Archive for November, 2011




if only his eyes had not looked

back at me ~ so wild and shocked

the first fish I caught as a child


dragging him out from

his brackish river world

into the painful one of ours

as air burned through his heaving gills

spasmodically flipping in

the net interwoven with slabs

of raw bacon


I can still smell it now

the pungent odor of him

mixed with slime bait

the scent of his fear

once the jerking stopped

when he accepted his death

which he forgave me for


but for which I couldn’t forgive myself

for feeling the soft jelly of that dead

liquid eye with child-curious fingers….


my first taste of death

and I spun and limped away,

                    spitting out the sadness.


© Susan Joyner-Stumpf



The way loss would remember

          a morning welcomed only

for its Damask entry

          a Velvet lingering

along wounded hemlined dream

          satin-gentle waking state

blur of whimper come to life

          place of non-committal Diamond-light

fade beyond crimson curtains

          of rehearsed despair

half twilight whispers


    finger along the edge of tears

sinking into numbness.


The way loss would forget

          an evening rejected only

for its shadow-teasing light

          broken angles strangled

inside dangling prisms

          promises spin their web

through a fine disguise of golden thread

          swinging their last distorted remains

through a pinhole of fatal oblivion.


The way loss could move on

          memory blanketed in cold bursts

of intermittent reality

          devoid of child-like curiosity

seeping through frayed fabrics

          of human reluctance

out of body, witnessing the carnage

          left behind

shattered glass drinking the rays

          of a nonchalant sun.


The way loss should accept

          snap back into screaming flesh

the sting of the Silver Chord

          weeps like a lonely Violin

return to mortal weight,


and thus its inevitable neediness.

          Its pain.



© Susan Joyner-Stumpf


A ball of pandemonium

and yet you choose

(with pinprick decision)

to hear only the graphic


echoes of goodbye

its delivery

as exact as deliberate cruelty

as fundamental as a climax.

One can only cheat

the system for so long

before injured repercussion

(scars and all)

add up

come to their raped senses

and bounce back three-fold

like an abused Tiger

cornered in his cage

pacing the perimeter of smallness

Topaz eyes ablaze

with golden sorrow

staring out to the

blistering disregard

for his animal needs

the same we possess

once confronted with

searing uncertainty

swiping us down like

a wingless fly ~

like a shiver

in water-proof boots

but not a bullet-proof

projectile of targeted


Soaring through atmospheres

no destination  in mind

merely this journey of

dimensional fear beaten

down to unfathomable madness.

One gauntlet of misconception

guiding ill-fated psyche

that normally would have

prayed for remorseful amnesia

if given the courtesy to mourn

but instead is left to remember

that sometimes,

love falls like fuselage

out of tortured sky

just as quickly

as evil catches us

off guard, at times,

rises to the peaks of Heaven

and they meet

but rarely

in cohesive unity

except in the

mind and Soul of Poets

born to cosmic rupture

and who survive just

long enough






© Susan Joyner-Stumpf



moments recorded in

                        The Book of Regrets

behind inhuman pens

pushed past their own resilient limits

a lone car spinning in the dead of night

Reaching for the Stars

along a seemingly endless, precarious mountain pass

not even fireflies can compete with

its blaring headlights

            stabbing the thickening fog

passing a hit deer along the road side

her frantic heart still beating

and this monster of glass and metal

abandons the outskirts of demi-light nowhere

            heading northbound into the

nameless township of

                        skyscraper somewhere

leaving nothing behind

anymore remarkable

            than the swirling dust it stirred

or the stones it kicked off to the wayside

between the white dividing lines

segregating a two-lane highway

trees that canopied the winding bends

sway not by wind

            but engine fuel spilling

            its toxic lung

across the gasping leaves

sharp eyes of a startled raccoon

narrowly missed

by the roar of hungry rubber


            the distance of asphalt chips

a careless climb to the top

that will matter to nothing

not even to the open, empty space

that existed fine without its



an owl looks on

imprinting his unrest

upon the frosty air

            with his sad, disenchanted hoot

the song of squealing brakes

barely dodging a homeless dog

terrified beyond

            the growls of its own

                                    starving belly

the following curse

from grumbling whiskey lips

that even embarrassed

                        the wind


            the stories

            that will never be told

and refused to be written ~ ~

when even the skies serenade

above our weepless


and we wonder,

            how we humans pause and wonder,

why even stars

            drop out of love with us . . .

© Susan Joyner-Stumpf



She died with angelic dignity

but with a loss I could never dismiss

miles of sweeping trails before us

shall forever reap their dust, untouched

Me and My Horse, Vanilla

acres of sky open to unseen emptiness

filtered frames of splintered moonlight

live to perhaps forgive another austere day

alone in melting shadows of tall weeping grass

no one hears the ruptured tears

they wouldn’t care anyway

sentiment was never a fashionable thing

so I walk the runways with benign, hidden sorrow

wearing it like silk from a third-world country

cherishing it as others would their homeless rags

that wore our bond like riches of ancient gold

never to agonize who blamed my wardrobe of gossamer despair

which I adorned quite well with diva model-ease

I was never born to caress nor intrinsically please

merely wanted the remains of a solitude day

to soften the blunt of my many tortured nights

where sleep begged for intimate foreplay

in fear of dreams that never fondled mortal empathy

always the opposite fever to my booming health

one moment in the outpost of serpentine pleasure

still never enough to call my own

only borrowed for a time from the Heavens

but given Vanilla

the horse of my dreams

for twelve blessed years

where did they go

but to a paradise

whose door I cannot knock

when God takes back a horse

regret is nothing less than divine sacrifice

and still I hear her hooves in thunder’s reckoning

distances I’ve learned to mirror as my reflective own

a silence rumbling far too long

allow the melody to die

so all will know

the singer once lived

inside my Soul

where the song never fades.




Author’s Note:


I lost my Soul-Mate Horse,

Vanilla, to Cancer,

April 10, 2010.


Goodbye Vanilla.  You

carried me across the

Earth and back home, always,

in safety.


I hope the Angels carried

you to Heaven just as well.



© Susan Joyner-Stumpf


There was this dream inside itself
Where I got lost.
Felt responsible for closing walls
And invisible doors.

My eyes peered into emptiness
As though recognizable
And that made loneliness
Even more intolerable.

When a glimmer of what felt
Like love finally touched me
Brief like a shy feather,

I was afraid to cling too hard,
Reach back or sever.
Could its fragility break so easily
Like the last fading rays
Of sunlight’s tether?

The saddest moment of
All though, is when
I awoke and picked up
Where my waking life left off,

And there wasn’t a difference.

~ ~
© Copyright 2011 ♥Susan Joyner-Stumpf


When the Haters come

They are adorned with the

Heaviest of corduroy

Not delicate satin

That drapes refined couture

At its most elegant debut.

And it barges through the door

An unwelcomed guest

The blunt wind of an otherwise

Indiscernible day

That never asked for clouds of gloom

Or slanted rays of Sun-filled doom.

Was it a Poem of yours that they hated

Or much closer?  The whiff of your

Perfume and you float through life

Unaware that at times,

The trail you left behind, there are

The few with no desire to follow

And instead, kick up the dust to

Annihilate the footprint proving

That you were even there,

So scattered, even the echo

Of defiance is left shocked and askew.

When the Haters come

It’s not like they announce their presence

Beforehand ~

Finding yourself in their death-grip

And the vice has no intention of

Letting go, only burrowing deeper

Until finally, you turn blue.

I’ve caught that sinister wave before

Its salt burning all the way down

Past the heaving lungs

Settling painfully into broken marrow.

When the Haters come ~

If I knew ahead of time,

I would hold up a mirror

And ask, “who do you hate more?”

Silence speaks a thousand words,

but reflections speak one single word

in a thousand silences.

~ ~

© Copyright 2011 ♥Susan Joyner-Stumpf