bluebeard had enticing eyes, large and deep and dark
as lakes, as shadows
he was graceful on his skateboard and had a throaty laugh
he said,
"i never noticed you
until the day you wore those high-heeled boots
and then i thought, hmmm maybe her?"

he took me to his chamber
and wooed me with sweet wine from fountains
and with dance and music
the lyrics went, "tear you apart"
but i chose to take this figuratively
the speak of pop, not literal

he did my portrait
me smiling at him dumbly
like an animal unaware of slaughter
he brought me swooning flowers
took me to dine in canyons
strung with fairy lights
and where coyotes howled

i let bluebeard do to me
whate'er he wanted
i let him into places
no one had been
i wrote him poems everyday for months
and he responded
with emoticons

when bluebeard sent me home
alone in the dark
when he danced with another while i watched
when he refused to acknowledge me in public
even with a glance or smile
i should have known
should have been grateful
instead i stuck around
one day too long

what frightens me of bluebeard
is not that he killed me
but that i let him Continue reading

Baba Yaga

listen, it's not like you think
those girls? they came to me
they wanted things
gold and jewels and love and everlasting
they wanted my white steed of morning
and my red steed of day
and my black steed of night
my prophetic cat
and my loving dog
and my singing bird
they wanted my house on its claws
because it could walk
they wanted my servants
tied me down to reveal
their invisible forms
and their secret names

the girls beat me and bruised me
and called me crone
they made me listen to them weep
about how lonely and ugly they felt
(they with their long golden hair and skin smooth as glass)
as if my withered face and spotted hands
my empty bed
were irrelevant

yes, i killed them
and used their skulls for lamp posts
with candles burning inside
brighter than their old minds
yes i took their lives
but look at my scars

if you come visit me, pretty one
i'll show you the truth

Continue reading

skeleton funeral

i don't need a man anymore
i have my children
i can raise them
i have my bills
i can pay them

i can manage my grief
i can heal my body
i can validate myself
i can love and give love
i have friends when i'm lonely
i can process the memory
of my mother's bones in my arms
without obliteration

but i have forgotten
how to shed tears

then sometimes you're here
your flesh is so warm
your bones are so strong
your chest is so wide
your drum is so fierce
slowly, slowly
my heart may be learning
to open

Continue reading

The Sandman

i made him of black sand
still wet from the ocean
his lips were plums
his legs were small trees
his hands were palm fronds
his sex an obelisk
his ribs were the cage of an ibis

i lay my head on his chest and some grains
got into my eyes
and i dreamed
of how the sandman
came to life
slid himself inside me
and obliterated my fears for one night

oh sandman return with your dreams
but in exchange
you may not have my eyes
to feed your children
in their nest on the moon
made of iron

Continue reading

ice queen

"i'm so cold" my mother said
"come warm me
"there's a lady in the room"
when i arrived
at the small spanish apartment
with white roses in the front
my mother was all jutting bones
in her little pink pajamas
i tried to thaw her
i didn't see the ice queen
but i knew she was there
watching us
taloned fingers long as hands
skin a silver blue
and her touch a burn
like i used to feel
sticking my tongue into the ice tray as a child
i didn't beg my mom to stay
i sat beside her as the day turned gold then gray
then black
through the shut windows
"i love you" we said, again and again
all we had left
all there was that mattered
it did not melt the queen
her gray eyes were pools of frost
black lake of something
waiting underneath
it did not make her leave
but when my mother finally smiled and took her hand
someone else arrived
in that dim and musty room
someone my mother recognized
someone she'd been waiting
a quarter century to join
someone who had once been

Continue reading
Silver rings, a profusion of flowers, hazy graveyards and perhaps the fae embroider this hypnotic tale.

Block (Pink Smog, 2012, etc.) returns with her distinctively smoldering style. ...shimmering imagery and nimble characterization. On a school-sponsored visit to UC Berkeley, Ariel Silverman’s best friend, Jeni, strangely disappeared. Just as Ariel herself is set to go off to Berkeley, her paren
ts reveal that Ariel’s mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Still reeling and numb with grief, Ariel heads to college, determined to pursue the mystery of Jeni’s disappearance. Life quickly becomes a routine of classes, running and passing out flyers with Jeni’s face. To escape frat boys, obnoxious football players and her lascivious roommate, Ariel begins to wander the streets at night. On Halloween, an ominous giant of a homeless man hands her a flyer, an invitation to a party at the House of Eidolon. Given that dorm life is hell, Ariel goes to the party, and there, her life takes a sudden, irrevocable turn. The gorgeously Gothic house is home to three enigmatic graduate students who seduce Ariel into their glamorous lives. Perry, faunlike with his curly hair and sly attentiveness, is a classics major. Bewitching Tania has focused her psychology studies on magic, divination and superstition. Yet Ariel’s eyes lock with those of John, who is studying the continuance of the soul. Worried still about Jeni, Ariel soon finds herself physically compelled to return again and again to her enchanting new friends. Why does she feel ill without them? Who is the giant who seems to be lurking about? What does the tattoo on John’s wrist say? Why is Tania so welcoming? And how does Jeni fit into the puzzle?

Well-paced and lushly written.

Continue reading
#francescaliablock #theelementals #signing
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble (The Grove)
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 (Tentative)
7:30 PM
Mysterious Galaxy Books in Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Saturday, October 20, 2012
1:00 PM-3:00 PM
Chevalier’s Books
126 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90004



Sunday, November 11, 2012
4:00 PM
Book Soup
8818 Sunset Blvd.
W. Hollywood CA 90069

Continue reading

My Mother's Hair

when she was a baby she stood out in the sea of dark-haired cousins
like a bright-blond reflection of a star
disconcerting everyone with her smile
as a teen she posed red-lipsticked over her shoulder glancing
that famous hair curled marilyn style
you should have seen it!

as a bride in satin blond as she
the rest of the world just paled around her
then she divorced her husband and let her hair grow long
tied it in a braid dressed in peasant blouses went off to college
met my father
he released the long and golden strands
they saved him from the darkness
but agitated me when i was born
and when i could speak demanded that she wear her braid again
too much softness! too much light! i couldn't bare it
even as a baby i knew i could never be
a woman like her
never stop men on the street
and rescue one the way she had my father

i grew up dark-haired sullen like those faceless cousins
no one's starlight
no one's sun
how i wanted to shine like her
hacked off my own hair
burned it raw with bleach
it didn't work
and finally
when i had begun to accept myself
she was already growing tiny, losing hair
and then so sick she couldn't eat or bathe or walk
she didn't want the surgery
she didn't want the chemo
she would have preferred the darkness the oblivion the ashes
but even as she died
held in our arms no more rapunzel
her eyes her smile
they set the world

Continue reading

twelve dancing princesses/soul sisters (for all my writer friends)

aurora, larissa, jenna, mckenna
jessa and laura and mika and sarah
natalie, melanie, ashley and mandy

how did they find each other?
across a map of light
that connected souls
words they recognized
sending out the signals
bruise, burn
until they danced forth from their secret rooms
across electric continents
to the wicked witch's ball
they stayed all night until feet bled
they were locked up
and bodies fed
with tubes

the only thing that saved them
were the words they scrawled
revealing all
for freedom can't be kept
from a girl (or twelve, or more)
with pen and wall

Continue reading