ice skate 1 clip art

Skating on thin ice,

I cut weighted figure eights —

A new year, old fears.





© 2016 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved


Not Yet Finnished



Friday night. Late August. I wanted a laugh. More important, I needed to hear other people’s laughter. Problem was: I only wanted my pet’s food to be canned, and I didn’t want my living room to be comedy central. Devoid of amorous company, I dove into the subway and emerged into the neon nirvana of Forty-Second Street, Times Square.

Passing on caricature portraits and flirtatious pickpockets, I swerved around starry-eyed tourists and glazed-eyed addicts to zoom in on the first hawker of comedy venue flyers in my hot concrete path. “Hmmm…twenty bucks for three comics performing live?” I asked the husky, bearded Black dude in baggy denims and black tee. “I’m there.” It was roughly forty-five minutes until the eleven o’clock set.

After I was ushered to one of a dozen tables among stadium seating, I distracted myself from both claustrophobia and the dearth of Black people in the tiny, dark club by inhaling the first of four turkey sliders on pretzel buns divided between two red-and-white checkered paper boats. Before I could fantasize about sailing away from the venue into fresh, open air on the Caribbean Sea, I heard a reedy voice ask, “Excuse me, madame. Is this seat taken?” Apparently the joint had filled nearly to capacity while I was on my armchair vacation, and the average-height blond man hovering over my medium cup of Coke was assuming that my companion had stepped away to use the men’s room — or to find a slender girlfriend.

“No one’s coming,” I told the stranger through my thin napkin  as a couple of thirtysomething stick-chicks tittered my way as if I were the set’s opening act. He squeezed his thick frame into a red wooden seat perfect for Baby Bear, plunked his bottle of Heineken at the tiny corner of table that I had managed not to monopolize, and then neglected to provide either his name or a handshake. He did mutter a monologue about being in Manhattan on business for two days before returning to Finland and finding it difficult to close a precarious deal. I recall him smiling as I reacted between munches: “Oh, you’re Finnish. I was trying to pin down your accent and thought I detected Nordic — ”

Before I could complete my sentence, all the house lights (“hut” lights would be more apropos) except the ones onstage went out, and the emcee — a dead ringer for singer-songwriter Levi Stephens, sans guitar — asked the crowd, “Are y’all ready to laugh yo’ asses off?” After waiting for our tiny, nearly all-white village to chant “Hell yeah!” for the third time, the night was on like Cheddar cheesy pop-poppity-popcorn.

From the lesbian comic opener who is responsible for my repulsion to rabbits of the silicon variety (let’s just say her repetitious ribbing rubbed my insecurity the wrong way) to the Honduran pothead from Red Hook — I lost all six porcelain fillings by laughing and coughing so hard. The few times I looked over at the Finnish businessman, he seemed to be enjoying the comedy as much as his fourth or ninth Heineken. I wasn’t counting, the bottles that is.

By the time the house lights had flickered back on and the applause had waned, my Finnish seatmate was gone. I was left with his emptied beer bottles and his cold, stiff seat. “Well, not even a goodbye,” I thought. Biting my bottom lip, I stood up and swiveled around to watch all the other patrons making their way toward an exit so narrow that we could have been trying to flee a funhouse. And like that amusement park feature, life suddenly appeared so distorted, though no deceptive mirrors were in sight.

Friday evening had begun in solitude; it now ended in loneliness. Although crowds of people were wandering the vivid, illuminated streets between Eighth Avenue and Broadway, I felt abjectly alone. Rendered two-dimensional by virtue of melancholy, I was a crumpled soul embodied in a woman who was destined always to be a party of one. Faltering with each footstep, I couldn’t compete with those five-dollar caricature portraits drawn in haste in front of Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. Unbearable awareness of my mateless meandering had reduced my bodyweight to that of pencil lead.

Heading toward the BMT subway, I thought that a downpour was threatening despite the hour, but it was my own rain. I felt tears streaming down my face and gazed in horror at the left side of my torso, which already was beginning to be smudged out. With watercolors for eyes, I probably stumbled past the vanished Finnish visitor, whose soliloquy on his apprehension toward a business deal with boorish Americans could have competed for length with any of Hamlet’s procrastinations.

Topped with charcoal-gray hair, I lost my balance beneath an unexpected gust of wind — my maker’s hurricane breath sweeping rubbery bits of eraser into the fragile paper frame’s northwest corner. In contrast to my disappearing form was a colored-in scene of jubilant figures shouting, singing and otherwise affirming their existence within a replacement neon picture frame.

Before my lungs could be extinguished, I gasped at the irony that I had made an unplanned Broadway debut but that the last laugh was on me.


First published on October 5, 2015

“Not Yet Finnished”  © 2015 Chantale Rêve  All Rights Reserved


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“Prissy,” they may hiss —

Although it’s a portmanteau

For “pretty pussy.”

© 2015 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

Midlife Cravings


So that was our “date”?

Flirting me out of my skirt?

You squirt — now I’m late.

© 2015 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved



Trapped like an ice cube,

I resist melting ’round you,

Unfazed by your fizz.

© 2015 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

Stood-up on a rain date in New York City,

I dodged the sunset and hopped a “D” train home,

Where, brimming with blissful solitude,

I urged the Muse to purge me of ulcerous self-pity –

Sonic grooves by Alanis setting the mood

For repentant limerent spectres to roam.

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Then ferocious catcalls in the corridor

Ripped me from an entranced state,

Echoed like rutting felines in the alleyway,

Too vulgar and sexual to be ignored,

Intruded on an impromptu mini-holiday —

My solitary, literary weekend escape.

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Through a cracked peephole I dared,
Despite my paralyzing, unutterable fear,

To observe lewd gestures of the same

Vicious thugs whose vile words and three-pronged stare

Five years back had degraded me past naked shame,

Had left me drowning in blood and putrid smears.

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In an update unbeknownst to me,

Buried beneath grim news headlines,

The terrifying trinity was on parole.

A mockery of justice permitted them to be free

But imprisoned my courage behind bars of old,

For which the keys were impossible to find.

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How I hated waiting alone for the police,

My pulse throbbing at a blistering pace!

Flashbacks transported me to that horrible Saturday,

When three men morphed into a six-legged beast,

Ravaging a blithe spirit until hope in Man rotted away

And her peace and joy vanished without a trace.

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© 2012-2015 Chantale Rêve

All Rights Reserved

[Free Images] Graphics, Illustration, Graphics - People, Warrior / Knight, Sword / Knife ID:201208061200

One buoyant call at the heartbreak of midday

Disrupted desolation’s hypnotic lullaby,

Placed a damned soul’s desperate plan on hold,

Whisked subterranean shadows away.

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Through my iPhone his lush baritone

Throbbed past brown fuzz into my ear,

Shocked flatlined blues into brisk blips,

Breathed oxygen into triple sets of wasted lips.

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Intoxicated with intravenous chordal bliss,

I wowed my alias in vowing not to be a stranger

If only my caller would delay the date

On which we shall reciprocate a fated eternal kiss.

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Poem “Unlimited Knight Time and Bleak’s-End Minutes”  © 2015 Chantale Rêve  All Rights Reserved

Image by AliCe玥

What a scintillating sensation on the tongue — now, now — when saying “Me gwan fill ma belly” and “methinks I shall find sustenance.” OK, I only think but don’t say either phrase, unless chatting with close friends. Yet the former statement is a dart to the bull’s-eye of my desire to satiate my appetite. When *tings* get primal — be the desire for food, water, sex, inner peace or safe shelter (in any sequence but nevertheless linked to survival) — my mind-spirit connects to Mamma Africa, no matter how mixed my ancestry and no matter how Eurocentric my primary and secondary educational experiences.

Thus, I urge (with the pronunciation “uhhhje”) you all to read blogger louella001’s essay, below: “Of creoles and other ‘undignified’ speaks.”


Being from the Caribbean, I unavoidably grew up in a place with more than one register. There’s the queen’s English, then there’s broken English or more particularly, Trinidadian English, which isn’t a standardised form of usage of the English language. Rules are rules. So, how come we find so may snatches of one language buried so deeply into the culture of another that the users of the language don’t even know the actual origin of the words they use? A perfect example is one that I heard from a friend of mine of African language influencing our Trinidadian creole. Who knew that obzokee, meaning funny looking, is of African origin? Or yampee is the mucus that collects at the corner of your eyes. Or a sou sou, which is a system of saving where all members pay installments of a sum of money over a period of time…

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Feast your eyes on, and open your mind to, an authentically Black American culture that struggles to survive despite repeated black eyes from golf balls.  I’ll take a Gullah basket and some dat gumbo an red rice over dem real estate developers’ greedy goals. Fore? No, foul!

A descendant of the Gullah-Geechee people of the South Carolina Sea Islands and coastal SC and GA  — and ‘Bama Blacks and Chickasaw, and Scots-Irish and French Huguenots — je vous présente a reblog of the article “The Culture and Language of the Gullah-Geechee Blacks of South Carolina” published on the WordPress blog Anna Renee is Still Talking.

You Are Leaders!

It’s very interesting how some black folks in America are bi-lingual and don’t know it.  Many, if not most of us speak a second language that’s not classified as such, generally speaking.  For certain people, the way blacks in America speak is considered  sub-standard english, or just ignorance on display.  I wanted to find out what was being said about our black language, or dialect, or sub standard english, beyond the negative things that I know are being said.  There’s always ridicule concerning anything and everything that black people do.  So I start looking online for information about black American english, and there’s quite a bit being said.  The most interesting thing I found was information about the Gullah-Geechee people of South Carolina.

These black people who called themselves Gullah in South Carolina, and Geechee in Georgia, have lived in the low country islands of this area since the days of slavery, when they were brought…

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And to clear things up –

Before the lump in my throat

Grows any larger,

Blocking my airway,

Causing a stroke –

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I just want to say

I intended no harm

By shaking off sorrow

At her grim memorial,

But she was my mother

Safely dead in sealed casket.

Could she spy on my sadness?

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If I offended frail sensibilities

By forgoing self-pity,

Commiseration in Chanel black,

By wearing neon-bright colors,

My pretense of composure

Framed in lacy frivolity,

I apologize belatedly

For not appeasing my elders.

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But, really, all these decades later,

I wonder if they realize

Now that I was only a child,

Heart heavy with new burden,

Tears like a clown’s disguised

As popcorn-puffed entertainment.

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Once home, the circus over,

I put away my makeup,

Slamming the cabinet,

Shattering its mirror

And caught my pained expression.

In shards of glass below me

Distorting my reflection.

I imagined jagged razors

Ripping me from numbness,

Adding to the tally

Of coffin-tight secrets –

A cul-de-sac of repression.

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Growing up sheltered,

Suburban normalcy

Couldn’t prepare for the bomb

Dropped on our perfect family.

Terminal sentence looming,

Queen of the house arrested,

We were guilty by association

Like reeking of secondhand smoke

From a funny cigarette

That might have eased suffering

From aggressive breast cancer.

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I was fifteen years young,

Embarrassed by death,

Bereft of coping skills,

Complicit in the depth

Of a widower’s grief,

A father come undone.

Where did my youth go?

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Overnight made a woman,

I sought divine mercy

For a pass/fail grade,

In a crash course in courage,

A detour on the road

To self-discovery.

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I screamed!

That’s all I had to do.

And then,

I caught my breath


Like trapeze artists

Tumbling in the air

High above a sturdy net,

Pretending to defy

Certain death.

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Copyright © 2010 By Chantale Reve