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

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Mushroom of Gossip

She’s a storyteller,
a woman in white,
cage of black, spilling
my mad love into the ear
of the giver of stars.

A god, damning
me for the moments
at midnight, judging
my weakness by narrow
verse, she hangs me on
opinion’s tongue forgetting
I only grow stronger in affliction. 

Starlight tests the mushroom of gossip,
sifts through foul soil of its roots,
and finds the gaslight it feeds on.

A storyteller, who would be god,
discovers the shadow words
she hoped to crucify me with
are now the cage she must survive. 

©Susie Clevenger 2023

I was looking at my bookshelf, and found these five books stacked exactly as you see them. They are th inspiration for this poem. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Strings on My Chest


There’s a lot of miles on these guitar strings.
They’ve played every broken bottle, drug,
and trainwreck city I’ve left pieces of me in.

She knows more of my secrets than a fortune teller
reading hell through a crystal ball, or a lover 
who’s left fingerprints on my skin.

When I die, bury me with a guitar on my chest,
because whether its God or devil who claims my bones
my spirit will still be rocking this third stone from the sun.

©Susie Clevenger 2023

"third stone from the sun" is a Jimi Hendrix reference.
"Third Stone from the Sun" (or "3rd Stone from the Sun") is a mostly instrumental composition by American musician Jimi Hendrix. It incorporates several musical approaches, including jazz and psychedelic rock, with brief spoken passages. The title reflects Hendrix's interest in science fiction and is a reference to Earth in its position as the third planet away from the sun in the solar system.

Hendrix developed elements of the piece prior to forming his group, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Experience recorded versions as early as December 1966, and, in 1967, it was included on their debut album Are You Experienced. Several artists have recorded renditions and others have adapted the guitar melody line for other songs.

For those who prefer a more known Hendrix your go

Friday, January 20, 2023

Emphasis of NO

 "I often question my sanity. Occasionally, it replies."
- Darynda Jones.

In the weedy, overgrown
garden of my mind lucid
stomps its foot like an impatient child,
and demands I pluck dandelions
from the edge of my teeth
to at least form a sentence 
of more than one syllable.

I feel saying no doesn’t demand
adjectives, excuses, or explanation.
There isn’t an obscure essay buried
in my throat filled with paragraphs
of reasoning…just two letters, 
a verbal stop sign, NO.

The blackbird in me, dare I say Raven,
prefers the watcher’s perch to the
chattery bluster of raking my thoughts
to reassure sanity I haven’t slipped 
into my dotage.

So, what if I appear to be a faded yellow magnolia.
Consider the flower’s pod that appears to be
a mere dried cone, but inside is bright blooded
with red berries…I’m not everything I think
nor everything one sees.

Rather than hold court in my own head
arguing there is more than enough evidence
I have not lost my mind, I just address the
pestering interrogation with my sworn
testimony of truth, “No.” 

Susie Clevenger 2023

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Not Every Moon Carries Salvation


Widows of the moon dance
their disjointed steps across
the eye of night hoping 
to lure mortal flesh to test
the maze of eternity.

In lace cuffs stitched with ice
and gray wind they turn cartwheels
across window ledges leaving notes
only nightmares can decipher.

Dreamers seasick with visions
roam their own imaginations
trying to escape what daylight
planted in their irises, and words
that are keys that never open doors.

Pale sisters of bladed slivers of light,
they wander the impatient breath
of 3:00 a.m. muting tongues that
pray for deliverance. 

©Susie Clevenger 2023