Monday, January 22, 2018

Book Review : "Cirkus"

CirkusCirkus by Patti Frazee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's difficult to review or rate this book. It took me over two months (!) to slog through the first half, and two days to tear through the second half, which I could not put down. In the first half we meet a band of turn-of-the-20th-century circus performers, including a Gypsy, a fire-eating dwarf and a pair of conjoined twins. Despite their oddness, they never really grabbed me, except by very scattered turns, and even then not for long. None of the characters were sympathetic enough to make me care very much what happened to them, and therein lies the bigger problem--nothing much happened at all. I could not stick with reading for more than a few pages, and never felt drawn to go back to it, though I doggedly pushed on, however slowly. I almost quit several times, not because it was bad, but because it just wasn't good enough.

Then came the second half. Finally, things started moving, secrets are revealed, intrigues are played out, and most of all, the humanness of all these characters bursts forth in all their flawed desire, courage, and failings. If the whole book had been as excellent as the second half, I would have given it 5 stars, but getting through the first half was such a chore, I can't be quite that forgiving. Still, recommended with the warning that it takes foreverrrr to get going. If you can hang in, it pays off.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Music Box Church Bells

Music box church bells
over river rocks in a week-long dream;
the rosewood resonance still there come the daylight hour
with walnut splines for the curve of that fine aural wheel.

Music box church bells
in the snow-brush fingers of your gloves at sunset fall
with quilted maple and the movement gone melodious 
was religion enough, and that's love...that's all.

for Tree Sisters.

Thank you to The Wood Whisperer for information about making a music box. 


New Garden

My robot fucked the 7-11 chick--
she'd guessed the access code.
Amid disassembled hardware, I located and removed
my emotional investment.

New garden. No succulents. 
I bang the yield in walls with a hammer.
I erect abstract sculpture the neighbors hate.

I go on, exploded,
hating inevitable outcomes
and the rattle of my seed-pod heart. 

A flash 55 for my BFF.

image: from the sci-fi movie "Ex Machina" 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Faith Dentistry

Here at the Church of the Broken Tooth,
we are all feeling nervy.
We have been handed envelopes for tithing,
and our own personal Jesus Action Figures
perfect for use as candles or cudgels.

We do not suffer the loony veteran.
We cannot condone the homosexual.
This is God's will, not ours.
We have rent our garments and need needles
and smaller, oh much smaller camels,
though filthy and willful beasts they be.

We of the Broken Tooth faith community
take to the streets, with placards to protect the unborn,
except, of course, for our Allison
"away at bible camp"
until she returns, in time for Christmas,
her body once again an empty and lesser vessel. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Skull In The Book

The skull in the book asks me what I'm reading.
We both know that he only wants to criticize.

The train rolls on, works looms.
I had hoped to get in a few pages, but no.
The skull in the book won't shut his pie hole.

I tell him it's about a woman
whose husband has a secret;
it's about a girl
who hears voices from her closet,
and it's about a cat
who stays on the stairs in the dark, watching.

The skull in the book scoffs. 
He wants spies and intrigue and sex.
"There is, Skully," I say. 
He frowns.

For a while I describe the scenery to him. 
He hasn't got eyes, but he has curiosity. 
He tells me to kiss him, he's a Prince.
"You wish."

At my stop, I tire of it all,
and discard my book with the skull in it. 
I can hear him, fuming inside the barrel with the coffee cups
and McMuffin wrappers.

I think I won't go to work.
I stand there for a second, stupid and a little afraid,
like a woman who wakes up not knowing where she is,
how she got there, what this strange body is
or why she's inside it, casting about for a clue.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


I am hiding where you can't see
me, down where the roots find 
winding ways and secret water,
daughter of both silence and 
random lightning strike.

I am hiding where you can't touch,
such a stand-offish lonely sort
aboard a black-winged bird
absurd and glorious in her particular 
vernacular of singular songs and caws
jackdaws and crows
know better than a professor at his books.

I am hiding in the red detritus
I might as soon worship as any
many-strictured deity, and yet,
getting it wrong, being found out--
shouting and giving myself away,
saying yes, I really do reduce to
blues in the afternoon sung by
my own traitor voice on these pages like a kiss.

for Fussy Little Forms: Chained Rhyme.


Saturday, January 13, 2018


Danger is everywhere--
at the bottom of a tea cup,
hidden in the fold of a newspaper,
tucked under the curve of your lover's breast.

Go ahead, scream;
it's your perfect right.

Those trapped in nightmares are paralyzed.
"You sustain me," is a sibilant statement,
often sincerely lisped by those with lipstick on their teeth. 

Another Flash 55 for my BFF.