In Her Bones, a Storm

“…those move easiest who have learn’d to dance.” ~ An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope

The quivering of his knees, the clenching of her fist, the darkening of their eyes… tell my spine their bones feel the urge to break in classic agony dance. The brown keeping my skull from the bleaching kiss of the sun has met no homelessness, but my brain knows of being unwanted. My heart feels their feels—We must be human together, or we will be nothing.

My soul echoes the Colossus wail: “The ‘tempest-tossed’ can’t breathe with stone walling their throats, with water drowning the life out of truth.” The quivering of his knees, the clenching of her fist, the darkening of their eyes… My heart breaks.

in her bones, a storm
howls of broken dawns and shame,
of hearts bought and sold

(not so) wee notes…
– A friend said she felt terrible to see how my physical “pain has worsen” these days. It really hasn’t, so I asked what made her think so. She told me, “I can always see your pain in your poetry.” To her, and to anyone who is feeling bad for me—thinking that my Crohn’s and my other chronic illnesses have gotten worse—I want to say that they haven’t. My body hasn’t made any leaps towards full recovery, but things are stable. The pain, outrage, tiredness… you have been reading in my poetry and prose are reflections of the current socio-political state of affairs. Pain is contagious… for people with feeling hearts, working minds, seeing eyeballs…

– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Tuesday Platform), and to Prompt Nights Writing is both mask and unveiling… Battle of the Bards: Choose a famous bard—William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, William Cowper, William Wordsworth, Alexander Pope—and pick out a poem or quote (that inspires you best) from their works and prepare to launch into battle! I chose to dance with a bit of Pope. And yes, I also borrowed a few words (and sentiments) from “The New Colossus”, by Emma Lazarus.

Created out of words from Edgar Allan Poe and Sigmund Freud magnetic poetry kits poems. The background is a detail from “Blooming Howls”, a painting by Gina Morley, inspired by my short story collection of the same name. When I placed the Poem Bit over it, I thought of the Statue of Liberty. Partly because of the color, mostly because of the agony I see on her face. It looks as if she feels the pain of the entire world, and the horror turns her insides into screams.

A Life-Kissed Tongue

Kim, over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, wishes to know if a long poem would be as effective if it were “reduced like a rich sauce”. She chose Pablo Neruda’s “Sweetness, always”, and invited us to use our own words to condense it into haiku, tanka or sonnet, while holding on to what we think is the essence of the poem. Here is my wee attempt in tanka form:

“A Life-Kissed Tongue”

a life-kissed tongue needs
no honeyed quill to speak true.
let’s plant words in dirt—
poesy that nourishes
the mind opens mouth and eye

– Linked to Poets United (Poetry Pantry, 338).




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

“If we cut him, he’ll lose too much blood to stay conscious,” the head of the council said. “He burned our barn, we will 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 bad as cutting.” The security chief was red in the face. “He might get an infection before we get what we need from him. Partial drowning will break—”


The council began to quiet, until it was completely silent. Not because they had heard her voice, 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. Four others had followed her to the front.

“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 the people that made her small village continued to chant their outrage.

Her spark was now ablaze in the hearts of her neighbors.

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.

a wee note…
– Every now and again, the news oozes into my fiction and I don’t fight the intrusion.
– Linked to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights (Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad), and to The Twiglet #8 (“folding chair”).

She is way more intense than the character in the tale. I just couldn’t resist Chandra Ablaze.