Monday, April 8, 2024

Wishing for Persephone

In this sludge of wildflowers
I grieve for their petals 
trampled by feet oblivious
to their pain.

Like astronauts from another planet
humans chased the perfect landing
to place a photograph as a flag,
conquerors who never considered
the legacy of their shoes.

I’m sure the valerian craved
their pink and white blossoms
could have sedated the callous plastic sheep
before they ever reached anything green.

Oh, I too love photos, bright images
capturing a countryside rainbowed with spring,
but I look where my feet are going as to not
assault euphoric rebirth with the crush of my boots. 

If I were Persephone, I would pluck
the spotted spurge of armchair busybodies, 
and turn them into fodder for Aphthona. 

©Susie Clevenger 2024


Friday, March 22, 2024

So Many Plumes in My Portfolio

 Oh, I do love to dress in pink and black,

a tabby witch who has crows and flamingos as familiars.

There’s so many plumes in my portfolio no disconnected

shaman can figure out which part of me holds the reason

I need his sage to drive out my impertinence.

When you’re born female, you’re stalked with you must,

you can’t, you should, you shouldn’t…My skin is much

thicker than the apple peel placed between my teeth.

Silly man, you made me who I am…If you don’t like the view,

you shouldn’t have opened the window. 

©Susie Clevenger 2024

Word Garden Word List ~ Poetry Outloud

Friday, March 15, 2024

Insanity Is a Parking Lot

I roam like a withered cloud,
the white foam of cotton
against blue long gone.

Why isn’t there comfort in madness?

My mind builds a memorial for every demon
that has left its footprint on my chest.
There is no ink in dead flowers, yet I chase
their petals trying to find enough color
to fill a single thought. 

Is sanity a stroke of luck or a creature
some can tame while others are cursed 
with feral.

I wish unfinished would leave bread crumbs
so my brain could be tricked into believing
life had a map.

Insanity is a parking lot where I watch
everyone escape, but me.

Susie Clevenger 2024

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Open Wound


The sun rises 

with its murder of crows, 

and I fight the spoon 

that feeds me another

hour of prayers unanswered. 

Is there a god who doesn’t 

bind me to a hymn that

sings only heaven will

bring freedom? 

The gravel beneath my feet

never grows softer. 

My spirit is too raw to 

even form a scar. 

I’ve bled my heart into

journal pages, carried matches

to light candles that never stay lit. 

I’m so weary I’ve grown deaf

to my bones begging me to rest. 

I fear I’m becoming as silent

as those I thought would speak. 

Susie Clevenger 2023



Sunday, September 10, 2023

I've Never Lost My Shoes

Is this tomorrow
or am I still on
today’s treadmill?

I’m beginning to wonder
where I fit in other than
on trauma’s fist.

In my everything’s coming up roses
I am making bouquets out of dry petals.
Questions flower on my tongue
only to be met by the drought of no answers.

Lately I’ve been screaming in empty rooms
where my voice disappears into nail holes
I’ve hammered in my gallery of goodbyes.

There is weakness in strength, fear in being brave.
I’m tired of having to cross another valley,
but grateful I’ve never lost my shoes. 

©Susie Clevenger 2023

Friday, July 7, 2023

I Can’t Breathe Through Gray

There was a time
when no matter
how much rain
fell through my spirit
I wouldn’t drown.

Today is tears
in a field of dreams
I cannot harvest.

Blinded by why
I feel as a corpse
too dry to even
be a feast for worms.

I take a deep breath
hoping to fill my lungs
with color, only to
choke on the scent
of gray.

©Susie Clevenger 2023

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Rebel Is My Safe Word

Sunday threatens with
its black candle sky,
a summer storm
merging with the
darkness in me.

Livid lightning bolts
flash from my eyes
striking, “Enough!”,
as I stare at your
smug expression.

Your hand on my arm
is not a request, but a command.
There’s not enough ice cream
in hell to tempt me to leave with you.

Whatever you think you have,
is nothing I want … You’re merely
a beer Romeo who thinks
every woman is eager 
to be your plaything.

I didn’t walk in this bar alone.
Look over your shoulder.
Those women know a death star
when they see one.

All I have to say is one word, “rebel”, and they
will become the war you won’t win.

©Susie Clevenger 2023