Saturday, December 19, 2020

Smoke Ring on the Wind


I’m no hand me down Eve,

dressing my tongue in submission.


I can’t be me in another woman’s misery,

but I can sing harmony when another devil haunts my ribs.


If there’s a different drum, I’ve already played it,

a different shoe, I’ve already worn it.


Time is a smoke ring riding wind

until the clock chimes midnight.


I’m made of bone, grit, and song,

an open-eyed poem swimming every river.


©Susie Clevenger 2020

The Sunday Muse #139

Sometimes only poetry can say it. I think there's just this deeper language, and away of putting your world back together again and breaking through barriers.  ~  Laura Nyro

When I write my music I see all the rivers flowing... sensual, spiritual, religious, animal, intellectual. ~ Laura Nyro

Friday, November 27, 2020

Twisted Orange of Numbers Don't Count


There’s bats in the belfry and whiskers on the moon

in the imbalance balanced way out fourth year.


Ruby throated hoarse sings the same tune –

facts don’t matter if what is said is not what you hear.


March in streets, protest the stench of gas fumes -  

today’s the tomorrow yesterday warned we should fear.


©Susie Clevenger 2020

Flash Friday 55 ~ Thanksgiving Edition 2020

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The We of Ink and Tablet


Blood of poet, vein of dread,

night grows darker with whispers fed

lie of tongues - the muse is dead.


Night grows bolder with wine of ink

that pricks the mind with a sorcerer’s wink

to expand the spirit so thoughts don’t shrink.


One word grows three,

a root a tree,

Calliope’s tablet answer’s plea.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2020

Painting by Charles Meynier 

Calliope: Greek Goddess - Muse of eloquence and  epic poetry.
My poem isn't eloquent or epic, but I am grateful Calliope showed up
so I could find 55 words and wrote in rhyme. (Something I am not good at)

Flash Friday 55 - Halloween Edition 2020

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Broken Down Ride of the One Horse Emporium


Every giggle and scream 
was catalogued on stirrups
by tiny feet once racing 
a circle of dreams.

The brand new under
the nothing new sun
claimed its glory until time
pulled the plug and progress
built a bypass.

Those brave enough
to explore shredded whimsy
be wary nostalgia is 
a bitter herb when 
mixed with regret. 

©️Susie Clevenger 2020

Word Crafters Prompt








Thursday, October 8, 2020

The Scent of Unseen


Her perfume announces

her passage where eyes

don’t trust visions, and fear

twists imagination into a demon’s blink.


She was dance, April’s first bloom,

youth’s passion for invincible.


October came with skeletons,

and she carried their bones

until the beast’s breastbone

became the final cut.


She is now a ballet of narrow dreams,

the last chance haunting those

stuck in wandering spaces where timid

prefers the vinegar of same to wine

bubbling with temptation to change.


©Susie Clevenger 2020


Sunday, September 27, 2020



The buttercream sunset

spills across the horizon

camouflaging footprints

of wild sapphire shapeshifters.


Across the field bovine dreamers

lie dreaming of green grass,

and sunny days without slaughter.


In my human form I wait and watch,

an angel of sorts who counts the sacred breath

of life a gift no horror should trespass.


Alone in the valley of bones I am cradled

in the arms of stars candling courage from

their DNA pulsing through my veins.


The weight of hours builds its wall, and I pray

my charges and I will not suffer the knife’s wrath

or carry another scar when the Aubade sings us into morning.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Aubade: a poem or piece of music appropriate to the dawn or early morning

The Sunday Muse #127

Poets and Storytellers United ~ Writer's Pantry #39

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Tongue and Feather


Raised in feather and wild

I travel moon shadows, and inky stars.


With feet pressed into the ancient loam

of Mother Nature’s cheek I feel the path of vixens

vibrate directions into my legs to guide me

through fool’s gravel that bruises but never leads.


A phantom of instinct, sister of the hunt,

I can hear the devil’s lie before it slither’s

across his lips.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Like Prince Charming


He hunts innocence,

stalks moonlight

searching for lips

speaking the language

of Neruda stars.


What he doesn’t know

is Luna’s sisters have gone

before him to warn dreamers

to be cautious of charmers

who cloak darkness in the

simile of a wish.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2020


The Sunday Muse #120

 Poets and Storytellers United ~ Writer's Pantry #32




Thursday, July 30, 2020

Lessons from a Mockingbird

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” To Kill a Mockingbird ~ Harper Lee


I’ve stripped to my bones

to try and feel the weight

of another’s skin, crawled

out of my own thinking

to explore foreign thoughts

alien to the landscape I’ve

made my home.


In the brine of history

my spirit burns with the scars

of those shackled to prejudice.

The walk of chains allows only

as much freedom as the length

inhuman allows it to roam.


In the everything repeated nothing learned

anger blooms from the same well-tended root

of hate’s tree never pruned.


I walk the cliff edge of hymns where

the slave song is now a chant,

“No Justice No peace.”


In a savage shaking I awaken in my privilege,

look down at my skin, and know nothing

will change if I remain content to live

in my city of silence.


©Susie Clevenger 2020

The Wednesday Prompt ~ Word Crafters

Saturday, July 18, 2020

From the Eye of the Moon

We thought we could own moonlight, 

steal stars from Asteria’s palm, and brag 

conqueror in bloated chest bumps of human privilege. 

In our tunnel vision we couldn’t see 

the cat’s eye moon stalk us with 

bared claws reaching for the very breath 

we had bottled in our lungs. 

There is no fool like the one who owns stock in oblivion, 

an empty nirvana where men play gods and trust 

their footprints will lead to dominion. 

A mere toy in our sky litter the feline 

sniffs our defeat in the tomorrow 

we are so careless to trust we will quell.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Eyes of Ink

Image: Antonio Mora

My mind is an open window,

a free-thinking view of the eye’s appetite

for images translated through ink stained imagination. 

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Inspired by poetry prompt @ WordCrafters

Friday, June 26, 2020

Dreamless Moon

The air is thick with empty.

Windowpanes wink with passing cars,
but no one stops to read my lips anymore.

I live in a burnt candle moon 
where arms atrophy 
from the loss of touch.

I’m words on a screen, a photograph, 
a video wading through pretend trying
to trust I’ll reach flesh and blood.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Monday, June 22, 2020

The Wolf Howls in Red

I screamed into the wind,

“Give me your worst,

 bits of hell

purchased with a liar’s tongue.

The storm is always with me

even when the moon

tangles my hair with dreams.”

 I was born in the womb

of a dead valentine,

a loveless lullaby hummed

through the throat of delirium. 


Today is another matchstick

on the bonfire I breathe,

the scar chasing me with

its knife I won’t let cut me.


I will be strong even if I fall.

Every weakness in me will find

its shaman to pulse my spirit

with survival.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2020

I was inspired by the image and a thunderstorm. 

The Sunday Muse #113

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Not for Sale

My eyes aren’t servants

of diamonds nor does

my hand owe allegiance

to glitter.


If you wish to capture my heart,

pour your soul into charity.


I’m not a mannequin

to be gilded with your arrogance.  

©Susie Clevenger 2020 

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Prejudiced Tunnel of Dead Ears

Swallow your wings…
forget the madness of freedom…
the sky will never remember your name.

In the prejudiced tunnel of dead ears
cries for justice are smothered
in the throat press of violence.

We shall overcome sings in tattered notes
as history repeats, and anger lights another match.

How will this end? How will this end when
white is the darkness that measures a soul’s
value by the color of skin.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Inspired by a Word Crafters Writing Group

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Fool's Fruit

Proserpine ~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti 

A fool bears the fruit of a heart
sacrificed to the arms of stone.
Promised love I endure his eyes gorging
on the pale skin of another woman’s blush.

Pruned to be a silent rose, I am a wraith
cast out to roam a smothered wail
where nothing grows but sorrow and anger’s thistle.

But my lips reject the dirge humming in my throat.
Must my spirit die in the hope of resurrection?
It was not my mirror that failed his eyes, but his
that hungered for youth he could no longer conquer.

For now, I dress in midnight’s sapphire, a shadow
formed from the dark side of the moon.
When night frees me to roam sunlight’s match,
I will dance on flames that burn him from my dreams.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2020

Inspired by Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting and his sister, 
Christina Georgina Rossetti's poem, After Death

The video is the new release from my friend Samantha Fish.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Lies Aren't Dessert

Romancing a lie
curled on venom’s tongue
is like bringing dead flowers
to celebrate birth.

What’s sewn is reaped.
What’s torn is scarred.

Sprinkling sugary apologies on deceit
won’t make deception any less bitter.  

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Nest of Lungs

Contagion’s nest of lungs
built from hissing tubes
and needles’ plunge was April’s
test of death to see if tears
could still bring flowers to May.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

#napowrimo2020 Day 30
Inspired by: #skyloverwordlist - deaths 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Dancing on a Flame

Passion dances on a match strike,
the burn so enticing, no whisper of a scar.

Love creates both fools and demons
when bed sheets are its only warmth.

Almost is an eternity when the heart
builds a nest from blindness.

Lust is a summer fruit that withers
when winter's chill snuffs its flame.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

I wrote it as a single poem, but then realized each line could stand alone.

#napowrimo2020 Day 29
Inspired by: #skyloverwordlist - match -

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Entertaining Devils

Hell is empty and all the devils are here – William Shakespeare

The cunning hell of mutilated truth
ignites airwaves with gaslight candles.

Do not press your ear into a flame
that demands sacrifice so devils can mine gold.

The human heart cannot thrive on selfish gruel
or grow compassion in the drought of bitter tongues.

Test each word before you speak, because once the knife
cuts you will never escape its wound.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

#napowritmo2020 Day 23
Inspired by: #skyloverwordlist

Sunday, April 19, 2020

One Night at a Time

His feet are planted in the blues.
With a whole lot of life in his face,
and scars on his guitar strings
he pours truth into beer bottles
back lighting bar dreams.

You can take a song from the street,
but you can’t take the street out of the music
when notes traffic every alley of pain
through a voice scuffed by tread marks.

In the dim light of bodies chasing escape
he sings solo to a choir too whisky throated
to trust the chorus.

He’s been where they are…He’s left where they’re going.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The Agony of Hindsight

In the breath strike of invisible contagion recruited
her thoughtless invincible on a Florida beach
where youth defied pandemic with reckless.

Seeding spring with sorry didn’t erase casualties.

Her world changed when she danced with the enemy.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

#napowritmo2020 Day 14
Inspired by #skyloverwordlist - Strike & Real Toads ~ Invisible

Friday, April 10, 2020

Gilded Math

In the dark sky of skin
and revelers of bone
beasts with gold
harvest air to force
the poor to do their bidding.

One potato feeds four,
two will feed a village
in the 1% Society of the Gilded.

When the stock market falls
greed gets anxious, so the bull
stalks “gray hair” for bleeding.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Prey(er) Circle

The Holy Sister of Webs
spins her season of prayers
on Spring tree limbs.

Glittered stabilimenta
fool prey into trusting
they’ve entered the eye of god.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

A spider image sent me on a web search (pun intended) and I learned spiders have a sense of design
I love the sound of stabilimenta in the context of my poem. The meaning in my non scientific definition is: a little extra lace to attract. :)

#napowritmo2020 Day 9

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Something's in the Air

He likes his wild tamed
with fist and tongue
broken bone and hope unstrung.

But when vixens smell
fear in the air, they hunt
the beast who rules the lair.

The wicked of whim
will meet his end
when foxes strike
to free the hen.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Shards and Threads

“I do not know myself sometimes, or how to measure and name and count out the grains that make me what I am.” ― Virginia Woolf, The Waves

I am my unknown,
an hour vacillating
between memories
and chasing minutes.

When I think I have
the mountaintop in sight,
I blink to find myself
roaming a cactus valley.

Are scars lessons learned
or the armor of survival?
Shards and threads are mute,
but I press them for answers.

Where are you in the empty streets?
I’m a thousand impulses
searching for direction.
I can’t decide if I’m lost or unfamiliar with freedom.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2020


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Already Lived Through a Prophecy

You have to walk
before you can climb.

I’m eighty years ahead
of the times.
I know how to make more
out of less, turn blue into yellow
when the sun is boiled gray.  

Money men have been painting
their businesses fresh faced
while pushing wrinkles out the door.

Now, with hell on their heels,
and a drain on their dimes
they want to sacrifice elders
so capitalism won’t die.

I’ve been to the edge, got caught in the fall,
learned how to lead when dust fought with wind.

If you want my help, sit down and listen.
Wash and repeat won’t get you any further than you are.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Hormonal Political

She balked at mansplain.
spoke out against testosterone
interruptions to demean,
to flex superiority, to use
Eden rhetoric to shame
into silence.

She was warned to not
attempt to step out of her place.

We men have the numbers,
the power, the knowledge,
to lead without hysterics,
make decisions without emotions
clouding the black and white.

She was given an explanation,
the same explanation, tired explanation
of kitchen and follow, apron string politics.

Nevertheless she persisted

Gentlemen, (ironic) Do histories,
centuries of war prove
death is the way to the top?
I come to the desk having researched,
questioned, walked the sidewalk for answers,
sat with agree and disagree to find resolutions
while you have huddled in your nest
of must have your way to birth repetition.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

The Welcome Mat Lays Muted

“Yesterday love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.”

My picture-perfect door doesn’t welcome.
The wizard’s gone vile and wicked enlists
the breath of my neighbors for war
without their consent.

We are an oddity of enemies
who want to touch, but are
divided by glass so we can’t reach.

From my zoo cage of pictured walls
 holding close to what I need to let go,
I watch birds sitting on my fence chirping,
“Now humans know how it feels to lose their wings.”

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Poetry is my journal. Welcome to my roller coaster. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Slices of Rot

Licorice skin apples
hang from the tongue
waiting for gossip
to take its first bite.

Sisters of acid and brothers of blight
troll lips to see which are the most
susceptible to twist what is into what is not.

Night has its purpose…Light has its sin.
Truth has no rescue where lies learn to swim.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Friday, February 28, 2020

Depends On Who Wears the Zipper

Searchin’ for a pill,
dyin’ from a bottle,
things are lookin’ up
cause a clown’s
servin’ Kool aid.

Cat wants my tongue,
lies want my allegiance,
slippin’ through curves
cause men don’t
like my pretty.

When push comes to shove,
I won’t follow… If I was a man,
I would be less of a bitch. 

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Baiting Moonlight

Image result for art nouveau moon"

There’s more devil in a brooding silver crescent moon
than an unseen underworld that plays its demon drum
to panic my insomnia.

Moonlight writes its play in shadows and I chase whispers
hoping it is a lover’s spell breaking the lock of my melancholy.  

Not every soul can feel poetry nor lips speak its language,
yet I bait night with verses trying to fill empty with words.

I am ink and a murder of crows trying to peck sunlight
into nightmares the moon walks across my eyelids.

Where is love, the heart shaped wishes planted in Luna’s wink?

Written from Skylover's word list:
underworld, colonnade, seethe, crescent, faint,
sunshine, east, brooding foolish, silver

Friday, January 31, 2020


The Harpy of the Moon
walks her curse into the sea
knowing death has no memories.

Jealous of lover’s cradled
in night’s palm, she hunts
the scented blush of ecstasy
for flames to drown in brine.

Wooed by the buoyancy
to rise and never fall
passion walks on water…
oblivious to the Harpy’s
malicious riptide.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Izred's Necklace

Izred wears every prayer cremated in a liar’s lung around her neck in the stunning pretense gold can buy the ear of a goddess. A daughter born on the dark side of the moon, first born of the goddess Erebeth, she fed from the breast of shadows until she was old enough to eat the black tar of dying stars. Feral child of neglect she learned the value of hiding opinions behind teeth and eye until revelation held the fiercest sting.

Selfish weighs more
than coins hoarded
in a wallet.

Praying with an empty mind
won’t grow wisdom
in the heart of ego.

If you pay a goddess for attention,
her boredom may
establish your worth.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2019

Sunday, January 12, 2020


You stalk the wild in me,
hidden claws beneath my tongue
where words lie sharpened
to protect solitude when intrusive
camps at every door.

I catch glimpses of you in the mirror
when I search flaws to see which
brush can paint me out of questions.

Fire and moon
camp at the door of patience
waiting to see how many pins
my skin can hold
before I break.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2019

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Say It Again Without Meaning

In the moonless cage of gravity
the rusted wings of the canary
circle platitude’s corpse singing,
“Solitude doesn’t require a handmaid.”

Alone and lonely aren’t identical twins
nurtured at the breast of your perceptions.

Apparitions of every dishonest emotion
root on your tongue growing poison
from the rotted useless you feed them.

©Susie Clevenger 2020

Inspired by a Skylover wordlist