Girls And Their Rescues

I worked it out in bed, in bedrooms.

In bed with guys.

I know


that’s just not cool and

so they buy dogs.

Boxers or pit bull mixes.

They’ve given up

booze and boys and banging and

adopt a rescue.

It’s the thing to do.

I’m not a dog person.

I didn’t get that gene, or

the stripper gene.

Not then. So

I threw myself at guys.

Not all guys, just the ones

I shouldn’t have.

I didn’t turn it into a thing.

It was just what it was. No labels.

We liked sex back then.

It was what it was,


Now you’re an addict.

You go to meetings, pledge abstinence and

get a rescue.




Born From Heaviness

ripple lake
A vision presents one morning.
Pebbles thrown, skipping over the water,
ripples pushing out from the shore.
I walk forward, my feet sinking into the silt.
New verses, like raindrops, are born from heaviness.
Words I’ve scribbled on napkins and used envelopes,
are the scraps I hold, as offerings.

An apparition floats at the foot of my bed.
I reach for him and watch my hand cut through time.rose petal
I plant a rose bush to remember he was here.
Soft petals float, like feathers, they rest before his alter.
I open the door.
I carry my journal to the earth.
There are days I have carved history onto the page
desperate to understand.



I saw the color of the earth reflecting off treeshugemoon

and sky and night.

The moon called out to me.

Sun was gone.

Day slept.

I sat wide-eyed.

My heart stopped singing.

Life is still.

It fills itself like a lung or balloon

with air or grief or joy or emptiness.

My self knew this

until the silence rose

like mist

from my chest.

I knew then

each moment mattered

until now.



 From my upcoming book, to be published soon.

Rose Colored Day


Rose Colored DayA pink light glowed inside my bedroom
when I woke up this morning.
I looked outside the window and saw
pastel sunrise streaks painting the sky.
Maybe I’ll put on
rose colored glasses today.
I’ll straighten my hair,
put on hoop earrings,
a cotton crochet top,
no bra, and a peasant skirt.
I’ll go about my day hippy-happy.
Why Not?
I’ll look at the world from the
meow-man perspective.
I’ll put a little love in my life,
a new landscape,
a little softness,
a little soft focus at the edges,
Vaseline on my lens
use a pink gel.
Why not?
So that when I sit on the
405 this morning the
cars will take on a magenta hue.
All that pink metal strung
together like a large
moving centipede.
Why Not?
Like that line of poetry
written by Tomas Transtomer
I heard on NPR after he won
the Nobel Prize for Literature
in 2011,
something about how each car
became a segment of a centipede
or a millipede.
Either way,
I think I’ll make it a
rose-colored day.

The Poet


He was tall, maybe six feet, maybe more.  It was hard to tell because he crooked at the waist and tilted his head to the left when he spoke to people.  This was due to nervousness, a type of dis-ease that also affected his hands.  He shook them when he spoke. His head reflected all light:  inside, outside, in the black auditorium under the yellow lights.  He was like a one-eyed bandit in the night.  His head bent any light back out into the atmosphere.  Yellow light, white light, blue light, red light, sun light, moon light, even star light and the fluorescents on the ceiling all beat off his egg-shaped cranium and back onto the walls, floors, chairs, pale mustard carpet.  He walked through the lobby and into the bookstore. Light refracted from his cream colored scalp; wiggling rays bounced off the black and blue and grey and white and red and purple covers of the books on the shelves that lined the walls and sprang off the pictures of famous poets that hung above.  He stepped back into the lobby and the light skipped from the top of his noggin to peoples faces, to their cheeks, their eyes, the tips of their noses and to their glasses; it ricocheted off wine bottles and soda cans until it boomeranged back to the top of his head. He was drinking Saki.

beat baby beat

He’d raise the big green bottle to his mouth, wrap his lips around it and swig the clear liquid.  I watched it travel through his esophagus glowing myrtle green. “Would you like some Saki? Here hold this.” He said.  He gave me the bottle. It sweat in my hands.  “I have to hang up the living poem. I am a living poem.  Did you know that? I am poetry. I am poet. I am.  You should write on me, play me like a typewriter. I am words. I am poem.” He said.  He went outside with the living poem and since I had his sake, I followed.  I watched him tape the living poem on the wall outside of the lobby.  He stood, arms crossed, waiting for the poem to wake up. He wrote on the poem, it is I, who has stood, arms crossed, waiting for you to wake up in brown chalk.  He turned and grabbed his Sake from me.  “See what I mean?” he pointed toward the living poem.  “Would you like a sip of Sake? ” He said. “I’m from Boston via Tampa.  After 10 years I was laid off and I said to myself, ‘self, it is time to move to California.’  So I did and I have and now I live on Sepulveda.  I sold my car and ride my bike. I use public transportation.  I take the bus. I found the train. I peddled here tonight. I brought this bottle of sake to share with poets.  Would you like a sip? You’re a poet, would you like a sip?” He said.  In the auditorium when Caprice, the MC, read E.E. Cummings name from the open mic list, I saw the light kaleidoscope in the dark auditorium as he moved toward the stage. He pulled a chair to the stage and stood on it.  His dome was glowing saffron. “ I’m not really E.E. Cummings.” He said. “I thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes.” His voice bellowed into the microphone. He jumped off the chair, THUD, and finished reciting the poem.  He danced out of the auditorium, arms flapping over his head.  As the evening came to a close he came to me in the lobby. He held up a small case letter ‘g’ taped to a piece of white cardboard. “Small case g. like a pubic hair in my soap.” He said. Then he held up an ‘x’, “X marks the spot” he said.  A capital ‘A’. “Apple of my eye, would you like to get a drink? Discuss poetry and poets and poems?  Let’s go somewhere, have a drink. Cummings, Olds, Olson, Simic, beat baby, beat, let’s go have a drink, beat, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Burroughs, meow man. Whitman, Shakespeare, Joyce, Kafka, let’s bolt, let’s imbibe.  Bukowski, Kunitz, Komunyakaa, come on.  What do you say?” He said.  His fumes were crippling. I reached in my purse for my sunglasses. “I’ll tell you about James Tate and Lyme, about John Milton and death, about alchemy and Chaucer.  Laughter is the language of the soul, you know who said that? Let’s be poets together and ingest. I’ll quote Neruda and we’ll be two writhing poems.” He unfurled his arms, ink splattered all over the walls.  “No thank you.” I said. I was polite. I smiled. He folded back into himself and swiped a full bottle of two-buck chuck from the snack table.  He walked outside, to the bike rack, unlocked his bike, tucked the wine bottle in his jacket, under his arm, mounted, pushed off and rode toward the beach.  He pulled the moon from the sky, an immense pale silver balloon pumping a 10-speed bicycle down Venice Blvd.


The submission guidelines for the online journal explained that they like poems.  Poems that are different, dark, light, tight, poems that might make them laugh, cry, scream, feel, think.  Poems that do not start with you drinking coffee, but you can prove us wrong. 

I’d like to prove them wrong. I’d like to write a poem about me sipping my coffee maybe on a cool morning that will make them laugh, cry, scream, feel, think, or just crave a cup of coffee.  I could write about my coffee, how rich it is and how good it tastes because I’m overlooking the Caribbean on a rainy day. I could write about my coffee, how black it is and how hot and how it burnt my tongue and how I should have waited before drinking it and how I remember so many other times I have been burnt.

Instead I thought about beginnings.


The weather

It’s hot
It’s cold
It’s foggy
It’s raining … again




I’m drinking coffee
I’m eating
I’m breathing
I’m sipping
I’m kissing
I’m fucking
I’m walking
Chewing gum
I’m drinking coffee
I’m drinking booze
I’m drinking coffee…black or with cream and sugar

It’s what we do

Business people
Its what we do
Its how we start

We Begin

Maybe they want

William Carlos Williams
Plums not coffee
White ceramic bowl
Not cup
Ice box
Not fridge


Lord Byron


They might want

Shall I compare thee to a summer day? 

Let us go you and I.


Or maybe

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

What about

I have gone out, possessed witch,

He came home. Said nothing.


Ahhh but these beginnings have already been written…



Poetry About Horror Movies?

I was on the radio last night.  Speak and Be Heard  

Remember "The Shining"?

That famous scary scene from “The Shining”

I was asked to write a poem about horror movies.
I was curious and needed more details, (I almost always need more).

The topic exactly:  Do the producers of horror movies make these movies to keep us living in fear?

Interesting topic.
I wasn’t alone in my perspective, although I had to bring serial killers into the conversation (see Fright Night below), I mean why not?

The host, Barry, was alone in his position that these films are meant to keep us living in fear.  Consensus around the table was, Then don’t go, no one forces us into the theatre.  Except maybe our own twisted desires… (Insert spooky laugh here).

About half way through my poem the line dropped out.  They called me back laughing, ahhhhhh the supernatural has stepped in, taken control, let us know we are not alone. Cue paranormal music here.

What a blast.  The whole process. Writing on topic.  Writing about something I would have never thought to write.   Writing to read on air.  Writing to share.  What a blast. I look forward to coming back, (I’ve been invited).  Next time, I’ll be in studio.  What a blast. What a push.  Pushing beyond where I feel comfortable, pushing myself to write something in poetic form ON TOPIC, pushing myself to dive in deeper, deeper deeper.  Ahhhhhhhh

Here’s to mainstreaming poetry!  More and more and more poetry being shared in the media.  Using poetry to bring us a new perspective on the topic, to bring us inside ourselves, to bring us to the heart of the matter, to connect us with our own hearts and thus with others.  Cheers I say!  (Listen to the show here in their archive.)

Here’s my poem:


Fright Night

We wait
Leaning forward
Breath held tight in our chests
Twisting with anticipation
Squirming with glee
In delicious dread
For the unveiling of horrors
Chasing chill up and down our spines.

Does life imitate art?
Or does art write life?
Coursing plasma
winding through words
a scarlet splash
splattering thick crimson blotches
projected through light
on the big screen
Over-Exposing whose demented truth?

Disturbed minds
predate modern emulsion
Vlad the impaler
George Chapman
Jack The Ripper
are just a few

What motivated these hollowed out
haunted souls
shadowed by Hell
to hover above shallow graves?

Who’s obsessed with whom?
We recreate
the hunt
the kill
the capture
the buzz.
Over and again
new grim fairy tales
track their clues
uncover their hints
dissect their moves.

Is it for thrill?
Is it to prevent repeat?
Is it answers we seek?
We are the characters
giving our life
to resuscitate these spirits.

The Delberate Stranger
Helter Skelter
To Catch a Killer
The Boston Strangler
Son of Sam
Citizen X

Into the dark we stare
watching gruesome scenes
anticipating our scare
our eyes open wide
as we step inside
dark twisted minds…



Carolyn Ziel September 10, 2012

Speak and Be Heard



I Love Lists


I love lists

Lists about life
Lists about love
Lists about lists
Lists about me
Lists about friends
Lists about family
about booze, food and fun
about gardening, swimming, sunning, sailing,
about kissing
whether to be or not to be
about questions and answers
about…. you get the gist of this list
Pros and cons lists
To do lists
Not to do lists


Fun with words, language and lists

Enjoy…feel free to comment and add yours…