Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Story of My People

I am sitting at the table and the days
Are falling warm onto the ground like strawberries;
If I reach out I can catch them, hold them
Almost warm as skin.
Kiss them, debate tasting them…but I have
Devoured them and remember them sweet.
A lion’s mane rests on my sandals
Scratching my toes. His breath is on my shins.
Tell me the story of your people.
There was Wyndigo the First, whom we found
In a suburban backyard off the Loop.
He walked the sidewalks, rode shotgun in the Sundance.
There was Baron the Golden who found us
Before the remaking of Memorial City
When it was sleepy and had a cafeteria and an Eckerd’s
And a pet store. He would climb into your lap;
Overspill the affections. There is Merlin the Peskie—
Our fairy of fur and roundness, whose snores
Are the stuff of long afternoons drifting at the edge of twilight.
There was Varda the Beautiful, whose midnight coat
Called the stars into her embrace. Her holt was the space
Between the computer and the desk
Or the bathtub when it thundered, or someone knocked.
And there is Arthur, who has come to learn
The litany of his new peoples.
A velvet paw covers one knees, a rough tongue.
Go then. Take a taste of the garden with you.
I breathe the flavor of strawberries across my tongue.
This is the story of my people.

Sharing today with The Sunday Muse and Poets United. Today is our second day with Arthur (or Wart), the new pup. He was an unexpected but not unwelcome discovery as part of yesterday's Operation Pets Alive! Clear the Shelter event. This would be him, sleeping in the car on the way home. Another car dog!! Also, I suspect he might be a water dog. Guess we'll find out the next time we're in Lake Jackson. :) Sorry for the dog-dog-dog brain is pretty much set on Puppy right now. As in "Where is the puppy?" "What is he finding that I didn't think he'd be interested in?" "Oh yeah, I forgot the puppy yowl." 

Hope everyone is having a good week and finding inspiration, especially as the seasons sneak toward change. 

-- Chrissa

Thursday, August 15, 2019


Skin--like brooches--clings to the roof
Cicada's songs are clipped to the visor
             But summer takes the roads loose places
Pine trees remember elves
Shoot fletchings of needles down around me
Summer wavers like a mirage, just above
The leaf litter, breathing songs
Half smoke, half resin
We cough stanzas after the a/c
Fades from our skin

Sharing with The Sunday Muse's Wednesday Muse Cicadas! prompt. Summer is hanging on with both hands and all ten fingers here--however, yesterday's rain made today's morning writing session a lovely lagniappe of fall to come but that lasted only until the empty park and sounds of unseen squirrels got the shivers going and me constantly looking over my shoulder. Usually I'm not as on edge, but there were cars but no people (probably they were further along the paths) and I guess it's close enough to fall that spooky thoughts are close to the surface. 

Hope everyone is having a good week!

-- Chrissa

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Another Repetitive Origin Story

What if the ocean doesn't tell him where it came from?
He lives on the remains of a sea shallow and toothy
Large enough to float giants and catch their bones
In a basin down below the edge of the horizon
Where only the pinnacles of the oil towers show.
He'll know the rumors of where his parents were
As he slowly came to be, the years when they
Were small, when they lived along this coast
Where their dads worked among the pipes
Separating chemicals from the sea.

Nights roll up behind him, forgotten.

What if the ocean never tells him
How deep the past can sink, how the mud can grow
Into both blood and stone?

Sharing this week with The Sunday Muse and Poets United for their Sunday poetry. I'm grateful for being able to spend time in a community of poets, particularly in those times when my own writing feels as if it might congesting into a solid lump of silence. I'm hoping the cooler weather sets in rather sooner this year (I've been watching British gardening shows with naked and blatant envy at the delicate snowfalls in--what, April? May?) so that I can take my notebooks back outside, among the ants and beetles and mushrooms and...well, the spiders can stay over there. Really. Like, waaay over there.

Hope your writing and reading week is going well!

-- Chrissa

Thursday, August 8, 2019


Summer over the sward
Is a helicopter ballet
Dragonflies in the laser heat
An explosion's aura
Behind my closed eyes

Instead, follow lemon-lime
Sun flakes to the gingers
And shade
Into the scent of dirt and water
Splaying my fingers
Like the lizards
Surfing the widest leaves
Sulphur butterflies
Limelighting the shadows
Cooling the ashes 
Of the dance
With each breath

Sharing with The Sunday Muse for Wednesday's "Butterflies!" prompt. We're entering the Heat Advisory portion of the summer here and I'm looking forward to fall and being able to spend more time among the butterflies. :) 

-- Chrissa

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Embracing the Canvas

It's the purple heart of an amoeba
Devouring the map or the grey edge
Billowing white; stalking toward us on slant legs--
Thunderclouds leaning into their drift
Bullying the fences down the block
Chill rumors of the time they shoved the umbrella
Down the side yard in a crumple.
I'm hugging the umbrella, fumbling
For the ties, whispering that it'll be okay
The storm will slope off down the block
Ignoring the secured.

Sharing today with The Sunday Muse for the Wednesday Muse "Summer Rain" prompt. Merlin is snoozing like a teenager across his pillow, waiting to see if any additional fries casually appear upon the desk or perhaps daydreaming about the car and the possibilities of magic food windows. I didn't bring him to the park this morning, where the ants and the deer were out in the early morning heat and the writing was deferred to this afternoon and an indoor desk. We're in the season of brief, strong afternoon thunderstorms and watching the weather for creeping tropical depressions that might weave themselves into hurricane spirals before coming ashore, hence the bullying storms above.

After last weekend's local author event, I've been thinking about how much I'd like to visit a poetry convention, tables full of poets and at least one room for reading, for poets to share their work, for those who write about poetry to share their thoughts on poems, and for readers to talk about where they encountered poetry, at first and now. Poetry can be protean, any genre, any language, any style. We use it to castigate ourselves, to pray, to sing. This feels like something that you could celebrate over a weekend, that you could share with an entire community, that you could turn into the kind of festival/convention that would spark more poems, that would inspire people to write and to read, to listen and to speak. Perhaps someone could bring one up here to the north side of Houston.

Hoping this week finds you well and well-inspired,
-- Chrissa

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Fledged and Flown

Wall like the back of an oven in the middle of summer
Waiting for the soles of my feet to catch the heat shimmer
Stride like a mirage through the city breaking open
Fold my hands not in prayer but because they will fledge
Catching the thermals of my passing, stirring the air
Until the street is batter and rise, bubbles and ocean
Salt burning the edges of my eyes and sinuses
Screaming over the pulse, shoved upward
Into the sky.

Sharing today with The Sunday Muse and with Poets United. Today's gratuitous picture of Merlin is to the right...the temporary reprieve of heat & humidity is over here on the outer rim of Houston and he's back to finding the tile ever so much friendlier to his belly than the pillow. Little does he know today is going to be another episode of Riding in Cars For No Reason...we're trying to get him to be a better car dog...there may be pics of that in upcoming posts. Sorry. Meanwhile, there was more inspiration yesterday to get beyond this ridiculous bout of no writing--we visited a local author fest at one of the hotels near the airport. It was a good example of what kind of good sanctuary writing can provide--nondescript hotel exterior, iron gate, tight parking lot...and then a tucked away, cool banquet room filled with friendly people telling interesting stories. I may have come away with too many of those stories, but I was struck by how many mother/daughter writing pairs there were, how many people write within broadly local settings, how many poets are re-imagining metaphors. I'm grateful for the opportunity to visit with others who do this much more bravely than I do. :) 

-- Chrissa

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Asphalt and Time

Sitting close enough to the night that it whines
Just in the mouth of my ear canal;
Starlight streaming through the twilight in the hum
Like oil in the water, soothing ripples
Covering up the restless heat lapping at my arms
Sunburn like streetlights, a felt illumination, memory.
Night will leave its bites to rise among the burn--
My skin swelling and crinkling like the roadbed
Universes and days and hugs have traveled.

Sharing with The Sunday Muse for The Wednesday Muse: Night Sounds. Today was the day I decided to get back on the horse, as it were, with my writing. Merlin and I spent part of the morning out on the back porch (thank you, mid-summer cool front!!!!!) and he's sleeping on the tiles behind me, now. He came with me on this morning's bagel run, proving that he understands the concept of drive-thru pretty well and is a fan of windows through which people hand you food. As am I, I suppose. Here he is, enjoying the morning, belly full of croissant (not a whole one, just a bit of one). Thanks for being patient as I edge back from last week.

-- Chrissa