“Eve, Less One Decision” (Sharing an original poem.)

Greetings from the dead of night, my friends. Tonight, I have an old poem to share, for those of you who may have an interest in readings such things. It just occurred to me that I haven’t shared original work in ages, and I know that some of you are subscribed here because of my poems. This one’s for you! (And you, and you, and you.)

I wrote this short poem in 2002.

Eve, Less One Decision

She looked to see if her reflection was chance.

But the stillness was there –
she bent to take a drink.
Above the agitated circles of his vision
there was the sleek tube of scales
sliding near, and she, the skeptic,

named this for her own doubting mind,
said, Viper, return us as leaf shadows
on tin awnings, crisp and certain;
or as the sky in rust, defined as the cracked
blood on the ground. Return us
as rain.

Such precision could cast us back in.
It could revolutionize everything.

(the end.)

Happy Friday Eve, my friends.

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 13

You’re at a party, and someone goes up to a blank wall and writes a thought on one line… a thought, an idea, or a picture lyrically or narratively stated. They walk away, and another person goes to the wall. They read the line of text and follow it up with a line of their own, a response. A third person approaches the wall and reads the last line written, just that one line, and then they write a single line in response to that. Finally, you go to the wall. You read the last line only – the one written by the person who’d just left – and you pen your response in a single line below it. Now you’re the last person; someone else will come along and read what you wrote and respond to it in kind.

When everyone at the party has written their line, when there’s no one left to add a new thought, the collected lines are read as a single, complete poem. It was written by each person in the room, line by line. And that, my friends, is how you play the Surrealists’ Exquisite Corpse party game.

Longtime friends in this space, you’ve now seen as many as 12 Exquisite Corpse poems here, and you know that I harvest the lines from Craigslist’s Missed Connections section. I very rarely find myself socializing with a group of people, so I visit Missed Connections online and take liberties, with gratitude: I borrow the entries’ subject lines that strike me in some kind of way, and I arrange them in a manner that pleases me. Then I post them here for you to read, of course.

And now, having arrived at the point, I’ll share the 13th poem in my Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse series. This is also my first Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem of 2022! We’re on the cusp of Valentine’s Day weekend, and this collection of MC subject lines allowed me to create a small lyric somewhat appropriate for the occasion – appropriate, albeit sad.

Enjoy this poem of 15 lines written by 15 complete strangers:

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 13

Missed you at the park,
Train ride about six years ago,
Late Happy Birthday.
I know this is wishful thinking,
Just me,
Just a sad sack…
If you missed me, then I missed you,
Heart inside out.
You looked back twice.
I’m not supposed to miss you, but I do,
Singing in the night.
Meant to keep it casual –
What a strange and interesting way,
Entangled in you.

The End, and also the beginning, my friends… of a weekend that I hope will be positively memorable to you, whether related to St. Valentine or not.

My pain is gone, and (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 12)

I had updates for you tonight, the main one being that my back & shoulder & neck stopped hurting when I stopped using a pillow, but… actually, yes, that is something I want to share. At the height of that whole ordeal with my upper back, the pain grew so terrible that it woke me up one night, and I intuitively pushed my pillow away. I was more than half asleep and hardly realized that I was doing it, but in the morning, my pain was mostly gone, and then I saw that I’d slept on the flat mattress and my pillow was way off to the side and I remembered what I’d done, and it was A Moment of understanding. I’ve been sleeping pillowless since then, and my pain is completely gone!

So I guess that’s all it was. My body (dramatically) rejected my pillow at the same time that it rejected the body products I was using. Now I’ve changed everything, and all of that discomfort has gone away. But man, was it intense and awful. Sincere thanks to you who offered suggestions in messages.

At any rate, I was just going to write about this conclusion to my pain ordeal, and then I decided to open my Missed Connections document to revisit the gems I’d stored away over the last few months.

For you who don’t know, what I do is I collect the (Craigslist) Missed Connections subject lines that strike me as I’m browsing the list of posts, and after a while, I put them together to form a poem. I present the poem here so you, too, can marvel at the random things people write in Missed Connections subject lines. I’ve based this series of poems on the Surrealist game called the “Exquisite Corpse” in which each player writes one creative line based on the previous line written by the previous person. At the end of the game, all of the lines are revealed, and the poem emerges.

Likewise, this poem that I’m sharing tonight was written by random strangers, one line per person. This particular “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” poem is exceptionally short. It’s just a little lyric, and it’s one of my favorites. I just think it’s really sweet and sad and current and profound, and all of the credit goes to the anonymous writers of the Missed Connections posts. I didn’t add or take away any punctuation this time, as I sometimes do.

Without further ado, may I present:

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 12

I gave my best smile
To the moon
Three or four years ago
The truth
Your cat’s name was Misty
You needed a basket at Trader Joe’s
I’m sorry I gave you the virus

Have a wonderful week’s end, my friends.

On the inside, looking out. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 11)

Friday morning, a screw fell to the floor when I opened my front door to leave the house. Saturday morning, I sent a couple of texts. Hours later, a person came over and took some measurements. Long story short: My new front door will be ready for installation in about four weeks.

Meanwhile, the door person will come back on Monday to fabricate a temporary fix on the door frame, enabling me to not only close the front door, but to lock it, too! Brilliant!

Because currently, the door doesn’t close. It can’t, because there’s nothing on the door frame to hold it in. The door frame is cracked and warped and crumbling. The part where the locks would bolt to hold the door shut look like they’ve been chewed up by rats. The screw fell out because the thread by which it’d been hanging finally broke.

So I’ve got dumbbells to equal 150 lbs (all I have in the house… there are more in the garage) strategically placed to keep the door closed and to make a potential intruder work for it at least a little. Thank the divine for the security screen door on the outside!

I guess these shenanegans make for good practice, right? After this, I’ll be a seasoned pro when it comes to shoring up for the ol’ zombie apocalypse.

Speaking of zombies, let’s talk about corpses. Exquisite corpses, that is. The exquisite corpse! A collection of lines of poetry, each one written by a stranger. It was February – Valentine’s Day, to be precise – the last time I posted a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. The people writing in Missed Connections these days have not let me down. I love the way the subject lines work together! There are 21 lines in this poem, meaning that it was written by 21 strangers who had no idea that they were writing poetry when they filled in those subject lines.

[On a technical note: I’ll sometimes add punctuation as I arrange the Missed Connections subject lines. This time, I did not. No punctuation.]

Without further ado, then:

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 11

I enjoyed our conversation
Girl with the pinecone necklace
Green top, black leggings, brown dog

Metaphysical section at Barnes & Noble
The Nonfiction Section
From a wise human being to another
your energy is beautiful
My Daytime Goddess
Forest nymph
Star child
My sky
when I left your dog followed me

Hocus pocus

We vibed to your music
I should have told you I loved you
I’m always looking for you
Years not months
Walking down the highway
Waiting for the rail

With that, I wish you all well! Until we meet again, my friends.

Valentine’s Day! (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 10)

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend, and I could think of no better way to celebrate the holiday than to gift myself some chocolate and watch a twisted Valentine’s Day horror B-movie. I caught Into the Dark: Down on Hulu for some standard low-budget “stuck in an elevator with a psycho stalker over Valentine’s Day weekend” entertainment. It was perfect.

Also, I enjoyed sifting through my collection of Missed Connections subject lines to put together a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. I don’t need to say “Valentine’s Day edition,” because every day is Valentine’s Day for people who post in Missed Connections. It’s the nature of MC to attract the lonely and the wistful and the starry-eyed. Valentine’s Day is as much for the lovelorn as it is for lovers, after all.

These MCEC poems are always written by others, as you regular readers know. I’ve simply adopted the habit of browsing the Craigslist section every day or every other day to pluck out any subject lines that may catch my eye.

Many thanks to the 16 anonymous writers who posted to Missed Connections with these subject lines!


Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 10

We’ve met twice
Black Dress at Casa Corazon
In red at The Desert Diamond Casino
Want to get to know you

Saw you last evening
Flashing headlights
You drove by and said “thanks….”
Stop light confession

Crossed paths in hallway
About a month ago
It was magic

Lost you in Belvidere
While we were walking
A dart on a map
Truly missed….


Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends.

p.s. Happy Birthday, Arizona, you great state 48, you! 109 years old on Valentine’s Day!



Exquisite Corpse poem using TALC search terms!

So I came up with a weird little poem that I absolutely love. I don’t have to be modest about it, because you’re the ones who wrote the lines… you whose internet search terms brought you here, if any of “you” are still here, that is.

I put this together at the suggestion of Caroline, who ventured that it might be fun to craft an exquisite corpse poem out of my blog’s search terms. A challenge! Thought I. Rather than the Missed Connections subject lines I glean from Craigslist, I’ll use your search terms.

She was right. It was fun.

I used many of the search terms I’d listed in my recent post, plus a few more that I found as I dug through hundreds and hundreds going back to 2012.

Oh, and if you recognize your words in this poem, worry not, for I have no knowledge of your identity… no idea who you are, where you are, or anything else. All I can see are the terms, themselves. These caught my eye for one reason or another, so thank you.

My own contributions to the poem are some punctuation marks, capitalizations, and spelling corrections along with the words “and,” “not,” “because,” and “with.” All the rest is all you.


From the Hundreds: Search Term Exquisite Corpse

Night fury,
dead boy in love,

body disposal scene with acid.

Trilogy of terror:
Palm tree roaches,
Reacher’s creatures,
flesh-eating bacteria.

Mandingo vs asian chick:
industrial dance boy.
Hydrogen peroxide vs flesh:
rob zombie clown.
Aristotle on minimalism:
ezema ginka porn.

Is body combat good for martial arts fitness?
Does hydrogen peroxide kill flesh-eating bacteria?
Does hydrogen peroxide eat away at your flesh?
The dude
is not in
leave a message


ukulele jokes.

What do you get when you cross a flamingo
with dinner short horror?

Velociraptor! save doors –
Panic! at the disco –
Panic! at the Costco –

because orange is the new black, and

(cactus with long sharp thick spikes)

Asians’ selfies in mirror….

Flavor that comes from an insect.
Polar lights headless horseman.
Ex machina Asian.





Little poems written by strangers. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 9)

It’s midnight here, as it often is when I post. Tonight, I’m happy to come bearing a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. What is this, you newer friends may ask? As longer-time readers know, I periodically browse the Missed Connections section of Craigslist and pull out the subject lines that strike me as interesting for any reason. Eventually, I fit them together to create a poem. I’m essentially a harvester in the MC section, gathering the choice subject lines. Words are my jam.

There are 36 lines in the nine stanzas below. This means that 36 strangers wrote this poem, each one unknowingly contributing a line. In the case of this poem, the four-line stanzas are like little stand-alone poems, unrelated to each other.

Everyone is writer, is what this practice reveals to me time and time again… and I marvel at this.

Let’s get on with it, then! Here’s the ninth MCEC poem I’ve created, all credit going to the strangers who wrote the lines:


Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 9



You were my tech at the hospital
I was your driver
You were on your phone &
you liked my hat



Saw you on the trail at Dreamy Draw
White horse
Thank you for breakfast



If you remember
You were homeless and on the street
You said you liked my shirt
“Angel Fire”



Met cute scientist at power plant
COVID testing
Two times
looking for…



Gal in line at mailbox place
Cinnamon Girl Smart and Final Friday Night
The young lady sitting in the front row of a comedy show
Runner with red eyes



You have a dog Lola
99c Sunday poodle
Exchanged glances while you jogged
you live in the neighborhood



Sweet smile at cruisers
You wore a kimono and cork clogs
In town visiting
Football fan at Harbor Freight



Vintage CD player for use
Empty house



miss you
Chevron ballerina
Driving to Los Angeles
Run away train never coming back


Take care, friends.



Message in a bottle. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 8)

I’m a Missed Connections skeptic. I don’t believe that people recognize themselves when they read Missed Connections, and I’d bet that the writers know their messages won’t be found by their intended recipients. A Missed Connections posting seems to be more like a message in a bottle, doesn’t it? The writer throws it out there and hopes that anyone finds it and reads it. It seems like a lonely kind of thing to do.

Woman in the Porche with a nail in the tire from Vegas

I love how the writer tells us so much here. We have a woman in a car, and we know what kind of car it is. There’s something wrong with the car, and we know what. We don’t know whether the nail in the tire is from Vegas, or if the woman herself is from Vegas (dangling participle problems), but regardless, Vegas is involved and named as a location. That’s a lot of info in just twelve words.

For those of you unfamiliar with my Exquisite Corpse series, here’s my standard explanation:

To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that I find intriguing in some way, and then I arrange them into a shape that pleases me.

Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections.


Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 8

I’m tired
Goodwill cashier and vinyl lover
Dark hair woman with skeleton mask
Cute woman in the hazmat suit
Cute guy who walks around the park
Hotel pool
Pain Clinic

You changed the creamer for me
You waved at me at our apartment complex
Exchanged glances while you jogged
You were getting gas on 3rd St and Thomas at 1130pm
Let’s go fast

Woman in the Porche with a nail in the tire from Vegas
I Saw You
Dancing in Gold Canyon




Sign of the times. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 7)

For tonight’s post, I come bearing a little collection of subject lines gleaned from the Missed Connections section of Craigslist. If you’ve been here a while, you’re familiar.

It was in April, my last Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem.

For this seventh poem in my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” series, I expected to find more of the wistfulness that came through in April, but rather, there’s more desperation. I tried to side-step that. I still wound up with the mood you’ll find in the lines collected below. It’s important, though, this mood.

For those of you unfamiliar with this series of poems:

To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that intrigue me in some way… then I arrange them into a shape that makes sense to me. (My standard explanation)

Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections. (My standard disclaimer)

Also, here’s a reiteration of April’s note: I left all punctuation (and lack thereof) exactly the way I found it. I felt that letting the lines stand alone and untouched made the final poem feel more apt for the times.

I do want to say one thing in particular about this curation! The Missed Connections subject line I chose for the opening intrigues me; in the Before Time, “phone girlfriend” didn’t have the pandemic application that it does today. These lines created a short poem that invokes doom, desperation, and the past. It’s a mood, as I said. It’s a time capsule of a sort.


Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 7

Phone girlfriend wanted
Music at bar
6Blocks away

Before the gyms were closed
We both saved two dollars
We shared the room last time I was in town

i was next to you high limit blackjack wild horse casino
Sarcasm, whiskey and ink
I doubt it

you told me something was hanging from my car
Hearse with the WATERBEDS signage
Still can’t believe you were there

Smoking car
Body in SCW
Nirvana Dispensary 11ish




Coronapocalypse quarantine week 5. (Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 6)

On “missed connections” during a pandemic:

With everyone in quarantine, there would either be more missed connections than usual, or less, depending on how you look at it.

The last time I did a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem was in January, back in the Before Time. Just. We were on the brink, and we didn’t know it.

Be that as it may, for this sixth poem in my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” series,  I read through the Missed Connections listings on Craigslist and gleaned some lines that came together in a poem that seems more wistful to me than ever.

For those of you unfamiliar with this series of poems:

To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that intrigue me in some way… then I arrange them into a shape that makes sense to me. (My standard explanation)

Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections. (My standard disclaimer)

A note about this particular poem: This time, I left all punctuation (and lack thereof) exactly the way I found it. I felt that letting the lines stand alone and untouched made the final poem feel more apt for the times.


Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 6

To the person who paid for my coffee
I broke your key in your car door
Where is our joke for today?

Saw you at the stoplight
Saw you down by the fountain
You were jogging at Tempe Town Lake

Full moon festival we danced together all night

Where are you

Seeking a friend for the end

U Haul
The extra mile
Years ago

Sad but True
Burning building
Where I took you last weekend

My last customer


[credit: esoteric_guru]


The End.



Sumo Haiku 4: Last (Kisenosato, Abi, Hakuho, Takayasu) (Sharing original poems.)

With this last posting day of the month comes my final set of Sumo Haiku. If you’ve stuck with me for all four days of this little event, thank you!

In addition to devoting these days to haiku for NaHaiWriMo, I was hoping to make Sumo interesting in a novel way for those who aren’t fans. I’ve only been a fan for three years, so I know how different it can be to regard these guys as humans among us, out and about. Let’s face it: If you’re not a Sumo fan and you’ve no knowledge of Sumo’s traditions, what you likely see of the sport is a bunch of obese men in diapers trying to push each other out of a sandbox. I hope I’ve managed to bring some personality into this perception, if nothing else!


If you haven’t seen it already, click here to read Sumo Haiku Day One with its introductory, explanatory opening text. I’ll go ahead and re-post the disclaimer part here, though:

[DISCLAIMER: In these haiku, you’ll read purely fictitious portrayals of the wrestlers, simple whims of my imagination as I considered each one. I actually know nothing of the inner lives and selves of these guys.]

I’ll introduce each haiku with the name and photo of the wrestler. The haiku about that wrestler will appear beneath his photo.

That being said, enjoy this last set of Sumo Haiku!

Sumo Haiku 4: Last (Kisenosato, Abi, Hakuho, Takayasu)

(by Kristi Garboushian)


  1. Kisenosato

Satisfying his
pressing need for clarity
requires nine days.


2. Abi

Energy bound in
slim sheets of stationery:


3. Hakuho

He met a guy who
knows a guy who will purchase
his grandmother’s urn.


4. Takayasu

Thunder clouds lifting
the earth on a planet turned
upside-down, shining.

The End, and Happy Friday Eve, my friends!

Sumo Haiku 3: Third (Ishiura, Ikioi, Sokokurai, Nishikigi) (Sharing original poems.)

It’s my hope that you’re enjoying these sumo haiku as much as I’m enjoying writing them, even if you’re not a part of a cross-over, niche world of readers who are both haiku and sumo fans. Whether you’re one of those or the other (or neither), I’m happy to introduce you to some of these combat athletes as they appear out in the world – in actual clothing, no less! (Pun not intended.)

Today is the third day of my Sumo Haiku project. Thursday will be the last TALC posting day of February. NaHaiWriMo will be over, my next post will consist of February Favorites, and then I have some newsy-news for you that I can’t wait to share!

If you haven’t seen it already, click here to read Sumo Haiku Day One with its introductory, explanatory opening text. I’ll go ahead and re-post the disclaimer part here, though:

[DISCLAIMER: In these haiku, you’ll read purely fictitious portrayals of the wrestlers, simple whims of my imagination as I considered each one. I actually know nothing of the inner lives and selves of these guys.]

I’ll introduce each haiku with the name and photo of the wrestler. The haiku about that wrestler will appear beneath his photo.

Have at it!

Sumo Haiku 3: Third (Ishiura, Ikioi, Sokokurai, Nishikigi)

(by Kristi Garboushian)


  1. Ishiura

Self-conscious, he keeps
room for flexibility
in his bright jacket.


2. Ikioi

takes out-of-season fables
from spring libraries.


3. Sokokurai

Possesses secret
talent for dance instruction
willed to him at birth.


4. Nishikigi

Goal for the new year:
enchant beasts of granite strength
with handfuls of stars.

Sumo Haiku 2: Second (Terunofuji, Kaisei, Daishomaru, Okinoumi) (Sharing original poems.)

Whether you’re a faithful reader or just someone who stumbled into this space, welcome to the second day of my Sumo Haiku project!

I’m enjoying this project. I would love for others to see and appreciate the beauty of Sumo as well as that of haiku.

If you haven’t seen it already, click here to read Sumo Haiku Day One with its introductory, explanatory opening text. I’ll go ahead and re-post the disclaimer part here, though:

[DISCLAIMER: In these haiku, you’ll read purely fictitious portrayals of the wrestlers, simple whims of my imagination as I considered each one. I actually know nothing of the inner lives and selves of these guys.]

I’ll introduce each haiku with the name and photo of the wrestler. The haiku about that wrestler will appear beneath his photo.


Sumo Haiku 2: Second (Terunofuji, Kaisei, Daishomaru, Okinoumi)

(by Kristi Garboushian)


  1. Terunofuji

Ancestral fighter
redolent of sandalwood:
the older brother.


2. Kaisei

No expectations.
He doesn’t want to offer
anything that asks.


3. Daishomaru

…adores reading and
inviting consequences
into rooms of art.


4. Okinoumi

He looks in their eyes
like he’s gazing at his death.
He rarely wears gold.

Sumo Haiku 1: First Four (Mitakeumi, Endo, Tochinoshin, Asanoyama) (Sharing original poems.)

In February 2016, I started writing a series of haiku, some of which I posted here in TALC. I didn’t post all 76 of the haiku I wrote between February and August that year, but I did share a few, each accompanied by a photo.

It’s now February four years later. Considering that February is National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo) and that the next Grand Sumo Tournament (basho) is less than three weeks away, I wanted to write some haiku about Sumo. Haiku is a Japanese poetic form. Sumo is Japan’s national sport. I’m a big fan of both.

Sumo-related haiku could come from any number of angles, but what came to my mind in a moment of reflection was the idea of imagining the inner lives and selves of Sumo wrestlers (rikishi), like when you’re people-watching and your need for amusement spawns backstories for some of the humans you notice.

I selected my 16 favorite Sumo wrestlers with the intention of creating fictional personas for each of them. Between now and the end of the month – there are four more TALC posting days in February – you’ll see four haiku sets, each containing four haiku about four different wrestlers, one for each of them. The poems are short, as haiku traditionally consist of 17 syllables distributed across three lines. (I personally enjoy working within this tradition.)

Some of you are here for the poetry. Some of you might be Sumo fans, but I’m guessing that most of you are not. For those of you who’ve no special affection for either poetry or Sumo… yes, I went and combined the two! Thank you for bearing with me here today, and, in advance, on Thursday, and also on next week Tuesday and Thursday. [::sheepish grin::]

[DISCLAIMER: In these haiku, you’ll read purely fictitious portrayals of the wrestlers, simple whims of my imagination as I considered each one. I actually know nothing of the inner lives and selves of these guys.]

I’ll introduce each haiku with the name and photo of the wrestler. The haiku about that wrestler will appear beneath his photo.


Sumo Haiku 1: First Four (Mitakeumi, Endo, Tochinoshin, Asanoyama)

(by Kristi Garboushian)


  1. Mitakeumi

Maybe he believes
that evil fairies exist,
love notwithstanding.


  1. Endo

“He’s the pretty one” –
I think, Goth, black eye-liner,
cold night, street light mist.


  1. Tochinoshin

Mountains wake and roar
ten minutes into his sound
sleep. He’ll sometimes dream.


  1. Asanoyama

Perhaps amber ale.
Watery, late-summer fruit.

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 5

I wanted to do this thing (you know the thing, if you’ve been here a while) where I take to Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” section to find interesting word choices and turns of phrase in the entries’ subject lines. I was also feeling in the mood for haiku tonight… so I did both. I found it necessary to break up some of the lines in order to fit the 5-7-5 syllable limit for the three lines of each haiku; aside from that and some added punctuation here and there, I can claim no credit for these little poems. The lines were written by strangers, simply plucked out and cobbled together by Yours Truly.
Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 5
Where is she, the girl
with the galaxy tattoo
cozy at the bank?
Glendale glitters dawn.
We used to ride together –
gift of a lifetime –
You cut my hair. Still
can’t stop thinking about you.
Sweetwater, Sweetheart.
Breakfast! We had two
variations of the same
Looking for you. You
(a girl) were driving on Wow,
driving to Vegas…
Missing you for her,
mutual casino friend.
“Miss our talks, Cupcake.”
Poker player, your
Obama phone was stolen.
The most frightful time.
Walked by you Tuesday.
I hope I see you again.
You liked my – I saw –

“Less One Decision on the Eve of a New Year” (Sharing an original poem.)

I don’t know about you, but it’s New Year’s Eve where I am. 2020! We’ve reached a new decade!

In the spirit of celebration and on this occasion of reflection, I have New Year’s greetings (delivered by Nenette) and an original poem, respectively.

Less One Decision on the Eve of a New Year

You looked to see if your reflection was chance.

The stillness was there –
you bent to take a drink.
Above the agitated circles of your vision
there was the sleek tube of scales
sliding near and you, the skeptic,

named this for your own doubting mind.
You said, Viper, return us as leaf-shadows
on tin awnings, crisp and certain,
or as the sky in rust, defined as the cracked
blood on the ground. Return us
as rain.

Such precision could cast us back in.
It could revolutionize everything.


May 2020 bring out the best in us all.

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 4

Since this blog tends to cycle around various topics, I thought of what I haven’t done in a while. I post a lot of gym updates. I do a lot of general updates. I’ve written a couple of movie reviews lately. I’m overdue for a Geronimo (Sonoran desert tortoise) update, but there’s not much to report right now because I don’t see him often enough in this heat! Geronimo comes out ready to rock during summer storms, but it hasn’t rained much… I read yesterday that the last time we had such a dry summer was in 1988. They’re calling this year’s monsoon season the “Non-soon.”

It’s been a while since I’ve written a mental health update, but I do plan to do one in the near future. We’ve also got writing updates, office updates, pretty much you name it, etcetera, plus random thoughts and story-time posts.

Today, though, I come bearing a Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse poem. The last time I did one was in May.

For this fourth poem in my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” series,  I have a short lyric that’s as wistful and whimsical as the previous poems in this series.

Standard explanation: To create these poems, I skim through the list of Missed Connections entries on Craigslist and pick out the subject lines that intrigue me in some way. Then I arrange them into a shape that makes sense to me. This is actually a great creative writing exercise, I’ve found! I don’t change anything in these lines except for obvious typos (“sic” would disrupt the poem), neither do I alter punctuation or caps.

Standard disclaimer: Credit goes to those strangers who unwittingly dropped wonderful bits of poetry in Missed Connections for me to gather and combine.

Without further ado:


Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 4

Long ago and oh so far away
Night Swimming
Floating past on the lazy river
Where the wild things are…

Furniture Guy
Hiking the mountain
Card players
Sitting on bed in the bed of a white truck
dispensary chick
In and out
Plasma worker

just fun

Hey neighbor….



Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 3

You know what makes my day sometimes? Missed Connections on Craigslist. I love this collection of writing, these strangers posting missives to one another.

It’s the entries’ titles that interest me, because those are the hooks. When I come across an entry titled “Asparagus Whisperer,” I smile. Not enough can be said of spontaneous smiling! When you’re alone at your computer and you smile out of amusement or affection, it’s genuine. A heartfelt smile intended for no one is a gift to yourself.

I went to Craigslist Missed Connections today and was rewarded, I guess, by the season… people seem to have been especially inspired by each other lately.

So here – I suppose this really has become something of a series! – I’ve collected my favorite hooks gleaned from about a month’s worth of Missed Connections entries. Credit goes to these strangers who unwittingly stopped by to drop bits of poetry for me to gather and combine.

I’ve probably explained this before, but again for you newer readers: I don’t change anything in these entry titles, save for obvious typos, as “(sic)” would muddy up the poem. I don’t add or change punctuation or caps. All I do is quickly skim through the entries and pick out the titles that intrigue me in some way, and I copy/paste them into a Word document.


Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 3

Hello, we met in the psych ward.
you switched to pharmacology after seeing a psychic
“They” say tue change purse has all the answers

Punk rock dude on 7th ave and indian school.
Serving up delicious pie
From Albuquerque to Vegas via Phoenix

Cruisin 7th. You took money for the show
Looking For the Classic Beauty at White Mountain Dispensary on 4/20

Asparagus Whisperer
Missing that comic book girlie
Studying Spanish

Thoughtful woman who stopped at the Clean Freak
Looking for Michael the Bearded Bartender
Silver Cadillac on cave creek

Looking for my up, up, and away
Missed and missing still

Woman crying in car
I was at the movies alone – you were too.


La Fin.



Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 2

People usually go to Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” looking to find themselves in the entries. I go to look for people who expose themselves as poets in the lyrical titles they write.

Many of you seemed to appreciate my “Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse” post, so I thought I’d peruse Missed Connections again to curate another one! It’s a joy to look through the entry titles with a poem in mind.

Enjoy this poem written by strangers, for strangers:

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse, 2

It’s Raining in Mesa
Almost forgot the keys

Crimson lips and glasses
90’s Movie Moment in Safeway
Peaches n cream
Blueberries Everywhere!

Remembering “Red Velvet”
Missing our literature discussions
Do you like art?
Did you make the most of it?



“I should” (Sharing an original poem.)

I knew. I heard you. You’ve been wanting a poetry post!

For something different and heretofore unseen in this space, I’m posting a form poem. That’s right: for today’s dug-up offering, I’ve got this poem I wrote in a grad school forms course. There’s actual rhyming in this poem, which most post-modern poets wouldn’t deign to write… they didn’t back in the early aughts, at least.

One of our assigned tasks in the forms course was to write a sonnet, and I do mean the standard English kind (iambic pentameter, 14 lines, three quatrains and a couplet).

It’s more difficult to do than you’d think.

I ended up with a sort of dark comedy in sonnet form. There’s something about a sonnet that brings out a degree of elevated language in conjunction with a built-in silliness, which I blame on Shakespeare. I thought I’d share this “gem” with you today. Also, I recently learned how to single-space within a WordPress post, which makes me wont to post more poems. Aren’t you lucky!

This one is called “I Should” ~Enjoy.

I Should

have known… when music caught my dream about
the street whose light emits from your garage.
When burns exposed the candlestick in house
arrest and prison sentence – more to dodge

– and stands of trees between o’clocks unpinned
themselves from dark alarms of your “awake.”
The only songs beneath the violin’s
remains are moments – those I need to take,

my blindfold off in order to see clear
the ash I’d presupposed, botanical
and all. Smoke that disappeared
before the instrumental, vagrant lull
resurfaced, asking for a newer room…
as I have wanted back the winter moon.

the end.

Mayhaps I took a small liberty or two with the form, but that’s what we’d call “creative license.” Or something like that.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse.

In recovery news: I’ve been good! Better. Normal life resumes in a week. We did have to cancel our travel plans for Thanksgiving, unfortunately, but the bright side is that there’s always next year.

The last time I went out was when I stopped by Target after going to the doctor that day I got my rest orders. It was funny… I had to ask a young Target employee a question and then apologize for my low and raspy voice when I realized that I was barely comprehensible. She replied, “That’s okay. Were you screaming at a concert last night?”

I was vaguely pleased that someone would think I’d been screaming at a concert rather than recovering my voice from laryngitis.

Anyway, I wanted to share a poem today, but something different.

I have an old and intermittent habit of browsing Craigslist’s Missed Connections section for its wonderful, quirky lines of poetry left by people who don’t realize that they’re poets. Just scanning the first lines down the entry list reminds me of the Exquisite Corpse exercises we did in my graduate creative writing program.

I thought it would be interesting to put together a little Exquisite Corpse poem authored by strangers who left these first lines on Craigslist. I copied a random line, pasted it in, then quickly scrolled to another line (without thinking of the previous line) and copied it to paste in after the first, and so on. I grouped the lines into couplets, but I changed nothing. I didn’t add or take away punctuation marks or caps. I left the wording alone. All I did was copy, paste, and group the lines in twos.

The result… a poem written by strangers:

Missed Connections Exquisite Corpse

The Cowboy
Tammy plus 20 years ago

I miss our connection
Remember me?

Cowboy in St. John’s…
Noticed each other driving, said what’s up

Guy 58
You were drunk, dressed like a unicorn and hopping on one leg

Spirit Halloween store Salvador Dali
Looking for the DJ from the Freakshow

AZ warrior
Neon on a Friday

At the airport…
back after long summer

The girl with the pink hair
queen creek blonde pink streaks

Looking for girl at Wild Horse Pass
Your car broke down. You used my phone.



From the “new poems” file. (Haiku 18: Regime) (Sharing original poems.)

Two years ago, I started writing haiku (poems) in sets of four. I stopped when I started work on my novel, and I’ve picked it up again now that the novel’s finished… in addition to the longer poems I’ve been writing, that is.

These haiku sets adhere to the classic three-line, 5-7-5 syllable count, with the four haiku centering on a single theme. This is just the way I’ve been working with the form. I’ve taken liberties with it. With each theme, I’m basically writing a poem with four stanzas that happen to follow haiku structure.

Anyway! I know I’d said I would no longer publish new work here, but it seems I’ve been doing it again, so here you go – today, I’m sharing “Regime,” one of my recently written haiku sets.


Haiku 18: Regime

Kristi Garboushian, August 11, 2018


Vision: thresholds lost,
kindnesses overtaken,
old pockets ripping.


Possibly, maybe
likely – blind faith severing
children’s daisy crowns.


Redwoods on fire.
Semiotics gone awry.
Glass of cabernet.


Otherwise in thrall.
Spinal columns buried deep
beneath lost cities.

roses (23 August 2018)

“Fallen Meditation” (Sharing an original poem.)

I write poems when I’m speechless, or otherwise at a loss for words whether spoken or not. This one is a re-write. I’ll just leave it here.

Fallen Meditation

I sit down to write a letter.

What I know from experience,
comfort a step off O Luxurious
a posteriori
where the realm of having-done
remarks to the inner sensibility
sensible enough to ask,

How is this known. How is that known.

– what was known before.

The door may offer possibilities:
it may swing open, or shut, or it may
start to close, then stop,
fall off its hinges into the “room of things known”

open for inspection, analysis,
asking what is this. An answer
tearing quietly through the air we breathe
toward how is this known, how is that known.

Other things coming through the doorway:
A nudge of ants.
A file of drizzle.
Second-hand smoke.

I sit down to write a letter.

What I know from experience:
Train. Open window. Night.
Unconscious and literal, the answer might be
my desk next to the window, a railroad
track going past, which I’ve come to expect,
love, the shaking of its rails
east, west –

What I mean to tell you is this:
when I sit down at my desk,
the window next to me is already open,
already the cool and dark star-glint, and since
I’m in some state of undress when writing at night,
all flickering finds my skin
open to gusts passing
probably to Quartzsite.

Anyway a train
stirs the air and the three become sublime –
train, open window, night – and then
I know why

and what I wanted to say.

What I do know.
What the aperture in the wall excludes from oblivions
more realized and independent of anyone’s
search for answers.
Nothing some particular.
Nothing some concept,
what kindred body of problem – what
passes through here, what filled the room before passing,
no longer known.

Look at it looking at itself –

then the phenomenon losing interest,
wandering out,
leaving muddy footprints where rain
moistened the tile.

(collage I made c. 2003)

“The Beast of Romance” (Sharing an original poem.)

I re-wrote an older poem of mine and thought I’d share it here today.

Let me re-phrase: I didn’t “re-write” this poem. I added two words… two words that I’d originally included, then removed at the suggestion of one of my MFA committee members. Reading it decades later, I wondered why I’d acquiesced. In most cases, I saw the light when a professor brought it to my attention. In other cases, I resisted. Acquiescing after resisting doesn’t mean that you want to do it. It means that you do it even though you don’t want to. You finally just do it. It’s the path of least resistance. Years later, you might look back and feel exactly the way you did before you acquiesced.

Especially if the matter was something profound, like two words. If it’s just giving in to Chinese food when you wanted Mexican, not so much.

Here’s the restored poem. The pic beneath it shows the printed version minus the line… the line missing its words.

The Beast of Romance

The camel fills what she emptied by lifting
a hoof, sand leveling the prints
across the dune to a vanishing –
the risk on the left with the right’s deflection.

When I decided to remove
myself from all of your embraces,
the sky wore its palm-stricken eclipse,
the circular ghost breaking into song, lunatique,
pallid Clouds of Eleven
careening to our old green and white names.

Weighing-in takes precedence:
readable things stowed away like water
in her bony satchel of a hump.

There is always this necessity.

She relinquishes what
she has stored. She comes to court
with all the evidence
locked tight in the file of her flesh.

[The Beast of Romance 1st version, Kristi Garboushian, early oughts]

The End.

“…Nor There” (Sharing an original poem.)

This one is from 2011.

“…Nor There”

…Nor There

Mid-morning, the groom waits for the arborist
while gifts begin to arrive.
Two days ahead, the wedding sways the house,

the green sputter of early spring
draping the tree.

He knew he’d get caught in the scrolls of rain
running down to the roots. He wants the tree scraped clean.
He’ll ask the arborist
(if he ever shows up)
to make a quick peel of the bark
before everything dries.

He spends the next day
turning from the rustic to prepare the wedding
ceremony, rinsing his shirt,
wringing it on the rail, because it’s all he can do.

There’s nothing to be done
about the brassiere, the lacy red one,
her last conversation with him
hooked around the handle of the remaining suitcase,

at least she didn’t take all of her.
She left the halo of her voice,
her braided hair,
purple mouth, genitalia.

He thinks it happened
when she recognized the painted eggshell
as a favor.
He tries to take it back,

but she’s flown to the Himalayas
where she found ice reflecting a bride
poised with her soaked lungs
fueling the despondency of mountain goats.

In the crevasse, brindled in the cold,
she sets a lien on her bones
in the name of the groom
still waiting for the arborist’s call.
She separates her tendons,
weaves them into her shawl.

“Scene from a Traveling Play” (Sharing an original poem.)

I woke up thinking of this poem I’d written several years ago, then thought I’d re-write it and share it with you. This is my day: go to the gym, re-write a poem, feed a tortoise, play with a cat, work on a novel. There could be worse days.

Oh, and look for February Favorites next week Tuesday! The month ended before I could prepare. (Read: my time-management game left much to be desired these last few weeks.)

On with the poem, then.

Scene from a Traveling Play

Imagining you as a child: happy, climbing
a tree where you sit above the campfire
where your mother stirs
sunrise into wood beneath the flames.

If I were to sit next to you, I’d find the branch
no heavier with your lean form,
the pause before you take off like hundreds of birds,
weightless as sparks from the fire.

Years later, you’ll remember the moment you recognized
punk undertones in an Eagles song.

Later yet, you’ll find yourself startled to see the narrative
you’d left – you thought it’d flown off,
too, but it came back
before the wind could tear away the part
describing the fullness of the voice
your mother tried to keep.

You might be as tired as the ribcage of a boy
reaching upward through water, or tired with your eyes
dry in the desert city,
dry like horses
wild as news from town, the last thing you saw
before your canine pierced your tongue-tip –

dry like the cracked tooth, the crusted blood, the scarce rain –

dry like sepia grit and blur of hooves kicking to dust.
Dry like the hands of the last generation.

One thing’s for sure: you’re not an ember
burning slowly from air into the blindness of earth.
You’re the smolder of an oar dipping beneath
the water you’ll never forget.

“Harvest in Phases of Night” (Sharing another original poem.)

Revisiting some of my older work this morning, I came across a certain poem and decided to share it. I very rarely use this space to publish poetry previously unpublished, but for some reason, I wanted to share this one. This is for you who found me through poetry, you who enjoy poetry, and you who enjoy the art of words. I wrote “Harvest in Phases of Night” in 2011.

Harvest in Phases of Night

The old woman ought to be
guarding the flower beds,
not spilling from acres to plots
hawking for signs:
pumping blood, an earring of pulse,
a car in flame intersecting the right
passages of dark.

Later, flinging her tampered
sleep in the night, she opens
her eyes to the kettle detached,
spectators caught
overhanging the wood fire.

Before dawn, her three arms
have fallen asleep, the accidental one
blackened, smelling of gasoline;

she adjusts her blanket, keeps it close…
she waters the early
streets and telephone lines,
sparking fury and grail;

she says her crushed-metal
prayers at sunrise,
chewing breakfast of concrete
peeled from asphalt walks,
punishment for ignoring the grain,

her old shoe and its sole
gold for the wake,
nourishment boiling over.

The headline of the day passes
unnoticed by the draw,
by the brass shield clouding the tide –

the old woman’s spine a chain of goblets,
auric meningitis, dreadful error,
unfortunate ride down pitted roads.

By the time I get there
the next night,
she’s rid the yard of gawkers.
She’s doing penance,
threshing stalks, sugar cane,
wheat of heritable caution
under a half-moon.

She’s answering to the nobility
of chrysanthemums.
There are more ways than one
to crash an ending:

fitful meetings of burnt tire,
fragmented window, misfires of logic,
passion we’ve never imagined….

Ore and secrets. Who knows
what causes these accidents?

She sleeps while the killed
find their way to the sidewalk, stone above
sketches of lighting at midnight.

In the end, it’s garden
mower to traffic signal.
The moon makes the dying right.

by Kristi Garboushian, April 2011

[17 January 2018] [ETA: no filter… just weird lighting!]

Throw-back poem: “Pursuit 3”

Tomorrow, it’ll be exactly five months since I’ve posted a poem. Apologies to you who are here for poetry! As you may remember, I’m no longer posting new work here, so today I’ve got another early piece from my grad school days. “Pursuit 3” first appeared in one of those wonderful small, independent literary journals no longer in existence. The journal was The Lucid Stone.

The issue:



“Pursuit 3” (one of my two poems that appeared in this issue):


[“Pursuit 3” Kristi (now Garboushian) The Lucid Stone “A Quarterly of Poetry” Summer 2001, Issue No. 26]


(I drew that line through the “s” in “toward” because I didn’t intend for it to be there. I just noticed the typo now.)

As always, thank you for reading. I wish you all a creative day!

Lingering: A Ghost Story. (Non-review movie review!)

A Ghost Story isn’t a horror film, but it’s haunting nonetheless. It’s haunted my thoughts since we first saw it last week.



Why do some spirits choose an afterlife of haunting?

A Ghost Story  raises a multitude of questions. I might as well start with that one.

As far as haunted house movies go, I’ve never been compelled to consider the fate of the ghost, or how lonely it must be for a ghost tethered to his place of haunting. But then, I’d never seen a haunted house movie from the perspective of the ghost.

It’s a despondent ghost who’s unable to leave his place until he gets his answer, or achieves his goal, whatever that may be. Time glides endlessly and the ghost goes along with it. It’s the only dimension he can traverse.

Watching this movie was a profound cinematic experience.

We begin with a married couple, but we never learn their names. I suppose this is because the humans in their physical bodies are more or less props, there to set in motion a possibly infinite journey. In the middle of the film, another nameless person passes through to hold forth at a social gathering. The scene ends and we never see him again, but we’re left thinking.

We fall deeper into introspection. What does it mean to be alive, to exist? What does it mean to be not-alive?

We witness the pain of grieving, but we feel the ghost’s pain more than the pain of the one still living. It’s the bereft ghost whose story we follow.

A Ghost Story is a ghost’s story, yet the ghost is not the protagonist. If the film has a protagonist, it’s the place to which the ghost is fixed. Or it’s the universe. Or it’s time.

If the ghost has a voice, it’s the sheet he wears, its movement, folds, and appearance; even the shape of its eye-holes as they seem to alter with his emotion. That’s the thing about this ghost: he’s emotional, even to the point of throwing the occasional tantrum. The ghost’s sheet is his voice, and Daniel Hart’s exquisite musical score – the most sorrowful voice in the film – makes it devastating.

Thus, the driving forces of A Ghost Story are inhuman. And yet, in this inhumanity, we perceive the timeless plight of humanity. This is brilliant writing. It’s poetry.

In my humble opinion, writer and director David Lowery succeeded with his experiment in mixing mediums to tell his story. Film as poem, or poem as film? When a work of art is effectively both, it doesn’t matter how you assign its primary medium.

Speaking of mediums, I’ll touch again on the expressiveness of the ghost’s sheet, because its authority is so striking in its simplicity. I was fascinated by the way the ghost stands or sits still and turns only his head to look to the side or back, so the folds of his sheet twist with the turn. The effect is dramatic, and that is the point. Facing forward, but looking elsewhere, the ghost’s sheet conveys that he inhabits temporal realms in a transcendence of future and past. We can perceive the enormity of this by merely looking at the drape of a sheet.

A Ghost Story is a highly visual film. It’s maybe 80% silent movie, if not more so. As the ghost lingers, there’s lingering in the silence; we linger on what there is to see. There’s lingering in the sustained notes of the musical score.

There’s more I could say about the significance of music in this film, on how it helps to speak for the ghost, and why, but I’ll hold back. In this aspect, though, A Ghost Story calls to mind The Piano. In The Piano, the instrument serves as voice for Ada, who can’t speak. Also silent, Ada expresses herself through her music.

Watching A Ghost Story, tears collected in my throat early on, and they stayed there until the end, the aforementioned musical score by Daniel Hart partially responsible, I’m sure.

Callaghan was mesmerized, too. When A Ghost Story was over, we looked at each other at the same time that we both said, “I want to see it again.” And we did see it again. I would see it yet again.

A Ghost Story is a beautiful film, a story to ponder and discuss. It’s an elegant study in the philosophical discipline of metaphysics, and it’s a poem. Maybe more than a moving picture, it’s a moving poem with pictures.


Futurizing classic poems.

Thinking of the transience of language and how it correlates with cultural change over time, I wondered, What if classic poems were translated to now? I chose a few well-known poems and took a shot at updating them. If you’re wondering why the poets I chose are all male, it’s because I wanted to go for easily recognizable titles, and for the longest time, only men were allowed to be openly literary and write poems for all the world to see.

Here’s what these guys might have written if their world looked like ours:

1). Robert Frost

  • Then: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
  • Now: Stopping to buy Weed on a Snowy Evening

2). Edgar Allen Poe

  • Then: The Raven
  • Now: The Rain Man (“Quoth the rain man, ‘Nevermore.'”)

3). Samuel Taylor Coleridge

  • Then: Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Now: Rime of the Darth Vader

4). William Carlos Williams

  • Then: The Red Wheelbarrow
  • Now: The Target Red Card

5). William Blake

  • Then: The Tiger
  • Now: The Flesh-Eating Bacteria

6). John Milton

  • Then: Paradise Lost
  • Now: Sanity Lost

7). William Shakespeare

  • Then: “Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?” (Sonnet XVIII)
  • Now: “Shall I Compare Thee to a Vacation with Pay?”

8). T.S. Eliot

  • Then: “Let us go then, you and I” (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)
  • Now: “Don’t they ever stop migrating?” (The Birds of Alfred Hitchcock)

9). Allen Ginsberg

  • Then: Howl
  • Now: LOL

10). Andrew Marvell

  • Then: To His Coy Mistress
  • Now: To His Sugar Baby


Friendly neighborhood cyclist near my house


Happy October Eve!