Sunday, December 30, 2018

Broom Eyed Tin Angel

He smells like the rotted breath
from a dead lung and swaggers
as if he isn’t the last call at a dive bar.

My (no)soles heel the side walk
right past him loud enough to make
the dead dance, but wasted Romeo
is too beer eared to hear never.

He lunges…I sidestep…The ice house
choir dollars a bet on how long it will
take drunk lover to rise from his fall.

Some call me tin angel, others swamp call
me broom eyed…I don’t care if it’s wings
or cauldron…I’ll follow whatever anointing
it takes when a woman calls my number
and tells me, “I don’t feel safe in this place.”

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Wolf Moon and Flesh

Before the wolf moon
can puncture the heart
of dreams I meditate in
its howl, lift a prayer
for every scar on its
journey to forgiven,
and light a candle to guide
spirits through the valley
of extinction.

Pulled through the eye of empathy
I feel the wolf lead me deeper
into black coffee night.

©Susie Clevenger 2018


In Shay's prompt she led us to  to a beautiful extinct creature the Thylacine, but as poetry does it lead me to lament the passing of such wonder through a wolf moon. 

Linked to:


Friday, December 14, 2018

I Won't Choose Empty

I can’t swim in another’s baptism
or walk the path of a constrictive
definition of un(conditional) love.
Love can’t be commanded to leave,
or be erased when it consumes the soul.

...I won’t choose empty...

There is no light in a sacrifice that
denies the heart’s own revelation.
I no longer wish to live in a prison
built to keep me from my truth,
or whither to appease another’s blindness.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Real Toads ~ Revelation

Monday, December 3, 2018

Nothing Better Than a Woman's Eye

America's first female photojournalist
c. 1904

There’s nothing better
than a woman’s eye.
She’s been looking through
barriers since Eden’s apple
produced its first snake oil.

Every drop
of submission
placed in her ear
brings a little more
light to her vision.

There’s nothing better
than a woman’s eye
to see what will be
through the repressive
words of you can’t.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, November 9, 2018

Hell in My Sweet Tea

I’ve put another flower on my handbasket
and another no in where... If love brought
you to my door, why pamphlet me with judgement?

Mix a little hell in my sweet tea.
The Bible belt likes sin cinched tight
across the ribs so misery words
are easier to spill, but I prefer a little
sugar coat on venom before I strike.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, October 5, 2018

Match to Water

I hear the water cry,
“I am your safety”,
but drowning sings
its dirge across my chest.

Hope urges faith
can walk across the sea…
My wounds burn in brine’s no
as I bleed another tear into the tempest.

Memory’s mutiny has unleashed suppressed,
and I feel the anchor of ghosts freed
from Davy Jones’ locker.

I am a fish forced to once again
swim a dead sea I thought I’d conquered.
I pray the demon’s spear will pierce the last revelation
so I will no longer fear a shadow will come to snuff my candle.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2018

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Agony of the Moon

Howling moonlight walks the horizon
searching for souls of brave poets
to feed the monochrome night
love is both torture and
ecstatic freedom,
a heart walk through
the how and
why of

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Thursday, August 23, 2018


rain threatens the sky
and i wonder how
long the moon can swim
before it drowns in the
love sonnets pooling
on my lips

alone sits on a windowsill
begging a warm hand
to break the chill…
i fold a verse conjured
from dead poets into
his palm and whisper,
“love stays when you
give it away”

i melt into the shadow of echoes…
there’s no rest in a city of open wounds

©susie clevenger

Friday, August 17, 2018

August Requiem

Outside my window
the sun boils summer
into rotted tea.

I ice cube a prayer
across my brow and
wonder how many
pretty words will survive
the sorrow of dying petals.

Autumn will be a bitter queen
when she learns there are
no brilliant colors to weave into
her crown.
©Susie Clevenger 2018

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Pray Answers Won't Smell Like Alcohol

I’m over there in the corner
of a dive bar, quiet tongued
and soul eyed.

I pinch my arm to bruise present
on my skin, but thirty years a go
blinks beneath neon.

Reluctant, terrified, sober as a crucifix,
I walk questions to an empty chair
and pray answers won’t smell like alcohol.

Silence beads little droplets on my skin
until I’m feverish enough to gurgle who
from my throat in a semblance of language.

Frowning she places a finger on my lips
and speaks, Don’t ask…I just came
to learn how I can change my future.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Written from some tough news I recently received. No, it isn't me or my family.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Too Close to the Edge

The midnight lake puts its lips
to my eyes and drinks every
starlight wish swimming in hazel.

Not satisfied with the brew of visions
it sends watery death into my lungs
to flood my last breath of July.

Thrashing in waves of lost I am tossed
the life preserver of 1:00 am and a cat
purring rescue across my chest.

Shaken I reach for pen and paper
beside my bed and pray my muse
has escaped the drowning pool of empty.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Impugning An Orchid

You thought I was too fragile,
an orchid requiring more
than you were willing to give.

You sat beneath a rain
of jealous opinions and
let them damn me before
you even knew my strength.

Loss only makes you the fool.
I am much wiser now with my heart.
I can breathe in my freedom, while
you whither where I  bloom.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Sanaa gave a selection of word lists at Real Toads to inspire our writing.
I chose the following words: breathe, rain, loss orhcid

Real Toads ~ Get Listed ~ July Edition

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Spoiled Tongues Scar Faces

Judgmentals malign sister crow
with whispered gossip
jealous perked in spoiled tea.

She ignores their babble
polluting the wind, and gathers
silhouettes to wallpaper memory.

Spoiled tongues scar faces.
The eye of I is an open window
where what is spoken is always seen.

Beware when attacking a sister,
words carried on feathers
may return in a murder of wings.

©Susie Clevenger 2018
Crow image by

Saturday, June 30, 2018

No Place to Hide

Her eyes can kill, or so they say.
There’s nowhere to hide when her
green eyes collide with secrets
before they can pool on the tongue.

It doesn’t matter how deep in your bones
you bury what shouldn’t be known, Trysis
can see what shouldn’t be sung.

A needle for pain, a knife for lost.
Ponder what you will…Prepare for the cost.

An eye for an eye…She’ll always win.
There’s no shield for where, no protection from when.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Trysis is a fictional name I conjured from the prompt. :)

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Valley of the Sky

Leave by the same door
you tore from hinges,
spill rumor, feed snakes.

My life is not yours to barter,
nor is it yours to take.

It doesn’t matter how close
you dance me to the cliff,
blood will never clip my wings.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018

Moon Straw

Let me drink hope from your lips,
taste life while it still drinks
romance through a moon straw.

Optimism hangs on a crucifix
of barbed tongues while devils sing
the what about -isms of another’s evil.

If night must rage, let its rage escape
along my skin…Let me breathe resurrection
before I succumb to ashes.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Shallow End of Caffeine

“Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself.” Anthony Bourdain

This chipped coffee cup
was your favorite.
You liked its imperfections,
its history, broken pieces
glued by conversations..
life.. humanity.. miles.

You’d grin…Lift your cup
and joke it was impossible to break
something that couldn’t be fixed.

Hindsight is a blunt companion.

I swam the shallow end
of caffeine unaware
I was watching you drown.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday 55 ~ 6/8/18

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The I of the Storm

I storm through May
with prayers howling
across my tongue.

There are few answers
to my questions, little solace
in climbing agony.

Weak, but rooted in dandelions,
I gather every seed of resurrection
to lift me out of darkness.

I mortar another brick
on the wall of hope
wondering why rocks crumble
in silent wails.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2018

The dandelion represents healing and the ability to rise above life's challenges. 
My daughter, Dawn, definitely possesses the dandelion spirit to thrive in adversity.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cinnamon Truth

I always stayed quiet
when winter came
to the kitchen.

I never knew what sin
would open the library
to mama’s grudges,
but the kettle bang
on the stove signaled
frost would be served
with the mashed potatoes.

I learned early it was best
to not stray from the cinnamon
truth in silence is golden.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday 55 ~ 5/11/2018

Friday, May 4, 2018


Image result for kent state

It won’t happen again until it will.
How much second will kill first?
Chaos keeps fuel in gaslighting’s wick.

Stapled into standing up
when the liar gets new verbs
memory sings like the 60’s and frets
about history that’s never learned.

Cataract flower children tell stories
to ears that won’t listen… four died in Ohio.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday 55

Friday, April 27, 2018

Plan B

I’ve still got my teeth.
Well, they (?) always
told me to leave em’ smiling.

I wanted to be a windchime
when I lost all my funeral weight,
but I’m too deep in dirt to catch a breeze.

What doesn’t reconstruct you makes you haunt.
My husband could never sleep with the closet light on.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Welcome to My Birdcage

I write backwards
in search of beginnings
because now can’t decide when.

For every bird chirp
there’s an empty nest,
and stars hate to dress
for dinner when  wishes
stain their best glitter.

There is too much boring
in narrow minds that
walk black lines because
dreaming requires new crayons.

Welcome to my random,
my unpredictable, my disconnect
to connect to a butterfly
while water boils.

Madness sits on the tip of my pencil.
She hates lists, using ink for temporary,
and my obscure aversion to seeing
someone lick the palm of their hand.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Valley of Eye Shadow

I have an occasional chat
with the women I used to be
so they’ll sleep while
I ponder gray hair.

Whine and glue are twisted sisters
who try to paste me in past tense
where young didn’t have wrinkles.

When the me’s get too catty
I remind them of choices,
blue eyelids and bad hair.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Every Sorrow Earns a Blue Note

 You’d have to know the roots to understand the wonder in her wings
I’m music poured
down an open throat
when the Irish ghost walk
their bottles across my blood.

There’s a whole lot of dying early,
dust, bodies in a cell, and carving
wood into fiddles so feet won’t
forget to dance.

The nail crawl of bullet tongues
carve hell into tiny pieces so mouths
can learn to nibble before they chew
their tongues into misery.

Every sorrow earns a blue note
to string enough pearls wisdom won’t
die in ears morgue trained to let
negative roost in the heart’s nest.

My bone thin hands steal
flesh from echoes so my limb
of the family tree can leaf words
where names will no longer bud.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mind's Gone Blind

I’m searchin’ hell
for a drink of cold water,
mind’s gone blind,
can’t see to think.

Who’s gonna talk
when there isn’t answers?
Who’s gonna walk
when legs can’t run?

I’ve been freezin’
in the desert.
I’ve been burnin’ in snow.

Who’s gonna pray
when lies get louder?
Who’s gonna sing
when my dyin’ is done?

©Susie Clevenger 2018

I wrote this poem after listening to Larkin Poe's song, Look Away. When inspiration nudges I flow with it.

Friday55 ~ March 23, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018


We’ll drink wine
from your glass of dread,
host hellions, and sing spells
of full moon absolution.

Type finger words talk across our skin
in little barbs tongue twisted
into faux humor until sneers
 grind our smiles into weapons.

If hell has a candle, we’ll bring a match.
Oh and it’s BYOB (bring your own brimstone.)

©Susie Clevenger

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Greener on the Other Side of the Curtain

Related image

Floor length sheer drapes attract the curious.
Eyes like the tease, fantasize silhouettes,
mind pen dialogue to fill in emptiness.

There’s a bit of romance in
“the lives are always greener
on the other side of the curtain.”

Voyeurs can excuse their window peeping
with exclamations table lamp invitations are issued
every night when darkness flirts with light.

With the slamming of a door routine interjects
itself into the tableau… Watchers return to dinner,
dog walks, and channel surfing toward sleep.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

Doll Play

Image result for merle oberon that uncertain feeling

“We are all just little dolls ourselves.
Who occasionally pull back the
curtains to reveal the real us."
- Bruce Erik Kaplan

Doll play saves questions.
I can dress my sideshow in acceptable,
mannequin walk to pop tune shallow,
and keep the mirror close to my hip.

It gets a bit plastic on the dull side,
but if I lift the curtain too often
on my weird, the offended are
shortchanged the full smug 
of their outrage.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Beggar's Glimpse

I look through flashes
dreaming of vision in the
time walk of blindness.

Losing the glory of lilacs
to a pinhole, I pluck color
from images to paste
in my memory.

A beggar’s glimpse of moonlight
is the prayer I speak to stay
midnight’s encroachment…

A faint light pirouettes across
the milky pond of my iris.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

I had an eye scare this week. All is well, but I must say it was a bit traumatic. I wrote this from my perspective of anxiousness and watching a family member’s struggle with blindness.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sleepless In America

The moon stares at me through my window
in blinks of wind branch and silhouetted leaves.
Sleep hides beneath the covers and far from my pillow.

Why do questions stalk peace as thieves
well trained to invade as soon as my head
screams for the mind numb only slumber relieves?

I walk the hours of sun fighting off the dread
of a world drunk on building tribes to squander freedom
on divisive rants of rewind, repeat, the lies must be fed.

In the wrinkling of my nest I curse an apple eaten,
Genesis ink knowledge is evil, inquiry needs suppression.
Morning sings rebellion, but night moans beaten.

Mother Moon, please speak, give me direction
on how I can sleep when compassion is pilloried on tongues of aggression.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, February 9, 2018

Through My Claws

silk widescreen wallpaper 53923

I silk wrapped my curves
to lure you closer to the burn,
remorse only wept when
the scars didn’t bleed.

Star tattooed night was the heaven
where hell sipped champagne
from the hole in your dreams.

I sang through my claws,
but you didn’t learn the words.
“Too late” whimpers the fool.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday 55

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gather Silent Hands

Gather those who do not clap,
I’ve touted my worth in sacred words
of ego sing, and stars and stripes.

Traitors sit with hands in laps.
They are enemies who won’t agree
nothing is or can be better than me.

Every knee shall bow, every tongue,
oh wait, I hear devils speak of Watergate,
but story be, the gaslight’s still lit.

Damn those bended knees that
weren’t sanctioned by me…
It doesn’t matter why, just apple pie toward offend.

I’ll side step, give a wink to the bear,
blame those whose hands don’t meet with a shout,
and reduce democracy to the swill of divide.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018


Descanso do modelo
The Model at Rest ~ José Ferraz de Almeida Júnior 

Ivory is a prop for hands
posed to speak where music lounges.
He tobacco puffs a few paint strokes
across the canvas bragging about art
and the value of a signature.

She’d lived enough delusion to know if dreams
smell of cheap cologne, you take the dollar
and smile while he jaw spends his dime.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, January 26, 2018

Black Dirt Doesn’t Ask Questions

Bury me east of the moon.
Let my bones rest beneath
the cottonwood where
dreams dance with the devil.

In the death rattle of stained glass
black robes already gather
in the choir to sing of my damnation.
I suffer their notes,
but freedom doesn’t need
to glory paste confession.
 Black dirt doesn’t ask questions. 

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Even Angels

Louis-Léopold Boilly - A Lady Seated at Her Desk

He sat me among naughty things
and told me to think of innocence.
Of all the sins brushed across my skin,
denial sent the deepest blush.

With my arm pressed against my thigh
I tried to not wonder how his hands would feel
beneath my dress and demon’s silenced.

Even angels hate pedestals.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018


Darkness paces behind my eyelids
where monsters dance, and
tomorrow is hungry.

Sunlight is my warden…It guards
shadows, peers through curtains,
chases thoughts into inspection.

But it’s when the moon dresses
the wolf howl anger damns
the sweet sonnet I masquerade in.

Evil craves a host and I am its welcome.
Wicked opens wounds.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Friday 55

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What Lies Are For

You know what lies are for.
They dig graves in eyes and tongues
to bury trust in plain view.

They are spoon fed until
their poison tastes like sugar coat.
A rat boiled in honey tastes sweet.

Weary them…Weary them…
until the body can’t protest,
and voices drown in the noise.

Freedom no longer has a Wikipedia page
or a definition in Webster…
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

You know what lies are for.
They dig graves in eyes and tongues
so weary can’t transform outrage into resist.

©Susie Clevenger 2018

Real Toads ~ The Tuesday Platform