“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.

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.





“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.

“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!

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!

“superb in love and logic” (from a poem by Robert Hayden)

I’ve brought you my own (previously published) poems, but I don’t believe I’ve shared another poet’s work. Today, I wanted to share with you a poem by American poet Robert Hayden, as this poem has been on my mind.

(Poetry is a favorite refuge of mine when I’m at a loss for words.)

In 1976, the United States’ Bicentennial year, Robert Hayden held the post of Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress; the post later became “Poet Laureate” of the United States. Hayden was America’s first Black Poet Laureate.

This poem by Robert Hayden was first published in his A Ballad of Remembrance (1962):




When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful

and terrible thing, needful to man as air,

usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,

when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,

reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more

than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:

this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro

beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world

where none is lonely, none hunted, alien,

this man, superb in love and logic, this man

shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric,

not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,

but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives

fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.


I wish you all a beautiful week.


Throw-back poem: “Gold”

It’s been quite a while since I’ve offered a poetry post, I know! I thought I’d share a poem today for those of you interested in my older work, especially since some of you started reading here specifically for the poetry. As you know, I’m not posting new poems here these days, so back in time we go.

This poem, “Gold,” was first published in Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Comparative Studies. The issue was Volume 2, 2001; it looks like the journal’s work from that time is saved in PDF. I thought it would be easier, for the purpose of sharing the poem here, to take pics of the poem as it appears in my MFA practicum. I did get online to snip out the readily accessible abstract, though. (Once again, I redacted my former last name.)


Here’s the poem:




I hope you enjoyed this! It’s odd revisiting my older work. It seems longer ago than 16 years, and yet… 16 years?! That means 15 years since I graduated. Yikes. Time is a relentless creature.

Happy Tuesday, All!

Throw-back poems: “Who Knows”; “Nonni” (Sharing original poems+ writing updates)

Updates and more updates! Well, just writing updates, this time.

Update 1: My main project is 46% complete, which isn’t bad considering that November was pretty much a wash, as I knew it would be. Things should progress more quickly now that my calendar is clear of major/time-consuming agenda items. Whew! We got through it. Now back to it.

Update 2: My latest strategy in the war on sedentary lifestyle is to write while standing. At my washing machine. For at least half of my working day, often a little more. Since I’m no longer sitting on my ass all day, said ass has less of a chance of flattening out and widening in the wrong direction over time. You know what I’m talking about. A blob of cookie dough on a baking sheet is round and perky, and then you put it in the oven and it spreads out in the baking process. I’m not hyper-vain, but I don’t see how it can help anything to bake my ass, either. It’s not like I had much of an ass to begin with, so I want to save what I can of it. Moreover, it’s not healthy to sit so much.

Ahem. Onward, then!

In closing, I have some old poems to share with you today, two that were originally published in the 2011 issue of Clackamas Literary Review (Oregon). The pics are dark and murky, but then, so are the poems. Enjoy!











On that note, Happy Friday!