Dream Poem





Six O’clock

The clock of the sky is set at six.
Horses stream across indigo bridges.
We join them then leap from gray
thunderhead to cypress branch.
Drop into sugarcane fields.
Our bare feet dig into rows of good mud:
dark, love-made mother mud.
The mind releases her last veil.
We devour these rivulets of sweet burning.
And dream more dreams than our stomachs can hold.
Chins drip with ripe night fruit. Our fingers slosh
through uncoiled narratives that haunt like histories.
Cries of babies; the blood-flow (so often dank).
Wet hair, white slips, sweat from the dance—
We draw ash over our heads as blessing.
Grant us mercy, god of destruction.
All we are and ever will be is want.




©2016 Clare L. Martin




Yesterday, I cracked.

A litany of horrors flooded out of me; some real, some hyperreal imaginings. I wailed to walls while lying in the cold, lavender water of the bathtub. I cried out to God to please, please allow me to ‘go away.’ I saw no resolution to my circumstances. I saw no pathway out of pain. It took all of my strength to suck up my tears when my family returned to the house, take prescribed pills and put myself to bed. I calmed a bit after a brief rest, muffling my cries in the pillow, and later rose to eat dinner with my family. I settled again to listen to ambient music, which puts me into a deeper level of being, even if I was still ragged. I fell asleep around midnight.

This morning, I knew I my psyche had been wrecked and I backed out of a commitment I had been looking forward to with a friend. I accompanied my husband as he went to a parts store to pick up a part to repair a lawnmower. We stopped on the way home to buy groceries. I rooted myself in these mundane tasks. When we returned home, I had a cup of coffee; my first of the day.

I feel stronger knowing that I have the luxurious blessing of having a supportive husband who is stable enough to stand strong when I cannot and who has enough experience with my mental health issues that he can objectively observe my symptoms and report them to my doctor or guide me in my self-care. Even if I cannot verbalize to him exactly what is going on in my mind, he cares enough to be a first-responder in my mental health care. Thank God.

I am resilient. I am not in need of a medication change. I do need to keep firm the boundaries I have set for myself and continually evaluate how and when I need to set new ones. This is life-saving. I know I can live peacefully and well within healthy relationships with healthy boundaries, and that the flow of giving and receiving will continue. I am clawing my way out of despair by acting slowly this day, seeking balance in my perspective, and writing this out.

What I must watch in myself is my nature to give. My heart ever desires to give, give, give as it beats, beats, beats. God knows this. It is how I was made. It is what makes me so vulnerable. Even now, I could begin weeping again, wringing my heart because I want to pour myself out. I want to give my all— But, I can’t. I cannot because even then, the nothing that I would be would still beat, still breathe. And what then?

And what then?

Poem after Angel Bath series by Dennis Paul Williams

Angel Bath

after a mixed media art piece in the Angel Bath series by Dennis Paul Williams


The fetal heart stops
in a globe of light
bones work
their way through flesh
her cheek depressed
a doctor’s thumbprint
bruises aorta
gray washes into amber
soft, blooded veins—
her mother bears
the crown of thorns.

Desiccation we know
is truth
because the artist
layers each dream
upon the other
the artist dreams
these dreams for us
to show us
what happens
when waters rise
when rains fall.

When mothers suffer
up to their necks
reach for the ceiling
pray for lightning bolt holes
through the roof: a delivery
of a different kind
the ever-ghost children
quickly go to ground—

Beloved, loved,
still-hearted and all.


©2016 Clare L. Martin

Happy Birthday, Bessie!


Clare and Bessie


Bessie has many friends and a great family. She has a heart big enough to tend to each of us as if we are family. She feeds us body and soul, as the grace-filled and gracious woman she is. She shows her love in numerous ways, but I can only speak of how she has shown me love on light-hearted occasions and on occasions when I was despondent and hopeless.

Bessie is lit with God-light. She is a healer-woman, a Light Worker, an Energy Worker and a Minister. She speaks of this comfortably, naturally, and not as though it is some secret esoteric knowledge that only a few possess. She knows that we as children of God are seeking our birthright of holiness and healed spirits. She is an enabler in the best sense. Her work enables us to come to ourselves and God in a more authentic way. She brings joy out of pain, by penetrating the illusions that pain constructs and the very real pains that harm us, with laser beam love. She is a surgeon of the spirit. She is highly skilled and humble. I say these things not to boost her up, but to awaken others that people like her do exist. Bessie is one of the most grounded individuals I have ever met. She is grounded in the mud of Louisiana. The best, blackest, richest mud on Earth. She is true, through and through, and today is her birthday. Hallelujah.

Bessie has a very refined palate. She was raised around excellent, fresh foods. Her father had a steakhouse. She worked in it from a young age. As a home cook, I have never known anyone who gives so much to her cooking and makes it seem so effortless. I have only had the pleasure of eating at her home a handful of times but it has always been exquisite and she never breaks a sweat unless she is beating the hell out of a bunch of celery.

Bessie knows me. She knew me well in a matter of days. That is something that doesn’t happen often. I do appear to be gregarious and transparent, but Bessie knows me on a deep level that I don’t reveal to many people. If I didn’t have this kind of friendship I would be so very poor. I would be hungry. I would be bereft.

Bessie knows how to guard her time and being, and she has taught me how to do the same. I am catching on. This makes for a happier Clare. She is right about that. God put Bessie in my life soon after my mother died when I was transitioning to being an adult orphan—both of my parents are deceased. Bessie never tried to fill my mama’s shoes. She always felt like a friend or sister to me. Her advice came to me with wisdom and authority and that sacred groundedness that struck me as TRUTH. I didn’t question it because it resonated in my soul.

Bessie saved my life. The angels that directed me to her saved me, too. I was going through a medication change and was vulnerable. I had severe pressure on me and my depression was severe–situational depression and clinical chemical depression. I won’t go into the details, but that LOVE LASER BEAM came out of her and it penetrated my deathly gloom and I saw the Truth. Even if my faith in myself was shaken to the core, I had faith in her wisdom at that point and I knew deeply that God was with me. At the time, I couldn’t see how, but an hour later a new life revealed itself to me and the pain was completely gone. Miracle after miracle.

People think a miracle is some extraordinary thing like raising the dead. Metaphorically, yes. In my belief miracles happen all the time, in moments of awakening, in deepening trust, in new friendships, in deepening love, in new births, in all of Creation. I am blessed to have a friend whose joy for life is so pleasing to behold. I am grateful for a friend who kids me about my silliness which I know perturbs her but she still pokes fun at me.  I am grateful for a woman in my life who knows how to assess a situation and handle crises and dinner parties! Bessie oozes class but she can also play in the mud. She is the best kind of friend. For her birthday, I could not think of a single thing that she could possibly need or want other than a bottle of wine, but I hope these words bring her happy tears and the warmth of my love.

I love you, Bessie.

A plague of emotions*



Before the Harvest



Locusts come in a cloud of winged thunder.
They come for the sockets and the eye itself,
(seer of all things).
They come for the marrow and curse
the bone into a galaxy of splinters.
They come to the font of the heart.
They take the very last word
as it resounds upon utterance:
                      Dust, dust, dust.

©2016 Clare L. Martin


*The image of locusts devouring me came to me today as I battled an anxiety attack. It sent me from an elevated happy mood into a frozen, fearful state in which I was cold and sweaty, too. I was unable to leave my bed for most of the afternoon. It wasn’t until more of this poem revealed itself to me that I was able to come to my desk and work it out. I feel better but exhausted. Writing takes the poison out.

Prompts for Poets and Writers



Here is the workshop outline I offered yesterday to our local group of Renegade Writers. We meet every other Saturday to write new. We share the responsibility of leading the workshops on a voluntary basis. There is no requirement of attendance. We have an online presence on Facebook where we share ideas germane to writing and creative thought.  Renegade Writers

July 23, 2016
Workshop Presenter
Clare L. Martin


Listen to Ambient music (try Pandora’s Ambient station) without words. Let your eye zigzag around these words or your own wordlist of random words. Write down the words that resonate with you.

sin receive fabric cold heavy slice tender banal gift span taint dismal fountain bashful blend breath blue groan six fever bloom panic hallow veil frost become trill boast float grease tin capsule din air host seek whisper cannon lyrical walls toll patient aid oil hold pallor desperate temperament fecund virtual tantalize crease grind aspirate glean diamond dissonance heavens wicked stars oceans gallop crust obsidian curve rock mist colored tall river hope wood animal bell hunted believe final aspire delicious scare canopy  stairs burst kind liar shunt plastic cantor carrion shine ghost saint skin terrible flash grave fire rust fear rose brunt dire burden gloss perpetrate scandal viscerate denial vibe eat ball

Framework– Here are suggested prompts for you to get your writing started. You can go in your own direction, of course. 
Write the spell to undo a curse.

Write words of forgiveness to a person who wronged you.

Write the earliest memory of a childhood fear.

Write a dreamed nightmare.

Write details of a normal morning or evening, only imagined as extraordinary and not dull in any way.


Think of a gift you’ve received—It could be intangible; a propensity toward something, a talent, a sensibility. Would you give it away? Why or why not?

Choose an animal. Think of its form, its musculature, its skeleton, its hide, its eyes. Think of its habitat and its habits. Think of its place in mythology and literature. How can you incorporate this animal into a working piece of prose or poetry so that it becomes a metaphor?

Music and language are so intertwined. When we listened to music, did you have images in your mind? Visual images that popped in the visionary sight of your mind? Did you write them down? Try to remember things that you might have missed writing down. List them or check your notes and keep writing.


What are your writing habits? How can you improve them by adapting others’ ideas as your own?    


Chinese snake painting


I am the world’s living river. See my tongue? Flat earth. Skin salt-smooth. Rubberized. I gleam at night. Moon ripples on water. I skim dirt. I skim ankles. Wrap cypress trees, marsh grass. Swallow the fledgling fallen from the nest. Rot, core, bone, spike, venom, blood. –My curse –My body-whip –My bone-coil. Reverberate vertebrae. Flooded, flooding. Scar tissue of man. Scarred eye. Slither, yes. Poison his firstborn. Poison his brood. Turn the earth against him until he is dead in the depths of it all.

©2016 Clare L. Martin

The prompt:

Choose an animal. Think of its form, its musculature, its skeleton, its hide, its eyes. Think of its habitat and its habits. Think of its place in mythology and literature. How can you incorporate this animal into a working piece of prose or poetry so that it becomes a metaphor?