Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Scarlet Ribbon

When in dreams we do walk

Through thicket and through meadow
Through sea foam beaches and tidy hedgerows

While bagpipes whistle through the hills

Do I cry out your name once more?

Am I in your dream too, dancing on the moor?

Do you see my bonnie smile as I run up the road?

Do you miss your bright colleen?

Your woman-child with windblown tresses?

Do you walk through the crossroads where we first met?

Do the heather and the thistles still wind all around the sign there?

Where old women mutter curses against pixies

And old men drive donkeys laden with firewood and thatch

Where nervous tinkers mumble words of protection

And sacrifice the unfortunate chicken over the rocks piled there?

Do you remember the scarlet ribbon from my hair?

The one you tied there after making me swear to never leave you?

We watched it wave merrily on the crossroads sign

Giggling and kissing and twining heather in my hair

Before the long walk up the northbound road

Where you went north and I went east back toward the dawn

Did you find your fortune while you were gone?

When I spin I imagine that I am one ply and you the other

When I watch the spindle twirl and twirl and know

We will be together but only when in dreams we do walk

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Pagan Generation Gap

I write this with a heavy heart
I really don’t know where to start
I heard a chat the other day
By two who were experienced in the pagan way
They lamented and wrung their hands
About the discord in pagan lands
How they despised those young in age
Who had read one whole book and were now a sage
How dare they claim to be a high priestess
How dare they think they know it all
When right here under their very noses
Were two excellent teachers to answer their call
And how those teens had no respect for their elders
And he didn’t just mean eighteen years olds
But 30 year olds with the mentality of eighteen year olds
And oh by the way they hated fluff bunnies
And light workers and healers and all of that crap
And they would really love to go on about their knowledge
But it was time for their afternoon nap

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Midnight in Autumn

My lover slips in through my window

Carrying naught but a lantern

He comments on how the flickering flame

Makes my eyes sparkle like sapphires

He runs his fingers over the lace on my chemise

His voice breathy and hoarse

His fingers still icy from the night air

The frost melting in his eyebrows and beard

My dear Tatiana he moans

It seems like a fortnight since we have kissed

He lays his thick cloak upon the wheaten rushes

And there we lay side by side

Not saying much but drinking each other in

He sits to unbraid my long hair

Unwinding one strand at a time

Unwinding my resistance one thread at a time

He wraps his fingers behind my neck

And kisses me hard

A sudden rapping upon the wooden door

I scramble to my feet to answer it

I slide open the bolt and turn to my lover

All I see is the open window and the curtains flapping

The Red Fairy and Jack Frost

The red fairy and Jack Frost got into a bit of a spat.

He called her ugly and fat and she called him cold and said she'd had enough of that.

The grudge lasted a year and a day.

And each one went their seperate way.

But the magic was already spoiled

And the red fairy had Jack foiled.

Because now when he spreads his frost over your head

It will no longer be white but red.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Mermaid's Garden

There is a mermaids garden far beneath the sea
Where humans cannot see
So we have to let it be
Where mermaids can swim free

We would net them, cage them, fry them
We would put them on display
Do or die them
And never let them play

We don't need to go looking
We don't need to rape the sea
Let them grow their garden without you and me.

copyright Fayme Harper 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005



Some religions leave you hollow
Some ideas are hard to swallow
But there is one truth you can’t deny
Where your mind goes
Your behind follows



I wish I was a genius
I truly do
I wish that I was smarter than you
I wish universities would call me and ask me for advice
And inventors would want help with their newest device

Diplomats would ask me to help end a war
Interior designers would want my d├ęcor
I’d design my own fashions
I’d hybridize my own plants
I’d be a philosopher and win genius grants
I’d write a best seller
I’d write a great play
And they’d build a statue in my honor someday

But I’m just a poet
I’m wrinkled and old
If I sit here much longer
I’ll start to grow mold

Inner Singer

My Inner Singer

A fledgling opera singer declared that singing cured his depression.
That putting his passion and deepest emotions into the songs was healing for him.

And that was a truth I used to know
When I was young and sang a lot
I sang in the hammock in my front yard
I sang while walking to school
I sang while gardening in my backyard
I sang in school choruses and church choirs

And my voice was high
So high
Second soprano

I felt it was high time I started singing again
If I still knew how
So I started doing warm-ups
And least the few I remembered from choir long ago
And I did not find the high voice from my youth
But a deeper richer voice
I was just as surprised by that
As I was when I realized
I’d gone from a B cup to a D cup
And there is a big difference between singing along with a song
And knowing the song deep in your bones
So now I have to figure out what songs
My bones want to sing

Angel Island

The Walls of Angel Island

See in your mind the 1900’s in California
See thousands of Chinese immigrants
Coming to the land of opportunity
Coming to the gold rush on mighty ships
And standing between them and America
Is Angel Island
The immigration center
And for many the last stop
And there they are held
For days, for months, for years
And on the walls in Chinese characters
Are poems carved in the wall
Thousands of poems
That speak of disease and mistreatment
And hunger and hopelessness
And missed loved ones still waiting in China
Waiting to come to America
And then to have your journey end
And to have your body sent back to China
Never even getting to dig for gold
Isn’t freedom the real gold?



Why is it so hard to unplug from things?
Why can’t I just turn off the television?
Leave the radio off
Disconnect the phone and the Internet?
So many voices in my head
Other people’s opinions from every direction
Bombarding me
Evoking emotions
The agony of the world parading in front of me
The vanity of celebrities
The follies of the rich and not so rich
I breathe deeply and try to find a calm space
A space where I can be who I am
And that is enough

Great Beauty

Great Beauty

She was a great beauty they said
She had the best rack money could buy
Her acrylic nails were rimmed in gold
She wouldn’t dream of leaving her penthouse without make-up, false eyelashes & the newest fashions
Men bought her cars and furs and cocaine
Her schedule included stops at the tanning salon, the hairdresser and the spa
She had a ring for every finger
White gold and diamonds of course
Each one from a different lover
They found her in an alley with dark circles under her eyes
Her nose collapsed
Her heart stopped
‘Pity, she was a great beauty once’

She was a great beauty they said
Her wizened face looked peaceful even in death
Her husband said her heart mothered the whole neighborhood
She had put eight kids through college
All of them adopted from poor countries
No job was too humble for her
She held three jobs at a time once
And still visited the elderly every Sunday
She said God would rather see her face at the hospice than in church
Even at 70 her husband was hard pressed to keep up with her
Even when she went blind she still insisted he drive her to the hospice and to visit shut-ins
As she lay dying she gathered her children and grandchildren around her
She said to them, “There is still so much work to do. I’m sorry I ran out of time to do it myself. Don’t let me down.”
Her youngest daughter held her hand.
“I hope I am as beautiful as you are someday.”

Six Haikus


When he comes calling
Tap tapping on my window
Death in tux and tails

Tres Gatos

Rocky: striped half tail
Black Bob looks like a brawler
Wallop earned his name


Obsidian grounds
Amethyst clear sight
Emerald heals hearts


Rocky is part Manx
He talks to the birds outside
He has half a tail


Black with white mittens
The perpetual teen boy
Has a milk mustache


Fur of black velvet
Robert loves his scratching post
He loves catnip more

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Outside the Box

Think Outside the Box

You know how people are constantly saying 'think outside the box'?
I realize there are very few boxes I fit in to begin with.
I'm not a smoker.
Not a doper.
I'm not vanilla,
I'm not a drinker,
I'm not conservative.
I'm not Republican,
I'm not a super model.
I'm not a housewife.
I don't define myself by my children.
I don't work in a cubicle.
I'm not an athlete; I'm not a tweener.
I'm not a country girl.
Nor am I the girl next door.
I'm not a crackhead, a hooker or a midnight toker.
I'm not a trekker or a trekkie.
I'm not a computer geek or a hacker.
I'm not Mrs. Robinson.
I'm not a zealot, a cultist, or a Christian.
I'm not a vegetarian, a Presbyterian or an aquarium.
And I've met so many pagans that are drug fiends, I'm not sure I even want to say I'm pagan.

Copyright fzh 2005

Monday, May 16, 2005

Leaf Frogs


Leaf frogs in ten colors
Squat in petrified ambush
Snapping up crickets

Friday, May 13, 2005

Raggedy Man

Raggedy Man

Once I met a raggedy man
His name was Peter Jay
He’d knock on doors collecting rags
From dawn till end of day
He’d take them back to his old grandma
She’d cut them into long strips
Then she and ma would braid them
Round and round they’d go
And make a rug as big as a horse
From pieces of old calico

Peter Jay the raggedy man
He’d go from door to door
His bells a’ jingly jangling’
Around his belt so worn
The housewives would drag out their old rags
Tied up in threadbare sheets
And sometimes they’d give him a biscuit or water
And beg him to sit and rest his feet

Peter Jay grew old and gray
His back was bent from toil
But he never grew no beans nor cotton
Or made no olive oil
His garden was a city full of rags and scraps
His Ma would make them into rugs and hats and bags and sacks
The braiding would go round and round
Until the work was done
Then they’d sell them in the market
Under the summer sun

Peter Jay he is no more
I haven’t seen him in many years
But I still have that braided rug
And my grandkids love it dear.

Copyright FZH 2005

Another poem, same word list

Tweener Summer in Albuquerque

Remember when we tied a string on a June bug
We never worried that it might stress the poor thing out so
Then the boy next door always trying to moon Doug
And I would obsess over that uptown boy Joe

And then Doug put that snake in my new purse
And chased my Manx cat Moot up that old oak
Then you pretended you were a waitress and served cake and I was a nurse
And Cliff caught that bullfrog that was such a beaut, no joke

Then Cindy put on her mom’s Garbo hat
And we would put on a play like we were movie stars
And the boys would tease that old hobo that was fat
On the last day I saw Joe and Cindy under the monkey bars

And he gave Cindy a rhinestone heart bracelet and acted like her man
And I was so mad I poured his smelly cologne all over his Dad’s van

Copyright FZH 2005

This poem used the same word list, but the words were used as internal rhymes.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Dancing at the Crystal Moon

In this challenge, you were to write a poem using the word list below and keep the same rhyming pattern as the word list.

Dancing at the Crystal Moon

Her name was Sally but he always called her June.
Though their affair caused her stress,
When they danced the foxtrot at the Crystal Moon
If was for her he would obsess.
But when he got home he felt like a snake
Even though his marriage was moot
He wanted to eat; yet still have his cake
But June was such a buxom beaut.
With her creamy skin she reminded him of Garbo.

He snuck out that Friday to take her to a play;
He felt like some sort of lurking hobo,
Sneaking out of work in the middle of the day.
He brought her a ring with a big rhinestone
And splashed himself with cheap cologne.

Copyright FZH 2005


Saturday, May 07, 2005

We live life in slices. Posted by Hello

Portrait of Living Room

Portrait of a Living Room in My Middle Ages

I live in my living room.
It’s never tidy.
It’s either somewhat cluttered, very cluttered, or ‘when did the tornado hit’ cluttered.
The radio is playing ‘Lean on Me’.
There is the oscillating fan & the new TV; all that’s left of my mother’s last days at the nursing home.

There’s the iron sitting on the ironing board; not for clothes mind you.
My boyfriend is using it to iron words onto arrow shafts.

Then there’s the baby dragon coming out of its egg.
I made it by painting on a gourd, and it’s still sitting on my folding wooden table, perched on a soup mug, until I make the clay nest for it to sit in.

Wallop the cat is snoozing on the couch nestled between The Poet’s Companion, a dozen arrow shafts rubber-banded together and my blue carry sack for my dragon needlepoint that I’ve been working on for at least 3 years.

The upright piano I’ve had since I was 8 has seen better days. Covered with the plaster chess set I’ve been meaning to paint for 20 years, and two snow globes; one of a clown and one of a dragon. The fake flowers I hate that show off the black glove vase I painted. Two new photos of me looking presentable in their black cherry frames.

The didgeridoo I’m making out of 2 snake gourds that’s shaped like a giant saxophone.
I can’t finish it because I can’t decide if I want to paint it with petroglyphs or a wizard.
I can’t play it without spitting all over myself.

The 2 couches friends gave us covered with Celtic print bedspreads so the cats won’t shred them.
The Oriental rug I bought at an auction for $200.
I had to wait until all the bidders had run out of money so I could get the price down to where I could afford it without cringing.
Black Bob the cat resting with all four paws tucked under his body so he looks like a black Roomba with a tail.

The stuffed shaggy white dog on the bookshelf with Rachel’s sequined red, white and blue collar. The dog is perched precariously on top of books
and next to a tower of tarot decks from my days as a psychic.

The belly dance bin with a veil spilling out; still sitting there after a belly dance student told me she wasn’t coming back. I lent her a veil and I guess I never learn, because every time I lend something to someone they never come back. Seriously.

The fairy plate I painted when my friend worked at a paint-it-yourself pottery shop. She died of cancer at 27 but the plate lives on in a way that only inanimate objects can.

The white angel votive candleholder wrapped in my red crystal rosary sitting on the piano keys.
Try as I may to keep the piano ready for playing its covered with stuff 99% of the time.

Did I mention my hermit crab? He’s the biggest one I bought. He’s the last survivor. Did he kill the other one’s for food? When the cats startle him he jumps back inside his shell with a thud.

My two wooden practice swords for sword fighting. I never could afford the real thing.

Well, I’ve learned two things:
I collect dragon objects.
Broken dreams leave skeletonized remains all over my living room like a shrine to creativity.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

More Please

My tongue loves banana pudding.
My fingers love tiny polished pebbles.
My toes love plush carpeting.
My nose loves pink jasmine.
My eyes love red diamonds.
My skin loves cocoa butter lotion.
My ears love gypsy violin.
My hair loves long smooth strokes with a boar bristle brush.
My shoulders love warm rain.

May I have some more please.

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Slumber of Before

The Slumber of Before

A trusting heart can sleep anywhere
Without a care or worry
A soul with no malice or grief
No rush to wake
Sweet dreams partake
The stars will never hurry
Your brow so smooth
So free of care
So softly do you snore
Curled up in your quilted bed
Upon the sandman’s shore

So many years of life I’ve lived
Through many trials I’ve toiled
Through ills and wars in plenty
And politics embroiled

But as I watch you sleep
I realize there is something that I lost
Something so precious I cannot calculate the cost
I need to figure out just how
To leave my troubles at the door
Going to see if I can find my way back
To the slumber of before.

Fayme Harper
Copyright 2005

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Another poem about the train crash


You single handedly caused
The crash of three trains
You wanted to end it all
But in the last moments
You walked away

The people on the trains
Just wanted to go to work
The people on the trains
They didn’t get to walk away
You stood and watched

Were you horrified?
The noise deafening
The twisted metal
The fires
The screams

The public running to pull
Victims from the trains
A veteran sheriff riding the train
Is survived by his widow and four kids
Just yesterday she was a wife

Another passenger’s legs buckled
And crushed his pelvis
One passenger said bodies
Were flying over her head
Another said the train went from 60 to zero in 2 seconds

All you wanted to do is take your own life
But you ended at least 11 lives
Eleven counts of murder
If you get the death penalty
You commit suicide by default


I wrote two poems about the Metro Disaster today. Poets have always dealt with life shattering events. It is part of what we do. It was a tragedy, and writing about it is a way to make sure we never forget the lessons to be learned.


Every day thousands of people choose to take the train
And on this day one man named Juan decides to commit suicide
He was depressed and tired of feeling like a victim
He was fraught with anxiety and mentally twisted
Somewhere down the road his life had jumped the track
The voices inside his head wouldn’t stop screaming

Every time he saw his wife they’d end up screaming
He even told his friend he would drive down to the train
And that he would park his SUV on the tracks
For weeks all he could think about was suicide
He devised a plan in his head that was definitely twisted
A way to punish everyone that made him feel like a victim

What he hadn’t visualized were all the innocent victims
Or that three trains would collide and all the awful screaming
And the chewed up train cars and glass and bodies would be twisted
Did he think about all those passengers on the trains?
He couldn’t even follow through with his own suicide
He got out of his car at the last minute when it was stuck on the tracks

And with his own eyes he saw the flames as they twisted
Around the crashing train cars on the buckled up track
Passersby ran to rescue people off of the burning train
Rescue crews ran past the injured looking for the more severe victims
Listening in the dark for sounds of life melting away in all the screaming
No one on those trains agreed to participate in Juan’s suicide

His orange car was so obliterated and twisted
Viewers couldn’t even see where it was on the track
It was lost somewhere under that first rushing train
“We went from 60 miles per hour to zero in 2 seconds,” said a victim
The lights flickered and went out inside the train and next thing there was screaming
Did Juan imagine thousands of people being involved in his attempted suicide?

Was he hoping to get the death penalty as a legal form of suicide?
Who can understand the rationale of someone so obviously twisted
Now it is the families of the injured and dying and dead that will be screaming
So many who have suffered greatly and somehow gotten onto the wrong track
All of us have to work each day to encourage each other so there are no more victims
Of all the things we have to learn, it is our own minds that we have to train

How many people do we know that are always screaming about suicide?
We need to train ourselves and not let our thoughts become so twisted
That we get off track and by our actions create more victims

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Garden Plaza~ a word substitution poem

There is an assignment in Creative Poetry by John Drury that is called a word substitution poem. You take a poem you like, and substitute words, matching verbs to verbs, nouns to nouns, etc. and leaving some of the original words. I used words from Twelfth Night to base mine on.


Come away, come away, death
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O, prepare it:
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown,
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse where my bones shall be thrown.
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there.

And here is mine:

The Plaza

Dance away, dance away, life
And in garden plaza let me be kissed
Jump away, jump away, lust
I am revived by a homely kind fool
My gown of silk trimmed all with beads
O, declare it:
My art of dance, clad all in blue
Did dare it.

Feel the power, feel the power, leap
On my long hair let there be thrown
Flower petals, flower petals sweet
My limber body, where my joy shall be grown
Spin me, no cares
Happy kind fool dance upon my grave
And play there.

Fayme Harper, copyright 2005