Posted on

Rita Hayworth’s Forehead

This poem is dedicated to
The forehead of Rita Hayworth
Which had a fine hairline, though
Showbiz deemed it had too much girth.

But let’s start with Margarita,
A talented young girl,
Who’s father, Eduardo Cansino,
Brought her up in the dancing world.

With Irish and Spanish heritage,
And flamenco one of her styles,
Partner/Dad made her wear makeup,
(And called her his wife, meanwhile.)

By the tender age of 12,
She was a budding ingénue.
Bolstered by ball gowns and dance poise,
She knew just what to do.

Flashing those dark hazel eyes
Beneath healthy, thick black curls,
Men wanted her, and used her,
From the time she was a girl.

One of these men, a husband,
Noted a hairline trend,
And electrolysized her temples,
Erasing signs of Spanish kin.

Other men insisted she
Red-blondify her hair,
And make her eyebrows thin,
So she could dance with Fred Astaire.

It would have been a scandal,
Though why, I cannot see,
To pair a white male star
With a Latina-looking she.

Before Ricky and Lucy showed us
Their shared-apart TV beds,
America was not ready
For Margarita’s head.

Not paired with Fred, that is.
Or Gene. Or Glenn. Or Cary.
Their European background
Required a woman more Euro-hairy.

Blonds were best, with pale skin.
Brunettes were okay, too.
But a hint of maybe-Mexican
With white guy wouldn’t do.

I’m sad she couldn’t be herself
And also be successful.
Suppressing one’s identity
For others must be stressful.

So here’s to follicles that grow
In inconvenient places,
To eyebrows, thick and bushy,
That frame our splotchy faces.

Here’s to hair that’s black or gray,
And not turned blond instead.
And to Margarita Carmen Cansino,
And her beautiful forehead.  

Posted on


Wartle befuzzle slud,
Fleetish kersquish.

Boddly formuzzle mud,
Gindle bo glish.

Murgin plee fergin plop
Havishmak poke.

Porstlepie plavinflish
Skervenish boak.

Ig flavender fizzyboo

Eeg slibblin, bee blibblen,
Gor shneebeder shnie.


Posted on

Ziggindy Bo!

Ziggindy bo
Ziggindy bo
A fleeple merpna me.

Flibbinzy doe
Flibbinzy doe
Zabeepa lobner zee!

Ziggindy bo
Ziggindy bo
Zerpa nerple nee!

Wyzagoodle blah zabeen,
Scappa lapna gee!


Sclabern. Sclaboyn.

Sclabern. Sclaboyn.
Lazabo Dazabo neem.


Ziggindy bo
Ziggindy bo
A fleeple merpna me.

Flibbinzy doe
Flibbinzy doe
Zabeepa lobner zee!

Ziggindy bo
Ziggindy bo
Zerpa nerple nee!

Wyzagoodle blah zabeen,
Scappa lapna gee…

Wyzagoodle blah zabeen…
Scappa lapna gee!


Posted on

September 2019

Posted on September 21, 2019

Headache Weekend (and a head-related poem)

My almost-a-migraine experience is happening again today. It’s one that Doug and I have noticed mostly occurs weekends, and often during those for which I’ve made no specific plans, but for which I have many expectations. Sometimes I will think to myself, “I must clean my house!”, or “I need to help Jo organize her room!” or “I have to prep for a meeting!” or “What am I going to do about finding my calling and having some kind of lucrative and soul-enriching career!?” And then, the headache comes, causing my thoughts to transform into, “I can’t think with this kind of pain, so I might as well watch TV,” or “I don’t want to throw up,” or simply, “Ow.”

Fortunately, there are medicines in the world, and I took one of them about half an hour ago. It must be kicking in, because my shoulder/neck/behind-the-left-eye pain has dissipated to the point where it’s hardly there now. What a difference! I’ve gone from feeling nauseous and achey and lethargic to actually feeling like maybe doing something. Though I also feel like taking a nap.

These headaches might be caused by stress, menstruation, a general need to take it easy – but it could be that last night’s dinner of pizza and cheesy bread contributed, too.

On to the topic of writing: my Mom requested that I put this poem on my website, and I thought that I had, but I hadn’t. So here it is.

Rita Hayworth’s Forehead

A little background to help understand the poem:

Rita Hayworth began her life with the name Margarita Carmen Cansino. Her Spanish father and Irish mother were both dancers, and she grew up dancing, too. Not too many people know that Rita’s hair was naturally black, and that her hairline was originally much lower than the one we are used to seeing on her in movies. The Hollywood machine at that time required that she make herself look more “white”.

When I first saw pictures of Margarita Cansino, I had no idea why they had come up, since I had googled “Rita Hayworth”. The transformation is significant. And it made me sad that her original form of beauty was not acceptable for successful movie-making – at least not enough for her to be a star. She obviously had the talent and the acting skills and the drive to be a leading actress. But Hollywood’s and greater society’s prejudices would not allow her to get there without changing her appearance.

I had known that I wanted to write something entitled “Rita Hayworth’s Forehead” for years, but nothing congealed in my mind until I heard an author promoting her Rita Hayworth biography on NPR. The information in that interview gave me what I needed, and Rita’s eponymous forehead poem was born.

Posted on September 19, 2019

Gibberish is fun!

I wrote two poems and one song/poem yesterday in language chosen specifically for the fun sound patterns they make.

When I read these poems to my younger daughter, who famously dislikes most of my poetry, she said, “Mom. The reason Jabberwocky works is because some of the words make sense!” I knew she wouldn’t like it. I told her she is my best audience because she’s my worst audience. If I can handle her reaction to my poetry, I can handle any critique.

Seriously, these poems make me happy to read, sing, say out loud, and think about. Please find them in the Poetry section. They are titled:



Ziggindy bo!

Posted on September 2, 2019

Restful Weekend Labor

Yesterday I didn’t feel well. I went for  a walk with hubby & daughter, and couldn’t make it all the way back up the hill to the car. My head was throbbing, nausea creeping over me, and my heart was pounding and my breathing heavy, just from walking up a set of stairs. The two of them left me to sit on the top step while they walked ahead and then picked me up with the car.

So I took it easy yesterday, despite having some pre-guest house cleanup to do. I would do a little work, rest, work, then rest again. I would fold clothes, for example, until my neck/head started hurting and I felt dizzy. Then I would sit down and play sudoku or candy crush on the computer.

I also watched the rest of the Joyce Carol Oates Master Class I’ve been going through. I’ve only done a couple of her suggested writing exercises, and I’m wondering about posting one of them here.

The exercise in question is “burn through a scene”, giving oneself 45 minutes to write a scene, preferably one with 4 characters or fewer, “in one single location over a unified period of time”.

I wrote about my 20 year class reunion, in particular one point during which I tried to join in a conversation with 3 other classmates and felt completely shut out. It’s still in it’s first draft, so maybe I’ll work on it a little before putting it up here.

In the meantime, I will post a poem that I wrote in the car on the way to work a couple of weeks ago. It actually started out as a song, which is sometimes the case with my car-written poems. I’m not sure why I’m compelled to sing-write poem-songs. The words sometimes suggest a melody, I guess, and the tune helps me remember the words. Then when I’ve made it to work, before I go inside, I write the poem in my journal, singing it to recall the words.

By the time I’m off work, I’ve completely forgotten the tune, and looking at the words in my journal does nothing to bring it back. So I’ve started recording these mini songs on my phone. It’s a lovely little surprise when I play it back. (Though I would not call them good songs. Just entertaining, I guess.)

I’ve recorded three of these little songs on my phone so far. One has the line, “I’ve got eyeballs”. Another, very incomplete, contains the chorus “You’ve got it all”. The one I will post right now under Poems starts out, “How will you be with the water?”