Monday, September 16, 2013


My new friend and writer, Bryn Gribben, recently published an interview of me on her blog, This Gemlike Flame, as part of a series she calls, "Why Can’t I Be You?: Great Women I Admire, Qualities I Don’t Have." 

Check it out here: 
Interview 1: Carrie Simpson

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blood Poppy

She slices me with her paper wings.
It’s deafening, her piercing the virgin green
popping azure skies with her incarnadine.

She’s Pluto’s puppet, I am sure,
Proserpina’s pomegranate 
bleeding through the grass

pleading with me, a sea skimmer, 
a skipping stone tempted by the wine-dark;
the slope to the abyss curls and unfurls,

a dying fiddlehead inviting us to slide, 
to drip with Dali’s clock into the dark.
Pricked, I follow her figure with my eyes,

roots melded to the underworld,
slender body bending with supple grass,
finale of carbuncle. I fear 

a piece of red glass plummeting
unnoticed, a speck of dust to Neptune,
polished to pitch dark death.

Stay above ground! she screams in silence,
stares me down with her charcoal chasm.
We are atop this color wheel of Fortune now!

First published in Third Wednesday.  Fall 2012, Vol. 4, Issue 4. Print.

Honorable Mention in Emerging Writer's Contest at a new literary magazine: HOT STREET

2013 Emerging Writer’s Contest:
We are pleased to announce the winners of the first annual Hot Street Emerging Writer’s Contest. The winner in fiction is Hillary Stringer for “Coasters.” Honorable Mentions in fiction go to Louise Kantro, Michael Votta, Evan Chavez, and John Poblocki. The winner in poetry is Michael Gray for “Forever 21″ and For the Luggage X-Ray Machine at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.” Honorable Mentions go to Mary Bass Poulin, Caroline N. Simpson, and Christina Garofalo. The winner in nonfiction is Nancy Roach for “Cherry Crisp.” Honorable Mention in nonfiction goes to Genevieve Tyrrell.
HOT STREET is a biannual print magazine publishing intellectually and aesthetically provocative works of contemporary art and literature. It doesn’t matter to us if you’re new to the block or if you’ve been around awhile, if you’re traditional or experimental. We’re seeking literary fiction and nonfiction under 8,000 words that moves and transforms, pushes boundaries, and expands awareness.

The Cypress Swamp

Beneath our feet, a dense hot tea
steeps in the cypress canopy.
Each plant signed the limestone print,
rust colored remnants of identity.
Tannins swim above waved sand,
keepers of heartwood eternity.

First published in Bear Creek Haiku.  June 2013.  Print and online.

Old Age

Old age is like being totally confused most of the time
except when a synapse in your brain fires a tune 
to which you once lindy hopped back in the fifties,
and you smile and dance by yourself in your chair,
catching the eye of whatever stranger is near,
laughing together as if she were there, too.

First published in Bear Creek Haiku. June 2013.  Print and online.

The Modigliani Daughter

Modigliani painted my portrait the century before
my mother hung the poster on her college dorm room wall.

Daydreaming, she stared at my effigy:
tall slender neck, head slightly askew,
straight brown hair tied loosely in a bun,
long skinny nose. She stared for hours

in between studying to become the biologist she did,
imagining herself to be the wife and mother she would,

but never dreaming
she'd absorbed Modigliani's crooked ratios
and years later would conjure me up,
the Modigliani daughter,
graceful and severe.

First published in Children, Church & Daddies.  Nov./Dec. 2013. Vol. 245. Print and online.

Noted American Painter Andrew Wyeth, 91, Dies

He was born here, lived here.

Three generations of Wyeths,
limited in scale yet rich in associations,
in spite of the scenery:

aging people and brown, dead plants.

Alone for hours, he tramped across the countryside
collecting the hidden melancholy of the pastures:

timelessness of rocks and hills.

“There’s a lot of cornball in that state!” but here

we have scandals hidden in brushstrokes,
hidden in Master Bedrooms
Around the Corner.

Her face tantalizingly unseen,
Christina rested her weight on one Long Limb.
Stray hairs blew towards the very thing which she leaned:

a dilapidated farmhouse, gray and shadowed
alone in the far right corner of a large yellow field

alone against the walls of a dimly lit museum.

When he chafed under criticism, Christina’s World
died in his sleep at his home.

Grass grows thick over tracks to a farmhouse with no lights on.

All the people who have lived here no longer give interviews;
Everything they have to say is on the walls.

You feel the bone structure in this landscape,
because the whole story doesn’t show.

Source: "Noted American Painter Andrew Wyeth, 91, Dies." The Times. Trenton, NJ.  Saturday, January 17, 2009. 

First published in Children, Church & Daddies. Sept./Oct. 2013.  Vol. 245.  Print and online.

Autumn, Parts I and II

Autumn, Part I

The trees whisper, and Autumn awakens my heart,
her ice fingers wrapping around my breaths.
I welcome her into my swell, and she reminds me:
The first bite may rip through warm down feathers,
but my skin will explode in ten thousand joys. The wind blows.
My ancestors’ voices assure me; their whispers echo
through the vale of quaking aspen, and I am released.

Autumn, Part II

The sky closes, and Autumn rains into my heart,
pouring her stakes into seemingly soft smiles.
I did not welcome her, yet she reminds me still:
A heart’s affections mask and unmask until even Heaven
shrugs and steps down to the andante of old thoughts chanting
upon endless grey pavement. This weather will ruin me
unless I swim skyward, and place Heaven back on her shrine.

First published in Bear Creek Haiku.  June 2013.  Print and online.

Postlogue: I have no doubt my recent love affair with John Keats' "Ode on a Nightingale" has crept into this poem. I also recently came across this Orhan Velli poem in my translation project (an endeavor to improve my Turkish): G├╝zel Havalar ("Beautiful Weather"). The verb, mahvetmek, which means "to ruin," makes this poem. My translation of Velli's poem follows:

This beautiful weather ruined me,
In weather like this I resigned from my civil service job.
I made a habit of tobacco in weather like this,
I fell in love in weather like this;
In weather like this I even forgot to bring home bread and salt.
My poetry writing sickness always relapsed in weather like this;
This beautiful weather ruined me.