Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Angel of Sidon


She wears red, a match waiting
for the right kindling to turn
a cold room into a bonfire of heathens.

A wink, a blush, plump lips walking
the fine line between the blank spaces
of a hell fire sermon, she is the Jezebel
the pious curse, and the bold wanton
they never take to confession.

With splashes of jasmine holy water
she baptizes those strong enough
to relish their weakness, and teases
eyes to admit their obsession with curves.

While the choir sings blindly of light
they can’t feel, she collects the tarnished
notes of their hypocrisy, and rewrites
the blood song into Eve’s freedom from Eden.

©Susie Clevenger 2022

Thursday, November 10, 2022

A Fool’s Catalogue of Violets

Bitter violets rest in their purple sulking,
false blooms hoodwinking fools their pressed petals
will canonize lost lovers as priests of the heart.

Dead bookmarks lie in my journals in crumbled
graveyards of inane longing…a fool’s garden planted
amongst the inked witness to my instability. 

How does one become blind to devils yet dissect
the most tender by listing flaws as if beauty of the flesh
was the gold standard by which to judge a soul.

Were I a sin eater I would be fat on my own misjudgments.
Nonsense argues a kiss can turn a toad into a prince…
What dignity is there in bargaining with fairytales?

I am an assassin, a rusted knife cutting spirits
into black valentines because I cannot bend
the strong into my weakness.

Romance, I hunger more for the idea than the truth
a candle only gives light when there is a flame.
Fantasy has no power to reincarnate reality from ashes. 

©Susie Clevenger 2022

This poem was inspired by Shay's word list and the occassional junk food novels I consume. 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Silk Tongue Order of Discord


She is queen bitch,
a dark storyteller who
plucks words from
a coffee-stained alphabet
that makes pretty sound
like it has fangs and crows are
lullaby saints of midnight cradles.

A poised midwife of birthing mordacity
she sings mockingbird hymns
to narcissists whose self-absorption
has no skill in the discernment of mockery.

Sister Eris, of the Silk Tongue Order of Discord,
has a pharmacy of ironic elixirs, drivel of headlines,
and bombastic bloat, to anethestize sheep
so they will remain oblivious their promised future
is being built from recycled failure of the past.

©Susie Clevenger 2022

Shay's Word Garden List ~ Susie Clevenger

Monday, October 24, 2022

Vanity Hounds Me


Photo by Brooke Shaden

“Vanity is becoming a nuisance, I can see why women give it up, eventually.
 But I'm not ready for that yet.” ― Margaret Atwood, Cat's Eye

 A mirror doesn’t accuse. 
It is I who cuts myself
into a thousand miseries.

I am pottery painted
by every word I pull
through the glass.

An aged vessel, I search for flaws,
dividing myself by scars, and
yesterday’s photos…
a seeker of lost ignoring found.

Gratitude prods me to look
deeper than vanity’s gnawing hound,
but I’m too human to not wish
the calendar wasn’t turning me
into a dried apple. 

©Susie Clevenger 2022

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Dandelion Saviors for the Starry Eyed


They sit on Chicago
stairsteps like pretty
trinket jars waiting
to be stolen or broken
into a thousand sorrows.
Little girls of Edison Park,
glitter roses, who have
only read the book of innocence
where wolves are tame,
and costumes don’t have
pockets filled with dark riddles,
imagine castles and gardens,
not abandoned brownstones
painted with the shadows of weeds.
Life is a grizzly bitch who teases
with ribbons and shatterproof dreams,
but carries a loaded tongue to turn
bright eyes into empty light sockets
when stars don’t fall in answered wishes.
Yet where the blackened chewing gum
mars the concrete sparkle there are angels
who carry candles for the moonless youth
who’ve been torn from fairytales.
Mentors of the psyche who have lived
their own errors open their books
of misspent and share with the anxious,
life is a tattered shirt that will take patience to mend.
 ©Susie Clevenger 2022


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Stinging Inside Out of Newspaper Eyes

I didn’t think fear
had a rosary, but 
it pearls its dark prayers
across my skull leaving
grooves of cat scratch voices.

Insanity’s camera pours
its coffee-stained images
into my newspaper eyes
forcing me to read the
unseen as reality.

Pulled into the stinging inside out
I plead with the voices in my head
to not venture beyond my tongue,
to not build houses in my throat
of rotten words or toss baseballs
stitched with the foul thread of my delusions.

I’m a foreigner without a passport to normal,
a buzz kill’s humpty dumpty glued into broken,
workmen’s failed attempt to build on
rain puddle sand a chair that can hold
the weight of all the “me’s” that roam
the birdcage bus in my head
where everything enters, but nothing escapes. 

©Susie Clevenger 2022

It's that time of year when October pulls me through dark ink. 

Thank you Shay for your word list!

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Banging Cup of Helter Skelter


“Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.” – Blaise Pascal

 Insanity is a cell,
a blind man’s bars
where thoughts
play with freedom,
but a key doesn’t fit the lock.

Who am I if not, where’s beyond
if a cage holds what it won’t free?
Days wither on the throat of a scream.
I hear what can’t be seen…See what can’t be heard.

Climbing out in the center of falling in
I play a black chessboard dressed
as a blood thorn queen.

Helter skelter, neither here nor there,
what falls rarely finds up.
Riddles and swirls, answers that can’t find questions.
I’m there but not here…Gone but never leave.

I’m a ghost that breathes, skeleton without bones,
a mind that searches, a searcher who never finds.
I fish for reality without bait or hook. 

©Susie Clevenger 2022