its beams
to use as a candle
to light your way home.

The hills are a lonely passage
between daylight and dusk
with nothing but coyotes and cactus
to hear your hoof beats strike dust.

You are horse and range
bonded to a leather saddle,
but I feel the sigh in your arms
when the trail calls you from my arms.

You’ve whispered in my ear more than once
the campfire is cold warmth
compared to the heat of our bodies
entwined in a lover’s dance on satin.

I gave up long ago trying to play
a macho card against your cowgirl strength.
You told me you didn’t need a man. You wanted one.
I’m happy to be the man you chose.

 Hoping for the sound of clinking spurs
to break the noisy silence, I sit wringing my hands
like a thirteen year old boy with a crush
waiting for the star knitted night to bring you back to me.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Margaret has challenged us to write cowboy/cowgirl poetry using the beautiful photography of Merri Melde, The Equestrian Vagabond

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Life Save Me From Hell

At Real Toads Izy had us watch this video for inspiration. I saw it in the wee hours of the morning and then immediately thought, "What the hell can I do with what I just saw? The following is what plenty of coffee and lack of sleep created. 

Wake me from this death
of drugs that eats my hope.
I swallowed vanity’s pill
to bow to a camera flash.

This graveyard path is lined
with carved stones littered
with mourning bouquets
waiting to be placed on my breast.

The drying roses assault my nose
with their messages to a mannequin
painted to masque the reality
flesh has the pallor of despair.

Grim reaper I hear you searching
for the last chink in my armor.
Your teeth tear the threads of faith
clinging to the woman I once was.

Life save me from this hell I hold in my palm.
I wish to shed this skin of hallucinations.
If there is a seed of escape planted to grow resolve,
let it find fertile ground I cannot poison.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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Monday, June 10, 2013

A Rabbit Chase of Nonsense

We look in the mirror
to see what is not there
in a rabbit chase of nonsense.

How many pills does it take
to contain an epidemic of vanity?

Attention’s whore is without a gender….

Too much gold makes one poor
while pennies lay in palms of the grateful.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

The Prompt at Mindlovemisery is to write a poem of madness or nonsense. 
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It grows shy in the sun
but ebony draws its petals
to open when light is done.

La luna’s namesake strikes a pose
in its dress of snowy gauze
that rivals the blush of Eliot’s rose.

Stars shine as muted floodlights,
twinkling the sky with applause,
while the moonflower dances with night.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Grace challenged us to write a Nocturna.
(The Nocturna is basically a nine line poetry form based on the nocturne theme containing three, three line lessons recited during the night. The subject must be nocturnal and it consists of three couplets linked by the rhyme of the centre line.   This is usually written in decasyllabic  or iambic pentameter (10 syllables per line).   a. b. a. c. b. c. d. b. d. ) Unfortunately I didn't manage ten syllables per line. :(
I made reference to George Eliot's poem, Roses.

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Moral, Lesson or Lifestyle

immoral, by whose
definition of moral
are we to decide


he is the lesson
Illegal drugs, addiction
a fast track to death


she follows the path
of character and wisdom
moral her compass

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Cottonwood Seeds

Maggie Elaine was born
to die when the cottonwood
weathered the ground with its seed.

Her blue eyes spoke of the sea,
but she never traveled beyond
the echo of the mountains of West Virginia.

Appalachia hummed through her veins
in a coal song of father and brothers
grinding out a living in pix axe swings.

Set in a trap of rainbow dreams
she was an easy catch for a traveling man
who fed her promises while robbing her innocence.

He left telling her he would return
just as soon as his pockets where lined with green
and winter surrendered to the call of a robin.

Nine months of believing a lie birthed a baby girl
on a sunny April day when the cottonwood wind
called Maggie Elaine to her grave in the shadows of a blue mountain ridge.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Over at Real Toads Marian challenged us to write from the inspiration of Tim Eriksen and his music. Real Toads ~ Hardcore Americana

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Raincoat Sunshine

wearing a raincoat
she dances in bright sunshine
joyful eccentric

©Susie Clevenger

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Night touches leaves to cool their sunburn.
They no longer compete with blue sky
to lure eyes from infinity’s contemplation.

It is between shadow and moon secrets
breathe the indigo colors of tranquility
releasing exposure’s fear on Dayea’s breast.

Bare feet wander the dreamer’s path
under Nyx’s watchful eye avoiding nightmare’s stones
to find Mousai's crumbs leading to their front door.

Mother Oak wraps the night in her protective limbs
and stands as sentry to watch the horizon
until light stirs the bird song to announce morning.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Dayea ~ Filipino goddess of secrets
Nyx ~ Greek goddess of the night
Mousai ~ Greek for muses

Kerry at Real Toads challenged us to write a Poetic Nocturne.

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Unique Sacrificed to Redundancy

I am a tiny house that stands
divided between past and future.
Progress is chewing its way
along memory lane devouring my history
in its hinged jaws.

Moving forward is the city’s claim.
But is that legitimate when
it constructs redundancy
along treed avenues lined with unique?

Traffic hums its disdain for me in wheels
that only wish to leave my yesterdays behind
in their pursuit of contemporary.

Goodbye will come too soon
as I await the death sentence
to reach my door with
its single printed word,

©Susie Clevenger 2013
Prompt 6 ~ Personification @ mindlovemisery

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Question the Leap

Leap of love,
why does it
sound like death?

I don’t want
to give up
being me
to be funneled
into your conception.

Walk beside me.
My feet refuse
the command
to follow.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

The challenge was to write to the photo prompt using exactly 33 words.

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The Throne of Blue Flame

Who’s afraid of the big black wolf?
Big Oil hides behind Red Riding Hood’s cloak
to disguise its threat in a dance of misconceptions.

It floods our digital world
with pretty commercials selling safe
while it mixes hazardous chemicals
with our drinking water to pour
down shafted earth throats
to regurgitate profit.

Fracking with our eco system
puts all forms of life at risk,
but petroleum spin plugs our ears with lies
to worship at the throne of blue flame.

People rise up and use your voices,
be louder than the noise bleeding your security.
Oil barons with corporate names
don’t care about environmental issues
unless tragedy implodes their bottom line.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Since June is  the month of Allen Ginsberg's birthday Kerry at Real Toads encouraged us to howl or rant about something we feel we needed to let off some steam about. I have several rants, but I chose fracking as the theme for this one. It doesn't matter to me how they sell or spin the safety of fracking there are so many things that can and do go wrong. Here are some links if you would like to do a little more reading on the process. I have even included the one where big oil sells its safety in an attempt to be balanced in my information. 
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