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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rainbow Weaving

I know nothing about
Maypole steps or reasons,
but I weave rainbow ribbons
around May hoping
dreams aren’t colorblind.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 30 #NaPoWriMo 2016

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Racing Dog Days

Summer, anxious, impatient
has chased spring to the curb.

Delicate pastels have withered
beneath a sun so brash it has
brought July to taunt April.

A cozy porch waits for ice tea gossip
about Mother Nature’s struggle to thrive
beneath the paws of racing dog days.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 29 #NaPoWriMo 2016

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Won't Make The Book Cover

I’m a suburban, can’t stand the taste of chicken, poet
with a high school degree. I collect rejection letters,
motel ink pens, and blank stationery. I’m a periodic
social recluse but definitely introvert extrovert
who suffers traffic related PTSD. I write in the chaos
of ADD and a cluttered desk.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 28 #NaPoWriMo 2016

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gold Standard

I placed fresh cut flowers
on the table, tea and death
shouldn’t share the same tablecloth.

You sit there as stiff as an obituary.

If the cat has your tongue,
then pick up a pen.
I’m tired of trying to estimate
the gold standard for silence.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 27 #NaPoWriMo 2016

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Sugar Tea

He drank tea
from the hollow
of her throat.

He liked the
sugar song
of her voice
when she moaned
his name, and
pink blushes
on porcelain.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

(Catching up...I missed posting a poem on day 23 of #NaPoWriMo 2016)

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I Lost My Umbrella

“Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded.” Virginia Woolf

I loved him with
star glazed eyes,
elastic heart,
songs hummed
from lips painted red.

My spirit danced through dreams,
holidays, new moons, frost,
Mondays time stamped with hectic.

But cruel April came to take my Prince.
Purple Rain fell and I lost my umbrella.
The songs ended….I stopped wearing red.

My heart broke and he couldn’t hear the glass.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 26 #NaPoWriMo 2016

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Monday, April 25, 2016

The Song Of Where I'm From

I am from red dirt roads barefoot thick,
sorghum camouflaged moonshine.
I am from fields stone deep in hunger,
infant dreams ribbed with crow wings.

I am from discovered stills, a midnight run
from natural to show me, fear, empty pockets,
starting over, hardened skin, rainbow prayers.
I am from strawberry jelly, a wringer washer,
clothes hanging on a line, screen door breezes,
mulberry stains, sun baked mud pies.

I am from newspaper cut patterns, hand made dresses,
the scent of cinnamon, canned beans, oil soaked hands.
I am from hard work, tall trees, mushroom hunts,
whippoorwills, firefly palms, moonlight walks in my father’s shadow.

I am from faded photographs, unanswered questions,
hands that mimic my great grandfather’s, roots seeking sun.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 25 #NaPoWriMo 2016

Natural refers to Arkansas ~ The Natural Sate
Show me refers to Missouri ~ The Show Me State

Real Toads ~ Where Do I Come From?
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Sunday, April 24, 2016


We circus-trap majesty,
trunk, intelligence
so we can feel superior
to the elephant.

Partnered with prodding
they dance in movements
of bipedal impersonation
around our three ring

In popcorn-delirium we stare,
clap, demand their fifteen minutes
until extinction so our insensitivity
can be entertained.

The clock counts down our unwinding
as we drink from bottles of pathetic.
We are dominion-beasts destroying beauty,
an evolution-science project that has failed. 

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 24 #NaPoWriMo 2016


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Friday, April 22, 2016

Thirsty For Euphoria

Predator needles hunt veins
thirsty for euphoria.
Huddled in a cloak of smog choked sunlight
emaciated flesh begs for change.

In the distance a church bell
announces 8:00 a.m.

Salvation never reaches the sidewalk.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 22 #NaPoWriMo 2016
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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Collecting Silhouettes

Have you noticed
how the sun
collects silhouettes
at dusk?

In the bright colored
dying of day wings pool
in ink spot flight,
leaves turn ebony,
and cityscapes charcoal
streets with shadows.

With the final pealing light
mortar, stone, blood, and bone
become a union of phantoms
pressed against melting wax.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 21 #NaPoWriMo 2016
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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fifteen, Irresponsible Wishing

Fifteen wished for a lot of things,
skinny, makeup, popularity,
oh and the big one…boyfriend.

I had a diary full of moaning
for someone to like me,
you know “love” defined
by hormonal romanticism.

A blind date, yeah!
My friend set me up on a blind date!
Nerves, giggles, excitement.
HE WILL BE CUTE! He Will Be Cute.
he will be cute…he will….

Blind (that word should have been a clue) date..
“Strangers in the night exchanging glances”
dooby – dooby – do – doomed.
I knew him. He was a neighbor…
catfished from the distance of a gravel curve
and neglecting to inform I’d already given one “hell no.”

My friend failed at cupid. I failed at wishes.

Caution: If your fishing with a wish, bait the hook with specifics.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 20  #NaPoWriMo 2016

Real Toads ~ When Wishes Go Bad
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Prison Sparkle

A spider spins its silk annoyance
in the corner of my kitchen window.
I don't care about its beauty
or how a prison sparkles
when illuminated by the sun.
It's a predator's parlor
of eight legs and no escape.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 19 #NaPoWriMo 2016

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Tequila Shots With Bukowski's Bluebird

"there's a bluebird in my heart
That wants to get out,
but I'm too tough for him"

Bluebird by Charles Bukowski

I'm drinking tequila shots
with Bukowski's bluebird.
Hey, there aren't any feathers
in my chest. I like to keep it empty,
spill my guts. Hollow doesn't
keep me up at nights.
Besides the bird likes to chirp
and I like the color blue.
It's about time Charles
opened his rib cage.
There's a lot of money
in hearing a bird fly.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 18 #NaPoWriMo 2016

Real Toads - Turns Of The Tale - Poetic Surprise

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Three Sisters of Philosophy

1822 David Sulzer ~ Portrait of three young girls

Temptation is a soft bed until you lie on it.

Life is too hard…No matter how much whine
is spilled, the cup never empties.

It isn’t about why you fell. It is about where
you chose to land.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Not Her Lips

He’s forgiven all of it
cheating, lies, frantic solitude,
but he can’t forgive her lips.

Love/hate, two edges
of a sharp knife hold him
to a smile, the plump sound
of his name canonized by a kiss.

He’s tasted honey for a season,
felt promises brush along his spine,
drank tears from her lips when
nothing made sense except bodies
erasing the world outside four walls.

Illusion, he’s part of an act,
a magician’s assistant dancing
on the needle points of her demands.

He will never be enough…..
The more she wants…the less he becomes…

©Susie Clevenger 2016

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Belladonna Moon

Fear pearls the water
with its tea of forbidden...
timid grows bold…
bold grows timid…
Wicked tunnels the tongue
tearing words from flesh.
Secrets bleed, but names
are hidden…Exposure
tightens its leash.

The belladonna moon
lends its stare so night
can’t hide the window of souls.

April writes its darkest poem
with tears collected from truth.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 15 #NaPoWriMo 2016

I got my word list from this section of The Waste Land by T.S. Elliot

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:

One must be so careful these days.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Starlight In The Garden of Neon And Insomnia

Is there sky beyond neon
or a moon that doesn’t
have a belly full of electricity?

There used to be stars
in the garden, but streetlights
have swallowed the Milky Way.

I remember midnight when
it was a cradle of shadows,
not this kilowatt blinding insomnia.

Is this what it feels like to be ancient,
a voice crying through electric chords,
Please dim the lights so I can see heaven?

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 14 #NaPoWriMo 2016

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Liturgy of Skulls

Wnętrze kaplicy

Hollow eyes watch
for Armageddon
as if blood could
reanimate bones
taught death
was the lily field
of resurrection.

A liturgy of skulls
drones through dust
heaven has a deadbolt
only a sword can unlock.
Behold, the sons of Abraham
have only one agreement.
The rib cage of hell
 will house souls
 condemned by
by their religions.

©Susie Clevenger 2016


By Merlin - Praca własna, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9420767

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

An Apron String Feminist

Mama didn’t take any shit.
She was an apron string feminist
pushing against no while
serving up cake.

She grew up a starved bird
in an alcoholic’s nest...
daddy’s bottle dripping fight
into her backbone.

Mama had seen the bad side
of the seed breaking teeth silent,
and vowed no man would ever steal her voice.

She had opinions, lots of opinions.
She would stand up on her soapbox
wearing muddy shoes from walking the talk
that work didn’t have gender.

She believed if something needed to get done,
you roll up your sleeves, do what you can,
and help with what you can’t.

Mama was an apron string feminist
teaching three girls how to swim
upstream in a testosterone current.
 If it takes a cake, bake it, but if there is
hammering to do, you better find the nails.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 12 #NaPoWriMo 2016

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Club Luna

Don’t miss Afanasii
this Friday night at Club Luna!

It will be an evening of
heavy metal sax, robotic swing,
and the introduction of his new band,
Out of This World Rhythm.

Don’t miss a chance to
dance like air isn’t polluted
and water is a free drink.

Ladies get in free with
Asthma Zone punch card
Drink of the night…
Half price Silver Sip h20.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 11 #NaPoWriMo 

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Of Matches & Wings

Magaly's challenge at Real Toads was to create poetry
from the titles of three of our own poems.
These are the three poems I chose.
Dropping Ashes,
 Another Match On The Bonfire,
and New Wings of Amnesty

There seems to be a theme...
The cat never catches my tongue.

Day 10 #NaPoWriMo

Real Toads ~ A Poem Of Our Own
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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Beauty In Gray Sky Concrete

Tiny sunset blossoms
lace themselves to stems
bringing beauty to gray sky concrete.

In an urban forest of steel,
glass, and inhospitable
they are bright exclamations
nature hasn’t surrendered
to the pounding anonymity
of blind spots.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 9 NaPoWriMo 2016

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Women Are You Listening?

May 21, 1914. English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst (1858 - 1928), founder, 
with her daughter Christabel (1880 - 1958),  of the Women's Social and Political Union in 1903, 
is removed from a Suffragette protest by a policeman.  She was frequently imprisoned
 and underwent hunger strikes and forcible feeding. IMAGE: TOPICAL PRESS AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

Women are you listening?
Men are trying to grind
the wheels of progress into rewind.

Your sister suffragettes didn’t
fight a war so apathy could trend
higher than a Kardashian’s
noxious penchant for baring skin. 

Women are you listening?
Your womb is on the ballot
and even rape won’t pass
the Bible test.

Your sister feminists didn’t
fight a war so your body
could be bait on sound bites
that know which ponds to fish.

Women are you listening?
Silence has a loud voice.
Women of history didn’t stand up
so you could sit down and allow
their progress to be ground into rewind.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 8  NaPoWriMo 2016

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Charmed Life


Pop Bead Girl

I grew up jealous
of charm bracelet girls
wearing open books
around their wrists.

I coveted their hearts,
cheerleaders, music notes,
four leaf clovers, celebrations.

I was a pop bead girl,
plastic noise in a break apart world.
Secrets couldn’t be polished into silver.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2016


Silver Lining

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Only An Apple Pie Monday

The earth tilted last Monday.
Words pile up in my throat
and if I speak them April
will never bloom again.

How did goodbye
find a seat next to me?

It was an apple pie day
of baseball, your footprints
in the dust, simply the flu.

You aren’t supposed
to be tucked somewhere
between a eulogy and
tear stained handkerchiefs.

My son, you told me you
wouldn’t forget to take
peonies to the graveyard,
pink, my favorite color…
run your fingers along my etched name….

I shouldn’t be the one sitting
in a field of hyphened granite
smelling wilting bouquets
- fresh turned earth.

Oh God, Why did the earth tilt?
It was only an apple pie Monday.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

My husband lost a second cousin this week. He was only 43. 

These are my compound word choices..footprints, somewhere, graveyard.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Nectar In Caffeine

Precious bee, while
I stifle yawns, you secret
your sting in the morning glory.

For you sunrise is the time
of drinking nectar, buzzing wings,
and the industry of honey.

The only garden I tend
are the flowers on my coffee cup.

It will take a lot more caffeine before I attempt sweet.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 5 NaPoWriMo 2016

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Where No Is Never Hung

Little one you can fly
even though your sky
is shell and sand.

Seagull dreams
give you wings
free of doubter’s hold.

Innocence is
a cloudless sky
where no is never sung.

Remember this day
when you reach
where gravity is hung.

Sticks, stones, and tongues
have no power over wings
taught to fly in shell and sand.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 4 NaPoWriMo 2016
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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spoken In Scarlet

Puritans have stout alphabet fingers
detest secrets without windows, and
prefer stones pious packaged in prayer.

The self righteous have a preference for somber,
but believe gossip scurries faster if spoken in scarlet.

With Bible trumping they command
a woman to wear their scarlet A
so her adultery can remain
 fodder for their high horse.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

My not so (Cliff) Cliff notes
of The Scarlet Letter.

Day 3 of NaPoWriMo 2016
Real Toads Flash 55 Plus!
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Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Turntable Horizon

That’s a fine horse you ride,
exquisite mane, muscled limbs.

Its bright eyes and tilt of head
are a visage of freedom, yet
it quietly responds to your
hands on the reigns.

Spinning through stars
on a turntable horizon
you travel as far as
push button endings.

Little child I hope you will
always return to the magic
you’re mapping across
the painted horse world
of a boardwalk carousel.  

©Susie Clevenger 2016

Day 2 NaPoWriMo 2016

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Friday, April 1, 2016

The Thorning Of Foolish

I got a phone call, your phone call.
I took the bait, swallowed your lie,
felt my heart break, faced goodbye.

You used death as a hook, poured vodka
in a glass and spilled hell in my ears.

How evil to twist cancer around my throat,
rake memories into the despair, leave me
feeling guilty for all the years I let slip through miles.

I should have known it was another
mind warp through alcohol.
I knew the angry, belligerent drunk,
not the remorseful, tearful, fearful you.

Agony, I felt its cut, felt its bleeding…
for you it was simply deception
stirred with a cigarette and a little ice.

The thorning  pain of foolish is relentless.
Empathy’s wounds are raw with mistrust.
Now I’m deaf to your wolf cries.
I’ve built a wall to keep you out.
I can’t swim in your river and watch myself drown.

©Susie Clevenger 2016

The first day of National Poetry Writing Month 2016 (NaPoWriMo) ~ 30 poems in 30 days. See you in the whirlwind.

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