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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Honor or Madness

© Mama Zen Photography

Was it honor or madness
that had men going to war?

Armor donned, sword raised,
flesh sliced to drown the grass with blood.

Carnage written in romantic prose,
fair maidens swooned under bloody crowns.

The chessboard of kingdoms
were played with bitter hands.

Power fed on corpses of the dead.
Victory assessed by number of the slain.

Did men dress their madness in honor
to justify the lies burnished upon their chests?

©Susie Clevenger 2012

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Trapped Immortality

The chorded neck
blue veined, exquisite,
you are beauty,
pink life, my love.

I have partaken
of your mortality
that I might continue
my trapped immortality.

How does a dead heart beat again?

My chest heaves
with longing
when I must seek
escape in coffined sleep.

I am a moth attracted
to the hope that illuminates
from within you.
Yet I am most hopeless.

My fanged scars
have marred the porcelain
of your delicate neck,
my blood initials marking you.

How can I so evil feel so tender?

I wish to rob you of your mortality
and take you into my haunted nights,
but love would not have you
walk the death in which I exist.

Goodbye is torn from me.
I will retreat that you might live.
If you hear the moon cry,
it will be I grieving in my damned immortality.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
The Challenge at dVerse Poets Pub was to write about vampires.
I had so much fun with this one. Romance that bites. :)

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beneath Green Boughs

I loved you beneath
the green boughs
of an oak tree.

My body hummed
to the song your hands
played upon my flesh.

Our green umbrella
was our shield
from prying eyes.

And moments
chased by the
fleeing hands of a clock.

Tomorrow seemed
a distance we would
never have to travel.

Today was our sun,
our moon, our stars
reflected in emerald.

I kissed your lips.
felt your heartbeat,
was lost in Eros’ dream.

But denial didn’t save us
from the ending
of the day.

I couldn’t be yours.
You couldn’t be mine.
Tomorrow robbed us both.

We spoke our goodbyes
and asked the great oak
to keep our secret tucked in its leaves.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Photograph: Photobucket
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© Mama Zen Photography

I found the sun
blooming on a stem,
its petal rays light to my spirit.

I mourned its sunset drying
until I ate its seed
and  tasted sunshine on my tongue.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

The Sunday Challenge ~ Featuring the photography of Mama Zen

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Adam's Rib

To follow
without question,
the expected

Adam’s rib
molded into
by fingers
of blame.

The sisters
of Eden
choice was
not their lot.
Their silence
could not
be kept
as many became
one voice.

“Free us from this yoke of inequality. We shall walk beside Adam and not behind.
The garden’s apple was not marred by a single bite. It bore the scar of two”

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Fireblossom Friday #6 ~ Real Toads
Fireblossom challenged us to create a poem from the artwork of 
My poem was written more from the historical setting of when Mucha painted the image not of the present day. Although it seems there are those who would turn back the hands of equality.
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Thursday, April 26, 2012


Sunlight slides through the curtain
warming my toes and tapping my eyelids
with its insistence I rise and greet a new day.

I crawl from my blanket cocoon
and break the rust from my bones
to stumble my way to the coffee pot.

A feline duet sings a breakfast chorus at my feet
as I make my way through paws and tails
to flip the kitchen light switch.

A robot with spoon in hand I feed the cats,
quake with my need of caffeine,
watch a hummingbird out my back door.

I love sunrise but I have become a nocturnal animal
crawling through the alphabet to find the right words
to transfer from brain to poetry.

For me mornings arrive with sleepy eyed blur
more Orton effect than crystal clarity.
my brain a ship trying to navigate the fog.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Monday, April 23, 2012

But Still It Fell

So comes the dark and lonely night.
I stood holding up the sun,
but still it fell from the sky.

The star curtain falls,
a shroud of my failure
wraps me in ebony.

A bat wing breeze
brushes across my skin,
I shiver in my memories.

Love and hell are four letters
one stole my heart,
the other watched it burn.

Alone was not my destination
when I believed that
two could become one.

I stare into the bleakness
where even light will not
penetrate the dark.

Night, please go quickly
I wish to escape the demons
that haunt in wedding white.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Written for Facebook's "Dark Night" Creations Contest
Ambrosia: Reflections in Writing And Art
Real Toads Open Link Monday 23
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dear Charlie

Houston, Texas
April 21, 2012                                                                                                                               

Dear Charlie,
Was it the notes that joined us
or did fate drop us into a melody?
We met on a dance floor in our youth,
a friend put my hand in yours.

You fell in love much quicker than I.
My heart was entangled in an infatuation
I could not, would not release.
I must have wounded you so with my pining.

How did one so young excuse my hurt?
I badgered with another’s name
while your heart loved me
with forgiveness I didn’t deserve.

I wish I could say the exact moment
when I fell in love with you,
to know when I turned from fool to wise.
But does it really matter?

We had no way of knowing on that distant Saturday
that we would hear the first notes of our love song.
One dance turned into a lifetime.
Our arms have held tight in joy and pain.

With all my love,

Written for Real Toads Envelope Stanza
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

My Chocolate Sin

I had too much fun with  Mary's Mixed Bag Challenge at Real Toads, "Let's Go To The Movies. I think just writing it made my blood sugar go up. Please visit Real Toads to see the other poet's responses to Mary's challenge. I used the movie Chocolat for my inspiration.

A church and a candy shop,
denial and temptation,
Tranquility seduced by chocolate.
A temptress stirs a village
wearing an apron and wielding a spoon.


Chocolate is my serpent,
it hisses with its aroma,
it tempts with its taste.

Chocolate’s addiction
lures me into its sweet web
to be consumed by the confection drug.

I seek a confession booth
to speak those two words,
“Never again.”

My confession dishonest,
I say the words to receive
a moment’s absolution.

Cast from diet’s Eden
I deny the cocoa bean’s control,
my soul lost to my chocolate sin.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Street Signs In My Heart

How do I live in my division?
There are street signs in my heart
sending me in so many directions.

For each step forward there are
roadblocks of guilt set before me,
should I, shouldn’t I, he wants, she wants.

Is it love to deny my own dreams
and let myself be pulled with teeth gritted
and bitterness seeded into another’s wish?

Damn the intrusion, the forced will,
the wish to please that rules me.
I must pull their street signs from me.

It is not their life to live, but mine.
I shall smile and say, “No thank you.”
And walk the direction of my dreams.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Terracotta Heat

Tile roofs glow
in terracotta heat.
Summer, an oven
set on broil,
burns skin
to a pomegranate red.

A fairytale wedding
of bouquets and white tulle
wilts in the August sun.

Pass the wine,
 the blood,
 the tears,
fantasy has been
the virgin sacrifice.

Ever after has begun
in hell’s furnace.
Raise a toast,
say a prayer
that passion
has not been
burnt into ashes.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Going to Tulsa

I am headed to Tulsa this weekend to attend my youngest daughter, Carrie's performance. Can't wait to hear her live! Here is a sample.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let's Write Music Again

I can remember your hands,
those calloused fingertips
that strummed a guitar
teasing their way
along my spine.

I felt I was the instrument
creating a love song
in the raised flesh,
my body singing the melody,
your warm breath the chorus.

When did the music stop?
I don’t remember when
the notes ceased playing.
Was it when we stopped saying,
“I love you?”

It is not physical miles
that is separating us.
The light in my spirit dulls
without your lyrics
playing upon my skin.

My heart still feels the inspiration
to create a love song.
I see the notes in your eyes
when you look at me.
Darling, let’s write music again.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
Image: Favim 
I was listening to the Righteous Brother's Song You've Lost That Loving Feeling and it inspired this poem.

Open link Monday at Real Toads
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Renga in Progress

Grace O'Malley at Real Toads has challenged us to write a renga. A renga is a long Japanese poem, a series of very short verses in an alternating pattern, built by the group. There are links and references scattered within the greater poem, and each verse is related without being repetitive.

stars wink at rainbow feathers
that tease with each fluttering                           

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Bluebonnet Dreams

Her bluebonnet longing
came each Spring
when her heart traveled
the dust of gravel roads.

Pursuing a dream
doesn’t come without cost.
An east Texas sky
was traded for glass and steel.

The concrete garden
seen from her window
was an array of broken flowerpots
and frozen chrysanthemums.

She could not go back home
when the breath of dreams
was the air that gave her life
and kept her heart beating.

Bluebonnets are pressed
between the pages of her past.
They are what she remembers,
but also what she tries to forget.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Monday, April 9, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Delta Joins the Sea

©Tracey Grumbach

I dream of the delta
that travels down
the Mississippi
to join with the sea.

Muddy water and salt
sing the blues
in splashing notes
along the shore.

In this tabernacle
of the sun I lift
up a prayer for
those whose tears
float among sea shells.

I write an amen
 in the sand
and lift my eyes
to the setting sun
saying goodbye
to the delta
as it is carried
away by the sea.

©Susie Clevenger 2012
 dVerse Poetics with Brian Miller
Photographic inspiration ~ Tracey Grumbach nineacresdesigns
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Friday, April 6, 2012

The Rainbow Melts Into Purple

Marian's prompt at Real Toads is the song by Vic Chestnutt ~ Granny. 
 My mother made braided rugs. I loved seeing all our old clothes weaved into a new purpose.

She made braided rugs
to cover the floors.

They were made from
shirts, skirts, and dresses.

No matter the room
each rug was shades of purple.

I asked why she never
chose another color to braid.

She lifted a frail hand to my cheek
and said with a smile

just before a rainbow disappears from the sky
the colors all melt into purple.

©Susie Clevenger 2012

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Deserted ~ Haiku

an ebony night
stars deserted by the moon
shadows walk unseen

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Art Human

Each of us is art,
our pose the work
of intention.

We frame ourselves
in self perceptions
of a plump ego
or deflated humility.

The hand that
holds the brush
the image
the world sees.

A vulnerable canvas
is a masterpiece
of extreme rarity.

We are humans
painting our lives
with brush strokes
of honesty and

©Susie Clevenger 2012
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Monday, April 2, 2012


Sunday's Challenge at Real Toads is to use the beautiful photography of Laura Hegfield as our inspiration to write a poem. I thank Laura for her generosity and sharing a part of herself with us.

© Laura Hegfield 2012

The petals
drank secrets
from her palm.

The future spoke
in crisscrossing
life lines.

But she
was content
to not know her future.

She held the flower
 until it wilted,
 then scattered
the unknown with a wish.

©Susie Clevenger

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