cirque de la nuit

The inky journey of a modern day Troubador

Cicada Heat

I was born in the sandy desert plains

with white snake slithering out the radio

where you had to use a forearm to roll your window down.

Nautical twilight was around 530 am, when I was born.

I was born in a place sans merci.


Outlaws escaped with this destination on their chapped lips

they spoke of it in whispers

as a promised land

So I was born with wildness in my veins and lawlessness

in my dusty soul.

which is maybe why my parents had me running barefoot on hot concrete

and sleeping on the floor of my bedroom when summers swelter set in.

I like my hair short.

It froze in icy crystals in the depth of winter,

when I grew it long.

I grabbed a fistful in my hands and it crunched like the black ice underneath my feet.


I rode my bike over dirt patched roads

and past empty fountains with bone dry fountainheads

everyone had lawns that were slowly dying

year by year

My throat was parched and my eyes sunburnt.


You don’t know how a place shapes you though

until you leave.


Which is maybe why I wither in this cicada heat.




Daily Prompt: Solitary

I grew up immersed in books.
The kind of books that won Newberry Medals in the 70s and 80s.
The kind of books that touched on divorce, loneliness, suicide, depression, and all the confusing things young adults would encounter.
The kind of books that shaped me at an early and pivotal age.
The kind of books that I am sure are partially responsible for my intuitive understanding and compassion for others inner feelings.

The kinds of books I don’t like talking about with other people because they are so intrinsically linked to me, that they feel personal.

I was not a lonely, or depressed child, I was well adjusted, well loved, taken care of and privileged in almost every way save the color of my skin and my gender.

But I still hold these books as close to my heart as if they were words from my own private diary.

One such book I will share, though I hate to let it go– A Solitary Blue. by Cynthia Voigt.

I don’t do book reviews…I suggest you go read it and if you have ever had just a tinge of melancholy to your personality, you will love the subtleties to the writing.

As a child, I adored this book. and the word prompt of the day immediately made me think of it.


i feel it all More

via Daily Prompt: Solitary


Stunning, this piece really took me to a certain place and time today. A bittersweet memory moment, I’m so grateful for artists that can paint your past with words!

Eyes + Words

Written by Carol J Forrester

the city tinges the evening
and pumps the colours brighter,
like carbon monoxide fruit,
laid out in brand new kitchens
on the pages of a magazine,
well thumbed in dentist waiting rooms.

When you asked me if I liked it,
I pretended to smile
and told you it was beautiful.

I did not mention it was different
to the ones back at home,
where gritty haze doesn’t hang
morning, eve, and night,
and the hum of silence
echoes differently in the darkness.

I pretended that here
I was happy,
and that other place
did not matter,
and I think for a moment
you believed the words,
despite the wet on my cheeks
and your hand loose in mine.

Photographer Unknown

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Non Compos Mentis

via Daily Prompt: Delivery

We are taught
from much too young an age
that something outside ourselves
exists that can save us
from this hell.

This hell that you must
never acknowledge.
While it swallows you whole
and spits out your ghostly bones,
you must busy yourself
with the search for that
which can save you

from this hell
that is NOT hell.


We grasp at love and affection
fumble through labor and toil,
trying to find a moment of emancipation
and purge the burning from our souls.

We hope for something to deliver us
from this hell on earth.



pssst…..pssst, down here! Look down!
even lower….–climb down here.
We have a secret for you…
a way out.
Listen carefully.
It might confuse.

It’s in.

the way out is in.

you can build your own airship of light and sound
ornament it with your greatest ambition
craft it from your free will

and float away from this hell.

The only sane people, are the ones who
come unhinged.

Light Balloons | Robert Cornelius


The solar eclipse 2017 is approaching.
It was the topic of discussion last night at an impromptu dinner party we had at J’s folks homestead.

We sat outside sipping alcoholic beverages,dodging mosquitoes, and tossing around a discussion on antiques and auctions.
Then someone mentioned the looming solar eclipse and I remarked that it will be a total eclipse, though we won’t see it from our weak vantage point. It will look more like two ships passing harmlessly.
We were vaguely reminded of song lyrics that resembled our topic of conversation to which J of course supplied the song title “Total Eclipse of the Heart”

As we drove home, dusk was setting in. J was quiet so I flipped through the radio and a song from my childhood came on. We arrived and J turned the car off but we sat and listened to the rest of the song.

Right before I got out of the car the intro to another song played in and J instantly started singing along…not really knowing what song it was, but knowing the words somehow.

I Soundhounded the song, and it was “Total Eclipse of the Heart” -Bonnie Tyler.


But it got me thinking about the music of our youth.
How it bleeds into us without us knowing it and inscribes itself on our DNA.
We won’t know who sings it, what the title is, what album it’s on or even what year it came out— but we will know all the words to some song we heard our parents play, or our aunts and uncles, our friends.

Do you remember listening to the radio in the car? Sitting unbuckled in the back seat of your mama’s big red blazer, with the windows down because the a/c was broken? The seat buckles were made of a shiny metal that absorbed heat and burned your hand to touch. Besides the sound of the wind rushing past the windows and the dull rumble of cars on the road, the radio was a constant sound.

Do you remember Smooth Jazz 95.7 blaring through the speakers? The relaxing lull of the DJ’s voice as they introduced the next song. The comforting sound of the plaintive saxophone or the gentle pluck of acoustic guitar.

I do. Music is the scrapbook of my childhood.
Whitney Houston takes me to mornings before school.
Anita Baker is the Saturday Morning cleaning songs, her voice could outdo the vacuum cleaner every time.
Sade and Michael Jackson are for long rides in the car.
Enya was a peaceful meditative drive to the bustling playground.

When I hear a song that holds a place in my childhood, it eclipses my present and for the 2:30 of that song I’m back in time where the entire world lay before me like one giant unexplored horizon.

Why I’m over your brand of humor.



I’ve noticed that most humor is couched in critique.

When your friends are ribbing you
when a comedian is commenting on society
When a TV show handles a touchy, sensitive topic.

We hide our vulnerability with humor.
We hide our mean-ness with humor.
We hide our fear with humor.

Suddenly humor seems less humorous to me.

Through humorous teasing in a group,
I have seen a starry eyed dreamer
apologize and scramble to defend the parts of themselves
that aren’t easily understood.

Harsh criticism disguised as ill-timed humor
has caused a multitude of wandering spirits to
force roots down
where they cannot grow.

Stop using your wit to create amusement
where it ought not to be!

Stop poking jocularly at a persons character
to disguise your own flaws.

We are all flawed and witless at times.
Deal with that idea out in the open
without the facade of comedy

and find yourself free of society’s saturnine burdens.


“Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony this life
Trying to make ends meet, you’re a slave to the money then you die.
I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet, yeah.”

The word Symphony comes from the Greek (title of this post)
Some linguists liken the word to “agreement”
The creation of a symphony piece is an agreement of sounds.

I listen for the cello or the violin
then the percussion.
I follow along like a leaf floating on the surface of a drifting stream.

When I am at my best, I listen to symphonies.
Because I miss the forest for the trees…

If there are lyrics, I will hear them
I will replay a song
over and
until I understand their

Then I can listen for the music
once my word-filled soul is appeased.

But Oh the delight of the symphony.
A quilt of sound
that I can lay beneath and feel every strand
at whim.

And how true the words of The Verve song:

It is lovely to live in the thrill of
what may happen next
and to strive
to survive
despite it all

In pursuit of that fleeting thing
we call happiness.

But like a symphony, it all converges on
one note
on one

Full stop.



via Daily Prompt: Symphony


If tomorrow
I wake up blind

Would I still know you
to wake up next to?

Would the rough texture of your beard
be enough to calm me in
my eternal darkness

Would I be able to find you
through the lengths of our
feather white comforter.

And would the unexpected static shock
of flannel sheets
not surprise me?

Would the warm beckoning
scent of my favorite coffee brewing
be enough to safely guide me
down the carpeted staircase.

Would your smooth, soft skin
still excite me to kiss

if I couldn’t see your
lopsided grin?

I turned the photo challenge into my word challenge.
Sorry/Not sorry 🙂

Intro to Surgery

Writers love introspection,
did you know that?

We like to cut a slit, just beneath the ribs
wide enough to fit our entire hand it.
But not wide enough to see inside.

We like to go in blind.

Finger our way past the thin strips of skin and
push our way through the epidermis and dermis
the hypodermis gives way without putting up a fight.

Along the way we are assesing the pulse of the blood vessels
and testing the strength of the connective tissue

By the time we get to the inflexible bone that cages our
hearts, we are exhausted and indignant.

How dare someone else judge us by the thin facade of skin
that separates the outer world from inner!

How could they not know all of the clockwork pieces within us,
are sensitive to every whisper?

Still we push farther, and farther inwards,
each new dose of torment spurring us on…

Then our fingertips brush the malleable surface of our still beating hearts.

Some writers stop there.
Then pull out a pen and write about the self-surgery.

Others grasp that heart in a fist
rip it out
and place it wriggling, on the page.

When you strike gold
Do you leave it in the ground?

Here (by the oak tree)

Mirel Wagner- Oak Tree

Her eerie gothic ghost sound chills me.
Especially on auspicious occasions when the dreariness of day inspires me to reach inwards and dream.




Tell me about your version of hell
Not the flames of eternal pain
but the way she broke your heart- so carelessly

or the way he left you sitting in the rain
waiting for the words that never could come.

Recount the moments where loneliness weighed so heavily
on your tender head
that it took a mountain of strength to lift
your head
from you pillow.

A pillow that, should you shake it out
each morning, would tumble out the most beautiful and whimsical of

All wrapped in colors that don’t yet exist.

You didn’t know, did you?

That’s why we cry crystal shaped tears
that disappear in a salty liquid drop.

That the best is always yet to come…

That when people hurt you, really truly dash you to peices on

the sharp edges of their broken self-worth

You answer from the dark, like a raven:

I’m still here.

The Story of Daybreak

“We must be brief” Day whispered, extending her long thin fingers towards the sky, “Twilight cannot hold his place very long”

“You cannot rush a beauty like this.” Night gently encircled a curly tendril cascading in front of her face around the tip of his forefinger.

They sat silently for a moment, listening to the lonely call of the loon, over the silvery lake-water.

Night reached in his dark trench-coat and pulled out a small vial. The substance inside shown so bright it banished the eerie shadows hovering around their small canoe. “You left this in my castle the first night we met. Do you remember that?”

Day smiled, “of course I remember, it’s my favorite sunbeam. I knew I couldn’t return for it. It was much too dangerous. It’s dangerous even now.” Her smile faded, “That is why, this can’t be. Night, we cannot see each other like this anymore, it disturbs the balance of this world.”

Night clutched the vial in his hand, “I don’t care if we raze the world to ash, if we have a love that bright, let it burn.” He leaned toward her, the folds of his hood slipping slightly and revealing an earnest pained look. “We owe it to the world to love as brilliant as the sunlight and as deep as the witching hour. What is the world worth without it?”

Day looked up at the red rays of Twilight, “I was young, Night. When we met I was running from everything and casting daylight on things that belong in the dark. My love for you will always light up the sky, but my love cannot touch you anymore.”

Twilight twinkled a warning shot.

“I must go, Night.” There were tears in her eyes.

“You are breaking my heart.” Night said simply.

Day inclined her neck, pulled back her hood to reveal her shining radiance, then pulled Nights hood from his face. His ruddy, sable complexion was stunning. She kissed him with sorrowful ferocity, and then she was gone.

Night paddled himself across the Forgotten Lake to his Eventide Castle. He sat on the dock, swirling his ankles in the cold black water until daylight touched everything around him.

Then he disappeared into his castle, taking with him all the midnight secrets of the world to keep safe.


Rebel Heartbeat

100 years ago to day, black men and women flooded the streets of New York City to protest.

I could get academic, and quote the long list of grievances, but let’s get real– it was 1917.

It’s now 2017. If you don’t know why they were protesting, then you are part of the problem.

The problem I’m having now, is the huge elephant in the room—standing next to the ostrich with its head in the sand. And, indeed, that mixed metaphor is to show what a jumbled mess this is. 

Our problems are inextricably intertwined– yours, mine, and the homeless man who may never read this, and the addict whom many think is too far gone to help, and the mentally disabled child who is hopelessly lost in an education system that doesn’t actually care, and the young prisoner serving a life term of a 3rd strike misdemeanor.

I find myself disheartened and disappointed on an almost daily basis, because as Americans we have become so complacent, and complicit in a system that gives us so little and exacts from us–so very much. We feel that owe the system our undying allegiance, because it allows us our existence (which we confuse as freedom). In our beloved society we are allowed to live in poverty with addiction and mental health conditions that render us a trembling pile under a city bridge. We are allowed and encouraged to work at such a pace, that the idea of “enjoyment” can be sold to us as a hobby that doubles as a second job.

I am not an “angry black woman” and rather than #blackgirlmagic, I ascribe to the title- Black Magic Woman. I don’t often write about the trials and tribulations that can be attributed solely to the color of my skin. I personally prefer to discuss the issues that plague us all. And sadly, I hate to inform you all— those problems are becoming one and the same.

We all are being burdened with a defective education system, tied down with student debt, politically represented by corporations who seek to enslave us to their bottom line, and all along the way told that we have “opportunity”, if only we just work harder.

Hard work, is never a bad thing. But it isn’t the only thing, and it isn’t our salvation.

the 100th anniversary of the silent march empowers me to say.

I’m not buying it. You can’t sell me the American Dream… anymore.


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