Sunday, May 20, 2018


We pull the night birds up to our shoulders, wrap ourselves tight
In the leaves and blood they wove to stifle our nightmares.
When do we dream, she asks.
Days past swarm her, flickering in the half-light.
They nip our leaves until we sieve them from the night,
Toss the old days into pots where they swim to the roots of the world.
We walk the darkness. We take stories like the rain
Along our bodies, soaking what we're given for clothing,
Sustaining the days we catch and release.

Both of us, sisters and witch's daughters, don't dream.
She looks up as the sun rolls beneath the soles of her feet.
Don't look down, she warns.
I pull her close.
It rolls on.
Rises. We fall, asleep.
Your lives come to drown us.

Dandelions flood the bottom of the ditch, pouring from the suburbs.
Roads pulse with cars, fast food, prescriptions discounted, green light, red--
Words cram themselves together like cars
Eager for the turn-in.
Black birds, yellow bills race behind the red emergency curb
Long enough to verify the trash is sterile, then
Fly to another pole that hums with another kind of remnant,
Bits of word in heat and motion, data harmonics
Tuning in the warming breeze while the birds' throats shiver.
Heat waves' shadows ripple in the opening of the door,
Everyone balanced within Rube's device, a great plastic
Laundry basket ready to catch that mouse,
The one with ears like your toddler.
Our fingers wind through the bars.

Fishy, fishy, fishy. Here's your bowl.

This is being shared to both The Sunday Muse's Muse #5 and Poets United's Poetry Pantry #404. Thanks to Carrie for suggesting the gorgeous image above, which in no way deserved the aspersions I may have cast upon it. I'm sure the sisters are quite nice once you get to know them.

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

When the Ribbons Unravel

You don't know they're like muzzles, these sleek silken tassels
Which fly like it's their freedom breathing, a gifted disaster.

Let them fall.

When the water comes up over the linoleum--you wanted
Water to fall, tension to break humidity's plan to stifle us
But as soon as you feel the cool, you crumble. Those feet--
You were raised on this clay, born from it, stand on it.
Thought your knees would never drop this fast to the flood.
There are only islands, only rough pedestals cover in dust
From the feet who have scuffed over them, watching water
Take to each low place and then to the high.

Let them fall.

You didn't know what flits away, already speaking in tatters
How many times they've given us such a gift, a disaster.

This is being posted for Poets United Poetry Pantry #402 and The Sunday Muse The Muse #4. This really didn't go where I was thinking it would--I love the colors of the image above and didn't really think it would be the tiger...or the storm...that crept out. :) Hope you have a great week and thanks for reading!


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Looking Up

The breeze is cool, then spattered with chill, then blowing through a flurry of raindrops, then cool again. Varda is curled up at my waist, a rivulet of warmth to balanced out the breeze and sharp book on the other. I'm thinking about getting up and making tea, trying to gauge when cool and breeze will become rainy and paper-destroying.

As I close my eyes, the tea and the rain skim over a sudden memory:  drinking water from a fountain in elementary school, a cool, metallic spurt that you have to catch, pressing the button carefully. I'm thirsty, surfing the line between comfortable and drenched. And now more thirsty and Varda is becoming restless as the neighbor dogs whine and the clouds grow closer. It's the kind of Texas day when you know the sun and the heat are lurking just on the other side of high, grey clouds and you're hoping that the clouds stay and withhold the rain for just a few minutes longer.

Perhaps everything is thirsty. Either way, a restless dog is not the best hammock companion and so we end up inside, making tea. Varda likes the part where the ice goes into the pitcher because that means several pieces fly her way.

I'm still thinking about how blank the sky is in the backyard. Lying in the hammock, you don't see tree limbs or telephone wires. Just sky upon sky upon sky, above the ridge of fencing.

An empty view of birds and planes (and clouds or bubbles or firecrackers) zinging from one roof or one spot on the map to another. Today, it tastes like water.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Outgrown Endings

The five-year-old or the lizard brain--perhaps both together--
Are creeping across the carpet with me, like an Escher/Scooby-Doo self-portrait.

Flip-flops slap-squelch through each flat-nubbed square.
Library patrons shift, sunlight coils in corners.

Who do we--how do I--steal it out?

We are sneaky-polite while the books are sleeping
Stiff-spined under institutional lights.

No one talks about it anymore, outgrown in the dirty fallout
Of the brand-new, tossed out with the packaging.

Here...where the collection lies comatose beside the windows,
Perhaps here it can be stolen, like a cup from a hoard.

There are rumors. Like a the noise of being quiet.

For the a/c tech on the graveled tar of the roof, bright melon shirt
Gleaming above the brick railing in the afternoon pipe-glare.

Technicians search that rippling sun-pond for proof of failure
Not for heat lake larvae, who feed on hopes of rain and shade.

Who swim from mirage to mirage, if you believe afterimages.

Happy ends might hatch full-grown from the skimming wishes
But not for those of us wading in sunlight and shade.

What it takes to catch a dream the glare inscribes in your blink
Is a net fine enough to sieve the hope from the sighs.

The following was composed for Poets United Poetry Pantry #401 and The Sunday Muse The Muse #3. And after I flipped a hammock backwards owing to an inability to calculate fulcrums properly. Anyway, it's been that kind of a day so a poetry break is welcome.

Hope you're having a good weekend & have a great week! Thanks for reading.

-- Chrissa

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


Today being a Wednesday and neither a major holiday nor appreciably on the far edge of a semester, we had our weekly WordCrafters meeting in the LSC library. Despite showing up early enough to trawl through the stacks after vowing to NOT CHECK OUT ANY MORE BOOKS UNTIL I FINISH THE ONES I HAVE and immediately thereafter checking out a new stack of books, I was looking forward to this week's meeting.

Carrie (our sponsor, leader, and exemplar of following a project through to completion) had decided that our prompt this week should be in honor of Barbara Bush. It feels like I've spent a good deal of the past year in a negative headspace--alternately cynical and fatalistic--and I'd just read a book praising Dryden's rational, civic poetry, so the idea of writing a piece specifically against my own mood and in praise of a woman whom I only knew from the news stories and as a namesake for a local library, a rational, civic response to a prompt.

The prompt draft ended up as follows:

Let us remember dignity goes with strength;
Congruence between monument and woman
Shines like an harmonic angel sings--struck
By deed unforced, voice beaming the horizon.

It's not a great poem. How can I get at the monumental quality of a woman who was a figurehead, like Princess Diana, like Audrey Hepburn--women who walked into the glare of the cameras to drag a tide of glances over people and situations in need of the attention. It doesn't require perfection to do so and I'm not arguing for any of that. We don't write hero's tales in which women catch hold of nets and drag them trailing behind them to gather up a town and draw it to the place it has ignored. We write fables about how we learn to ignore or walk away.

It's easy to do so. It would be easy for me to do. The longer I look at this, the more I want to. What can I do with it? Orphan piece of little polishing, voice of myself as else--not disowned but not properly owned, like the image of a woman whom I'd never thought that much on, truly, until reminded of virtues by others.

But then again, that's a monument. That's a fable. That's a moral.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Dreaming Hill

Year round, we keep Christmas lights burning in the fireplace.
Today those Fruity Pebble lights sweeten shadows as I stand
Waiting for the morning birds to scratch echoes in the chimney
Against last night's dreams of the past as a mirrored boutique
Filled with knick-knacks I can't afford.

I want to unholster my nursery school water pistol, watermelon
Pink--sling a bandolier of bubble wands across my body,
March into the backyard and retake myself from those fairies
Who are pricing me translucent, empty as the bubbles and the gun,
Hollow of yesterday, unlit.

A perfect, possessable hill they want, blood-stained glass dreams
Outside of which the birds, Wisdom, Gossip, and responsibility,
Peck along the sills where I have been. I have been sold
In the goblin stands that look like antique malls on summer roads
To hagglers with sharper dreams.

This is being posted for Poets United Poetry Pantry #400 and for The Sunday Muse The Muse #3. The image is posted at The Sunday Muse and is far, far too representative (substitute a dog for a cat and a hammock for the couch) for the way I intend to spend this lovely afternoon. Wishing everyone a similarly relaxed Sunday.

-- chrissa

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Random Thoughts

Thinking of Carrie and Working

I'm back in the café where it started,
Where the words lived
Like children in the hip pocket of a parent.
If I bring them out, today,
Early afternoon,
To stare up at the coffee bar's can lights
Until the stars dance and space ships glimmer
In old-fashioned modernity above them,
Will they breathe?
I dream face down, over them,
Words entranced by light or sleepy
With ink still drying along their curves.
Some of them, years ago, were born here
Although none have ever
Driven those ships we are dreaming of
Into the thick white density of a page.
Perhaps these are dazzled, satisfied by existence,
By the mobile possibilities of line and light.
I am scared, suddenly, for them. Of them.
There is little of belief left for them
Of that safe landing on the printed planet,
Our fuel burns lower, bluer.