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

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gnawing Silence

There are things we kept secret after 
our skin became too thin to escape
the bruising of brutal truth.

We wore our lover’s shell
of scarred edges and smiled,
pretending lies weren’t tucked
between life lines.

Holding hands belied the separation
of an accusing finger scratching
the shadows in our palms
where sleeping dogs lay.

The death of “us” wasn’t
from a war of angry words.
It was the meticulous gnawing
of silence through our bones.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

Kerry at Real Toads gave us this phrase for inspiration ~ There are things we kept secret after ....

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Dressed In Jealousy

Vain flower, is it not enough to possess
a single flower on your stem?
You have robbed the night of stars
to bolster your vanity.

I shrink in this pale flesh I wear
while you fill the room with beauty.

Jealousy is an ill-fitting suit,
but I am trapped in it wishing
it was I who courted such admiration.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

Margaret Bednar at Real Toads has chosen flowers and their meanings as inspiration for our creativity.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chasing Life Through Ink Stains

The Repentant Magdalene ~ George De La Tour

The street is a river I drown in…
Floating in concrete I hear
the cries of broken dreams
writing their epitaphs across my skin.
No one throws me a life line.

Is there meaning in meaningless?
Who toe tags our lives with definitions
when our actions don’t play well in their boundaries?

My mind swims through a sea of perceptions
where waves of another’s understanding
crash me against mirrors void of my own reflection.

There is a threshold somewhere between sane and insane.
I don’t know if I am drowning in madness or if
the collective verbal condemnation is simply noise.

Clawing the skull cap that houses my essence
I try to find the center of who I should be,
but it morphs into something else as soon as
imagination becomes bored with where I am.

I am forever chasing shadows with a pen
to capture their words so others
can see the voices in my head...
such is life lived in ink stains.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2014

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Traveling Alone

I packed all I was
into your baggage
until I decided
it was better
to travel alone.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Home Has Found Me

Photograph ~ Margaret Bednar

 “I don't want to own anything until I find a place where me and things go together.”
― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short Novel and Three Stories

Don’t you want roots?
Everyone wants
at least one spot
of earth to hold
their footprints.

“I don't want to own
anything until I find
a place where me
and things go together.”

She laid seashells
upon her wrist
and asked him
to listen to the ocean.

When the waves stop
singing their song
of another shore
I must see,
then I will know
home has found me.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2014

Play It Again, Toads #3

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Security Tethered To a Key


Secure behind unlocked doors
young sisters chatter as sisters do
and have no thoughts unnerving waits
to go bump in the night.

Suddenly being alone loses its charm
when the unknown opens the front door
and remains mum when asked,
“Mom and dad are you home?”

Owl eyed with terror they listen
to heavy breathing frost safe with fear.
Caught between familiar and shadows
they wait for darkness to surrender its beast.

Revelation escapes through the same door
a nightmare entered leaving nothing behind
but a hurried goodbye of metal chain tapping silent glass.

Pep talking weakness into action the sisters
walk to the front door pushing its lock
to keep out what shouldn’t be let in.

Hours later a knock announces the parents’ return
and a harried question, “Whatever possessed you
to lock the front door?”

Security is now tethered to a key.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

This is a true story. My youngest sister and I were alone in a bedroom talking and giggling when we heard the front door of our house open and someone step inside. We immediately asked if it was our parents, but the only answer was the sound of heavy breathing. Terrified and frozen in place we waited for whoever it was to find us. After what seemed like forever we heard the front door open, then close leaving the chain on it rattling against the glass. We never found out who it was. 

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tucked In Forgotten Places

Tucked in all the forgotten places
are letters as yellow as dandelions.

He said - she said - clings to stationery
with faded penmanship that was
once bold in its ink and words.

He was at war – She was alone….
Paper escaped battle zones,
but trust fought a bigger war.

Envelopes tied with red ribbon
are skeletons waiting for questions
to shake answers from their dry bones.

©Susie Clevenger 2014
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International Pop Bead Day

Let’s hear that pop
as we celebrate
International Pop Bead Day!!

The plastic fascination of the 50’s
has bridged the grid and Millenniums
are sacrificing text messages
in honor of the bead.

Imaginations are combining
color and technique to ring
the globe with pre-landfill art.

(T-shirts and other unnecessaries
can be purchased at the events
or online @bpoppin.com …We appreciate all
your support for colored plastic!)

©Susie Clevenger 2014

At Real Toads Izy had us creating our own holiday. I had so much fun with this one. I needed it!!  Out Of Standard ~ St. Pat Something

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Monday, March 17, 2014


Music inhaled sorrow
at the passing of its champion.
In that moment of silence
life swam in memories
too profound to articulate.

Tommy - A bright smile,
the encourager,
the man who hung notes
on a camera lens and painted
the world with photographs-
was gone.

Through the tears,
Through the ache,
Through the void…
we hear him telling us
keep your heart open…
keep it real….

We hate being left behind,
but we know you’re listening
to the music and using starlight
to chase shadows from your lens.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

 I wrote this for Tommy Lund who I had the pleasure to know through music and photographs.

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Mountain Of Disconnect

I bite my nails at writing rhyme.
My thoughts cannot twist into sounds
that bond and sing on common ground.

My poetry stumbles each time
it draws ink from the excuses
my fear of failure produces.

Taking a pen in hand I climb
the mountain of my disconnect
iced with the whining of protest.

Should poets seek a paradigm
for grumbling inefficiency
they will find it authored by me.

If I am ever going to shine
I must remove the stumbling block
of my damn, self-induced gridlock.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

Kerry at Real Toads had us writing a Constanza poem. 

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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ice Dancing On Shallow Words

I’ve learned how to survive
when winter is its harshest…
to dance on ice formed
by the chill of shallow words.

The river of sticks and stones
that once pulled me under
is no longer fed from
the stream of my tears.

I am who I am…..
My coat of self-acceptance
keeps me warm when pelted
by the bitter voices of an abusive storm.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

Marian at Real Toads inspired us with the song Let It Go from the animated movie, Frozen. She challenged us to write about letting go. Let It Go

(This video of members of Pentatonix singing songs from Frozen is so cute. I learned through so many tears of being bullied because I was an overweight child that humor was the perfect antidote for pain. :) )

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cowtown And Mary Jane

1972 found me a guitar plug
away from Jim Dandy and dappled
with light that ignited history.

In Cowtown music swam through the smoke
to listening ears where bodies
drank communion wine full of notes.

Mary Jane passed the peace pipe
through the culture splash of
east and west until unity blossomed.

Breathing fog until memories were locked
I danced with the devil on Saturday nights
where rebellion was rich with words of peace.

©Susie Clevenger 2014


At Real Toads Kerry had us caught up in flashbacks. Mine took me to Kansas City, MO and the Cowtown music theater. It was a standing room only venue that gathered some of the greatest talent available in its three short years. My husband and I met the guys in Black Oak Arkansas and ended up being local roadies whenever they were in the area. Kerry says: Create That Flashback Moment!!
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Monday, March 10, 2014

A Breach In The Wall Of Secrets

Discovery breached
the wall of secrets
and carried tales
to listening ears.

Single footprints
have grown an army
that chokes the silence
with its dust.

Will war come
where darkness
rules the night
with crystal?

A cave of swords
sharpened on the stone
of centuries has never
faced an enemy as bold
as the greed of man.

©Susie Clevenger 2014

Hannah at Real Toads had us traveling to the Naica Mine in Mexico for inspiration. Transforming Friday With Natures Wonders
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

No Lullabies

My nights hold no lullabies…

They are hours filled
with bloodshot words
peeled from walls of insomnia.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2014

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