“Icing, Nuts, and Cake” by Shirley June Compton



Straight home I came

It was still broad daylight

And it’s a good thing I did.

Hardly touched

As touching goes

But, ah, love, even so

Anyone looking at me could tell I had been loved.

Flushed, warm cheeks

Sparkling eyes

(no mascara even)

Just a few crumbs

But ah, love, even so

They were crumbs

not from under the rich man’s table

But tasty, flavorful, scraped from the bottom of the pan

Finger licking good

Icing, nuts, and cake.

And though

I know

No amount of crumbs will ever make a loaf –

             not even one piece –

Ah, love, even so

How rich it is!

Anyone looking at me could tell I have been loved.


“Between My Fingers” by Kay Bess

Goddamn it, I miss my cigarettes.
I miss the light up,
the first inhale…
I miss ‘em like my worst best girl friend,
you know…
the friend
you tell everything to
who cheers you on
in your darkness.
The kind you call when you’re shitfaced
because you lost the part you were born for,
who holds your hair back
while the room spins and you wretch at the toilet.

The kind who takes your favorite suede jacket from the ‘70’s
without asking,
the tobacco brown one with fringe on the sleeves,
and then spills red wine or some fucking shit on it,
like she could replace it in a minute
with a cheap crap knock-off from Target.

Ya, she’s the cat who leaps up on your newborn’s chest,
lays there quiet for a while, then steals his breath
while you’re making cookies in the kitchen.
The kind who fucks your husband when you’re out of town,
then borrows your brand new panties
before she leaves through the front door in broad daylight.

She feels good,
in a comfortable kind of way,
if for no other reason
than you’ve known her,
held her there between your fingers and inhaled her,
your whole life.

And even though she does all this awful shit to you,
she’ll always be your friend.
She’ll even make your bed for you,
you know…
so you can lie in it.

Kay Bess

© 2011

(anonymous photo)

“Everybody’s An Expert” by Kay Bess

Everybody’s an expert.
Go to a surgeon,
he’ll tell you to have surgery.
Go to a hairdresser,
she’ll tell you you’re in need of a haircut.
Go to a bankruptcy attorney,
he’ll tell you to file.
Go to a priest,
he’ll tell you to confess.

If you ask me,
I’d say
to announce your arrival.

Then have a pint of beer
and get over yourself.

Kay Bess

(Kay’s Blog “Sometimes Life…”)

© 2011

“She Was Made” by Kay Bess

Everything I demand of her lately is an affront to who she is.

Be quiet. Stay focused. Get down. Sit still.

She was made to move.

She was made to leap and bound and climb.

Her eyes were made to follow the butterfly out the window,

not the stick on the chalkboard.

Her voice was made to laugh too loud,

her legs to run like mad,

her brain to ignore the caution I beg her to heed.

She was made for the charge,

to bridle her own steed,

and to try her mother’s patience.

She was made in my womb and she’ll always be mine,

but she wasn’t made for me.

Kay Bess

© 2011

“Cherry Black Blood” by Kay Bess

Let’s outgrow our selves and be something bigger
Let’s forget them who ruined us, and be new and ripe and sweet
Let’s not go to a grave of their making
Let’s not let them win.

They cut from us our youth and beauty
But we know better, you and I
Though we crack and moan in winter’s rime
Our perennial Spring will soon become.

You’ll be my sun, and I’ll be your rain
We’ll soak up and stir and spill into each other
Climbing, reaching, blooming our way
To maybe, to somehow, to yes.

By the dogged and cherry black blood that teems through my veins
I swear I’ll never take your heart from you.
I will love you and the fruit of your future yet to be born on your steep stone hill
Not for what it might give me, but for what it’s given you –
Birthed in your dreams, formed by your hands –
Hope… promise… life.

Kay Besswww.sometimeslife.com

© 2008

“A Clown To Entertain You” by Kay Bess

I am crude among the artists
Petal fallen from the bloom
Neo-con amongst the Libs
The elephant in the room

I am Jesus with the skeptics
A thorn in both their sides
I am the whore among the Fundies
The beldam with the bride

I am stained among the sainted
On a cross of my own making
A believer with the atheist
A martyr at the staking

I doubt among the certain
My finger’s in the wound
My stammer’s in the speaking
I’m a lyric with no tune

I am the black sheep in the barn
I know where I belong
A clown to entertain you
With a poem and a song

Kay Besswww.sometimeslife.com

“Singing Clown”

photo/artwork by Vanessa Lemen

© 2011