Thursday, June 30, 2011

Of Paisley And Other Neckwear

—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

The freeway traffic
is sporadic and happy
for once
and the possum in the back
is safe from the laughter of crows
the beta fish is angry
it is alone.

My feet curl with joyness
when the coffee maker clicks on,
the strong scent
drags me out of
my nightmare
of never-ending papers to grade
poems to revise
weeds to be pulled
the reality
that all these dreads and drudgeries
are still there
but in the daytime
can I put them off?

Just like I do
in my nocturnal reflections
on the real world.


Thanks to Michael Cluff for the riff on our Seed of the Week: Early in the Morning. Got any thoughts of your own on that subject—or on any other? Send 'em to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.

Michael sends us lots of poems; I keep the overflow in a folder for future posting, as I do with some of our other more prolific poets. The other day I noticed that he writes about neckties a lot. So the rest of today's Kitchen fare are Michael Cluff's necktie poems—sort of our soup du jour.

Cynthia Linville sends us this submissions tip: "You carry your weight well" art project is accepting submissions on an ongoing basis: 100 words of poetry or prose on the topic, "What is the weight that you carry?" along with a 600-pixel photo or art-piece. Your image can be as simple as an iPhone or webcam self-portrait. You might want to browse the site to gain inspiration from the ways that others have interpreted their own weight within:   Send your submissions to


—Michael Cluff

Bow-ties are too snotty
I have been informed
by those in the fashion-know
I will wear them
because they encircle my neck
a tracking collar
for society to keep me
under control and restraint
just because....

I wear gartered socks and suspenders
for the same reasons

but flag lapels on my suit
or sports coat jacket
just because...


—Michael Cluff

Dapper enough
a Canadian goose stance
center of the Milky Way look
he stands, then struts
in cuffless light tan dress slacks,
now oh so the fashion,
brown tassled loafers
and no tie.

It mainly works for him
but this time

He is dead already
just doesn't know it
she does

or lets him
think she is too.

Purple- and black-striped neckwear
goes on
and she concurs
he is a little less dead
but not nearly as much so
as he
and she
might be
sooner than tomorrow.


College professor
vested suit and paisley tie
peace unfulfilling

—Michael Cluff


Paisley tie intrigues
the young toddler to grab tight
Pop dead from neck up

—Michael Cluff


—Michael Cluff

Not nearly so
as bits would indicate,
getting by
by implications
wash out
in the alkaline-
draining sky.

Only a something
which adds up towards
less than what
no body
could possibly hold.

His hair neat
and gray,
pants sharp-creased
and placidly pleated
shirt starched stiff
a tie never undone.

The wind one May
decide to blow right
by him,

he was not there.


—Michael Cluff

Tugging at the traditional
trying to open it up
to new adventures

I throw the rock
of rage wracking
its face to response

The khakis are stained
the knit tie frayed
the cataclysm concluded.


Today's LittleNip: 

Stars in the purple dusk above the rooftops,
Pale in the saffron mist and seem to die,
And I myself on a swiftly tilting planet,
Stand before a glass and tie my tie.

—Conrad Aiken



—Photo by Brandy Kemp