Thursday, June 27, 2024

Paper Doll Child

I grew up a paper doll child,
something to dress in hand me downs,
and ignore if my tears got too loud.

Nobody noticed they were planting rebellion,
tilling insomnia, or trying to put me in boxes
too small for my imagination to breathe.

There wasn’t anything vague about being ignored,
no excuses of being too busy, just a front door
that pushed me out to seek solace in wild things
that grew outside windows that winked with dust. 

It was tough trying to balance secrets and threats
when my ears rang with a voice whispering,
“It will always be your fault.”

©Susie Clevenger 2024

I actually wrote two poem for Shay's Word Garden Word List.
The second one is from my Twila Series on my blog Susie's Sentences.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Why Can't I Just be Feral

There’s nothing worth claiming
in this sterile cottage of beds
where mirrors watch and secrets
are only as safe as the whispers that hide them.

It is not popular to be called insane
even though it is a plague that stalks
every mind, and torments the brain
with visions the tongue won’t describe. 

I came for help, a map that had little green trees
marking the path back to sanity, or that is what
I envisioned therapy would provide.

You don’t stroll through nightmares
or talk your way out of hell where
every thought is bolted to a rusty lock
that has long lost its key.

White coats with needle hands
stab me into faux relaxed long enough
to tighten the leather to keep me
from flying the coup of metal ribs.

One chases famous only to wish
it would leave you the hell alone.
I’ve honeymooned with every tabloid it seems,
although I wasn’t asked if I wished 
to be married to their distortions. 

Oh, why can’t I just be feral?
After all isn’t that what feeds
the top spot in the headlines.

I suppose someone will want to publish
my memoirs, collect all those inky journals,
to expose the only prayer I ever wrote
was a plea for the window ledge
to be wide enough to hold both feet.

©Susie Clevenger 2024


Monday, June 10, 2024

The Dark Mess of Hoping

 I’m breathing in blank spaces,

the chilly calm where words

hang in icicle spikes waiting

on faith to perform a ceremony of trust

you are what your kiss spoke on my lips.

Fragile stalks me as if I should accept

its curse, become a fainting, messy chapter

in a romance novel I would cringe at reading.

I am more attuned to dark magic than

a simpering, palpitating heart weak

wish for a golden wand to slap you

into what I want you to feel for me.

This sleeping bus of weirdest emotions

is the silly, severe heart crashing I’ve

never imagined I’d be trapped in.

Stop laughing at me as if I were a guppy

swimming in a fish tank waiting for attention

(even though I am), and tell me whether

the fruit of this moment will bring blessing

or rot on my memory until I grow nothing but bitter.  

©Susie Clevenger 2024

Word Garden Word List ~ Night Road


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Blueberry Skin or Claw

I’ve been off my meds
so long I can’t tell 
if the bear is real
or I’ve been caught
in the fly trap of a meme.

Every doctor has a pill
with a suicide note,
umm I mean side effects,
so maybe I’m just
dancing in a hallucination.

This forest looks a lot 
like concrete with a Camero
in metal mating season
sniffing a pollen yellow stripe
for a female who thinks speed
is an aphrodisiac.

A scenario keeps spinning
in my head about choosing
between furry Godzilla
and stick shift Romeo.
It feels like I’d be safer with claws
than trapped with the one
who likes to film blueberry skin
with a camera. 

©Susie Clevenger 2024


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

When Doves Join Foxes


On the skeleton box car of bones and screams

the damned rattle the bars while

the wealthy dance their extravagance

along the tracks of hell.

Bloated on gold and blind to suffering

their pittance of charity doesn’t go as far

as their red leather shoe soles chasing recognition.

It doesn’t matter where I travel through history

the same is the same – The poor suffer

while the moneyed own the key to the wallet. 

When doves join foxes and creatures chase light,

the grave bell no longer scares the bleeding. 

Climbing stairs that only go down I carry a sword

with names of the who’s who of no longer should be.

A slice through a chain, a song of revolution

emboldens the desolate to seek retribution.

In the fire without smoke I watch the meek become bold.

There’s nothing fiercer than nothing left to lose.

I’m no superhero, no goddess demanding praise,

just a woman who wants to remove the rails

from the track so history can’t carry its malevolence

into the future. 

©Susie Clevenger 2024

Shay's Word Garden ~ Life After Life

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

He Expected Me to Run

Idris called it textbook random,
little questions framed in generalities,
getting to know someone without
truly getting to know someone.

His pop quiz surveys
weren’t innocent or casual.
He liked cruel for dessert and
feeding piranhas for fun.

Tell the ignorant a lie three times
and they’ll take it as truth.
I became the topic, the target,
of Idris’s petty collection
of insufferable friends.
Tired of the shoebox of bs
he thought I couldn’t escape
I clawed him with truth, 
“A peacock will lose its feathers when
Circe comes to claim its tongue.”

©Susie Clevenger 2024

Circe has often been identified as the first witch in Greek mythology.
"The Sorceress," 1913, by John William


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Everybody's An Object of Something

Harlyn is tattooed with bitter bandages,
vivid scarred blood signatures of bullies
she’s had the ovaries to survive. 

Not many welcome different because it doesn’t fit
the definition of candy-coated pseudo normal. 
In this modern soap ring circus authentic is surreal.

Harlyn doesn’t care if she fits in nor does
she want to be an eyeliner zombie doing Tik Toks 
so her face will trend while her spirit calcifies.  

Everybody’s an object of something.
Usually, it’s attention…Why hide when
someone's always carrying arrows. 

When she gives it much thought, she knows
she’s always under the gaslight.
Funny how the unread believe they own the bookstore.

Copy and paste aren’t shoes she’ll ever wear.

©Susie Clevenger 2024


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