rock it

©2023 michael raven

summer sidewalk watching
near the lake, watching all
the lovely people go by
but not her and i, so we

trade views about women
we would each pick up
as if any of them would
give either of us the time

only a single exception
"too much makeup", she says
and yet she and i have similar
tastes, though ages & sex apart

...mel torme sings new yor-
new yor- new yor- new yor-
diane swears, adds another
record to the bargain bin


©2022 Michael Raven

inspired memories
hibiscus tea
w/a dash of
cardamom &
cinnamon, each

even unsweetened
i can close my eyes
& see suzannah
dancing for tips
& wry crooked smile
baked kibbeh uneaten
lost in her kohled
almond eyes

I have taken to drinking herbal tea in the evenings again and digging through the cabinet for herbal teas that have mostly been forgotten by one family member or another, With one exception, we all drink tea to some degree: one likes her chai I make with a blend of spices from a store that pretty much only sells spices, another likes the more fruity lemon, apple blossom, white teas — some with green tea blends, others without, and one thinks tea tastes like dish water and won’t touch the stuff. Me? I trend towards green and oolongs, but I like a good, nutty assam. I use to drink a lot of herbal teas “back in the day”, but have only started drinking tisanes again in the evening recently.

I stumbled onto a forgotten package of hibiscus tea that I probably had originally intended to use in a reconstructed memory of a beverage I drank whenever I had the chance: rania (spelling might be faulty). As far as I know this recipe was an exclusive specialty of a family chain of middle eastern restaurants in town, all called “Java” (and now, sadly defunct).

Best I can recall, rania was hibiscus tea, sweetened with tamarind molasses or syrup, and heavily spiced with cinnamon, cardamon, and probably some cloves. The beverage was blood-red and slightly viscous and to die for iced on 100-degree days in August. Alternately, it was to die for warmed up in the middle of sub-arctic January (when you can hear the trees pop and occasionally explode in the middle of the night due to the subzero temps). In fact, it was just to die for.

So I had this high-quality loose hibiscus tea sitting around and I saw it on the shelf. I don’t have the syrups, but I make sure to stock the other spices. I decided, WTF… I brewed up a mugful, tossed in some cardamon and cinnamon and let it steep too long to get my girls to bed. Came back and… instant recall of sitting at the Java, the belly-dancer flirting with everyone at the table for tips, while I sipped at some mulled rania on a cold winter evening.

[Reblog] upstream — anne a p a r t

This piece evoked all kinds of memories for me, so it felt very much like anne was writing directly to me (she wasn’t, of course, but that makes it all the more notable for that reason).

Without going into details of my own too far, it conjured up memories: traipsing around Swede Hollow in my 20s, before they’d cleaned it up in earnest and really turned it into a useable park, and memories of fly-fishing for trout along Fishtail Creek in Montana with my great uncle, a man who always had a story to tell (and had a katana from WWII that I always coveted as a child).

Anyway, anne knocks this one out of the park as far as I am concerned. Check it out if you have five minutes to spare in the next few days.

Aidy and her grandfather walk memory lane and get their feet wet in the process. Grief, flash fiction, 5 minutes.

upstream — anne a p a r t

skin we/

©2021 Michael Raven

lazy linger fingers
trace the ghost
of memories
in the ash ash ash
turn calf ankles
stocking clad
a small secret
in that smile
invisible now
behind scrims
and veils wrapped
in silence 
Photo by antonio fernandez on

Ocean Rain

I’m at sea again
And now your hurricanes have brought down this ocean rain
To bathe me again
My ship’s a sail
Can you hear its tender frame
Screaming from beneath the waves
Screaming from beneath your waves

All hands on deck at dawn
Sailing to sadder shores
Your port in my heavy storms
Harbours the blackest thoughts

Ian McCulloch/Echo and the Bunnymen

Along with the Standing on a Beach tour for the Cure (where I got to hand with the guys backstage after the show for an hour or so), the EatB show I saw in support of the “grey album” (which included the hit Lips Like Sugar) makes up the two best concerts I ever saw growing up. Both hit quite a few of the earlier songs at the time and I recall Ian singing this song. I’ll never forget that moment, a moment when I was suddenly not bummed that I was at the show by myself (sans a girlfriend, or any other friend, for that matter), and suddenly I realized that someone “got it”. Ian was crooning, holding the microphone like a lover, and I was there too, loving whomever the song was for at the same moment.

It seems that this song captures most of my relationships, good and bad, in retrospect. It always seems as if it is my storm or another’s that rocks the boat.

I’m not an easy person to live with, or even be around.


“I dun know, man.” John watched all the people strolling by in the late afternoon oppressively humid streets. His guitar case dangled by two fingers and threatened to fall to the brick sidewalk, except some strange magnetism or magic coursing through his fingertips prevented it from doing just that. “This’n may not be the most brill trick, now we’re here.”

Stage fright, Sean thought. John had never busked before, but they were both ass poor and needed some cash.

“C’mon, don’t be a baby,” he chided John. “We do this until we can buy a few packs of smokes and we’ll quit. ‘Kay?”

John looked dubiously at the business professionals hurrying past them, mindful only of not colliding with the two gutterpunks. in the way. “I dun know, Sean,” he said shaking his head. “Seems like we more like get arrested than get money.”

Continue reading “Busking.”


down by the river
through to the rushes
through to the memories
through to the self hate
fingers glancing blows
over tall grass
cutting like memories
her name
her face
fading away
fading away

Originally posted on