Black Poets Massachusetts, mignon ariel king, Uncategorized

One Feb. Feature Down, One to Go!

After a crazy week of a semi-intruder in the house, 4 cats hanging out in the basement, my voice bailing via a headcold so I had to make major poem subs, et cetera, leading up to it — and a friend’s calamity the morning of — I somehow made it to the PTAOW feature.  I don’t remember anything but the good-natured audience and the splendid little girl who gave me Valentine’s candy after, but apparently I didn’t botch it.

I have a habit of writing myself notes in case stage fright freezes me.  Good thing.  I subbed two poems and tossed in a bar from a Bob Dylan song at the last minute, for reasons I couldn’t tell ya, but I had notes here and there.  Some pushy broad directed “Read_____!”   Whatever possesses me to read in public?  Who knows?   Thank you to the hosts, the open mic readers, and the exceedingly patient audience for making the mad dash to the Red Line on a Sunday worth it.  I missed my co-feature Charles.

Thank God I didn’t hear about Whitney Huston until after.  Words might have failed me.

Fiction, mignon ariel king

Always Talking Too Much?

Yes, I talk too much, but now I’m writing too much as well.  45,000 words.  That’s how long my “novella” is.   I remember when I couldn’t write a poem that was longer than a stanza.  Then the memoir was 33,000.  How could I possibly write that much?  And how bad is my Math that I underestimate these word counts so badly?  Eek.  Well, at least I feel productive as the past year of bare employment winds down.  There are worst ways to spend a year than editing together a 5-volume grand opus and starting two new projects.  But I’d better get cracking soon if I want to finish Moby-Dick this summer.  Might have to give myself a handicap and say this year since apparently I’m writing a chapbook of poetry about it.

30 poems in 30 days, National Poetry Month Challenge

NaPoMo 2010: Poems 1-7

Yet again, I accept the challenge to write 30 poems in 30 days.  Here goes!

7  Stranger than Fiction

First, it’s annoying that the special report interrupts
a soap opera love scene, police chief lying with
gushing chest wound as the woman who dumped
his brother to return to true love leans over,

whispering she cannot live without….  Flashbacks
must be next, but then the music, the type that always
makes you miss the soothing tones of Peter Jennings.
Fire on Beacon Street.  Pre-sprinklered, 1896.

Then the real heroes show up, heavy black coats
disappearing into thick black smoke, midday sun
bouncing off shiny helmets.  Even the River closes.
Reporters stuck in Cambridge.  Who’s home now?

Students, future famous musicians of Mass Ave.
But the post-squelching-of-flame drama is up,
on the roof. Captured by news copters.  Six men
frantically pump a chest before the feed goes black.

[Prompt: Sex and Death]

6 Chef’s Hell

[For Gordon Ramsay]

Those blazing hissy fits are bettered by
his  British accent, poured over ice.
And they deserve it, the flaming fools who
store raw poultry with thawing meatloaf.

Nor should appetizers be tepid, much less
“hideous.”  Tongue-skewering is earned

by the sous man who wilts everything
he touches.  And head waiter’s burden
is to warm disgruntled diners with bread.
But the viewer only partly salivates over

the entree to be.  She returns again, again,
for each week brings the guarantee of fire.

5 Poetry Lover

As always, the woman pretends to sleep,
but he whispers promises in her ear, trails
his lying tongue down her hot neck as if
somehow he is doing her a favor quenching
a thirst he created.  He’s pretty good at what
he does, the bastard, but only intermittently.

Besides, his generosity is spread too thin.
Tomorrow, he’ll be with another woman,
or man.  Sex, height, weight, family history,
level of education–he has no boundaries
whatsoever.  Any warm vessel will do, any
mind eager to wrap around him once more.

[Prompt:  Give poetry a personality and show how you really feel about it.]

4  A Song of Apostrophe

I sing to you of the past and a woman who first came
to New England across fields of maize in buffalo hide
and furry moccasins: your grandmother‘s grandmother’s
grandmother, buffeted by Canada’s wind and the foolish lips

who wanted to doom you by cultivating your future
before your birth could be imagined.  You are the future,
generation of girl who will never know the Black woman too,
who came by ship to make sons, to join the daughters of that

Indian woman who traveled on foot.  Women breathed in
hell on this Great Spirit’s Earth, just so you could exist.
Hear me in your dreams, see me in your mirror, feel me
when your hand can finally turn every knob it touches.

[The prompt is from a line of a poem, bolded in the text.  It’s also a tip of the hat to my favorite work of Latin literature, Virgil’s Aeneid. I’m not sold on the title yet, but at least I did something with that goofy prompt.]

3 Death of a Writer

[Prompt: “Write what you fear.”]

I’m a novelist.  75.  I claim to retire every few years just to instill a sense
of panic in my fan base.  My life’s foundation is the stupidity of strangers.
The beach house invites sun, draws waves of adulation from clamdigger-

clad tourists, shocked to discover that the woman in white cotton tunic is
indeed me, strolling by barefoot and generous, flashing famous penholder
in the air.  I hate sun and sand, used to be a starving poet.  That was a life.

2 No Hedging Allowed  (Not sure what’s wrong with the formatting!)

[Prompt: Gall]

The utter gall of the blessed,

complaining of imperfection

in the absence of want.
Rampant weeds in a garden
are a sign of owning “Home.”

What to do?  What to do?
–Dandelion whine.  Or stew!

An absolute atrocity of excess,
whacking back the grass
to uproot natives for foreign shrub.
Too much preening of landscape
is a sign that one is lost.

Where to go?  Where to go?
–Just follow the signs!

1 Imperfect Ten

[Prompt: wrenched hearts]

I was toeing the edge, hanging ten
and ready to bounce, bounce, sail
into the air, splash into it with you.

Thank you for talking me down,
sparing the trouble of struggling
into racer-back gear just to get

drenched, with no coach to say
“Good job!  You gave your all.”
Nobody’s keeping score but me.

Social Commentary

Groups for a non-Groupie

It’s not easy for natural loners to congregate, but this week I found myself exceedingly comfortable in, even energized by, two writers’ groups. One is an older group into which I have dropped on occasion in the past.  I don’t get any significant publish-worthy work done there, but it is pleasant.  We sat sipping tea, and I just plain enjoyed the positive atmosphere.  It was okay to be ticked off and disappointed that the plummeting economy has cost me two second interviews just when I was seeing a light at the end of the dark financial tunnel that has become my traveling path since I quit teaching—has it really been?!—4 years ago.  One of the many reasons that I quit is that at 40 I was just plain too exhausted to work 40 hours per week as an office assistant in addition to working evenings and/or Saturdays as a part-time instructor, then spend Sundays correcting papers.  I’ll be 45 in January.  It’d be nice to work one full-time job, go home to a nice quiet studio, and maybe go out every now and again, with positive people who enjoy their lives and think friends deserve to enjoy ours too.  A thriving economy isn’t really about stuff, it’s about buying a little peace of mind.  Good thing decent companionship is still free.

mignon ariel king


Is this thing on?!

Well, I am slowly figuring out bits of techno stuff as I go deeper into the woods of blogging, no small feat for a creative writer who considers mastering the microwave one of her greatest life achievements.  But I google myself and find all sorts of curiosities: sites I quit attempting to register my blog on months ago that my blog is indeed on—so I tossed up my hands in total frustration thinking I’d srewed something up, but actually I had done it correctly but just didn’t know it?

I think the wonderful world of webbing should pretend technewbies are kindergarteners.  Each time I do something right, a gold star should appear on the screen, or maybe the computer could say: “good job”!  in praise of exceedingly minor accomplishments.  Humor me.  Make me think I can grow up to be Bill Gates. 


Red Sox, Sports


It’s Fall: the crisp air scuttles leaves along sidewalks, sparrows transport construction one twig at a time into abandoned air conditioners, and the Red Sox are up one game in the play-offs.  My eyes are slightly red-rimmed from sitting glued to the television until 1:20 am; my knees ache from two hours of yogi-style bending, and my sleep-deprived brain is is repeating simple words while grasping for sentences.  Yet I feel young and alive, mentally replaying in a fanatic manner the stretched limbs of Jon Lester, pitches rolling off extended fingers, and the side-diving catch of lightning-legged Ellsbury, black eyes riveted to the ball as if to magnetize it to his gloved hand.  Ah, October!

ADDENDUM: Aw, shucks! –Wait’ll next year…

Boston culture, Poetry

September Poems

Chilling with Longfellow

If a body meet a body
in Mount Auburn Cemetery,
that’s probably not a good thing.

But coyotes aren’t a big threat
regardless of the springing dash
of a tan jackrabbit into bushy cover,

making a break right before
Longfellow’s crypt looms up to the left
of the leafy-lined Indian Ridge Path.

Dead men don’t care what I wear
or how much I weigh the pros and cons
of coupling over this blissful solitude.

I’m sorta hoping Emerson drops by to shoot
the breeze. Melville might bring flowers with
Hawthorne, wrinkling his handsome brow.

I love you still, no matter what they say
about you now. Still born, still dead,
you do indeed tell many tales.


The Lot of Us

Oh, man, if Hemingway were here

there wouldn’t be

enough booze for everybody, but we

wouldn’t mind sharing.

A few more ice cubes

would probably do the lot of us a world of good.

When were nachos invented? 

No matter, historical accuracy isn’t

all it’s cracked-up to be. That wasn’t

a Fitzgerald joke, poor chap.


For that story alone—

the one about a solitary traveler

putting his shoes out

in the hotel hallway to be polished,

noting all the other rooms

had two pair of shoes outside:

a big square male duo

and a smaller, pumped female



that story alone

makes me forgive ol’ Ernest for shooting

all those lovely tigers.

Man, at a pub I do not want to hear writers

whining about being

screwed-up by mothers who stopped

breastfeeding  too soon

or made them do too many chores.

Oh, God, if Hemingway were here!

Drink up, writers.  Talk about the war on love.



Literary Trail


Removed for publication–will post the link when it’s up!


Open Manse


Tim told me not to drink the water

’til after, but, hell, it was about a hundred

degrees in Salem’s Athenaeum. Poor Nathaniel

was practically running off the painting

in the well-shelved tiny room where

I read Raggedy books while Tim


checked out the snazzy old “washroom.”

The raspberry water was cold and yummy.

Besides, I didn’t look through books

for famous signatures while the author

was reading. That would be rude, indeed.  

But some people will rifle through stuff

while listening to a story, if left unchecked.



Lo’s No Witch


Salem’s famous for witches, so Lo’s

gonna have a poetry reading there

in October.  Now that came out wrong.


–Don’t mean Lo’s a witch. She’s a musician-

poet who can’t sit still at readings, like me,

when Mike plays his drum, hum, hum.


I’ll be there too, in a Salem cafe

keeping score with Dracula of all

the necks I’ve nibbled.  We’ll try not


to act too batty, this ol’ gang of poets,

blending right in with various spooks,

just children of rhythms and the night.