Monday, July 13, 2015


For today's feature, I went a bit farther afield than Poets United, to our sister site, Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads. I am sure many of you have come across Fireblossom, Hedgewitch, and Mama Zen, while making your rounds, as many of us participate in both sites. They each write brilliantly, and each, in the last few weeks, wrote a poem that knocked my socks off beyond any hope of ever getting them back on. Enjoy! All poems are used with the poet's permission.

The first poem of Shay's that I ever read, at Shay's Word Garden,  blew my doors off. I grinned all the way through The Witch of Waxahatchee By the Numbers, as I had not known, before that poem, that the sky is the limit for just how far a poem can go outside the bounds of conventional poetry. In that poem, when the person on the front porch threw a dead squirrel through a passing pickup's window, I clicked Follow and  have never looked back. 

Pictures of Heartbreak, Poems in the Spokes of a Wheel

Here is how I imagined my heart:
blood compromised, made thin and blue by work schedules,
thoughtless words,
kindnesses forgotten,
mad-making obstacle dreams and stale air
arriving at the right atrium like someone stumbling in out of the snow;

Received like a guest, served coffee and cookies,
surrounded by the biological greenery outside the atrium,
this blood eventually slipping through the delicate leaflets 
of the tricuspid valve into the guest room quiet of the right ventricle.

Shall I go on? Isn't it obvious, the druggy dream of the pulmonary artery,
the bloom of new love in the left atrium,
the free fall through the mitral valve into the left ventricle
with its clocks and chimes, and finally the aorta into the unknown?
This was my concept, my imagining.

Reality was this:
An endless rain, the filth of the floodwaters bringing
boards, bodies, houses, livestock and death on a black surge,
an ink to begin my poetry with.
Within my chest, the wheel, the weird carnival,

All I had ever consumed or breathed gathered in ceremony,
children being born and let go but never let go,
the shout above the wind, the wonderful stupidity of the church tower
or widow's walk in a lightning storm,
the stanzas, the strophes, the angeldust afterbirth of all I needed to say.

Go ahead, tell the one whose love you need the most
that you are dropping out of med school,
that you are bisexual,
that you have knocked over a bank and shot the President;
they may forgive you, or at least pretend to.

Finally, tell them you are a poet and watch them walk away.
Feel the flood, the fever and fire-- 
then, dear heart, start writing.

See what I mean, my friends? Sigh. Right after I read that poem, I read the following one, by Hedgewitch, written to the same prompt. And then I knew I had to share them with you.

From the days of my religion
when men were gods
and trees were prophets
painted tall and straight
till the witches'-broom showed,
I took nothing in the end
but the relic in the bone box
framed by black velvet,
lid so carefully carved
with all my fables.

I set it on a scarlet altar
with seven priests and seven
blessings, where canvas cherubim
genuflected with a smirk.
In times of great need, I took it out.
I overlooked its sour smell,
its shriveled form, and
fervently adored it as I
prayed its intercession
in my damnation.

But each year it just
grew blacker, crackled, smaller,
till opening the casket one day
I saw only a brimstone dust.
Then the incubus came
to please and torment me,
the spoiled trees
were felled, the priests
unfrocked and the cherubim fled,
never having truly felt at home

All that was left
hanging in the chiaroscuro
at the alter was a memory-shadow
shape of a severed thing decayed
pointing out the way
to dissolution. From these pictures
I learned two things:
that evil is good's bad dream;
that evil is insane
for it cannot dream at all.

Joy writes at Verse Escape. Brilliantly. Her work is so first rate words fail me, even when leaving a comment. "Evil is good's bad dream."  I can only read and admire her talent. I love the trees being prophets, and those stellar closing lines. In Joy's mission statement, she said she began her blog for archival purposes, (as did I), thinking poetry was an obscure art in this digital age. She says she was delighted to discover poetry is alive and thriving online. Me, too. 

Mama Zen, Kelli, writes at another damn poetry blog  with an edge with which we women, especially, resonate. She puts into words what we all sometimes feel, but often can't find words for. She writes it real, succinctly, with precision, and absolutely nails it, every single time. Hear her roar.

Alpha bitch
can get things
Every closed door is a broken window.

Alpha bitch
can find
feral words while
growling through her lipstick
while helping pups with homework without
batting an I (can't take this anymore!).

Alpha bitch
can kill with kindness,
love lick,
nurse -
one handed and half-brained.

Alpha bitch
can feed on pain

and never needs
peace or
quiet or
rest or
never stands on the threshold of an ugly cry,
a very ugly cry,
wishing she'd never laid eyes on these people,
wishing she was still young enough to run
anywhere but - NO!

exhale / inhale

Alpha bitch can

exhale / inhale

keep her zen and her shit

exhale / inhale


Wow! So powerful I almost substituted another poem for this one, to make nice, the way we women tend to do.  And Kelli has written a thousand brilliant poems to choose from. But then I remembered that the point is to show how far a poem can take us beyond "nicety and convention", deep into Truth and the real stuff of life. 

Kelli has the gift of expressing a woman's reality, which is far from turning apple peelings into pie in the sky. She serves up her pie, hot and delicious, sweet and sour. Just like life. 

I don't know how these three poets do it. Consistently brilliant, poem after poem. I am just so very glad they do. 

Reading their work stretches my mind and my spirit, leaves me breathless with admiration, makes me want to dig deeper, write bigger, go farther. The takeaway is: the sky is truly the limit. If you can think it, you can write it. 

We must mention here that these three fantastic poets collaborated on bringing two outstanding books (so far) into the world: Three -Note Howl: The Wild Hunt, and 
GEMINI/ SCORPIO / CAPRICORN, both available at Amazon by clicking on the links.


Thank you, ladies, for stretching our wings and widening our vision. Thank you for the dazzle, and for the joy of reading your work. You three are my poetic she-roes!

Do come back and see who we talk to next, my friends. Who knows? It might be you!


  1. Lovely poems, all of them. :) And in addition, I came to know MZ's name, which I hadn't known before, even though I've read her often via the Pantry, or Tuesday Platform or even other memes.

  2. Alpha Bitch definitely can, and Hedgewitch has set the bar so high I'll never find it, but that first chick probably ought to stick to haiku.

    Thanks for such a beautiful post, Sherry, done as only you can.

    1. It was my privilege, Shay. I admire the work you three produce so much, I should have a separate OMG! key on my computer, for commenting on your poems, LOL. Love the haiku comment.......I'll bet you could nail haiku too, were you so inclined.

  3. Sherry, wonderful post about three women I always read. They seem to have the talent of saying with the right words what I need to hear on any given day. Sometimes I am stunned by their talent and have a pit of poetry envy.

  4. Thank you Sherry, for all the personal support over the years, your generous heart and giving spirit. So glad that you enjoy what I can't seem to help doing. ;_) It's been a great privilege to be able to have my work seen in conjunction with two of the most accomplished women out there blogging poetry. And thanks to Poets United for this feature.

    1. It is my pleasure, Joy. Featuring you three together is a delight - you work so closely together. I am so glad you joined your voices to produce two books. Together, you three are a force to be reckoned with!

    2. Yes she can; I have seen the evidence! :-)

  5. Thank you Sherry for this wonderful post. I agree, these three wonderful ladies are such great poets :D their poems exude brilliance, depth and sheer magic!

    I m always in awe of their work.. wondering if one day perhaps I ll be able to reach their level of expertise. Wishing you all a very prosperous and joyous future :D

    Lots of love,

  6. Awww, Sherry, you're the best! Thank you!

    1. You are most welcome, Mama Zen. It is a privilege and an honor. I loved every minute of putting this together.

  7. Thanks Sherry for sharing these...they are blow your mind poems indeed.

  8. Thank you for writing this Sherry, and three cheers for three fab toads! Great poems too.

  9. I love all three of these poets and so it was fantastic to learn that they have collaborated and have books on Amazon.....the TRIFECTA of awesomeness, I am SURE. I have added them to my cart for my next big purchase :-)

  10. Terrific post, Sherry--all wonderful and inventive poets, super creative, and each also very much herself. Thanks. k.

  11. I think each of these three has created her own genre. I can but read in awe at what they produce.

  12. A triad of talent that reaches beyond the pond into the depths of dark ink and churning wonders. I am in awe of these three bitches: their power, their insight, and their zen.

  13. Three of the most significant emerging poets of our time.

  14. Aren't they wonderful, Sherry? I love all three of them, no matter if they're being theirownselves or their alter egos.

  15. Excellent poems, thanks for sharing them Sherry. Loved them on Toads and enjoyed reading them again here.

  16. A trio of superb, significant talent! Love and admire them all. Joy blows my mind...I don't know how she does it either, Sherry. MZ speaks to my soul with such fine precision and zeros in on personal topics that really resonate with me. That last few lines of Shay's poem were stunning and how true. A poet's work is often ignored by her "closest" of kin. I'm really glad you went with Kelli's poem, Sherry, and didn't play it safe. Bravo!

  17. What a wonderful post this is Sherry!...I enjoy their poems that speak volumes of their talent...Thanks for the share :)

  18. Dissolution of history "pointing out the way
    to dissolution." The character of Good and evil! "eventually slipping through the delicate leaflets / of the tricuspid valve into the guest room quiet of the right ventricle" Awweeeee! ANd holding it together, always, teeth gritted, holding it together.

    Oh Sherry, Thank you for featuring these amazing writers who write down what's under human skin and swept under the carpets of civilization. Thank you Shay, Joy and Kelli. Never stop writing.

  19. I too am a great admirer of all three. They knock my socks off too, every time.

  20. The trinity of poetry. Awesome writers!

  21. Incredible poetry...I must follow them now. Thank you for sharing their gift!

  22. Thanks everyone for your kind words. And to all of you who have visted my blog over the years and given me your personal support, again, many many heartfelt thanks. Without readers, a poem doesn't really exist.

  23. I read this yesterday and it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to say.

    Joy is not only a wonderful poet, but a wonderful person. She is very personable and really takes the time when she reads to make a connection with other peoples poems. On top of that she is a pretty frickin amazing poet. I love the references that she embeds in her poetry that take it to a deeper level. I find myself looking things up to understand and gain a foothold on th nuances of her writing.

    Shay is definitely a fresh voice. She writes in a modern style and with snark. Her story telling is finely crafted and creative. She is a guilty pleasure I read often.

    MZ is sharp, pointed and does not waste a whole lot of words. She goes for the heart with a sharp knife and takes no prisoners. Her minimalism yet with great effect is something to be envious of.

    1. Such fantastic and perceptive comments, X. You have nailed it.

  24. three incredibly talented women!

  25. Thank you all for coming, and reading, and admiring. I am pleased to showcase these three poets together, three strong voices I read and admire every day.

  26. Wow! Wow! and wow again. These poems have left me speechless, envious, in awe of what talent means. I rarely go on to toads. Now I'll go there much more often. These three toads are specdtacular. Thank you Sherry for posting these poems, they each touched me in a different way, but deeply.

    1. Yay! I knew you'd love them, Myrna. Toads is a very special site.......some extraordinarily talented poets write there. Do check it out. I felt the same way when I discovered these three. Wow!

  27. Thank you for writing this Sherry, and three cheers for three fab toads! Great poems too.
    Publish free ebooks

  28. Nice!! Roses indeed...thank you, for picking and sharing such inspiring talent here...wonderful poets and poems. :)

  29. sigh. I'm going to go play in the dirt, where I belong. all hail the triumvirate! some bars are hip height, others eye level - these three? pole vault high. thanks for shining the light again, Sherry ~


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