Hemingway’s Beloved (A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me)

Okay, I might have been wrong in yesterdays post. We received [well] over 13 downloads of Getting Me Back. Thanks y’all. It wouldn’t matter if we got 13 million – we are sticking to the plan. We bought the ticket – we’ll take the ride. That’s my spin on a Hunter S. Thompson quote. JANNA HEMINGWAY DRUNK & DISHEVELED (731x800)

This photo was taken in front of Hemingway’s house in Key West, Florida. Of course it is now a museum. I look like I am either drunk or crying. I think it was both. Talking to ghosts sometimes has that effect on me.

Hemingway’s Beloved

Did you shake his hand –?

the hand of a man’s man?

Did you see how his eyes searched the space around him as the world grew smaller?

Did you learn the secrets of Africa or discuss his tomes over drinks?

Of course not.

You could not for we were mere children –

our wedding day marking the twenty second anniversary of his exodus… his rise to immortality.

He won the Nobel Prize for Literature the year you were born – did you know that?

I was but two months in the womb when he placed the beloved twelve-gauge inside his mouth and obliterated the ciphering pheasants once and for all.

Did you see how he caressed her?

How her cold, soft metal against his finger was as pacifying as the perfect daiquiri… how she (his beloved) alas cured him of the demons.

In a flash she rooted them loose one by one from their hiding place – a place liquor nor currents could mole; a cavern so deep no joule or watt could grasp. Ahh, but she did.

She exorcized them, set them to flight riding on soft grey tissue laden with hemochromatosis and fragments of bone.

Christ might have offered the fiends a swine but not her or better yet not him…

A sacrifice for the Bay of Pigs?

It was all such folly — such unholy madness for a simple man and a literary saint.


*Hemingway’s Beloved was first published in the HWA (Horror Writers Association) Poetry Showcase Volume I.

So Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) will still be FREE April 18th through the 21st while we do this A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me.

What else can I say about Ernest Hemingway that has not already been [acceptably] said? 

For Jessica (A Poem & A Picture)

This is my daughter (Jessica’s) favorite poem by Shel Silverstein. I cannot count the number of times we read Where the Sidewalk Ends as she was growing up.

As I was readying to take a shot of the book nestled among jasmine a caterpillar dropped from the sky and pooped! Can you believe it? Hmph! What does he know about poetry?! Gee-sh… and I had just scraped twenty years of boogers off!

Shel Silverstein Where the Sidewalk Ends


By Shel Silverstein

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout

Would not take the garbage out.

She’d wash the dishes and scrub the pans

Cook the yams and spice the hams,

And though her parents would scream and shout,

She simply would not take the garbage out.

And so it piled up to the ceiling:

Coffee grounds, potato peelings,

Brown bananas and rotten peas,

Chunks of sour cottage cheese,

It filled the can, it covered the floor,

It cracked the windows and blocked the door,

With bacon rinds and chicken bones,

Drippy ends of ice cream cones,

Prune pits, peach pits, orange peels,

Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,

Pizza crusts and withered greens,

Soggy beans, and tangerines,

Crusts of black burned buttered toast,

Grisly bits of beefy roast…

The garbage rolled on down the hall,

It raised the roof, it broke the wall…

Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,

Globs of gooey bubble gum,

Cellophane from green baloney,

Rubbery, blubbery macaroni,

Peanut butter, caked and dry,

Curdled milk, and crusts of pie,

Rotting melons, dried-up mustard,

Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,

Cold French fries and rancid meat,

Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.

At last the garbage reached so high

That finally it touched the sky,

And all the neighbors moved away,

And none of her friends would come to play,

And finally, Sarah Cynthia Stout said,

“OKAY, I’ll take the garbage out!”

But then, of course it was too late…

The garbage reached across the state,

From New York to the Golden Gate,

And there in the garbage she did hate,

Poor Sarah met an awful fate

That I cannot right now relate

Because the hour is much too late

But children, remember Sarah Stout,

And always take the garbage out!

For JESS A Poem & A Picture

It comes as no surprise Jessica grew up to be a goofball. I thank God every day for allowing me to be her mom.

Reminder:  Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month…

Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay (A Poem & A Picture)


SPRING FLOWERS A Poem & A Picture Spring

From Second April (Courtesy of everypoet.com Classic Archives)


By Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?

Beauty is not enough.

You can no longer quiet me with the redness

Of little leaves opening stickily.

I know what I know.

The sun is hot on my neck as I observe

The spikes of the crocus.

The smell of the earth is good.

It is apparent that there is no death.

But what does that signify?

Not only under ground are the brains of men

Eaten by maggots,

Life in itself

Is nothing,

An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.

It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,


Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Don’t you love the last line(s)? They do strike a chord with me — maybe because I am just living out loud and flinging cake against the wall, right?!

Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is now available in digital or paperback. AND to show my appreciation for your support there will be a gift of random books by ‘moi’ each weekend in April. Check in, check them out and follow my Author Page at Amazon for future updates.

P.S. A little history on Edna St. Vincent Millay: After her husband’s death from a stroke in 1949 following the removal of a lung, Millay suffered a great deal; she drank recklessly, and had to be hospitalized. A month later she was back at her farm (Steepletop) where she  passed a lonely year working on a new book of poems. She died in 1950 of a heart attack. For more about her works and life visit Poetry Foundation.


Be Drunk by Charles Baudelaire (A Poem & A Picture)

Be Drunk A Poem & A Picture

Just FYI: If you pass out around me I will take your picture and show it to the world.

Charles Baudelaire was born in Paris on April 9, 1821 and died August 31, 1867 at the age of forty-six, reportedly of syphilis. Another tidbit;  When Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil) was published in June of 1857, thirteen of its 100 poems were arraigned for inappropriate content. On August 20, 1857, French lawyer Ernest Pinard, who had also famously prosecuted French author Gustave Flaubert, prosecuted Baudelaire for the collection…. Baudelaire was charged with a fine of 300 francs (later reduced to 50), and Les Fleurs du mal suffered from the controversy, becoming known only as a depraved, pornographic work. Now onto the main attraction.

Be Drunk

You have to be always drunk. That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way. So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

And if sometimes, on the steps of a palace or the green grass of a ditch, in the mournful solitude of your room, you wake again, drunkenness already diminishing or gone, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, everything that is flying, everything that is groaning, everything that is rolling, everything that is singing, everything that is speaking. . .ask what time it is and wind, wave, star, bird, clock will answer you: “It is time to be drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of time, be drunk, be continually drunk! On wine, on poetry or on virtue as you wish.”

  ♠ ♣

Well we made it through week one of NPM. Yay! Let’s all get drunk and get skip the syphilis.

Here comes ‘tha plug’ : I’ve been drunk a time or two, I’ve also published a few hundred poems but I must confess I have never had a STD. And guess what? My dysfunctional disease-free [possibly controversial] book Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) released this month and is now available in digital or paperback. Yeah, I will be saying it again, and again… and again.

It’s Okay to Die Poor (But Who the Heck Was Milton?)


Don’t you just love an ancient oracle with history and mystery served up in rhyming little stanzas?

Say, “Yes Janna. Indeed I do love such wonderful things.”

Thank you. Now say “Yay NPM!!” and let’s get started.

The following is an excerpt from William Blake’s epic poem titled Milton. I like Blake for several reasons. The main two being that he was a nonconformist and that he believed poetry could be understood by common people. Those are also [probably] the main two reasons he died poor. But you know what? It’s okay to die poor. After all a casket can only hold so much. Me and ole Billy can agree on that but who the heck was Milton?



by William BlakeWilliam Blake

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.


Now off to find out more about this John Milton character…


When Lust Looks Like Love

Joseph Rudyard Kipling
30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936

Kipling-wikimedia commons
Once upon a time hit and run sex was sooo romantic.

Rudy was too sophisticated for a one night stand but give him a sensuous landscape in the hills of India and lust looks a lot like love.Jakko Hill by Michael Gomes May 2006






A Ballade of Jakko Hill

One moment bid the horses wait,
Since tiffin is not laid till three,
Below the upward path and straight
You climbed a year ago with me.
Love came upon us suddenly
And loosed — an idle hour to kill —
A headless, armless armory
That smote us both on Jakko Hill.

Ah Heaven! we would wait and wait
Through Time and to Eternity!
Ah Heaven! we could conquer Fate
With more than Godlike constancy
I cut the date upon a tree —
Here stand the clumsy figures still:
“10-7-85, A.D.”
Damp with the mist of Jakko Hill.

What came of high resolve and great,
And until Death fidelity!
Whose horse is waiting at your gate?
Whose ‘rickshaw-wheels ride over me?
No Saint’s, I swear; and — let me see
To-night what names your programme fill —
We drift asunder merrily,
As drifts the mist on Jakko Hill.

Princess, behold our ancient state
Has clean departed; and we see
‘Twas Idleness we took for Fate
That bound light bonds on you and me.
Amen! Here ends the comedy
Where it began in all good will;
Since Love and Leave together flee
As driven mist on Jakko Hill!

Emily’s Simplicity

Emily Dickinson

(December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886)
Today I thought I’d visit the modest rhymes and musings of sweet Emily Dickinson but then I changed my mind.

Not that I don’t adore Emily’s simplicity – we were like best friends for a long time. Did you know if she hadn’t died of kidney disease or heart failure she would have been 184 years old next month? We were going to go skydiving…

Okay, back to earth and the late Emily Dickinson.

Instead of sharing the standard fluffy stuff of hopes and dreams and sugary illusions of death she is known for I decided to show her darker side with this letter and poem to her sister in law Susan Huntington Dickinson.

I heard if you invert Em’s photo you’ll see that she actually has horns. [gasp! yikes! yee gads it’s true!]

She lived and died in Massachusetts ya know.


Tuesday morning – [1854]
Sue – you can go or stay – There is but one alternative – We differ often lately, and this must be the last.
You need not fear to leave me lest I should be alone, for I often part with things I fancy I have loved, – sometimes to the grave, and sometimes to an oblivion rather bitterer than death – thus my heart bleeds so frequently that I shant mind the hemorrhage, and I can only add an agony to several previous ones, and at the end of day remark – a bubble burst!
Such incidents would grieve me when I was but a child, and perhaps I could have wept when little feet hard by mine, stood still in the coffin, but eyes grow dry sometimes, and hearts get crisp and cinder, and had as lief burn.
Sue – I have lived by this.
It is the lingering emblem of the Heaven I once dreamed, and though if this is taken, I shall remain alone, and though in that last day, the Jesus Christ you love, remark he does not know me – there is a darker spirit will not disown its child.
Few have been given me, and if I love them so, that for idolatry, they are removed from me – I simply murmur gone, and the billow dies away into the boundless blue, and no one knows but me, that one went down today. We have walked very pleasantly – Perhaps this is the point at which our paths diverge – then pass on singing Sue, and up the distant hill I journey on.

I have a Bird in spring
Which for myself doth sing –
The spring decoys.
And as the summer nears –
And as the Rose appears,
Robin is gone.

Yet do I not repine
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown –
Learneth beyond the sea
Melody new for me
And will return.

Fast in a safer hand
Held in a truer Land
Are mine –
And though they now depart,
Tell I my doubting heart
They’re thine.

In a serener Bright,
In a more golden light
I see
Each little doubt and fear,
each little discord here

Then will I not repine,
Knowing that Bird of mine
Though flown
Shall in a distant tree
Bright melody for me

E –

 * * *

For more information on the life of Emily Dickinson check out the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Mark Your Books (April is National Poetry Month)


IV+PPP BookmarkMark your calendars and your books because… [drum roll]

April is National Poetry Month!

Last years celebration was fun and I already have several hundred   in mind for this year. If you have one you’d like to share or see dissected let me know.

Dead or alive – no poet is off limits.

😉 🙂 😀






In the Aftermath of Plath

Just in case I missed telling one person in the far reaches of Idonwannaherit (which is my husband’s country of origin) April is National Poetry month.

And guess what?! I was informed this morning that I have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize Award. I’m thinking OMG! Am I so special they called me early? Turns out it was an April Fool’s joke. Damn you cruel jokester and may the winning of Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes forever be just out of your reach.

With the fool’s business out of the way I’d like to talk about Plath. Not because of her life’s work. In all honesty it is/was her chronic obsession with death that compels me. In reading Lady Lazarus with or without knowing Plath’s history I could have imagined a poet scribbling thoughts that were just that- thoughts. But the [reportedly] last two pieces she wrote and the two small children she left behind. I became strangely fanatical.

photo by Rollie McKenna

photo by Rollie McKenna

I tried hard not to judge her as a person and to focus only on the writing but I fell short. History, rumor and suspicion clouded my judgment.

When I read Nick and the Candlestick I imagined premeditated recklessness beyond her own ending. In Balloons all I could see was her surveying her child at play – a child she would [knowingly?] soon leave motherless.

And in Edge… it would have been eerily sufficient without knowing Sylvia Plath Hughes had made for herself a gas chamber. In doing so she had eliminated the need for an executioner so I became her judge, juror and examiner.

It wasn’t enough for me to obsess over the tragedy I insisted my husband partake of the mind numbing fixation. His first response was, “You know I don’t read poetry. I don’t read anything that doesn’t have live game, a stock symbol or a machining program written on it.” To that I handed him a beer and smiled, “Okay. I’ll read it to you and you tell me what you think.” He agreed. Though once I finished reading Edge aloud he held out his hand and ordered me to give it to him. I graciously obliged.

Here it is in its entirety. Our discussion will follow.

Edge by Sylvia Plath 1963

The woman is perfected.
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,

The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

When he finally looked up I asked, “So what do you think?”

He took a long drink and shrugged, “She obviously wanted to be dead and she’s happy about it.”

“Yes, yes. Go on.” I urged, “What about the scrolls of her toga?”

“Sounds like the Clinton – Lewinsky thing. You know with the stained dress.”
I laughed and he continued. “Here where she says ‘it is over’ means just that – she’s finished.”

“What about the lines ‘each dead child coiled, a white serpent, one at each little pitcher of milk, now empty’ what do you think about that?”

“The Exodus? It sounds like the first Passover and the last plague in Egypt to me.” He looked back at the page in front of him and read, “She has folded them back into her body as petals of a rose close when the garden stiffens and odors bleed from the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.” He shook his head and returned the poem, “Did she plan to kill the kids and take them with her? I guess it doesn’t matter- It was fifty years ago, she was mentally ill and she’s glad she’s dead.”

“What about ‘the moon has nothing to be sad about, staring from her hood of bone. She is used to this sort of thing. Her blacks crackle and drag’ – what are your thoughts on that?” I asked, watching as he became more uncomfortable.

“It sounds like craziness. She was obviously mentally ill. Did you say she stuck her head in an oven?” I nodded. “Was it butane or natural gas?”

“I have no idea. Why would that matter?”

“Well one falls and the other rises – natural gas rises. Did she live in town or in the country? If she lived in town it was probably natural gas.”

“She lived in London, a town residence once occupied by Yeats.”

“Hell, it might have been coal fuel.” He paused as if it took added effort to ask the next question. “Did she kill her kids too?”

“No.” I answered. His face relaxed a bit until I added, “The youngest, a boy named Nicholas hung himself in 2009. The daughter who was less than three years old when it happened went on to become a painter and poet.”

“Dammit! How’s the girl doing?”

“I don’t personally know her but she was still alive the last I heard.”

“Poor thing. Damaged people leave a lot of garbage in their wake. Hopefully she’s not too messed up.” With that he bent and twisted the empty can indicating the discussion was over. I mumbled a thank you delighted I had snagged him into reading a poem yet a little ashamed that I had disturbed him with the past of Sylvia Plath. Next week maybe I will entice him with a new poet, a living poet. I’ll choose something lighter, funnier and maybe drag out the frayed old book Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. The kids always enjoyed that one. I will probably [silently] take a closer look at the works of Ted and Frieda Hughes, dissecting their psyches and torturing myself in the aftermath of Sylvia Plath.