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

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Where is Spring

It should be spring,
but death clings to branches.
Spiny limbs claw the air
trying to puncture the frozen
bubble of winter.

Brave oaks await the robin's resurrection song.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Kerry over at Real Toads challenged us to write a poem about what this time of the year means to us. Recently I made a trip to Missouri and was caught in a spring snow. "April, Come she will..."
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Humans Are My Terror

(Via Wiki: Roland H. The endangered West African giraffe)

I wade through tall grass
and dusted earth to eat
acacia leaves glued to heaven.

A spotted wall, I rise above
the savanna and view
my world with sorrow’s eyes.

Centuries have brought its
enemies of nature and beast,
but humans are my terror.

They shred my home with
their steely jaws of progress
devouring hope I can survive.

I dream in yesterdays when
freedom blossomed and fear
didn’t consume life’s hours.

Oh savanna, I pray these aren’t
your last days and my offspring will
one day walk this hallowed ground of my Eden.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Transforming Fridays Hannah has us creating a voice for plant or animal from the savanna. I chose the giraffe. They are such fascinating creatures.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Frogs of Spring

Spring comes in the croaking of frogs.
Their song of courtship fills the night
chasing away the silence of winter.

Within the throaty call I hear
my childhood along a muddy creek bank
chasing daydreams through newborn grass.

It is odd what stirs the heart to return
to a time when there was as much pain as joy.
Perhaps I needed to be shown I no longer fear the shadows.

Sitting in the rewind I am lost in a time of dreaming,
believing every secret remained untold,
and  when life was brand new with no scuff marks of disappointment.

Sing each prince in puddle and pond your courtship song,
I wish you well in your ballroom decorated with spring.
Thank you for mixing my yesterdays with the joy of renewal.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Goodbye to Clowns

I hate grease paint.
Don’t color me with pretend.

Let me have an ugly cry,
not that hideous grin.

Everyone loves a clown.
Sorry, not me.

I wonder what they’re hiding,
be it a he or a she.

I won’t even laugh
at their foolish distaste.

So goodbye and be gone,
and do so with haste.

Susie Clevenger 2013

Kay at Real Toads had us thinking about clowns and parades. Well, I thought about clowns. I don't like them. I used to, but the more I think about them the creepier they become. Bring in the clowns: an emotional challenge
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Grab Bag

A scent, a color, a song
reach in…which one
will my mind pull from
its wrinkled grab bag?

Green paint and the smell of plaster
I hate it…both take me to hell…
Demons aren’t always red.

Shake my thoughts….try again.
Ah, Percy Sledge…When a Man Loves a Woman..
smiles….fifteen, dreaming of love, dancing.

Each day I look for happy…fold it in…
fill up my grab bag until his words
are smothered….until I forget.

Susie Clevenger 2013
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ruffled Indigo

A sketch pad’s pages
lay ruffled by the breath
of the March wind.
Art had been forgotten
in the lure of bare toed warmth.

She desired to do more than
simply draw nature….
Be it thorn’s blood letting
or the twisted ivy on the stone wall,
she wanted to feel life against her palms.

Later she would deal with the
stout stemmed foot tapping of Mrs. Shallow
who thought indigo leaves on parchment
were preferred to dirt beneath the fingernails.

Too long she had been housed behind
the walls of Bergamot’s School for Young Women.
Lessons in prim and proper may help her climb a social ladder,
but making daisy chains in a meadow blessed her soul.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads we were provided a botanical list of words for our in
sketch, screen, march, snowberry, elder, tawny, bergamot, meadow, ivy, stout-stemmed, cluster, zigzag, shunning, shallow, thorns, sapling, leave, twisted, indigo, adaptations 
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Monday, March 11, 2013

Cable Stitched Lunacy

I am cable stitched
into my lunacy
staring at the shocked
assumptions I should
care what others
think of my idiosyncrasies.

I find no reason to divide
myself into little pieces
of involuntary acceptance.

Like me for who I am
or write my name on
your judgment card.
Either way I will remain
who I am while you blandly
procreate boredom.

Susie Clevenger 2013

I needed to vent. :)

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Mulberry Stains

The mulberries drip purple and sweet on my tongue.
I can’t remember a childhood summer without their stains.

Mama cursed each season of their ripening.
Yet she worked her magic with berries,
sugar, and piecrust into culinary perfection.

Hypnotized by the scent of fresh baked pie
our family of five would sit around a chrome kitchen table
chewing silence with amethyst glossed smiles.

It is so nice to taste memories without tears.
There is part of me that wants to paint my skin
with mulberries and pretend bruises never brought any pain.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

At Real Toads Grace challenged us to use food as the backbone for our poems.
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Friday, March 8, 2013

Diplomacy of Honey

The beautiful art of Chelsea Bednar

Mother, I float
on the brine
of your tears
shed for my
right to speak.

Courage is
the heritage
you have
written in
my spirit.

Be calm
and trust
I have the
to face iron.

Honey placed
upon acrid lips
will seduce peace
from a heart of war.

© Susie Clevenger 2013

 Margaret Bednar at Real Toads offered the artistic talent of her daughter, Chelsea,  as inspiration for us to create. Chelsea's beautiful face painting is based on the African goddess, Yemaya Oshun. I chose the story of Oshun's visit to Oggun, the god of iron and war, for my piece. African Mythology

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Dirty, Cheap, Sticky

Dirty laundry hangs from
each gossip sentence
with cheap, sticky innuendo.

Put enough lie in truth
to sell it as fact.
Secrets make a bigger noise.

Let pretty faces spin it.
Ugly looks much better
all dressed up.

People get a rush
from HD screens
airing dirty laundry.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Izy at Real Toads challenged us to create a list of three words or phrases specific to the worst job we ever had and craft a poem having nothing to do with work.  My three words are in the title to my poem, dirty, cheap, sticky.

My worst job was when I worked at a catalog company called, National Bellas Hess. When catalogs came back because of address problems I had to tear off the front and back of each one returned and place them on pallets. Then I was instructed to go downstairs and guess what? Yes, you are correct. I had to glue on a new front and back to each one. It was a mess. 

Chew Through Your Own Chains ~ Out of Standard
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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Gold in Silver

 "None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm" ~ Henry David Thoreau

little pieces of spring
lie seeded in my winter
i will bloom in frost

i stopped counting all
the yesterdays behind me
they cluttered today

the gold in silver
is thumbing my nose at can’t
while proving I can

©Susie Clevenger 2013

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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Time to Scream

We have remained silent,
lounging in our attitude
of non involvement,
while atrocity has carved
its initials into the women of the world.

We cry when our feelings are hurt,
drink bitter tea and vomit disdain
on any listening ear.

“Woe is me” has become the accepted
mantra of the self- consumed living
in a narcissistic universe.

Where was our outcry when a young woman
was shot by the Taliban for demanding
her right to receive an education?

Across the world isn’t on our sidewalk,
yet it is the horror knocking at the front door
praying compassion and change will answer it.

The neighbor’s wall vibrates with violence,
but we only use our tongues for gossip.
We retreat into our insulation thinking
her pain is not our problem.

If not now, when will we speak?
When will we raise our voices
for more than an affront to
our selfish sensibilities?

It is time to scream, to send up a unified cry,
to rattle the cage of complacency
we have sequestered ourselves in,
because women are dying from our silence.


©Susie Clevenger 2013

March has been set aside by Woman Scream International Poetry Festival as the month to raise awareness through poetry about violence against women.

Woman Scream states their mission is to honor women and create a conscious calling against women’s violence for a culture of peace and to take self-esteem messages to women through artistic expression and poetry.

Violence against women is a personal issue for me. I am a sexual abuse survivor and have known two precious young women who were murdered.  It is cause I am very passionate about.

Today at Real Toads we are participating through our poetry in Woman Scream.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Echoes of Pretty Girls

Blinded by green pastures,
suitcases packed with goodbyes,
pretty girls give up boots for high heels.

Somewhere out there has bright lights,
while here is only dust and a broken moon.

Dreams walk along Fifth Avenue,
not the parking lot of a five and dime.

Pretty girls don’t want rearview mirrors.
They want to move on and never look back.

Leaving is the only thing they plan for.
They never seem to notice this small town
is always full of pretty girls.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

 At Real Toads Marian introduced us to the music of Tim Easton
to use as inspiration for our writing. I hadn't heard of him before
so I lift up a hearty thank you to Marian!

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To whom it may concern,

Do not ring my doorbell
with your sales pitch.

I have no desire to be
tag teamed at my mailbox.

No, I won’t take fifty dollars
to put your sign in my yard.

You are vultures creating
mountains out of hailstones.

Mother Nature dropped
a few marbles from the sky,

but a flock of roofers is covering
the streets with bullshit.

©Susie Clevenger 2013

Sorry, I needed to vent. We had a hail storm last week. The hail was about marble sized and before it could melt the streets were full of roofers spinning dire predictions of roof damage. I lost count of how many came to my door or swarmed me when I went to the mailbox. 

Kerry at Real Toads challenged us to write an open letter.

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