Oh, you’re so lovely, so handsome and lean

Come on up and see me—if you know what I mean

Rapture and passion, for hours, for days

While Nature performs her mysterious ways


Over? So quickly? Of course, satisfied!

But stop with your banter;
 I’ll ne’er be a bride.

Hush now, my hero, for you are the best,

And lean your delectable head ‘cross my breast.

You smell so delicious!
 Now, what did I say?

Have I eaten recently? 
Nope. Not today.

Not Wednesday, or Tuesday, or Monday, in fact.

How do I say this with grace and with tact?

I want you inside me once more, my sweet.

No, not as a lover, but as something to eat.

I love you, I do, and
 I wish I could give

But it’s not in my nature 
I can’t let you live!

I’m soon to be brimming with life from your seed.

Think of our children – the reason we breed.

To continue our species on ad infinitum

You’ll soon be a dad. Tears of pride? Try and hide ‘em!

Buck up.
 You got fucked!
 And though soon you’ll be dead

It’s over quite fast, since I start with your head!

CRUNCH! How I loved you! CRACK! How it hurts!

Found the man of my dreams and allowed him to burst

Inside me, yet only to lose him so fast.

I’m consoled by believing that love rarely lasts.

Alone and with children, a She Devil named,

But any of you dicks would have done just the same.




Dedication: For Robin Williams and anyone else who has spent time in the Dark. If only we could spend time there together, then perhaps it wouldn’t be so very lonely.

When we were young, my brother was a voracious reader. He was particularly enamored with a set of books by Susan Cooper called The Dark is Rising. His passion for the series never inspired me to read it. As a child I was far too captivated by my own imagination to dawdle in other people’s stories, but I was intrigued by the title.

The Dark. It’s Rising.

That simple phrase caused my mind to conjure chilling images of being swallowed up, slowly by the heavy, powerful and ominous blackness of the Dark. Creepy. Unstoppable. Unrelenting.

As a child, this was a spine-tingling thrill. Fodder for the play-acting my friend and I staged in the town cemetery. But now, thirty-some years later, I still hold those evil, consuming images in my mind. I’ve never read any of Ms. Cooper’s books. Perhaps, if I had cracked one, sunk into its pages, some of my fear of The Dark would’ve dissipated.

Instead, “The Dark is Rising” has become a morbidly accurate description of the slow, terrifying descent into depression.

I know it well. Depression. And when it comes calling it does indeed creep, like a fog around your ankles, rising up until it slowly swallows you in a hazy blackness, a darkness that is impossible to shake or escape from. Once the Darkness has risen, it coils itself so tightly around you that anything outside your shroud is too far away to touch.

There is nothing, nowhere, no one to reach out to.

You would think, with experience, I would be able to sense the approach of the fog. That I might sense it skittering toward me on the horizon, like a storm about to break. But time and time again, I’d foolishly try to convince myself that the chill I feel is simply a bad day. Ugly weather that will pass with time. But a bad day turns into a bad week and an aching wells up inside my chest, an emptiness starts to throb with hunger in the depths of my stomach. While I’ve been looking the other way, trying to distract myself with the shiny objects of daily life, it grabs me. The Dark. It seizes me by the neck and I am suddenly, naively, surprised to discover that I am choking.

Of course, no one can save you.

They can’t see the sinuous fingers that are wrapped around your neck. To others, you still seem fine. Normal. The Happy Ones may even mistakenly think you are one of them. But they don’t know. Even the most intuitive of the Others, the ones who know you are not your usual self, think you’re simply having a bad day. But a bad day is a stubbed toe followed by a flat tire and a missed deadline. This is not a bad day. This is a slow murder of the soul, self-inflicted and agonizing.

The Dark rises higher, flooding into your open, gasping mouth. It seeps into your eyes and ears until it is all you see, all you hear. Its bitterness overtakes your mouth, spoiling your taste for anything. Any light that manages to break through this drape of blackness hurts, like a sharp cut of brightness that your senses are too delicate to receive. The light only serves as a reminder of how deeply buried you have become. It is a vanishing point on a distant horizon, and on that horizon are all the Others, with their stupid smiles and petty problems. With their hair appointments and playdates and grocery store runs. You want to shout at them, “Why bother? There’s only more and more and more of the same, and it isn’t enough. It’s not enough to create meaning. There is no meaning.” Dirty laundry never truly gets clean. The fridge cannot stay full. Hair grows and time passes and all the while your comings and goings and busy doings are futile. Entropic. Pointless.

You will have to do it all over again, and what ever comes of any of it anyway?

But they can’t hear you out on the horizon. They are swept into the piercing, shining light. You squint into it, trying to make some meaningful contact, but it hurts too much. So you turn in. You surrender. You wrap yourself in the darkness like a wool cloak and you allow yourself to sink further into the cold, bitter black and let it bat at your organs, your soul, your heart.

The Dark. It has a voice. The Dark wants to let you in on a secret only you can know. That you are nothing. Worse than nothing. You are an abuser of resources and space. You are a trickster who has fooled the Horizon Dwellersinto thinking you are real. That you are a person too. But you’re not. So stop.

Just stop the pretending and relent.

Sink further down into the mire and muck – the residue of every evil thing that has been said to you, about you, by you – a thick, bubbling pool of the greatest fears you have ever had about yourself.

The more you listen to the Dark, the more it becomes your friend. A great protector. The Dark can save you from the lies and the pretenses of the Happy Ones. The notion of normal and all the chores that come with that burden.

“Why bother?” the Dark asks.

And you can’t think of a single reason.


Half a sandwich is not enough

To subsist on. Such a little bit.

“Oh, me? I barely eat at all, really. Just a few bites. That’s all I really need to go go go.”

Who can digest that?

Good for her, I say, (hoping she gets run over by a train).

Maybe I can watch, from where I am tied to the tracks.

What a treat it would be, to have the other half of her sandwich to munch, while she gets crunched.

And perhaps a gin and tonic.

Am I sick?

Of course, this is what I hear quite often enough, yet, I feel relatively sure I’m not.

What I am is hungry.

A ravenous sort of belly burning desire that sears the sensitive lining of my stomach and renders me distracted, tangled and jangled in the pains and vapors of open-mouthed desire that call for me to sit and eat, to drink and douse the pyre that cooks me from the inside out, undetected as the world goes on and on.

Look, there she goes, spinning and being all earthy beneath your quick little feet, so quick you don’t even look into my eyes as we pass in the street.

But I can’t blame you for that, really, because I am sure the hunger can be read on my face and I would grab you and eat you, if only I could keep up your pace.

I am no cannibal, I am just looking to fill in the place that is so broken and so deeply in disrepair, If I eat your beautiful heart maybe it will replace the one that is no longer there.


The flip of a page

Is simple

A turned over sheet

Like a leaf

Or leaves that fall so lightly

Drifting down

Skittering across the hardening ground

Easily crunched under feet

A simple gesture of Nature

No meaning assigned

Merely the deciduous decisions of trees

Or the southerly travel plans of geese

The mating pattern of honeybees

But the simple turning of a calendar page

Raises such a din

Issues a mighty cue

Sending humans spiraling in a fit

Of what to do

Who to be

Where to go

What habits to start, to stop

Will they last forever or perhaps will they not

And always to be




Better at ALL they do

Bettering as persons, parents, paramours

And things that don’t start with P

So much easier to accept it all

Like the goose, bee and tree

Sadly, the nature of humans

Is to struggle with their cells

These frenetic genetic motorcars

Driven at break neck speed

Until, once a year, they jam on brakes

To stop and flip the page

A new clean sheet

On which to place



And bettering bests

But I prefer

To take a cue

From the paper



At rest.


Rush not into fear

Or hide in shadows of dread

Do not thrash and wring hands in anger

Do not lash.

Do not challenge.

Do not fight.

Do not judge.

Do not allow the bile to rise up and choke you.





Scream to the heavens you want to know why.

But know

that knowing why

will not take the pain,

Prevent the loss,

Bring back the moment

Before the moment

That exploded your heart.



away the island
draw bridge
flee to keep
keep quiet
keep still
keep feelings that spill
from flooding this glass castle with backwash of old wounds
trapping evil memories inside thought balloons
release them to sky
to turbulent weather
but how will the king’s men fit pieces together
once the winds have parted four ways
blown memories through nights and days
into years
that bury fears
beneath myths woven into tapestries
a history that doesn’t recognize me
stories told over feasts
leaving out details of vile beasts
that gnaw under table
and my version as told unstable
a red river run
encircling my kingdom of one

one can be trusted
two can agree
three can break contracts
four is too much for me


She was smart, and then they killed her. 
She saved the day, and then they killed her. 
She rescued all of France,
Showed that ladies could wear pants, 
And then they killed her!
Mais, oui.
A pleasant peasant girl from Domrémy
Able to hear divine instructions, without ipod or TV, 
Rode proud, “avante guard” and set her people free
100 years of pain & war, then she brought victory!
And then hey killed her.
C’est vrai.
They killed her, they up and burned her, 
they roasted 
and toasted 
and turned her 
on a spit of spite and hate,
making s’mores to celebrate
They fried her like bacon!
Even though she wasn’t fakin’
C’est nes pas formidable.
Pour la belle jeune fille 
qui a sauvé la journée, 
elle a été tuée
et elle fut brûlée
(*Best when sung. It will be going in my musical. Yeah, I said, I’m writin’ a musical. About the ladies. Oh, yeah.)


A Wish

Not wishy-washy or watered down.

A blaze to burn tenets & tenements to ground.

A pure, purposed scorching that cannot be doused,

not the tainted hubris of Dr. Faust.

Where will and desire

meet as oxygen and fire,

mind and heart as two sticks rubbing, furious,

fanning glowing embers of imagination, like curious child,

wondering, willing, willful, wild,

Igniting conflagration, blue, green, gold.

Mesmerizing if it will only take hold.

This fire I’ll nurture, encircle,

its servant be made,

dutiful, not groveling, like imprisoned slave,

I will stand sentinel and stave

off the elements that would

gulp or snuff each rising spark,

protecting it from cold & dark,

raising Fahrenheit in dead of night,

while some,

safe in homes,

snugly, smugly wish my fire out,

unable to reckon what this wish is all about.

Perhaps I’ll become a well told joke,

crouched over glittering ash,

a stoker of hot air, an ass!

But I pay no mind,

cold, alone,

tucking coals in ring of stone.

Tending tender, tented down,

a line in sand or snow drawn ’round

This hearth of my heart, my passionate post,

rekindles my purpose like the holy ghost,

flames internal,



‘Til a burning bursts forth,


and my fire engulfs me, tending me in return,

kindling in kind,

holding fast to belief,

a forest fire bursting

from one dry leaf.


KINDLING – Anna Cranage Conathan – Jan. 30, 2013

Good night, Capitol Dome. Good night, American home.
Goodnight, democracy: north, south, sea to shining sea.
Good night, Americans, both D & R.
Whether your hero fell or rose as evening’s star.
Whether you’re tucked into bed or still out

at bar.
Remember, we’re a team, out of many, one.
(To quote our dollar, “E pluribus unum.”)
Good night, lucky many, who share in this land,
fall NOT into division, but unite and stand.
-Election Night, 2012-

Husband & Wife/dishes

Elbow deep in suds and scrubbing,
Behind me I feel someone rubbing.
Suddenly two hands on breasts.
Really, I think, is there no rest?

“Do you want to make love?” I hear him ask.
Wipe my forehead, distracted from the task
Of washing dishes, steam in my eyes,
I respond, an exhausted reply:

Do I want to “make love”?


I make love.
I wake love.

I bake special muffins so my love will eat love.
I pack love into lunches with little notes.
I fill tubs with love and little boats.
I love during pick up after pre-K:
“I love your purse, your hair that way!”

I spot-treat love’s little uniforms
And shirts love has stained but barely worn.
I love my way through the grocery store,
Fill up the cart and conjure MORE
Love to whip up dinner–
You’d think all this loving would make me thinner!

I love all the drawings (of who knows what).
I love to extremes when I wipe love’s butt
And rinse skid marks from “Cars” undershorts;
I’d be an Olympian if love were a sport.
By sunset my love has worn quite thin
’til love’s in PJs, & the smell of him
Refills my store
Can’t help but adore.

Then, after bedtime, love comes home,
Not with flowers or Byron poem,
But complaints of work and crippling fatigue.
“It’s time to draft my fantasy league.”
So I play the role of athletic supporter,
Handing off dinner and beer in short order.
Kissing love on top of his head,
I consider my options: food or bed.
But endless love fills one with hunger
And dishes must be done pre-slumber.
Soon in comes love, spewing sports stats,
All hands, wondering where I’ve been at,
Wanting to get cozy, and me half crazy,
My love source tapped, my brain all hazy,
Dreading love’s school field trip,
Which I hate and would rather skip.
But one thing I don’t love is being alone,
So I volunteered to chaperone!

And love walks in seeking love & luck?
I don’t want to make love.

Why don’t we just FUCK?

*Important note re: The Husband: he feels that you, Reader, should know that he does not use the term “make love” or any of its conjugations (e.g. “we make love”, “we are making love”, “we hath made love”) in precoital communication. This does not include “Making Love Out of Nothing at All“, because the man does love to jam out to Air Supply. *A confession from The Writer/Wife: The Husband usually makes dinner. I am the sous chef. (And not a very good one.)