Stirred Sky by Angie Walker

Fragile, Gradual Things

October stubs her toe. She keeps darkness in her hoodie.
And just when you want to ask how many faded sunsets
she’s hiding in her pocket, October blurts out, “How many
other dogs do you see out here? Aren’t you the lucky one?”
Sometimes she comes out of nowhere, -brilliant &magnanimous.
Other days she limps over the horizon, – pale &unannounced.
And just when you think you’ve got October pinned as a long
lost friend, there’s a dead mouse lying in her hay-hacked field.
But there was an instant, just last night, when the black birds
she’d been harboring returned to the air in free spirit.
October’s a wizard &stirs the sky into afternoon rain.

for Real Toads

In-Depth Training With MFT Founder, Dr. Dennis B. Guernsey

Can’t say why I don’t see it, –
‘Can’t,’ and ‘don’t’ say it all perhaps.
Nobody tells me you’re the founder.
I’m too busy trying to learn it all.
Admissions must have received
Dr. Thomas Keith’s letter. Now who
do I thank for letting me inside Pasadena?

Psychology bent with theology.
Break out of all pre-subscribed
methodological boxes, you say.
Dear sir, reading all those chapters
in Job is teaching me to shut up right
and listen, to take notes, to, to
increase my inexpressive vocabulary.

I’m an original. Okay. I’m good enough.
Winnicott said so long ago. Who knew?
I’m underlining it. I’ll live by it, –
Meanwhile these trees grow in planters,
and where’s the ground? I’m from Kansas
City with brilliant instincts, – necessarily
flawed. Is that why I don’t see it?

You say, “If anybody wants to go
to the back of the room to take a nap,
it’s okay.” Get out of your plastic chairs.
Alright. Napping is a natural event.
Just like the backyard barbecue you throw,
swinging your kitchen cupboard door open
to scratch out more potato chips for us all.

You, of Christ’s body.
The tumor growing inside your brain.

[in memory of a genius teacher, gone too soon.
Dennis B. Guernsey] submitted to Real Toads

I Dream a Communion

Everybody knows I’m married to Liberty. It has to be this way so the branch won’t break when the feathers fall in the field as they always do, out-of-the-blue, making us wonder; making us seek a culprit. We insist there’s a fang-faced mongrel! We insist he Exists. Touché, I exit early for a funeral, hang out in darkened halls, because that’s my need. I need sustenance. I mean I’m grubbing on some food at a funeral. I admit everything by admitting nothing. It has to be this way. I’ll eat the moon, -its shadowy face.

[playing it again for the Toads as inspired by Grace]


It’s How We Float

outside of ourselves
leaving this heavyweight world
~~we are featherweight~~

Switchfoot’s FLOAT video


Is it in my shell, or in my core?
Have I neglected to mention the rare
Barbecue in 1982? What’s wrong with me?
Even if I don’t speak of it, can’t you taste
The smoke in my throat, smell it on my lips?
It’s like a burning fire shut up in my bones.
And even when the sun sears for days,

And even when the breast of the moon
Leaves me lonely I can’t stop chewing
On the heft of it. Beside myself, –
On dirt roads, on top of silo barns,
Beside trickling brooks, in another place
Where rednecks huff on their harmonicas.
This heart is hot within me, –

[Fire from a different sun for Real Toads]

Kansas in August

I’m the first born, so I pull chairs into circle formation.
I receive them: daughters, brothers, cousins, forgotten Aunts.
We gather around the punch bowl, chocolates wrapped in gold,
And the Texas sheet cake. Shiny gooey squares sitting on little red plates.
The strawberry slices on top look like hearts, or not,
But we support their 50 bitter and sweet years of marriage.
I pose them, because they never had the chance.
Hand-in-hand, in front of these witnesses
Mom cries through her repeat-after-me vows.
And when the officiant asks what 1 + 1 is
My Dad says “one” just as clear as day.
It’s finally adding up to be something absolute.

A “Plus One” poem for Poetic Asides

Baby Naming Ceremony

Cock your head
To say it right
And don’t you worry
If it’s right
(It might be all wrong)

Don’t despise your name
Because it will find you
In the House of Bread
It has to be this way
Such is your friendship

Not of the Dead Sea
Not of your father
What’s your father?

Ruth the Moabite for Real Toads

Infinite Abyss Scene In a Hush-Hush Library

Nothing can hurt me now.
Not people and their poky faces,
Not their happy places, -not their love-
Making-believing, bright eyes.
I’m unwilling. Hungering.
Something so cavernous that
My stomach falls in on itself,
Because I don’t have a frame.
I’m a see-through, – sleepwalker,
A paperback no(body) checks out.
Purposefully irretrievable.

for Real Toads

Galaxy Wheel

I’m always walking with you, -ignoring needed chiropractic adjustments. Never mind that, because all at once the meadow starts ruminating over the fires still smoldering past camel hill. Audaciously, you shoot your finger to the moon as if you’ve discovered a curious thing. I’m taken by the brighter star. Dear God, when will our necks ever align? Still, – every day we’re more honest with ourselves. We tie our tongues, and lace our shoes.

here, inside of us
the whole sky and galaxy, –
two divining lights

for dVerse