Arts, Boston culture, Mignon's Diary, Words Happening?!

October 13, 2014

I’ve been busy with final edits on my memoir; HCP contest’s impending close (deadline is Wednesday).  Check out MA October highlights on my New England arts site (an extension of this blog) Words Happening?!

Here’s my newest bookworm photo.

30 poems in 30 days, Arts, Black Poets Massachusetts, mignon ariel king, National Poetry Month Challenge

NaPoMo Poems: Week Two


8 Am I Up Yet?

It’s too early for this,

the furious sounds of hunger

and pure agony dueling

for my belly

as the sun beams obnoxious,


then kicks my back

once I’ve rolled away

from its insulting glare.

Haunting shouldn’t happen

after night.


9  “You’re an adult. You have a life.”*

Sometimes a girl-woman needs a reminder.

Maybe while eating microwaved-for-55-seconds meatballs

for breakfast…off toothpicks, like Cher’s kids in that movie.

DYS shoud’ve showed up long before Bob Hoskins.

No Bobby to cook me Easter ham, so after teaching

a night course, what will I eat for dinner at 11pm?

I’m a big girl now.   Defrosted block of broccoli

with grated cheese?  Wash it down with Sam Adams? 

*Poster on the T** for Cambridge College

**Footnote to footnote:  The Tis the public transportation system in Boston, MA


10 I Get My Best Moves from Rockers

With each bus lunge, I nearly lap a stranger,

words–racing around the solitary track

in my brain that makes room once per year

for relay–knocking me off balance, almost 

onto my cowboy booties.  This passenger

doesn’t look too upset.  Latino dude,

maybe 30, almost getting a free lapdance

from this black velvet stretch of sistah.

Nigerian beads tap together, gypsy blouse

wafts a puff of grapefruit in his face.

He stares at the hipped belt that proclaims

Love in sweetheart pink, black-lined letters.

I’m a rock poet, baby, feel free to watch me

disembark from the ordinary then walk away.


11  Published in MoJo! Issue 9 


12  Soft Apprehension

I feel a soft apprehension in the dark,

a tiny fear at best gripping my chest.

Well, really, it’s the memory of fear.

Then I hear the hollow yet comforting

roar beside me and slide one knee

up and across the hair-covered beast.

He wakes as my hands press his wrists

to the bedpost, wrapping one with his tie,

the other with my bra.  He growls,

“Uh-oh.  Looks like you got me.”


13 What Was I Thinking?

If this isn’t a wish, it ought to be:

You, annoying as ever yet suddenly

too unusual to pass up.  Me, unusual

as ever, however annoying that is.

Then, there’s the drone of everyone

else.  But we don’t notice them enough

to be unsettled by their nice-nice

ways.  Did we ever really care

whether or not they’d just go or why

they’re here at all?  Well, don’t ask me. 

I just produce fleeting thoughts, never claim

they are, or might grow up to be, true.

[Prompt:  Write for 5 mts. only about something speedy.]


14 Branded for Life

Our mother thought it was dumb to toss perfectly good salt over one’s shoulder.  

Morton’s belonged on the shelf next to Durkees’ black pepper and the Lawry’s 

that made fried egg sandwiches even before Sam and I splatted ketchup on them.

I sprinkle white grains on pre-molded chicken burgers, then add curry powder 

and garlic, wrap them in Saran for tomorrow.  And I text Sam, who gets up early 

to cook his three sons pancakes before school.  I tell him I went into the downpour

to get Fritos to go with my Spaghetti-O’s, just like when we were kids.  Why does 

rain make me feel 6?  I ask.   Sam texts back Cuz it makes me feel 5. 


Arts, Boston culture, Mass Poetry Festival, mignon ariel king, Poetry

2nd Annual MASS POETRY FESTIVAL: October

Kudos to the organizers of that huge three-day event.  Man, that was fun!!   Great audience  at B&N!   Thank you to the readers who bought my book.  Big thank you and apology to the would-be listeners who missed me because of the time change and took the time to come tell me they were disappointed.  It really means a lot.   I was sooooo nervous.  Mark, my friend, you rock!!

I’ll be back with a list of cool publishers, etc. I met at the Small Press Book Fair.

Arts, Boston culture, mignon ariel king, Poetry


Photo: Jack Scully
Interviewed by: Doug Holder

Mignon Ariel King is a dyed-in-the wool Boston poet. In her introduction to her new collection of poetry “The Woods Have Words,” she invites the reader to:”…stroll along the Charles River… walk through the streets of Boston,…or zip under and over the state of Massachusetts on the country’s oldest subway.” King was born some 40 odd years ago in the bosom of Boston City Hospital. She grew up in Roxbury,later earned a couple of advanced degrees, and was an adjunct professor of English at several local colleges.
She describes herself as a woman who is happily single, bookish, urban, multicultural, nocturnal; a complex woman of refined sensibilities, but she can just as easily down a few beers, and yelp for the home team.  King said she was introduced to poetry as a young kid when she was given a “fat” anthology of children’s poetry edited by Helen Ferris. She read it cover to cover, and soon started to write her own poetry. And finally, after all these years, she has penned her own poetry collection.  King said that poetry is her favorite medium because she said: “ I can’t write fiction.” King lists some of her favorite poets and writers as: Toni Morrison and Sandra Cisneros, to name a few.

“The Woods Have Words” is of course set in Boston—a place that King will always consider home. She can’t imagine a city without a river, and Boston has the Charles, and as the song goes: “She loves that muddy water.”  Interestingly enough King said she views Boston as a character in her book. She explores the different sections of Boston, many of them which she has lived in and worked in. “They all become part of you,” she reflected.

And this denizen of the asphalt, this walker in the city, considers herself a nature poet as well! She laughed: “ Skyscrapers are as natural as trees to me.”  King is no wallflower at the party, a weeping willow in the woods. She said her poetry is the poetry of a strong woman – a message that is clearly evident in her work. King doesn’t want to be know[n] as an “African-American” poet. She won’t be typecaste by biology, she insisted. She simply wants to be known as a writer with a capital W. She identifies with no school of poetry. She says simply and firmly that her work is multicultural. 

King said she finds a lot of women writers write about their kids and gardening—a subject matter she see[s] too much among her peers. She lists Sharon Olds and Deborah Garrison as poets who break the mold. Local poets Carolyn Gregory and Jessica Harman are poets she greatly admires.  She is currently working on a new collection “[A] View of the Charles,” that will be a straightforward, Bukowski-style collection. It will be a lyrical journey through Boston, the home of the Bean, the Cod, and the King.

Sox-capped men with silvered white pushcarts peddle
honey-roasted peanuts on the Boston Common.
Whatever happened to roasted chestnuts, clutched
in tiny brown paper bags, crooked in fedora-topped
daddies’ grey-tweeded arms, the evening edition
of the Globe absorbing the extra heat? My officemate
offers a dissertation on today’s male after I am foolish
enough to ask her opinion on the vanishing breeds.
It seems wrong not to love trees and men
and the fruit of them while shuffling the pulp of
a thousand murdered trees in an attempt to make
a living without missing another life.
–from The Woods Have Words, p.7

To order “The Woods Have Words” go to: 

Doug Holder’s website

Arts, Boston culture, Feminism, Music, Poetry

Three Artists, One Stone

I must admit, I was skeptical about a “mixed media” arts event.  Frankly, if I head out to listen to open-mic poetry, I don’t care to hear a harpsicord, or a bongo, or even a guitar accompaniment thank you very much; nor do I stay for a slam if I went for open mic.  Call me a purist.  Poetry. Or music. Or visual art.  Well, but I know the visual artist, and love her work, so I bravely forged ahead to Union Square in Somerville on a Saturday night for what I might sum up as a three-woman, feminist-leaning, multimedia artists’ event (reading/performance/exhibit).  Oh, now I know what you’re thinking, but it worked!

Mary Alexandra Agner began with the odd Willa Cather’s Dedicatory.   It was an introduction to the rather fine poem Ode to PioneersGeese Speak is a poet’s dream: it began as an exercise to combat writer’s block, yet it turned into a three-word-per-line poem that was quite good, smooth and interesting, not cute and gimmicky.  Brutus—an imagined monologue in which the ultimate backstabbing bud apologizes to his wife for leaving her out of the loop on the ol’ planning to off my friend plot—makes the heart of an old Shakespearean tragedy fiend go pitter-pat.  The poet plans to write a poem for each of Shakespeare’s plays.  Ooh, can’t wait!

Now comes the transition into collaboration.  Ms. Agner reads her poem The Marian Lee in front of a lively painting of it, rendered by artist Julia Tenney.  Audible sighs from the audience.  Cool! 

Next up was Carolyn Jean Smith, playing the recorder.  I confess my ignorance of the finer points of recorder finesse; however, I do know the difference between average recorder-playing and coming as close to jamming as one might’ve come in the 18th-Century drawingroom.  This woman can jam.  She made the instrument cry.  Yes, cry.  Her performance of The Bird and the Donkey included…wait for it…playing two recorders simultaneously.  Unreal.  This piece of music was also depicted in a painting by Julia Tenney.  Don’t ask me how she makes a tear shape into a horse, then flames, then a bird in one painting; a fish or dragon or tree in others.  I told you she’s good.  You should see her bunny tarot cards.

The only complaint I have about the event is that few of us 21st-Century types have enough class to be big fans of all three media, so as the Bard would say, brevity is the soul of wit.  It’s quality art presented in an imaginative and unique manner, so shorter time quantities for each part would be plenty.  Brava!