Driving During The Pandemic

My first drive during the pandemic is

Into a ghost town

Onto a ghost highway

Around an empty corner

Filled with crows 

Pecking invisible road-kill

Because the killing’s all taking place

Inside the home

            In the kitchen

            On the stairways

            Over the hedge

            Between the clotheslines

And when a car does appear, 

Partnering up for a cozy dosido, 

A sad duckling line of two, 

I suddenly curse, and think, 

            “No! You’re too close! Get back! 

6 feet apart, now…”

Forgetting that’s not for car lengths, but arm’s lengths

body lengths…

body bag lengths,

The lengths we all must go to survive this.

Bisexual Invisibility

I came out many years ago, when the HIV crises was peaking, and when a person still had to cull hard-copies of encyclopedias and the DSMV to see what the word Bisexual even meant – and it meant different things in different resources. I knew I was simply attracted to people. It didn’t matter what their gender(s) were. It didn’t matter what society said – or maybe it mattered more that I didn’t like what society said my being a woman MEANT. So, when I started to work on poems for my MFA in the late 90s, I had run the gamut as a community activist… letter writer, support group facilitator, marcher and button wearer, columnist in Out in the Mountains (our then local Queer newspaper) and the national Anything That Moves magazine (Now sadly defunct, and I hear worth about $20 a pop on the Bi circuit). . .

Here is one of the poems I wrote during my tenure in graduate school in an effort to articulate my identity, both as a woman, and as a bisexual (read: someone who was interested in people – whatever their gender identity)…

I Dared not…

Mother, I dared not ask you

Why I could not seem

to love only men,

to swish my square hips

just so, to leave behind

my favorite boots for a pair

of your immaculate pumps.

You would not listen

if I told you I don’t

believe the skirt

makes the woman.

I’m not attracted to

that great harry lump

of muscle across

the room that winks

and calls me sweetie

when he orders a drink.

I’m intrigued, instead,

by the small-boned man

by the piano with

the delicate fingers

who plays the cello and

smiles sublimely.

I’m all aflutter when

the waitress at table five

with a shaved head and

combat boots winks her

pierced eye at me and

says she’s dying to taste

my dull, unpainted

lips after hours.

I know you don’t believe in

my search for the perfect hybrid

that you don’t want to release me

from the grip of your ideals.

I find myself covered by each bit

of praise you ever gave. Each nod

or no has stuck to me like starfish

splayed over my cheekbones until

your portrait was complete

and only my frightened

eyes peered through,

reflecting your identical face,

until now.

Now, I have gone out to pick

the parts of my gender from the air

Like great bubbles. They float

just out of reach as

I climb out of


in a twisting dance, and

Each piece might burst

as the soap dries or

solidify as the glass cools into

Victorian witch-balls so that –

if I place them in the window –

I know they can deflect the worst of the storm

while still calling down

the lightning I long to feel on my skin.

Poetry Slam Success!

Last night, I joined in the Poem City Open Poetry Slam at City Hall in Montpelier (Vermont). There were 25 readers of all ages, and it was an “anything goes” line-up with songs, pianos, guitars, dancing, and more. I was excited to get 3rd place with this poem! Though I was nervous to read it due to the fact that it’s so controversial for a white person to speak on racism these days, especially here in the US.

So here it is, and tell me what you think. I’m going to work on memorizing this and editing it. A stronger performance with some rewriting to the poem could get me a 1st or 2nd place at another show… or that’s my hope.


Open Poetry at Bear Pond Books, Tonight…

So, I’m hoping to get in on the open poetry reading tonight at Bear Pond books. It’s all done by lottery now, a policy which seems to have lowered the number of participants, since its institution a couple of years ago. Crossing my fingers… Meanwhile, here are some new poems.


Jackrabbit sits

On your breastbone

Skitters across ribs

Does nothing to bring solace – alone

You press sweaty palms to cool linoleum

And cry…

Black out poem from a page in “Summer Girls,” by Mary Alice Munro

From the west

Across heaven

Straight to the edge,

Her heart




She almost lingered there,

Stopped at the edge,


Called out,

She said,


Angel In the Fire

Life is short. We’ve all heard/thought/been told this fact, but I am experiencing it viscerally this year. I’m going to be 52 soon. I have. No surviving parents. My aunt on my mother’s side just turned 83, and I have lost friends and relatives to sickness, old age, cancer, and addiction related organ failure.

Recently, my sister contacted one of my cousins and he told her that the old farm in Ferriburgh is now owned by one of my “grand-cousins” (I know – that’s just not the term, but you get it.) He and his wife are now running a beef farm on the old dairy farm! It’s exciting, and strange. How is it a place, or a building can hold such nostalgia for us? Change happens.

So, in light of this I am pledging to myself to begin creating a REAL FULL production of my choreo-play, “Angel in the Fire” in the next year or two. To that end, and because I am now learning how to do it, I have recorded some of the poems as podcasts. As I move along, I will keep you abreast of the progress on this project.



This is: “Angel in the Fire” the theme poem:



Bringing Pagan symbols into my poetry…

Many years ago, while in a full time relationship, working a job I hated but needed, and helping to raise my sister’s eldest son, who was twelve, I took a year off from work to recoup from, well, all of that, and began to study and practice seriously as a Pagan.

I took that opportunity to study a set of ancient symbols which had always fascinated me, the Runes. What I learned about ancient magical ideas, Icelandic, Norse, German, and Anglo Saxon ancient cultures, the appropriation of the Elder Futhark (a set of runes originated by some Teutonic tribes in the area of Germany) into the Nazi regime and symbolism, were all fodder for my creative mind.

I found that Futhark stood for the first 6 runes in that system, (Fehu, Uruz, Thurisaz, Ansuz, Raido, Kenaz) just as Alphabet stands for the first two Greek characters that now make up our alphabet (Alpha Beta). I also learned that the generous images needed to be grounded in my own experiences, culture, language, and time.

To that end, I began to write some single stanza poems about each of the 24 Runes. My plan has always been to create some sort of collection with them.

My question about it has always been, does the poetry translate for anyone but me? Here are two of the first poems – not necessarily in the order in which they come in the Futhark – “Fehu,” which stands for “cattle or prosperity”, and Ansuz, which stands for “God or Word of God”.


Fehu, fussy calf, short pink tongue questing,

Prosperity, your cattle are huddle in the field,

Feoh, that fuzzy-at-the-horn-root calf

You know if you come close to the fence

I’ll offer my hand as a sloppy sacrifice,

Just to feel your slick tongue seeking.

Look upon me with your dark eyes. The fields

Are still wet with dew, and my head is full of dreams.


Ansuz, God, mouth of time,

Moth of words, wisdom of the Wyrd.

Inside that hole, we part, Grandmother.

God takes the tongue and roots it elsewhere, lights your bones

With eternal flame, sets them deep beneath my own skin.

Goddess slips her tongue over your buried bones,

Drills the cipher to my life deeply against my

Hip, and shin, breast and skull,

And the blessings burn.

Compelling? Confusing? Intriguing? What would you call these? I was reading a lot of old Icelandic poetry in translation while studying these, and I worked to try to follow the single stanza/syllabically-styled poetry, while giving the individual Rune name, followed by its definition, followed by my own interpretation of what the symbol meant, at least in my experience of modern Northern New England Culture. Oftentimes, what ended up coming from that was longer poetry with more of my own narrative. Poems like Green Mountain Runes, which is included in the Birchsong, Vol II that is out this month, and which incorporates the idea of Fehu/Cattle into the poem with the lines “…Fehu, prosperity/ which, first generation, meant sheep,/ more sheep than one woman could sheer/ and not go bleary-eyed, and bloody-handed, home…”

I will leave rest of this poem where it is (inside of the Birchsong collection) so you can read that when you grab yourself a copy of it from Northshire Books. or listen to it on April 14th, when I will be reading at the launch, at Northshire, in Manchester, VT.


Meanwhile, write on, McDuff!


Happy Poetry Month

Here is one of the poems I have out now, in Birchsong Volume 2: Poems Centered in Vermont.

Recipe for Honey

Becoming the sound of bees is not as easy as you would think.
First, take a cup of despondency & fold in
With a pocketful of compasses made of afternoon light
& late summer pollen with just a pinch of sky.
Sprinkle some loyalty to a singular woman on top.
Add a penchant for following the crowd.
Stir in a saucepan on low-heat –
The kind of warmth that comes from
A late August sun at Lughnasa –
Once it all comes to temperature
Simmer and wait for the sound to come.
When it does,
Dive in headfirst
And hum.

I had a couple of poems in Volume 1, as well, a few years ago. You can purchase Volume 2 here

Comedy… a Young Man’s Game Full of Dick Picks and Vagina Jokes??

KimWard Unicorn

No Penis Envy Here… just a Uniquecorny (not to be confused with being  uniquely horny)

So I’ve been resting on my laurels a bit since finishing my ‘whirlwind tour’ of 4 open mics last month. For a newbie in comedy not a bad start, especially since I’ve got several other irons in the fire. I’m going to go ahead and do the local open mics again this month. Laugh Local and Stroke Yer Joke, in that order (more below on that).

The other night I went to see FemCom over in Barre at Cafe Espresso Bueno. The night started with the sweet voice of Linda Young and for a set the wonderful jazz guitar of Danielle O’Hallisey. Local musicians performing some lovely music by which to dream of spring.

Afterward, the comedy got started. Five women doing comedy. Riotous! And such a wonderful feeling of solidarity to see all women doing comedy on stage. As many of you may know already, the world of comedy is not so different from the world of Role Playing, Magic the Gathering, and (at times) Gamergate  in that it is full of MEN, dick pics, and vagina jokes. Not something I am opposed to at all – men doing comedy – men in general – dicks or vaginas  in general (or in jokes for that matter) – but when the scales tip so precipitously to all-male showcases and media, it really pisses me off and bores me.

I never did get up at the open mic in Burlington last month, due to our late arrival and all that white knuckle driving in icy weather on my crap bald tires of my crap Toyota Yaris… but when I got there, the numbers seemed a bit better in terms of the male-to-female ratio. What was astonishing – even though I know it to be true – was the extremely young demographic at the Burlington open mic, and the fact that a younger crowd onstage seems to skew all of the subject matter toward Tinder, dating, dick pics and vagina jokes…again, funny now and then but thin in the long term and boring after 20 comics in a row.

There’s a reason that some of my favorite comics are Jackie Kashian, Kathleen Madigan, Maria Bamford, Eddie Izzard, Jim Gaffigan, Robin Williams, (like he NEEDs a link here) and Mike Birbiglia. These comedians have something ELSE to talk about besides sex. And low and behold, they are all currently over the age of 30. Coincidence? A symptom of slowly seeping hormones & bone degeneration? Or a sign of maturity? You decide.

The male dominance in stand up comedy IS changing, but that’s like saying “But we won Roe v. Wade!” Then looking at the folks running for office at every level in this country not right now, not to mention the curren
Oh yeah! I’m a Unicorn (Unique and Corny)t case load at the US Supreme Court level.

Another example you say? TRY to set up a channel for comedy on Pandora without typing the word woman or ‘women in comedy’ and see what comes up; ALL MEN for hours and hours, male comedians from time immemorial to present day. Where are the women? How about Moms Mabley or Jean Carol? How about Phyllis Diller or Joan Rivers? How about Lilly Tomlin or Tig Notaro? Hell, how about Jackie Kashian or Maria Bamford? Nope. But when I play the ‘Women in Comedy’ station, after about five women, I start getting Louis CK and Jim Gaffagan as ‘people like Jackie Kashian.’ Really guys?! And I don’t say “people” here for a reason. WTF Folks? I love both of those male comedians, but don’t you see the problem?

OK – Rant over. You can see me at the following shows this March, probably with no dick pic jokes – (maybe with some vagina jokes…)

  • Laugh Local – TONIGHT – Friday March 11 at 8pm (Free) at the American Legion Hall, Main Street, Montpelier.
  • Stroke Yer Joke – Friday March 18th 8pm (Free) at Cafe Espresso Bueno, Main Street, Barre.
  • Vermont Comedy ClubWednesday March 30th at 7pm (Free) If the weather’s good (& I’ve bought new tires so we’re good there!) 101 Main Street, Burlington – CANCELED Due to other projects…

Keep laughing folks, it’s the only thing that keeps me sane some days…

Kim Ward, aka Girlusinterruptus