The World Famous Haikube Post

Two weeks ago at IndieVengence Day book signing in Frisco, Texas I asked some of the most talented poets I know to help me write haiku with blocks known as Haikubes. These blocks have words and phrases to arrange into 5-7-5 syllables. I was very grateful for their hard-work and support.



Haikube by Mary Ann Moody


Haikube by Ben Ditmars


Haikube by John M. Moody


Haikube by Susie Clevenger and Ben Ditmars


Haikube by Clay Giles


Haikube by Terri Malek and Ben Ditmars


Haikube with James William Peercy


Haikube by Melissa Miller Zaro


Haikube by Amber Jerome Norrgard


And Now a Poetic Interview with Susie Clevenger!

Susie Clevenger is amazing. There is no other way to put it. She reads and writes with such passion, and is also one of my favorite photographers. In fact, her picture of my book is the header for this blog. Her influence is essential, and I can’t imagine where the world would be without her. But, I’ll let her take it from here…

Me dark2 (1)

Susie Clevenger is an author, poet, and amateur photographer. She was first published at the age of fifteen in Missouri Youth Write. She is author of the poetry collections, Dirt Road Dreams and Insomnia’s Ink. Her work has been featured in the online publications, The Creative Nexus, Poetry & Prose Magazine, The Brinks Gallery, The Global Twitter Community Poetry Project, and Journey of the Heart. She is a member of the Academy of American Poets, The Poetry Society of Texas and coordinator for the Blog Talk Radio program the Creative Nexus Café™. Susie resides in Houston, Texas with her husband, Charlie.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, I am a 64 year old poet/author who calls Houston, Texas home. I have been married to my husband Charlie for 45 years and have two daughters. I love blues music, dancing and finding the humor in life. Oh, and I have ADD. I am a blond with a legitimate reason to be referred to as scatterbrained.

When did you start writing poetry?

I started writing poetry my freshman year in high school. After high school I stopped writing it. Why? I don’t know. It was a car accident in 2006 that reanimated the poet in me. A severe concussion + brain damage = poetry.

Do you have a favorite poet/poem?

There are so many wonderful poets, but Edgar Allan Poe was the first poet I was introduced to in my Freshman English class. I had a lot of dark secrets in me and his work helped me to voice it. I like to call him my godfather of verse.

Does music inspire you? What kind?

Goodness, I am not sure where to start with music. I’ve already mentioned blues music, but I love all kinds of music. One moment I might be listening to my friend Mike Zito, the next classical. I actually have Bach playing in the background as I’m writing this. I think because I can’t play an instrument other than my iPod I am urged by listening to music to fill that void with poetry.

Do you write on the computer or in a notebook?

I actually write on both. I have journals all over the house, in my car, in my purse to store thoughts before I lose them. I tweak most of my work on the computer. One reason is if I get stuck in the creative process I can search the web for quotes, photos, music, etc. to break down the wall of writer’s block. I literally have the world at my fingertips.

If you could write a poem anywhere, where would it be?

It would be where I do most of my writing, my library. I am surrounded by my photography, a messy desk and books. It is a little piece of the world that is totally me.


Originally found on my post Writing Spaces.

What do you enjoy most about writing poetry?

It is the freedom to say whatever I want without censor. It doesn’t mean I share all of it with the world. Writing poetry is therapeutic for me. I can “write out” whatever is troubling me. It is the joy of participating in art. I can paint with words what I lack in talent to paint with a brush.
If you could hang out with any poet, who would it be?

I don’t know. I really haven’t even thought about it, perhaps Emily Dickinson. I am a fan of her work and love her punctuation style. I find myself at times following a similar style. It gives a feeling of blank space that teases or encourages the reader to fill in the lines.

If you could physically fight a fellow poet, from any point in time, who would they be?

I don’t want a physical fight unless it is a pillow fight. Charles Bukowski would be interesting
to pillow spar with. I imagine he would carry quite a wallop though.

Have you read or performed poetry live at slams or open mic?

I haven’t really done either of those. My public poetry readings have been in a poetry group and sadly at the funerals of my parents and in-laws. Maybe I should try a slam or open mic.

Why does nothing rhyme with orange?

It is a bright colored loner. I suppose it has dared the world to find a rhyming word, but the English language hasn’t taken the bait to spin a new word into its vocabulary

Do you post your poetry online?

Yes I do. Why not? The internet is google exploration. My poetry may be the very words
someone needs. At least that is my hope.

Do you put your writing into pictures to share on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook?

Yes. I often search images for inspiration. I am not very talented in Photoshop, but I like trying
my hand at creating an image to fit my words.

What is the most difficult poetry to write? Are there any forms you dislike?

There are so many poetry forms I find I have no competence with. One of the hardest things for me to do is rhyme. It is always a struggle. I feel the poem reads like someone tried all they could to find words that rhyme. I do have small success when the poem is geared for a child or has a nursery rhyme hint to it.
Do you believe anyone can learn to write poetry? Do you think anyone can enjoy reading it?

No I don’t. I think a passion for the art form is what is required to sustain any effort. Well, I suppose anyone can write a poem, but not all who write them are poets, if that makes any sense. Not everyone will enjoy reading poetry. There are preconceived notions about poetry that turn people away from it. I know I see the letdown in people’s faces when I tell them I am an author. Then there is the question as to what I write followed by the deflated “oh.”

Where do vanishing objects go? Remember to phrase your answer in the form of a riddle.

Seen becomes unseen when toes stand on end to chase what lies on the other side of the fence.

What project(s) are you currently working on, poetry or otherwise?

I am tossing around ideas for my 10 minute spot on the Creative Nexus Café’s blogtalk radio show coming up on October 25th.

Would you like to share a poem with us today?

Sylvia and Wings

“Is there no way out of the mind?” ― Sylvia Plath

I cup the quiet in my palm;
feed it imperfect thoughts,
and wait for dreams
to grow from incapable.

Where is the good witch,
red sequined shoes,
a thrice repeated wish
to take me out of my mind?

Tomorrow is the butterfly I chase.

©Susie Clevenger 2015


Find more about Susie Clevenger:

IndieVengeance Day 2015

Last week I traveled to Dallas for an annual book signing known as IndieVengeance Day. We get together, the indies and I, once a year and hang out. We also sell books: small books, big books, books that climb on rocks. Okay, none of them climbed rocks, but a couple have ghosts, and that’s just as good.


The journey started in the air…


Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

But quickly involved books and stress cubes.


Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

Hey, poetry!


Photograph by Jacqueline Smith


Photograph by Jacqueline Smith

The books and their Davros. Muahaha.


Scott’s fortune cookie predicted a photo bomb.


And there was this yummy croissant.


Photograph by Claudette Peercy

The Justice League prepared to fight evil… and sell books.


Photograph by Claudette Peercy

After Red Lobster. Don’t we look full?


I found this steer at the airport.


My last view of Dallas.


It was an incredible event filled with my favorite people on earth. Once more, my deepest thanks to Amber Norrgard for all the hard work she did setting everything up.

You can find information on the authors in attendance here:

Julie Frayn

James Peercy:

Amber Jerome-Norrgard:

Stacey Roberts:

Paula Walker Baker:

Jacqueline E. Smith:

Debbie Watts Reece:

Susie Clevenger:

Book Review: Insomnia’s Ink by Susie Clevenger


Insomnia’s Ink

by Susie Clevenger

5/5 stars

Susie Clevenger is a seasoned poet, writing with all the force of years behind her. I have probably read this book three or four times already (to be honest, I’ve lost count). There is a high mastery of structure and emotion in her verse from which the reader cannot easily escape. I find myself drawn back to the comfort and truth she delivers so readily. Tremendous poetry for those who wish to understand and feel.

Sandpaper Star with Susie Clevenger

A collaboration with Susie Clevenger. Visit her blog here.


sandpaper stars know
best is brighter than
the last surrender into
blemished expectations

callous words cannot
steal light life has earned
from a baptism of fire.

time lapsed rapture
left us sipping nicotine
from gamma rays where
we were fashioned in
a cloud of dust

we hang tattered, but whole
in a sapphire universe,
forgiving, forgetting,
overcoming the sanded speech
that tried to strip away our radiance.

© Ben Ditmars and Susie Clevenger 2014

Poetic Perspectives on Love

Last year I invited poets to write a few lines about love on my old blog. What is it and what does it mean? How can we unravel something so painfully elusive? This year I invited them back to reflect a year later: Helle Gade, Regina Puckett, and Poppy Ruth Silver.

But also, I invited more writers: Justin Bog, Tim Giles, Dan Leicht, Michelle FranklinNatasha Head, Chris McQueeney, Christopher G.J. Smith, Kim Stapf, Saket Suryesh, and Rob Zimmermann. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and opening your souls.

Additional thanks to those contributing last year whose poems I have reposted: Brock Gates, Amber Norrgard, Susie ClevengerSreya Bremtin.

Last Year


Image Source: Flickr

I will fight against you, for you
Because you mean more to me
than any fight can ever erase
Amber Jerome~Norrgard

Visit her blog here. ~ Find her books on Amazon.

Breathes held between
lingering sighs. Tangled thoughts
hemorrhage through loving eyes.
Regina Puckett

Visit her blog here. ~ Find her complete book of poetry on Amazon.

It is the surrender
that loses light
and yet invites
Poppy Ruth Silver

Visit her website here.

I walked into your soul
Embraced all that you were with my love
But death is a jealous lover
Now that you are gone
I’ll forgive, but never forget
Helle Gade

Visit her blog here. ~ Find her poetry on Amazon.

When hate dies, compassion begins, when a violent urge to take care and be one with another, that is a two side deal, to break free of the curse of loneliness
Brock Gates

Visit his Facebook Page here.

Love is energy
And motion over time
Transcending distance.

Love will save us
If it doesn’t kill us first.

Broken bottles
Shatter glass
Into a love letter
On the tear stained floor.
Ben Ditmars

Find his books on Amazon.

midnight rain kisses
shower eye lashes with dew
the sweet love of you

spider web wishes
tangle around thoughts of you
to hold fast my heart

you spoke, i answered
together we wrote the words
that said everything
Sreya Bremtin

Visit her website here.

I came with heartbreak
and you never left my side
through sickness and health

together we stood
facing every storm trusting
faith would see us through

goodnight never saw
our heads lay upon anger
forgiveness our choice

life came with its thorns
but they couldn’t divide us
love defied all odds
Susie Clevenger

Visit her blog here. ~ Find her poetry on Amazon.



Undefeatable Debt

Hearts are like fragile, breakable beasts
When we yield to love’s unforgiveable feasts
We’ll partake of what it offers without any regret
Any pretend we won’t drown in its undefeatable debt
Regina Puckett

Visit her blog here. ~ Find her complete book of poetry on Amazon.

There is only the
softness of your heartbeat, merged
eternally, here
– Poppy Silver

Visit her website here.

Careful Motion

years have taught me to be careful
with finesse and tenderness
but rules are made of fragments
to be broken down as motion
shatters obstacles –
we groove on the same
Ben Ditmars

Find his books on Amazon.

Love’s Light

I’ll keep that light
Always in my sight
So I’ll never be lost
In the chaos again
Helle Gade

Visit her blog here. ~ Find her poetry on Amazon.

This Year


Image Source: Flickr

Love Is…
A steady gaze, calm,
Prescient worlds, universes;
Celestial bangs
Justin Bog

Buy his collection of holiday stories on Amazon. ~ Enter the Goodreads Giveaway.

I was thinking though and I can’t accurately describe love right now just because of where I am. I hope to have an answer one day, but for now the very thing eludes me and is drenched in a kind of monochrome nostalgia with hues of yellow.
Timothy Giles

The sloom of sense,
the first confusion of limerance,
the equal joy of redemancy:
affection unbound
Michelle Franklin

Visit here website here.

A Lovely Way To Share

The feel of a new book, knowing you have a new escape
Finding a new show to watch on Netflix, learning there’s two seasons
Meeting someone for the first time, finding out they actually like your jokes
Waking up to a Saturday morning, sitting down to write right away
Seeing that same person again who liked your jokes, laughing together again
Love is many things, our interests, escapes, but it’s also the feeling of never being alone
It’s the feeling of finding those things that make us feel closer to others.
Dan Leicht (D.e.e.L)

Visit his website here. ~ Follow him on Twitter. ~ Find more books here.

In love, we are, at best…inadequate.
We have mastered infatuation
Manipulation, copulation and lies.
We have embraced jealousy, envy and resentment.
Love is free
From all these things.
I’m not saying we’re not learning.
I’m not giving up Hope.
I try to love every day,
Without prejudice
Without condition.
In this I know,
Until I defeat selfishness & self-hate
The heart I have to offer
Is nothing more than illusion
The “love”
A dictionary definition.
Natasha Head

Visit for news & poetry from Natasha Head, including a chance to win a signed copy of her latest release “Birthing Inadequacy”

Wall punch your way

A friend asked me today
What love meant to me
And what I had to say
About it
I drew a blank
And I have to thank you
For getting out of it-
What does love mean to me
Is it the thing that has
Caused me countless
Hours of misery
Heart ache and pain
Eyes dribbling
Wall punch your way
Through another day of love
Or is it the other
Chest constricting
Heart melting through your
Fingertips kind of way
Love is like an IV drip
Keeping me alive another day
I like to think the latter
At least that is what keeps me
Coming back for more
– Chris McQueeney

Visit his blog here.

A beautiful woman approached a man and asked him for a light, he picked up his lighter and lit her cigarette. He never spoke, she stood watching him and walked away. For most of the night he could she her watching him but not once did he show any interest. The bar closed and he walked through the dark streets before a woman’s voice asked him to stop. “Do you not think I’m beautiful?” she asked. “Yes” he replied. “Would you like to spend the night?” she asked him, but he shook his head. “You are the most desirable woman I’ve ever seen, but it cannot be” he said. “Then tell me why?” she questioned. He answered, “Someone waits at home for me, she makes me laugh but also makes me cry, she helps me but can make the bitter of arguments, she has gone through so much with me and to me she is the most beautiful woman that will always shine through my eyes”. The woman kissed the man on the cheek, but as she turned to walk away said; “You are both blessed to know true love, I wish I could find love like that”.
 Christopher G.J. Smith

Visit his page Facebook Page here.

To be in love
Soaring high
Passion burning from within
Raging for release
Kim Stapf

Visit her blog here.

Love speaks in whispers
Holding shoulder, looking into eyes,
And when cries in longing
Pierces through the mellowed
Breast of the skies.
It arrives unannounced
On tip-toe, like a gentle breeze
Through lonely nights,
And when leaving
Slams the door so hard
That a thunder roars
With the feral vengeance of death,
Which reverberates through the soul.
Love, when it meets you
Nourishes the soul,
And in awkward shyness smiles.
It keeps you up long nights
Writing reams and running longest miles.
Saket Suryesh

Find his poetry on Amazon.

What Love Is?

Do you know what love is?
Can you define thousands
of emotions in the four letters?

I cannot. But I try.

Isn’t that love, in the end?
Realizing you’ve found her,
knowing no words are worthy.
Rob Zimmermann

Visit his blog here.