Adrienne Veronese

Poet, Novelist, Author, Essayist, Humorist



(or... Love for Love's Sake, Ego for God's Sake)

If this is love, give me another metaphor

for Sisyphus rolling that stone uphill

to the feet of Prometheus,

only to watch myself devoured by crows

while repeating never more

again and again


bound to these roles

of impossible analogies.


If this is life, give me another religion

where I am not the second-hand

servant to a golden calf

created in the image and likeness

of a character named ego.


If this is second chances

or third

or even fourth, if one can trust carbon dating

on any day that's not Valentine's

then give me the left hand of darkness

and let me be the one to slip a ring on its finger

and pronounce us complete in the eyes of the

lords of any town that isn't claimed

in the name of ego's chosen ones.


© Adrienne Veronese

14 February 2019

Consulting a Moral Compass to Shed Light in Dark Places


                                                            “Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
                                                                      only light can do that.  
                                                                 Hate cannot drive out hate;
                                                                    only love can do that.”

                                                                  – Martin Luther King, Jr.


New information has emerged about a video showing a confrontation in Washington DC on Friday, January 18th between Catholic high school boys in MAGA hats attending the March for Life and Native Americans attending the Indigenous People's March at the Lincoln Memorial. My inbox has been choked with newsletters and videos this morning, condemning “mainstream” media for jumping to conclusions before all the facts were in.

 In a nutshell, - if such an oversized imbroglio could actually fit in a nutshell - a handful of haters from the Black Hebrew Israelite cult were there shouting insults at people passing by, basically because that's what they do. They're the shock-jocks of big city street corners and prominent public gathering places. And like most shock-jocks, lack the imagination to do anything but hate. Which probably explains why the Southern Poverty Law Center considers them a hate group. Along with anyone else with ears, they were hating on the group of teenage boys in MAGA hats. Who must have missed class the day they taught that thing about turning the other cheek. This perfect storm of haters colliding with smells like Catholic teen spirit appeared to have set off a chain reaction, which may very well have ended up being misinterpreted by the time the video we all saw went viral on the internet and was reported on by the media over the weekend.

Atlantic Monthly has featured a well thought-out article about the pitfalls of taking things out of context in the digital era, and we are well-advised to keep that in mind. Unless the context is the issue. With that in mind, it seems worth noting that as of this writing, mainstream media has carefully avoided making an issue of one of the MAGA boys being captured on video shouting, "It's not rape if you enjoy it!" Thus begins my shedding light on the intersection of two issues that have made tools of us all if we allow them to keep us polarized.

A friend shared a YouTube video on social networking today addressing the inclusion of the cult's involvement in a more current news report on CNN. It was posted to the channel of one of the cult members, whose work I've grown familiar with over the past few months.

As you know, I tend to lurk in places others stay away from, especially if I sense a darker purpose behind what's being promoted. Never one to accept the interpretations of others, I wade through some pretty dark stuff and draw my own conclusions after consulting my Moral Compass on much of the stuff that sticks to the bottom of my shoes. Which is why I've taken the liberty of making notes with my own response to what the narrator of this 30 minute video is saying. I'll let you listen to as much of it as you can stomach.

FAIR WARNING: Extreme violent, racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

He is both cursing and celebrating that the media is mentioning his cult. And making it clear he does not consider calling someone a “Trump incest child” to be saying anything evil against them falsely. Because alternate reality. One in which pissing in the pool doesn't poison it for everyone else. And claiming that it does is demonizing the person who pissed in the pool, and instantly qualifies the accuser as being a Devil.


And then he's off and running with his Bible quotes, beginning with a quote from Matthew 5:11: “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.”

MY RESPONSE, UPON CONSULTING MY MORAL COMPASS: Disagreeing with someone's point of view is far from persecuting them. Objecting to a person choosing to spread hatred and incite tension in a public place is not the same thing as “saying all manner of evil against them.” The speaker quotes Matthew 5:11 to defend his argument, which is ironic. Not only does he confuse the word “revile” with “revel,” he seems to be objecting to hundreds of years of slavery by celebrating his right to hold women in slavery once he and his people are raptured to Heaven.

Yes, insisting that of those “raptured,” the small percentage of women who are allowed to come along will “just have to get used to polygamy” is assigning the role of sex slave to women. As I said earlier, this isn't the first of this narrator's videos I've sat through. And I've heard enough of his rhetoric to have a pretty good picture of just what he thinks of women in general. He's made it abundantly clear we are little more than objects of pleasure. For eternity.

In one of his fellow cultist's video diatribes, he goes so far as to say the men who are raptured will be given superpowers, and will use them to make their woman's ass bigger(11:14) if that's what the man wants. Obviously just because a woman's been raptured to Heaven doesn't mean her will to have her ass stay just the way God made it will prevail over the will of the menfolk, who get to pass that ass around in a polygamous orgy, apparently.

So it would seem this same speaker invoking Matthew 5:11 is the very definition of irony, in context. The philosophy he's sharing reviles women, promotes their persecution, and “speaks all manner of evil against them falsely for His sake.” Yet rather than being Blessed, as Matthew 5:11 claims, I have little doubt I would be shouted down as the White Devil Woman for pointing out this error in logic. And most likely burned at the stake for being in possession of a Moral Compass.


Oooh, this next one is a fun one: Isaiah 5:20:Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

To which I must respond with a quote from the Bible of the Moral Compass, with this one from the Book of Adrienne, Chapter 1: Verse 'OMG Wake the Fuck Up, You Tool': “Believing my ass is nothing more than a plaything created for the sweetness of your own pleasure is evil. Telling you this in all honesty is not being bitter, it's shedding light on the dark shadow cast by your enormous penis-shaped ego.”

But that's not all. There's even MORE Biblical irony as the narrator quotes Luke 6:22: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.“

Again, the irony cannot be emphasized enough here. How long have women been separated from the company of men in positions of leadership in religion, government, and both the public and private sphere? And what about being refused the right to be in their company when cultural standards have been created? How long have male religious leaders reproached the female of the species, claimed we are witches, or worse – of the devil – when we speak out? All for the sake of the Son of man, affectionately known by this cult as Yahawashi. A cult that seems to have used the Bible as a template for justifying slavery and flipped the script in favor of their particular version of the historically persecuted MEN folk, while completely ignoring the eternally persecuted females of any and all races, religions and nationalities.

Ever look up the definition of misogyny? Let's go back to Luke 6:22, shall we? “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you.”

As a female, I can honestly say I do not feel blessed for having been hated, as this speaker claims to feel. Unless you count the perspective I've gained from traveling through this world being treated like a devil-possessed witch whenever I opened my mouth and shared the things I saw and experienced along the way. The perspective gained has given me the advantage of being able to see certain flaws in the logic of door-to-door salesmen peddling religious propaganda, and YouTube proselytizers. Especially those preaching a message of hate and subjugation.

Attempting to share that perspective has been especially enlightening. Particularly among the Viagra spammers of my poetry blog, who have made it abundantly clear the only thing of value in my being here is as a sperm depository. And of course, to the Black Hebrew Israelites, who have echoed that same sentiment and gone one stop further by proving poet Gregory Corso's point about my ass.

Corso once sat behind me at a poetry reading and announced to the audience that my poetry may suck, but from his point of view I've got a nice ass. Once the Black Hebrew Israelites are raptured and have their superpowers, they will certainly wave a superpowered hand and my demonic poetry will disappear in the blink of an eye. And then of course, my ass will continue to grow larger and larger as I'm passed around in that great polygamous orgy the Black Hebrew Israelite brothers get to have in Heaven with their enslaved women.

Oh wait. Devil women don't get to be raptured, do they? See how I got my ass out of that mess?

I guess I'll just have to be stuck here with this Moral Compass, doomed to spend eternity examining the darkness and shedding as much light on it as I can. Maybe it will help us sort out exactly what happened in Washington DC last Friday, and why we were all so willing to point the finger of blame for one type of transgression at some boys in hats that represent a Moral Compass badly in need of recalibrating, but not for another. I suspect my compass will lead me to a theme running through the varying story lines with a connecting thread. I'll let you know what I find out.

Until then, I'll leave you with a quote from another Prince of Peace, recorded in the Book of Adrienne:



©Adrienne Veronese

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2019

Compass photo courtesy of Jordan Madrid

Photo of John Lennon's blood-stained glasses courtesy of Yoko.



There Might be Dragons

as unlikely as it is

there would be a savior

whose birthday still confuses us

with respect to what gifts to bring                             


and as unlikely as it is

there would be a jolly man

whose pastime fills volumes

with images of elves and flying reindeer


we stand on the edge of Christmastime

peering into the abyss

asking ourselves who

it would be best to bestow with gifts

wrapped in best intentions and ribbon


and only the wise men among us

think to prepare a gift for the least likely

to be flying through winter's darkness

less likely still to be savior of anything

– including jolly tinsel dreams

unless they encompass all of what might be


and when doing just that, stand on the edge

of that abyss with gift in hand

for what remains unknown

because, as any wise man knows full well,

there just might be dragons

and they might be bringing gifts of their own.


              ©Adrienne Veronese

                 Christmas 2018


Dragon and Man Exchange Gifts by Edward Gorey


The Knave Before Christmas


'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

a rogue he was creeping, watchful for a spouse.

No husband to stop him from creeping and lurching,

no one to surprise him or stop him from searching.

Just that old rogue, once again sniffing

the delicates worn by ladies all drifting,

asleep unaware of this rogue's great weakness

which drives him their way in mid-winter's bleakness.


For this is the fate of knaves, thieves and rogues,

who live life in hiding and take the back roads.

Their weakness is women, plus mead, song and more.

And no one can bring it or land that great score

quite like the rogue archer, whose legend was lore.


As surely as archers pull back on their bowstring,

there will be mead and great songs to sing.

Songs of mischief and mayhem and thieving,

But none quite as wild as the night frost was heaving.

That night, some will say, 'twas the night of the Solstice,

and this rogue was down with a fever and poultice.

The herbs they were healing but not quickly enough

for the rogue accustomed to things that are rough.


For as he lay dreaming in fits and dark visions,

a thought came to him of a wonderful mission.

That mission, it seemed, could be done with great ease,

as it turned out to involve a flight on the breeze.

But that breeze, so he found, was colder than cold,

because the one breeze most needed blew from the North Pole.


Only it had the magic to lift him and carry

his rogue lusts into places most rogues wouldn't tarry.

But there's where he's likely to find what he seeks

those fine lacy things so perfumed they might reek

to any man but our rogue, whose nose was still clogged

from fever and cold air, so it had to be strong.


He had been to the North Pole on a time, maybe two,

but never quite saw the point of the crew

who planted the thing with its stripes and its spinning

in the middle of nowhere, probably grinning

as they left not a clue other than one:

A lacy thing designed for the delicate buns

of ladies most fancy and powdered and scented

the way some men love them, especially when rented.


And as luck would have it, most wives are alone,

for on such nights husbands are absent from home,

gone drinking and gambling on mid-winter's eves

down at the ale house where most knaves and thieves

will linger and wait for wits to be dulled

by too many mugs of wine that's been mulled.

When husbands aren't looking, those knaves they will grab

both wallets and watches and might take a stab

at gold-tipped walking canes, or fur-lined capes

whatever is easiest to snatch and escape.


But not our rogue archer, whose tastes have been shaped

by things that are harder to grab than a cape.

For once bitten by a flea on the ass of the North Pole

nothing mattered to this one but filling the role

most notably played by a man dressed in red

while ladies lay sleeping all snug in their bed.


So if you should hear on a late winter's eve

the cry of a woman float on the breeze

and it sounds like she's saying, “Who took my things”

just think of the rogue, then tie down your eaves.

For he'll study your lodgings, and then find a way

to paw through your drawers before flying away.


While the legend might live of a fat man in red

who brings gifts for children asleep in their bed

it is clearly a story designed as a ruse

so they won't suspect it's their mothers who use

the lace and the perfumes this one rogue most needs

which brings a man to their home at night on a breeze.


So if you should hear his nose as it whistles

late at night you should know 'tis our rogue with the sniffles.

Don't feed him, don't chase him, just let go your pride

and squeeze perfume onto something a bride

might remove for the first time on her wedding night.

A rogue will thank you as he swoons and then sighs

before mounting that breeze that carries him high

and draws back his bowstring as once more he cries,


“Merry winter to all, and to all some size fives.”



                             © Adrienne Veronese 2017


The Golden Ticket

They sleep on bus station floors
wrapped in each other
on well-bought sleeping bags,
their guitar the perfect piece
of accent furniture
for shelving shoes & other sundries.


By virtue of boarding pass, they
are not forced to sleep outside the margins.

In a world of golden tickets
and pockets making little more
than fashion statements
Herman Hess lingers by their side
despite being split in two
weathered and torn
reminding us of Siddhartha's
lost forgotten bedroom slippers.

& in a world of revisionist history where
he is slouching toward Satori
on a crowd sourced trajectory,
where just beyond city's financial
towers looming over lost horizons
we just as easily walk on gilded splinters
past tech industry's golden calf,
continue down Mission Street toward Market
to a place where golden tickets never go,
A place where piss soaked sleeping bags
are old and worn — if there at all
& there is little memory of anything

but lost dreams among the hopeful

of shoes left by a door that locks at night.


& finding yourself at this ridiculous task
of reconciling the balance of shiny things
look once again before averting your eyes
& tell yourself,
“So, it has all come to this."

For Lew Welch
San Francisco
Nov 29, 2017



Circular Ellipsis


at twenty I wrote a poem

that would be a song sung

by a woman in her twenties when I was sixty


at thirty I wrote a poem

that was a dream I had at twelve

of a woman who is eternal


at forty I found that place

between the biding time and fully awake

which activated at fifty

when someone showed up

and showed me that point in my dreaming

when they first arrived, and how it all looked

through their eyes


so that when I turned sixty a girl of twenty

would know there would be ears tuned

to the song she would sing

because it was their voice

who brought it to her

in the first place


and always will...


Photo by Da Kraplak


When Raised by Princes

This is what happens when royalty

which exists independent of the empire,

which springs from the loins of the tribe itself,

makes it past the checkpoints

& other measures meant to filter them out.


This is what happens when that royalty

follows the trail of impossible chords

& turns of phrase unearthed

by the simple human condition

shared through this common experience:

doves cry all along the watchtower

and we are destined to be left standing one day

beneath a collective purple raincloud.


& I wouldn't have it any other way.

That's how it is with families.

We do what we can to raise each other up

the best way we know how.



for our Prince

April 22, 2016




This was the scent that marked the end of summer

and the inevitable waltz into autumn's

colorful dance of crisp air and sweaters:

Cousin Tommy's delivery of

his annual bushel of gravensteins

from the tree at the end of his drive.


This was an afternoon of peeling and slicing -

always with the sharpest of paring knives -

never, ever with one of those newfangled things

made for the woman too helpless to handle a knife.


This was the trip downstairs to the big freezer

with trays of sliced apples to quick-freeze

while applesauce simmered upstairs

on the stove top and canning jars sterilized

in the hot water bath drawn for the occasion.


This was the cooking lesson given

at the kitchen counter

because every good woman must know

how to make a pie crust from scratch

and how to fill it with the perfect thin slices

tossed in sugar, a pinch of salt

and some lemon juice.


This is the scent that each year fills my kitchen

and for an evening transports me back

to that table where I watched the good woman

take that first satisfying bite and felt the season

wrap its arms around me and deliver on its warm

sweet promises once again.


For Betty

photo by Monika Grabkowska

Diogenes Shrugged

 “Fuck Atlas,” she sighed,

pouring another glass of wine

and adjusting her tiara.

“He doesn't interest me nearly as much

as that dude who wandered through the dark

looking for an honest corporation.”


I didn't have the heart to tell her

she had it wrong

or perhaps she didn't have the heart to tell me

she had it right.


The Barefoot Corporation is slouching toward Bethlehem

and we are freezing to death in the heat of global warming

that cannot be agreed upon. Pundits quote experts

that I have no lines for, as the Expert Poem

has already been written and discarded

as inadmissible evidence

of this endless effort

to divide us along lines

that keep us in




unable to draw a circle at least

a hundred feet round

and use what we find within

to think our way







For G



painted lady
i cannot take my eyes off
& by noon i am drunk
on her perfume
this wild bouquet
between my teeth
stumbling up
the aisle of spring
as if this all wasn't new
not at all concerned


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