Wednesday, September 28, 2011

To Be or Not

Graphic design by Jinksy for In Tandem #12

An outline

sketch behind a blind.

Nude study.


tracing light along her form,

asking a question.

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Blue Hill

Graphic design by Jinksy for In Tandem #12

One of those places

that lives in your mind

all year long,

Brigadoon or blue moon.

Door with the neon sign,


in case the theater burns

and you must turn

and run away

to another play,

a new island

in the sun - in the sea,

you and me,

to Blue Hill.

Posted for
In Tandem #12

Monday, September 26, 2011

Goodnight Irene

I am writing by the flame of an oil lamp,
plodding along with an LED* flashlight -
word by word - six days after the storm.

It is two a.m. and I can’t sleep
in the absolute blackness of a night
without power. There is no moon.

Old thoughts and new mingle
in nightmare confusion -
in this stifling atmosphere

of desperate dark.
Dreams of years ago - so real;
I feel even now the grip

of a cat’s teeth in my left hand-
hanging over the edge of the bed-
my scream of fear

when I first began the novel.
No words of any use come now
to propel the story along.

I can’t make connections;
all that comes to mind is forced;
I waste the paper I write on.

I am reduced to a yellow flame
and a tiny blue-white spotlight –
crying to my ghosts to return.

  Hurricane Irene: 8/28/2011
*Light Emitting Diode: A semiconductor device with two terminals,
  allowing the flow of current in one direction only.

Original Library of Congress recording of Goodnight Irene
 by Lead Belly in the Louisianna State Penitentiary. 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crash Landing

Digital graphic by Penny Jinks

It was supposed to be about pink castles

in the clouds

with turrets and terraces,

tassles and tinsel;

but then she fell-


the real world crashed into the make-believe

like the space junk *

about to reenter the atmosphere,

shaking apart

before the crash landing,


the drug runners

caught in the dark channel

under a purple night sky

with a cargo of opiates

for the junkies.

* space junk

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interlude in the Lemon Tree House

The Snake Charmer, Henri Rousseau, 1907
for Tess Kincaid's Magpie Tales

The wall came down precisely:
exterior shingles – to be saved, plaster cut
with a tiny hand saw inside a plastic tent,
to stop the flow of dust all over the house.

The wishful view of the Volunteer vs Thistle,
framed in gold on a turquoise sea,
gave way to a triple window – a woodland view –
and seventy two panes of glass to paint.

Let there be light – and an interlude:

The Lemon Tree grew in the oldest greenhouse,
planted in 1900. I didn’t dare ask if the snake
still lived in this tropical jungle of exotica;

I knew I’d watch for it – I was here on a mission –
looking for Eden ten miles from home
at Logee’s* on North Street;

I’ve had the gift card, tucked away for someday,
for seven years; for this day, when I craved a tour
of a tropical jungle in a century old glass house

to see The Lemon Tree – and the guava fruit,
the pink trumpets of the Angels Blushing Beauty**,
to inhale the hypnotic scent of the gardenia,

touch the twisting trunks and run my fingers
through the twining vines to meet Rousseau’s muse
in a tropical jungle – where The Snake Charmer lives.

A black Eve I had not hoped for, nor had she appeared
in the glass house; but there she was outside,
strolling up the road in stretch denim jeans,

shoulder bag swaying, blond streaked pony-tail,
like the Citrus medica ‘Buddha’s Hand’** in the hot house,
cell phone to her ear, surely charming a “Betes Sauvage”***from her personal Eden.

I stroked the soft, velvety leaves of my purchase,
two scented geraniums for the new windows,
reserving nineteen dollars and fifty six cents
for my next excursion to Logee’s Eden.

Buddha's Hand
* Logee's Tropical Plants, Danielson, CT
** Citrus medica ‘Buddha’s Hand’
*** Betes Sauvages, album of wild beasts, Paris Museum of Natural History.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Revenant

The Revanant (1949): a self-portrait
 by Andrew Wyeth: offered by Tess Kincaid
 for Magpie Tale 82

How many lifetimes did it take
to make that tattered shade,

      darkened by the soot of soiled hands,
            torn to beckon light into the room,
                   clawed to shreds in trying to escape?

To shape the edge into the blackened fingers
      hanging in the window, burnt by sun;

a shroud to shield the soot that settles
      in the cells of all the voices filled with light –
                  clings to paper walls of faded roses;
                       petals peeling off the plaster cracks.

Tear off the shroud and throw open the window!
Call spirits from the mirrors – and away.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Try to Remember

An excerpt from a collection of poems:
The introduction below is a record of my experience on the day the Twin Towers were hit. I include the poem from which the title of the collection is taken.


We built a new house in the year 2000, a reproduction of a center chimney Cape Cod style – a snug solid box in the middle of forty acres of woods, crossed and crossed again by old stone walls. We blasted ledge for the foundation and hydro-fractured the well to open fissures in the bedrock for water to flow.

A few months after moving in, lightning struck a pine tree on the hill surrounding us, and followed the water flowing through the ledge to the house, melting the emergency switch on our furnace, creating clouds of smoke and fear. We had lightning rods installed on September 11, 2001. The two young men who did the work stood with us, frozen in place, watching live coverage of the airplanes that slammed into the Twin Towers.

The title I chose for this collection of poems is a line from the poem Escape in section one, entitled “Try to Remember”. The words “flowing in old stone” seem to be contradictory, meaningless – suitable only as metaphor – much like the truth of our lives.


High window,
shadow in the glass,
branch of thorns
scratching a code of escape -
an old temptation.

A cart path
winding in lilacs,
open gate
oven bird haunting at dusk,
sunset glow on grass.

flowing in old stone,
shy dark ferns,
brushing at a window pane
whispering to me.

I pray that America will remain safe tomorrow.

Read more memories at
Thank you to Mark Kerstetter

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Blue Day

Digital graphic by Alias Jinksy
at In Tandem

A blue day -
rain falls in torrents.
Tear stained leaves
dance a waltz
to the edge of the Danube,
slip into the blue.

posted for

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Litany of Abandon

Abandoned Farm, Dublin , Ohio
posted by Tess kincaid for Magpie Tales #81

Old New England orchards, we deserted thee
for rush of golden nuggets far away.
Textile mills of America we abandoned thee
for tight embrace of cheaper Chinese robes.
Leather shoes of Maine, we have forsaken thee
for China boot that keeps us right in step.
Electric Narragansett, we subsumed thee
in National Grid of Great Britain to enlighten us.

Oil of Middle East, transport us, we pray thee,
to bigger boxes just around the corner
from shuttered malls of commerce, now for sale.
Churches of our youth, we surrendered thee,
to temples made for homage paid to art.
Mansions that we built in this past decade
cry tears from blackened windows in the night,
awaiting auctioneers and foreign buyers.

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