Ugly Cat Speaks

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A fond farewell

UPDATE: 8/31/18: 

I have officially overextended myself as I am on Twitter and Facebook and still manage to have some semblance of a "real" life as well. So, though I may come back here eventually, I am notifying my one or two readers that there will no longer be anymore new posts here.  Please feel free to follow me on twitter @UglyCatSpeaks or Instagram at

I know you think that I am crazy
and while I know that may be true
I often think that you are lazy
so what are we to do

as we sit here by the ocean
each on our respective sides
I get a crazy notion
to finally swim out to the wide


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Learning to Tweet

Once again, well after the new smell of the technology has worn off, I am dipping a toe in to test the waters.  I have created a twitter account @uglycatspeaks - but still have no clue about navigating and tweeting and all that stuff. Hopefully, I will do some quick learning this weekend.  Currently I have only tweeted two posts. I am copying them here.

Forlorn Haiku

water flows uphill
the Earth spins around the Sun
You love me again


having eaten and
already dressed for the day
I leave part of me

Home with my kitties
curled together and purring
content with my Self


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Meditations on the Art of Living

Meditations on the Art of Living

in Science we discover
the Art of the Earth
but the heart of our worth
isn’t in theory and proof
it’s in who we invite
under our roof

Science gives us drugs
Art hugs our senses
both leave us defenseless
but an onslaught of Art
is measurably better
than being attacked by Science

soon we’ll see the measures
we take to slake our thirst
for meaning as demeaning
to the beauty all around us


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cranston High School West motto: A place where we treat people as we would like people to treat us

This is the text of an email I sent to the administrators of Jessica Ahlquist's high school, Cranston West. Feel free to drop them a polite email (no harassment, please!) with your thoughts (or solutions) to the issue they are currently facing.
Dear Principal Knowlton and Assistant Principals DeVall , DePalma, Magnelli and Schiappa,
I am saddened to learn of the controversy plaguing your school, which is probably detracting from providing quality education, but not valuable life lessons, to the students in your care. Speaking of lessons, I'm sure your students have been reminded of the motto you proudly display on your website when incidents occur within your jurisdiction involving defamation or harassment.
I imagine that being administrators of a high school is no easy task and, given the current climate you are faced with, it must be that much more difficult.  I wish I could simply email you the answer to how to stop small minds from attacking those who wish to assert their rights in the face of a vociferous majority. All I can offer is my support to you in finding a way to see past the politics (and the religion) to ensure that you maintain the constitutional rights afforded to all of your students.
Your very difficult job is to educate not only the students in your care, but their parents as well.  If you take solace in God, may that deity inspire you to do the right thing. As an Atheist, I have neither the right nor the inclination to deny you your faith. I ask that you respect the beliefs of all of your students, but remember that the authority in your community school is the government, and, specifically, the court system.  Separating that authority from the one in which many of your students and their parents place their trust is essential to resolving this troubling issue.
In Peace,
(name included)
a concerned citizen
PS Have you considered King Solomon's approach and splitting the banner to make both sides "happy"? (Perhaps that isn't a viable option, after all.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Seventh Annual Florence Poets Society Fall Festival Poems

This year I didn't read  since I hadn't done much writing over the past year (as this blog can attest to).  But, as usual, I get inspired from listening to all the wonderful poets reading at the event. I wrote the following poems at the Festival on Sunday - with exception of the last poem, who's title was inspired by a conversation I had at the festival, but was actually written two days later. Enjoy!

facing it
no longer denying
blemishes on
your record

no longer ignoring
those red flags
in the system

the emptiness

in your wallet
to make sure you are
an organ donor

you check accounts
in case your luck
has changed then

arrange the empty
bottles neatly
on the counter


force of words

was it the
audio settings
bass tones thumping
each hard consonant
or was it the
the content
each word stumping
the status quo
letting questions
rise like worms
after a rain
seeking out
something new
to consume today


Mary Oliver Fan Club

For Lisa Starr, Poet Laureate, RI

The poet spoke
Only a few words
Before dropping
The name of
Her favorite poet
Then again and again
In her discourse
She slipped the
Poet’s words and presence
So that the fact that
She was Poet Laureate
Got lost in her adoration


Fate in the Beginning is Romantic

if it was responsible
for bringing us together
and if you expected
it would fail
not for lack of love
or for trying
each week
to work through
what would become
irreconcilable differences
would knowing
it was inevitable
make it easier to navigate
the lonely dinners
and the nights
on the couch
because the bed
is now too big



throughout the town
the Entrepreneur drives
all the while belting
out a creepy, children’s
siren song
though Summer is fading
the bright orange
ice cream truck
continues searching
for an audience
and in the silence
between the poems
the mechanical tunes
appear – drawing
attention away
from the speaker
however briefly
as poets reach
for pen and paper


eternal Twilight

it’s not the sparkling
seen on the lake
at the Summer house
when the blow-up rafts
are brought up to the dock

it’s not the darkness
creeping over the
leaf-strewn streets
as children are called
in to finish homework
before their supper

it’s not the coldness
of a creatures heart
soulless or otherwise empty
trudging over the
freshly fallen snow

no, it is the media
vampires – sucking
the life out of
the youth of a generation
who bleed clichés
and live with the
pallor of poor writing


poetry news report*

sister Suzie
seeming forced
and artificial
nothing but trouble
no smiling around it
slipped into the parking lot
funny when high
didn’t feel like chewing
some kind of white-boy afro
would have given potential
detractors an opening
if they needed it
what the fuck
is he talking about


*written with actual lines from
three poems from one poet

sadly, I eventually had to kill Nadine

she spun a home for herself
quite nicely out of the way
for days never seeming
to venture away
so that the neighbors
sighed in relief when
they could see her
sitting quietly
on her front porch
ignoring them

but predators don’t wait
forever when
there’s limited prey
instead today or maybe
last night she crept
to a new location
infringing on a particularly
panicked neighbor
in ways she couldn’t

and when she was discovered
too late she realized
the error she made
and tried to scamper away
but, sadly, eventually,
I had to kill Nadine
with the shower massager
on streaming – water
dripped from the ceiling
as the spindly spider legs
slipped down the drain


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Another Tribute Poem

Another Tribute Poem

hungry for heroes
survivors who don’t trust words
find comfort in them


Many people have stories of where they were and what they were doing on this day a decade ago. Those who worried huddled in front of television screens watching the horror of the day unfold. We were all watching when the second plane hit. Cell phone towers buzzed with messages of reassurance to those across the country, across the world, across town. That technology bred heroes. Flight 93 passengers learned en route that an attack was underway and chose to act. Think about that for a moment. How many thousands of feet above the ground -  oblivious - until the hijackers took the plane. Frightened, they sought out their loved ones. Instead of being comforted for as long as they possibly could, with new information,  they chose to launch their own counter-attack on the terrorists. And they succeeded. Sending a message to those who would attack us again: Americans are resourceful. Americans are united. And united, Americans are strong. 

This post is a little out of the ordinary for me as a pacifist and a liberal; but what non-pacifists and non-liberals sometimes forget is that we love our country too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Some July Poems

On the Volga

Only the lapping
Waves remain –
The silence of the
Expansive river
Haunted by the bodies
Still sinking, still
Settling in the silt
Amongst the remains of
The obsolete pleasure boat
Finally out of service
One trip too late


the cat days of summer

with paws outstretched
heads draped
over the edge
of the recliner
and the sofa
they gaze at me
grabbing my keys,
my work bag, and purse
I wonder if they know
this keeps them in kibble
or do they think I’m crazy
to venture out in this
sweltering summer heat



it lingers like a memory
or an unknown,
unpleasant odor
yet still I know it
in the pain
I search for meaning
the elusive ‘why’
I check the days,
the job, the current
worries rattling
in my brain
they are the same
as they always are
can I blame this on
that anomalous
woman thing
that men and doctors deny
makes such a difference
a scapegoat for something
more sinister simmering
under the surface


planned parenthood

it is selfish to yield to
genetic curiosity

the time to explore
such theories passed
decades ago

now science becomes
the natural choice

women, men believing
their commitment to biology
proves their worth

as if Nature has made
some grievous error

not them – for waiting –
because they have options now
they have status, money

unlike how it would have been
struggling to survive

on only two lowly incomes
or worse – sacrificing one career
for an unscheduled life


Sunday, July 10, 2011



alone again with the Universe around me
swirling galaxies buzzing with life
all alone, separated from the others
the ones with skin, with fur, with feathers
the microscopic membrane barriers
designed to keep us defined

but in that definition
we have forgotten what we mean
I mean the ones in these sentient bodies
the naked apes attempting to gain
dominion over those who have already
figured out their purpose in this life

we keep searching – the skies, the earth,
the ether and dark places other creatures shun
some are brave enough to look inside
and still believe the journey isn’t over
we construct mythologies proclaiming
our superiority over the beasts that crawl
the fish that swim and the birds that fly

but why then are they free to roam
free to live and love in whatever way they do
not worried about legalities or paper
they navigate their world based on instinct
that inherent truth within them
guiding their every move

we force laws and social contracts
on the other lonely beings like us
so that we can feel more at home
in this skin that isolates us
rattling rules around in our heads
regarding who can share our lives,
our beds, our thoughts and insecurities

if I were a bird would I try to fly
away to the stars, risking exhaustion
or worse, the flaming death of Icarus
if I were a salmon would I fight
my natural urges to go home
and travel the oceans looking
for the one thing I know isn’t out there


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Does anyone read blogs anymore?


Nature purrs in the distance
after an electric tail twitches
across the night sky
it is understood
that She is agitated
spitting down rain on
gawkers who run inside
when Her purr
becomes a growl


glory days

we speak of Freedom
from our college campus rallies
into the lens of the media
shaping our opinions
we choose channels
more often than we
select our moral bearing
sharing theories about
other people’s lives
or lies the government
might have told us
we claim to seek
the truth but stop
short at the entrance
to our souls
roles we play
take over the corpus
of our lives
and we speak about
freedom in the past
tense – like a memory
we regret or
haven’t made yet


Some poems I found from last year but never did anything with:


in the distance
not so very far away
in the smallish
public park
the train
randomly amidst
the sound system
of the poetry festival
too muted
to interrupt
the refrains of
death and flowers
but once – as if arranged –
it tooted as
the voices quieted

after a two minute poem
by the Poet extolling
the childhood virtues
of ghost trains
varn – Varn – VARNEY
HOO – Hoo – hoo
his voice trailed off as the
crowd absorbed the eeriness
so well portrayed – and then
in the distance
the train whistle
sounds in short bursts



the immigrant geese
from the unchecked
Northern borders
angrily alight on the
brownish-green pond

the paddle boats are
tied to the docks
as dusk approaches

weary park attendants
herd families towards
concessions and exits

music wanes as the
band wraps up for the
long-suffering poets
politely staying for the
last few members of
their group to read

cookies, soup and crackers
vanished hours ago
along with the friends
of the featured poets

soon the only sound
disturbing the park’s calm
will be the evening residents
fighting over the visitors’ scraps


Sunday, May 29, 2011

The latest batch

It seems I haven't been writing either poetry or the novel. And, yet again, as I prepare to work on the next chapter of my novel, I find I need to post some poetry before I can begin. Procrastination works in mysterious ways.

Sisyphus’ Day Off

as the boulder
rolls down the
never-ending hill
he paints poster board
primary colors against
a white background
“Stop War – Make Peace”


mathematical problem

these problems in my mind
words like fictions or films
posed erroneously
trigger real emotions
until reality becomes
abstraction leaving me
adding irrational sums
to an already fractional
Existence – I am –
of course – divided
unable to find a common
still uncertain
as to whether I should
add to this life  or
subtract from it



after twenty-four years
all that remains is
a faint nagging while
I push through this
sluggish rainy work day
sipping coffee and wishing
my ethics allowed me
to call in sick when
all I really need is
a good cry and more sleep
I keep you in my heart
most days you are there
so quietly, so integrated
I hardly notice the
comfort you give me
until days like this
when my aging brain
reminds me that
something important


Friday, April 15, 2011

a couple of spring poems

waking up

in the chill of the
not-quite-Spring morning

heat rises from the
awakening trees
tufts of steam

or smoke from a
hidden garden gnome

climb the length
of the melting icy
bark of the slumbering tree

it is hard at work
manufacturing life


morning lesson

she sees it
lying in the
scars of snow
beneath the new
highway overpass
a hint of green
grass surrounds it
resentful, perhaps, of
yet another obstacle
to emergence
ignorant of the
usefulness of its
decomposing little body
the girl’s face
is contorted in horror
Easter is next week
and now her head
is not filled with
marshmallow fluff
and chocolate bunnies
but of this twisted rabbit
next to her school bus stop


Monday, April 11, 2011

Yet another way to avoid going outdoors!

If you like relaxing to the sounds of nature (or meditating to them) or if you have loud neighbors and just need something on in the background, try visiting this site and making your own nature composition.

I made the following composition which can be saved as a wav file on your computer or saved as a link to share with friends. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The First Budding Poems of Spring

Hopefully there will be more. (At least I am still working, however slowly, on the novel.)

- sometimes the reason -

things happen
at least that
is not in dispute
good things - bad things
I hate to admit it
there – is – always a reason

I will not cop to God
or some after-market
rationalization designed
to make the comforter
feel better – that – never works

no, things happen
sometimes because
humans are imperfect
we are ruled by our emotions
or are completely devoid of them
we’ve been damaged by
other people’s expectations
and the false hope that someone
somewhere – sometimes –
has a greater plan
over which - we have no control


the in-between times
neither happiness nor sad
the storm is coming


Are we really that different?

the birds return - then
the season signals
the slow marching
of the insects

or do they awaken
as the melting snow
floods their winter homes
very much like it does our own

but we don’t flee – unless
you consider Home Depot
as a safe haven – inundated
each season, by us, to adapt

like ants dragging leaves,
birds finding twigs and string,
and beetles tamping down mud
to fortify our homesteads



muddy snow
rain-tossed branches
pieces of last year's
squirrels' nests litter
what's left of a
winter wonderland

dirty, wet, and
slowly thawing
beautiful things
fight to be free
with such force
it displaces the
ugly earth - necessary bits
feeding the struggle
to become


Friday, January 14, 2011

A Backlog of Poems

It turns out the new year has made me prolific. Here's a bunch of poems I've written in the last week or so.

the obliging snow

falls like stars
on a dying planet
white ash raining
down from oblivion
attacking everything
it encounters – clinging
like bleach to bark,
plastic, metal –
all of nature and of
human accoutrements
made color-less in the storm
a season of destruction
we don’t have to manifest
in smaller ways on our own.


the artist as a young woman

who knows what walls
were touched by woman’s hands
what pottery or gold inlays
were crafted or designed
by a feminine mind instead
we never saw a trussed up woman
alone on the streets of Paris
or in a café or a riverside tavern
we see Impressions of family life
children because she had one
or children because she didn’t
while men could explore nudes
and landscapes – it would be
a hundred years before she could
paint the world around her
as something other than
the walls she called home



Hope is not a pit stop
on a tragically short journey
it is a companion and
navigator - necessity
requires that mindfulness

though on slower, longer trips
we forget entirely
about that spare tire
or triple “A” card

sometimes waiting hours
on the shoulder
broken down until
Hope arrives


Homes of Hope (Burundi)

they had no age
since birthdays
were a luxury
their nation
couldn’t afford
and so, they were
eternally children
before the orphanage

Hutu, Tutsi, Twa together
until they created
a new life, established
the day that was
to be theirs forever
trading obscurity
and their place
in the ground
for family,
and their place
in the world


Sunday, January 09, 2011

What's Black and White and Red All Over?

This probably means I am some sort of evil person, but the cartoon above is absolutely hilarious to me. Thank you Robert Leighton for your irreverent sense of humour. (And thank you for this puzzle website too.)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Couple of Poems

You see what I did there? The poems are about relationships, get it? Okay, enough self-appreciation. I am posting these two recent poems because I am a poet and they deal with my life. I am not naming anyone in the poems, nor will I confess that they are, in fact, about a particular person. As with all of my poems, the content is an amalgam of experiences and people which get filtered through my brain and emotions and end up as poetry. If anyone has a problem with that, I'm sorry. No, strike that. I am not. Grow up and deal with it. (Besides, there are only a handful of people who actually read this blog.)

My love is a dead, red rose

My love is a dead, red rose
That is rotting on the stem
My love is a knitted sweater
That is unraveling at the hem

As dark as you, my fiendish mate
So callow was my love
And I will owe you, still, I fear
For ridding me thereof

For ridding me thereof, I fear
My heart was turned to stone
O, that I can love again, I fear
Our days are spent alone

And fare you well, my lonely love
And fare you well a while
For you will always wear a scowl
But I have learned to smile


S******e Stalemate



Friday, December 31, 2010

Lesson Learned from my Cat

Lesson Learned from My Cat

The broken staccato
Of Kes’ purr punctuates
The morning kitchen

Like a faraway woodpecker
She steadily rat-a-tat-tats

Occasionally taking one deep,
Loud, long sigh before
Continuing the rhythm

This is what contentment
Sounds like – looks like

Eyes closed, body relaxed
She knows she is safe and
Comfortable with a full belly

I check the clock on
The coffee maker again

As the fridge loudly
Kicks into yet another
“replace-me-soon” cycle

I will be late for work if
I continue writing, but

I am safe, comfortable and
My belly is full


Monday, December 27, 2010

Bobby pins, a Hitchhiker, and the Police...

or, "My Christmas Eve Adventure." First let me say two things 1) this is a true story, 2) yes, I have already been lectured by the police and my Mother regarding my actions.

This story begins on Friday, December 17th when I got my haircut at a local, low-cost hair salon. I wanted bangs, but I wanted to keep them long proportionate to the length of the rest of the hair. I specifically said that I wanted to keep my hair long (it was below shoulder-length before the cut) It looked fine, though a little shorter than I wanted, right up until the point when it dried fully and I realized that not only was the length WAY too short, but the layers were even shorter. Oddly enough, the long bangs were the only thing she got right. I played with my hair for about a week trying to find a decent style that suited me (I still haven't found it).  On Friday, December 24th, I was preparing to journey to my Mom's house in the Eastern part of the state. I had the brilliant idea of twisting my layers and bobby pinning them up during my drive down the pike. When I was about halfway to my Mom's I would take out the twists (which would still be wet) and I would have a nice wave to my hair, giving the new style volume and, hopefully, a decent look.  I didn't care that I looked like a cross between a punk rocker and a haute couture fashion model who's head was placed on a average woman's body, I figured I would be in the car and no one I knew would ever see me.

Some time after exit 9 on the MA Pike , I saw a white van on the side of the road and a woman with her thumb sticking out. Normally, I would either ignore her or call the police on my cell to report the situation, but something compelled me to pull over. It took me a while to safely pull over, so I had to back up a little bit to get to a place where the woman could safely approach the passenger side of my car. I prudently placed all of my personal belongings in the back seat far away from arm's length of the passenger's seat. The woman walked up to my car and I rolled down the window. She said "he left me here to get gas, can I get a ride to the nearest gas station?"  She seemed decent enough - lucid, no indication in her eyes that she was on drugs or drunk or otherwise a psychopath. She looked a little ragged like someone who's been out in the cold on the MA Pike might look, so I told her to get in. She introduced herself, shook my hand and thanked me; and we drove towards the next exit. The next exit was Rt 290 - a major road. I was hesitant about veering so far off my own path home, but decided it was probably the best thing to do. As we approached the exit, the woman asked me if I was going to Boston. I told her no, but I was heading in that direction (obviously). She asked if she could drive with me since her ultimate destination was Boston. She then said "I feel safe with you."  [That's when my spidey sense kicked in.]  I told her we could continue and I could drop her off at the next MA Pike rest station. As we drove she then asked to be dropped off at a hospital [no, I didn't ask her why].  The next exit was towards Worcester (Rts 146 & 20). I took that exit figuring I would find a hospital near the main route in Worcester. Unfortunately, after traveling on Rt 20 East for a while, I ended up in Shrewsbury before I saw any signs of a hospital.

I decided to stop at a gas station to get directions.  Let me state at this time that the woman still did not appear to be in any state of distress. She wasn't agitated or upset. She was calmly sitting in my passenger seat, with her hands placed visibly on her legs. It was almost as if she were trying to comfort me by letting me know that she wasn't a threat. Even still, when I got to the gas station it occurred to me that I did not want to leave the woman in my car alone while I asked for directions. Luckily, a police car drove up behind me. I waved frantically at the officer who pulled up behind me and approached my car. Upon seeing the police car, the woman calmly announced to me that she had been kidnapped, raped and beaten for three days. I told the woman that the police officer could help her. I got out of my car and told the police my story. The police officer took my statement, talked with the woman whose story seemed to change a little bit as she spoke with the officer. The ambulance arrived and took her away and the police officer gave me a stern but concerned talking to about picking up people in this day and age. He also commented that the woman was most likely a former drug addict since she had mentioned being on methadone and had a shelter card instead of any form of ID. I explained to him that I don't normally do that, but since it was Christmas Eve it seemed the right thing to do.

The police officer left and I got into my car. I looked in the rear view mirror to back up and noticed the twisted knots of hair on top of my head. "Oh my god!", I thought, I must have looked like a crazy person to the cop! [Here is an approximate picture of what I looked like. Sadly, I did not have the foresight to take a photo of myself at that time.]  I quickly took out the bobby pins, but my hair had completely dried by then. My wavy effect had morphed into full-on crazy curls. It sort of looked like this but more horizontal. I spent the rest of the car ride home trying to flatten out the bozo curls protruding from my head.

I arrived at my mother's house (and to my family who had not yet seen the new short haircut I had complained about over the phone), and began unloading my car of Christmas presents and overnight bags. When my sister saw my hair she stifled an "oh my god". I cautioned her "Don't look at my hair, it's a long story involving bobby pins, a hitchhiker and the police."  And, after telling the story, I got lectured by both my YOUNGER sister and my mother about how I "could have been killed", etc, etc.

The moral of the story is this: No matter how much I want them, I can never have bangs!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Auden's Truth and Other Poems

'Tis the season (for me) to write poem after poem as I approach, then stealthily pass, my birthday, which this year falls on a Saturday. Once again I will claim that I will be working on my novel and, so as not to keep you in suspense, I will not work on it. (Though maybe THIS time, I'll make a liar out of myself and finish Chapter 17!) <---Is this delusion, dreaming, or just optimism? Oh well, life's too short to worry about that. Enjoy the poems.

Auden's Truth

Even poets lie
When faced with
Such harsh reality
As war or human frailty

Suffering acceptance
From the masses
For a line without proof
You failed to see the Truth

“We must love each other”
You wrote, but thought
The conjunction was the lie
Or we must die”

Were you such a Realist
You couldn’t invoke
Your own license
To make a difference

To concede that for
Some - though not for poets,
Of course - Life without love
is death (or the semblance of)


delaying the inevitable

like God’s disappearance
when Science emerged
the question from your child
at the beginning of December
of her eighth year
packing up the paraphernalia
not to hide the evidence
rehearsing a question
you know she’ll answer “yes” to
quarter past eight
on Monday morning
writing poetry to pretend
the weekend isn’t over yet




what Scientists and Spiritualists
fail to understand is
that God didn’t succumb
to Scientific Theory
we’re just getting
to know Him by
His proper identity
rather than this
hologram of blind faith
each moment we see
the pathway to cure disease
each planet we discover
shows us more of
the Universe – whom we
have erroneously named “God”


Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'm not sure whether my blog title is ironic (since all of my poems here have titles) or just lazy. I'll go with the former since that makes me seem clever. It's only been two weeks since I last posted and have written a good handful of poems (and some others which don't qualify as "good" and won't be included here).  Either I have to write less or post more often.

Enjoy (or don't, I don't really care.)

osmia avosetta
(solitary bee)

petals – soft –yet
dragging in the mud
towards her larvae’s nest
one at a time
pink, yellow, red
all colors she cannot see
delicately placed and
secured with insulating mud
these births will not be shared
with her distant hive cousins
these siblings will be
protected together as they grow
then burst forth  from
mom’s pretty nest
to start their own solitary lives


Afghani Girl

There is no Halloween
In the Middle East
Yet even without
Her ghost costume
She appears to some
A monster of charred flesh
She lied and blamed
The gas stove for
Her failed attempt
But the doctors can tell
- As can we all -
That the pain of death
Was nothing compared
To what she was facing



morning routine

just before the pain
that moment my
body prepares me
my eyes flutter as
if about to dream
fog envelopes my head
I am compelled
to breathe deeply
before the iron spikes
take hold in my gut
clumsily tumbling
through my body
bumping against sensitive
spots – again – and –
again – until – I –
breathe to settle into
the fog which now
comforts me in
feigning ignorance
of the future
I return to normal
for just long enough
to forget that another
wave is coming


free will

as I try to negotiate the world
there is nothing I can control
I can pretend to wave my hands
move a car into another lane or
manipulate someone with my emotions

but that is not control
that is merely influence
ironically – we have endowed
our Creator with the same

He can’t control – instead He
has given it to us – and we –
mirror that external impotence
in our daily lives – except we fail
to grasp the one thing we have
complete autonomy over


my choice

why did I say yes
was it because there was
no reason to say no
or was it because
I wanted
to do this favor
for other reasons
perhaps I saw
an opportunity
for solitude and
personal  errands
not the monotonous
the disruption of
my schedule while
leftovers are
reheated back home

I am cranky, crampy, achy, hungry
and don’t want to be anymore

I write to fight
these feelings
or – more accurately –
relocate them
from my soul
to this page so that
this simmering rage
can be scratched here
rather than scar my heart


Monday, November 15, 2010

Eeek! A Mouse!

I recently had an encounter with a mouse in my house. The short version is this: two days, food stolen from mousetrap (which was left broken and useless, presumably by the mouse), useless cats becoming very useful after all, mouse gets evicted (by me). If you really must know the full version (which I am guessing you really don't), feel free to email me.  Here's at least one of the poems inspired by the event. 

Suburban Cat

ears high and rotating
to find that sound
scouring the walls or cabinets
she stalks it unlike hunter
but – even when she
sees her subject she follows –
like paparazzi – starstruck
at catching a glimpse of
that which, until now, has
only been a distant dream


Saturday, October 09, 2010


(Catching Up on Some Poetry). I've been writing for the last three and half weeks, and yet, somehow I think there should be more production than this. At least it is jump-starting my work on the novel. Something has cleared in my psyche allowing me to write again and whatever it is, I am grateful.


It tells me to awaken
But it doesn’t know the time
It makes me feel the punishment
Though it doesn’t fit the crime

It’s with me like a lover
As intimate as touch
So long we’ve been together
It’s become an awkward crutch.



the means of my isolation
are always out of reach
instead this slave of society
can’t practice what I preach

labor beckons in the morn
of five out of the seven
I suffer willingly through them all
for those two days of Heaven


Ever since I was a child I liked to make up new words to songs and poems. Each year on birthdays or Valentine's Day I would write a poem for my Mom bastardizing the "Roses are red" classic or "Mary had a Little Lamb". Everyone seems to do that as well, which makes it difficult to find new versions that are both entertaining and clever. Here is my latest attempt (followed by an homage to my little cancer-kitty).

Mary had no extra RAM
And her processor was slow
On every link that Mary clicked
Her browser wouldn’t go.


Kestra was a little cat
With needs as big as air
Every time I turned around
It seemed like she was there

She followed me upstairs one day
As I lay down to nap
She howled and meowed ‘til I sat up
Then jumped into my lap



I look into the eyes
of the macabre master
the photo -- monochromatic
and grainy but still
detailed enough to show
the intensity of his suffering
I wonder whether
a demon was trapped
inside this human host
or whether his body
was just an ill-fitted disguise


Morning Meditation

The warmth of my coffee
Reaches my nose
Before I lift my
Colored mug to drink
Eyes closed more from calm
Than typical work day torpor
The awkward crunch of kibble
And the tinkling of the glass bowl
Alerts me to Willow’s presence
The lazy cat waits almost an hour
After I awake to make her way
Downstairs for breakfast
Kestra purrs dutifully on her chair
The one she howls at me to move
So that she is directly by my side
Or rather even closer to the meal
She is hoping to sample and never does
Weekdays aren’t as fun as those
Only-for-me days I relish – but
They have their own rewards
When viewed with my eyes closed


Eve of Man

When Man first was
Created from whatever
He might have been
Before – dust or ape –

The process of becoming
The existence first
Survival – negotiations
With other species
All lead up to that
Moment of self-realization
I am - you are

Oh! To be a Time Traveler
Going back thousands
Or millions of years
To when – absent of gods
Or science – Man’s first
Thought beyond hunger
Or reproduction
Formed in the brain
Would we be surprised
To learn the being
Who was first – might not
Have been a man at all


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Florence Poets Society 2010 Fall Poetry Festival

It's been a week since the FloPoSo Annual Fall Poetry Festival and I have finally had time to blog about it. What can I say about five hours of poetry on a beautiful day in Look Park? I stayed awake the entire time?  No. Well, yes. I mean, I did. What I meant was, no, that's not nice to say. It was a beautiful day and there were many wonderful readers and some fascinating poetry. I must rave, though, about my poetry partner and I. We stole the show with our explosive poetry topic (a preview of which I gave in the last blog entry).  There were some who turned up their nose at our choice of topic, but we won them over in the end with our clever verse.  Due to copyright issues (and the fact that she is attempting to compile an entire book of her fart poems), I won't be including the poems read by Anita Gallers, my poet-in-crime on that day.

I started out with this one:

On Dad’s Passing

As kids, he led us to believe
he was above the rest.
    He always claimed he’d never.
He was a Renaissance Man, but nevertheless
    he was mortal.
As we grew, we experienced it in our lives;
    but still father stated he’d never.
Regardless of the euphemism,
    it’s not pleasant.
Something in the air
makes us aware of its reality.
    And still father vowed he’d never.
No age is immune: infants, children, teens, adults,
    and the elderly all pass.
And until then father hadn’t.
Now that Dad has passed, he seems
    more alive, more human.

He covered it up by saying,
“Well, even the Queen of England farted once!”

Anita read one and then I continued with "The Fart", which was included in the last blog post, as was "Belch, Before Loud Voice Resume". Anita and I continued switching off.  Here are the rest of the poems I read:

I Shot a Belch Into the Air
(with apologies to H.W. Longfellow)

I shot a belch into the air
It fell on ears, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it came out,
I could not see who was about
I then released another wind
A smell of eggs I’ll not rescind
For who can stop so keen and strong,
The body gases held so long?
Shortly afterward, in the garden
My belch was known, I gave my pardon
As for the other, I did pretend
It was not I, but the fart of a friend.


Thanksgiving Haiku

from the swollen depths
a cacophonous release
aahh, room for more pie


[untitled limerick]

a lady is one who won’t burp full
that push is no match for her pull
    a woman in contrast
    will let out a loud blast
and continue until she turns purple


As I said, a fun time was had by all. and I would like to thank Carl Russo and Tom Clark (and their long-suffering wives) for their hard work in putting this event together each year.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Catching Up

Yes, I know. It's Saturday night and I am writing a blog post. (Wait, readers probably won't realize that.) Uh, Happy Monday Everyone!  I am goofing off at work, like all normal people on a Monday morning, and writing a blog entry. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I'm working on some poems for the Florence Poets Society Annual Fall Poetry Festival at Look Park, September 26th, noon- 5:00 pm. A friend of mine will be reading with me and we have tentatively (depending on whether I can write some decent works) planned to a complementary theme. (I'll let you ponder her theme after reading the two poems I have written so far.)

The Fart
(with apologies to Carl Sandburg)

The fart comes
on skittish rat feet.

Shit sits looking
over harbor and porcelain
on violent stenches
and then moves on.


Belch, Before Loud Voices Resume
(with apologies to Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Belch, before loud voices resume,
Vibrates in the room –
Odors, akin to General Tso’s chicken,
Live within the room they sicken.

Rose leaves, she is filled with dread,
Wishing she were rather dead
And so our thoughts, once she is gone,
Faux pas of ours we dwell upon.


I'm hoping to write some original poems on the topic as well as "amend" a few more famous poems.

Here's a couple of poems I've written in August.

    Big Brother

from the center
the only one
and spending
three years struggling
to define his world

it changes

he must wait and sometimes
play time gets
interrupted when
she cries and they
tell him “no” or
“be patient” – he
pieces together the
world and rules
and what limited
causes and effects
he sees – then
visitors change
the rules again
he is third or fourth
in line for attention
no longer at the front
until he lashes out
at the interloper
somehow knowing
to kick the diaper
and not her head
or to hit her legs
and not her face – both
of course – get the attention
he wanted – but
quickly followed
by isolation again

time to re-think
the strategy



evil walks among us
not as radiant as
an angel’s smiling face
but just as potent
and welcoming

at what point
do beings realize
the outstretched hand
they willingly accepted
will soon strangle them

more amazingly are
the survivors of evil
who once again reach
for a stranger’s
questionable hand

some thinking
they can beat the odds
others refusing
to let evil change
their hearts too


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

preserves and other stuff (including an excerpt from my novel)


there isn’t a day
when you are not with me
in my laugh at a clever line
or the clumsy stroke of my pen

twenty-three years is
a long time to keep
memories alive

they grow stale unless
I pack them away
and take them out
only when I need them


And now for something completely different.

I am a cynic. Well, really I like to think of myself as a realist; but since I fantasize a lot, I find that hard to reconcile with the definition of "realist". Perhaps I am an optimistic misanthrope. No, it's more like I am a misanthropic optimist. Trust me, there's a difference. Recently I was opening a bag of lettuce and saw a few tiny clumps of what appeared to be dirt. My first thought was this: "I wonder whether They manufacture bits of dirt to include with the lettuce to give consumers the appearance that the lettuce is "fresh from the ground?" Come on, now that I've said it, you're wondering too, aren't you? What a sad commentary on Capitalism is that? Or is it more a comment on what America's society has devolved to? Actually, it wouldn't make a difference to me whether the lettuce was grown in a lab or in soil, as long as it was safe to eat and nutritionally sound. Heck, I'll even eat THIS lettuce. :*)

And since a few people have asked, I am including part of my novel here. This is the beginning of Chapter 14. You probably don't need to know any of the back story, but if you have questions, email me. (Though I feel it important to note that my main character, Delancy, is not actually a mermaid. That's just a fantasy of my bad guy, Lord Cumberland.)

Tentatively Titled Pirates Dream

Chapter Fourteen

Delancy’s long brown hair glimmered in the sunlight. She ran her fingers over the array of seashells she had spread out beside her. The sun made the large, flat rock she was basking on pleasantly warm and Delancy dipped her fingers into the foam of the ocean below. She fished a handful of seaweed strands out of the wave that sprayed saltwater on the browning skin of her shoulders. She smoothed the seaweed out on the rock, squeezing the excess water out. Diligently, she braided each piece into her hair and lay back on the rock, letting her scaled tail slip into the water. She dreamed of her soul mate - a dashingly handsome and powerful man. She imagined him wearing black leather leggings with a thin suede belt adorned with shells dangling at his side. She could almost feel his long, black hair flowing loose in the cool breeze and his ruffled, white shirt fluttering open to reveal his…

“Sir, we’re having trouble contacting the submarine.”

Cumberland sloppily threw his bottle of rum at the intercom, but it crashed to the ground underneath his old metal desk. He slipped off his armchair to his knees, lamenting the remnants of rum that had spilled among the broken shards of glass.

“Sir? What should we do?”

“How should I bloody know? Why are you bothering me? I don’t want to be disturbed again.” Cumberland slapped the chrome display over his glass desk. He spun around, staring inquisitively at his roll top desk. He turned his head towards his metal desk and squinted intently at the industrial grey drawers. “Dammit!” He crossed over to the roll top, opened it and rummaged though the drawers until he found a bottle of rum. He took a long swig and brushed the hair out of his face. He let his fingers slide through the thick, black strands.

Delancy stroked Cumberland’s silky, raven hair. He tried to speak, but she placed her slender finger tenderly against his lips. The water waved onto the shore, covering them both in sand and foam.

“Sshh, my darling. Feel the pulse of the ocean - always moving. Stop worrying about that silly submarine. Think about me instead. Calm and stable. Beautiful and powerful.” Delancy splashed her tail in the surf. “I am everything and anything for you, my love.” She kissed his eyes closed.

“Why would he say he’s having trouble reaching Dmitri? Either he can or he can’t. There’s no middle ground there.”

“Perhaps he makes a connection, but there’s no sound or picture.”

“Maybe, but that’s still a connection. He wouldn’t have said what he said.”

“The lines could be out.”

Cumberland opened his eyes and looked quizzically at Delancy. “Sweetheart, you are far smarter than that. Mermaid or not, you know how the satellites work.”

“Cumby, my dear, I was being metaphorical. Obviously, I know there are no physical lines with the GSCS, but there have been no shortage of problems over the years with the global system. What with all the space junk up there, not to mention atmospheric interference – especially during heightened solar activity – any number of things could have caused a problem with the communication.”

“Of course, that’s what I needed. I shouldn’t worry about it.”

“Although, you do have a state-of-the-art telecommunications system and it doesn’t seem likely that your men would have trouble reaching the sub. And while there may be a myriad of problems, the chances of them occurring are improbably low.”

“That’s exactly what I thought!”

“Really. You’re brilliant.” Delancy’s fingers caught on a tangle in Cumberland’s hair.

“Ow. I know! So why can’t we reach them?”

“Where are they?”

“In the sub.”

“Obviously. After leaving the Swiss Confederacy, where were they headed?”


“That narrows it down. Would they take the Pacific or Atlantic route?”

“Definitely the Atlantic. I asked Dmitri to make some inquiries in New Orleans prior to meeting up with Three and Five in Antarctica.”

“New Orleans? Well, that explains it.”

“It does?”

“Of course, my love. They had to have passed through the Bermuda Polyhedron!”

“But Dmitri is smart enough to avoid that.”

“But, he’s also stubborn enough to think he wouldn’t have any problems. He’s also very much like someone else, I know.”
“You don’t know Dmitri.”

“I know, Lordy-Lord, but you do, so I do. Has anyone checked in with Three or Five to see if they have heard from him?”

“Of course!” Cumberland jumped up from the floor and grabbed at his comm link, tapping haphazardly until someone answered. “Who’s this?”

“My name is Kevin, sir.”

“Kevin? I don’t like that. I’ll call you Ed. Have we had any contact with Three or Five, Ed?”

“No, sir. They’re due to check in directly with Dmitri, then with us.”

“Oh. I forgot about that. Well, try to reach them. I need to know if they can reach the sub.”

“Aye, sir.”

“And, Ed, where are they torturing Watende today?”

“Uh, Sir? I, uhm…”

“Spit it out boy! I’m on the move. I need to know which direction to go. I don’t want to stop and think about it.”

“Well, sir, he was in the courtyard…”

“Stockades. Perfect. It’s been grey for hours, maybe it’ll rain.”

“Uhm, okay.” Kevin shut off the comm link and looked around the control room. The other techs looked away quickly. “Well, I wasn’t going to tell him! I wasn’t the one who let him escape. Why should I get punished?”

Friday, July 23, 2010

Poetic Burst

It turns out I guilted myself into finishing Chapter 16 (which is a good thing). Now only five or so chapters left until the really hard part begins. In the meantime, it seems the poetry dam has burst and I am writing those again as well. Here are the latest two.

if I could remember

would I understand
these fears - these hesitations

would I let them
fall away like a cloak
in the warm mudroom
of a winter cottage

would I select
another part to play

would I allow myself
a different life as
an actor chooses her roles
to show the world her talent.


Sister Ships

we are amazing
You and I
anomalies of
a broken home
or examples
depending on
whose side you’re on

we are sound vessels
skillfully patched together
so that one’s weakness
is strengthened by the other

navigating independently
knowing there is always
a safe port to return to


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Inspiration

It's amazing what I will do to procrastinate something I know I should be doing.  I have one page left to write on Chapter 16. I even know WHAT I want to write. It is simply a matter of how I want to say it. Therein lies the problem.  In the meantime, I wrote these two delightful poems.

Atmospheric Meeting

as the clouds gather
my cat's ears twitch
and rotate sensing
something in the air
darkness passes with
each breeze then
light as the sun fights
to remain seen
soon, there will be
too many clouds
bumping into each other
rumbling, then rain and
a crack at imitating Sol


Renewable Energy

summer is standing
outside in the rain
finally some relief
from the heat wave
bare feet sizzling
as the front stoop
darkens drop by drop

kids laugh at the grown-ups --
running as if newspapers
and quick steps will
protect them from
what the earth craves

children know
the source of their power
comes from the sky


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kitchen Kapers (Canajoharie, NY 1952)

I don't cook. It's a fact that everybody who knows me knows. Actually, the truth of the matter is that I CAN cook, I just HATE to cook. I am quite the inventive chef, who can make tasty treats and meals anytime she chooses.  (Key phrase being: "she chooses".)  I do not like waiting. I especially hate waiting for food. If I could read while waiting or somehow occupy my time, than great, it doesn't feel like waiting to me. But if I have to fill that waiting time with chopping, cutting, arranging, peeling, sauteing and other "work", then I am back to not liking it. That being said, I love cookbooks and have a stunning collection of bizarre cookbooks from the French cooking with Mayonnaise (put out by Hellman's, of course), to the pocket sandwich cookbook (all hot pockets all the time). Recently, while participating in one of my favorite pastimes (collecting free books), I found the following homemade cookbook:

This gem, from 1952 (or 1951, I'm not entirely certain) was compiled by the Canajoharie, NY Methodist Church . I can only assume it was a fundraising effort, but who knows. They solicited advertisers and had church members submit recipes such as "Lima Bean De Luxe" and "English Monkey".  A few of my favorites are below:

There was also a recipe for molded luncheon salad which combined lemon jello, chicken or turkey, onions, garlic and broth.  Most of that sounds okay, but the lemon jello threw me off. Other than the color, I can't see how those ingredients work together. Then again, I've never been a big fan of jello, regardless of the flavor. Perhaps It is my own skepticism that won't pair lemon jello with chicken. Please, if you've ever eaten such a concoction, let me know how it tastes.

In addition to the stunning recipes, there are cleaning tips and little poems scattered amongst the pages. It's clear to see that the book was put together by women; however the women all, strangely enough, have MAN's names such Mrs. John Abbott or Mrs. Manly White Guy.  These are different times for sure! This one shows a "clever" little poem that I can't help thinking is a double entendre. (Again, that's probably my own biases here.) 

Speaking of biases this next poetic example is inexplicable to me. How can a food item turn a person into a cook?

Though I certainly would like to see it happen, IMHO the chances are that trying to cook a full turkey with all the trimmings would turn cooks into non-cooks, more than it would turn non-cooks into cooks.

In addition to turning women into cooks, apparently, cleaning turned women into chemists. Look at the list of "on hand" supplies used in these cleaning tips!   

Of course, you'd probably find these supplies at any number of stores operating in Canajoharie at the time. Take a look at these advertisers (whom readers are encouraged to patronize). Some are even air conditioned for your comfort!

It may seem lame to offer $1 off a new tire, but when the restriction applies to those tires that cost more than $10, then the savings seems more significant.

And what about the added perk that this advertiser offers? Ambulance service? At a funeral home? It seems a little late for that doesn't it?

The ad below hints (to me anyway) that there was a significant gay male population in Canajoharie in 1952. Plus, the name Dobber's Toggery sounds like a gay bar in Britain. Of course, a well-dressed man there, simply means "man"; and a British man here in the States, could also mean "gay man". But I digress. I suppose, it could also be a shop in the Harry Potter Universe, but then we are getting back to the whole "British = gay" thing that I was hoping to move away from.Let's just end with the simple statement at the end of this page:

"Let's go to church on Sunday" Remember, if you're not at church, going to church or coming back from church on a Sunday, then you're probably going to hell. Or are you? Happy Sunday everyone!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Update on Kestra (with photos)

In January 2009, Kes had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from the lymph node in her neck.

She was a bit self-conscious while her fur was growing back (plus New England is cold in January and February).

 Things were looking up after the surgery even though the vet indicated that the lymphoma she had was a fast-progressing cancer.

Fifteen months later, in April of 2010 another lump was found on the other side of her neck. (Kes wasn't thrilled with the thought of more surgery, so we decided on a steroid treatment instead.)  

The steroids had some  side effects: Lethargy, weight gain, and green laser beams shooting from her eyes. (Okay, maybe not that last one.)

Ultimately, she is doing well, but still remains jealous of her sister, Willow, who is painfully cute!

Willow is jealous of the attention Kes gets and has threatened to run away several times. Since the lack of thumbs prevents her from actually opening doors, she randomly summons her supernatural power of cuteness and attacks Kes instead.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Same to you Netflix!

The other day I opened my email and saw the following subject line:

How was the Picture Quality of "Rescue Me: Season 2: "Bitch"?"

My first reaction was, not too bad A**Hole!  My second reaction was to forward it to my friends with a witty comment (or something that might pass for one, anyway). I often wonder about the thought process that goes into forwarding emails to friends, family, and other people you hardly know.  It's one thing to have a bit of useful information (such as avoid this scam, or vote on Tuesday), but most of what gets forwarded these days is some form of humor.

Humor is subjective. That it is, is fact. People don't even find the same things funny in the same way. A pratfall to one person is funny because the person fell and to another because of the way the actor reacted to it. Perhaps it is even funny because the first person liked to see people fall and the second person was feeling the humor of the embarrassing situation that the actor was in. So this makes me curious as to why people forward items to other people.  True, they may be thinking "I thought this was funny and I think you will as well."; but most people simply don't think that much about it. I do.

I don't have one group list that I send funny emails to. Every time I forward an email I hand-pick the recipients based on whether I think they would appreciate it and whether I think they have the time to deal with my email in the midst of all the others they might be getting.  Sometimes, I think the funny bit is worth it. Other times, it only gets sent to a couple of my die-hard forward-loving friends.

I want to clear up what may be a developing notion right now - that is, that I am somehow better or should be praised for the method I use.  Actually, the opposite may be true; in that, I am making a judgment every time about what I think my friends and family would appreciate. It's one thing to brush aside an email from someone you know forwards everything to everyone. C'mon, we ALL have one of those on our friends/family list. You know the one, he or she warns you about the gang who drives around with their headlights off so that they can kill you after you flash your lights at them. Yeah, you know who it is immediately, don't you?  Anyway, we can easily flag those emails and not read them if we don't have time or skim through them to see how lame they truly are. But, when someone who only carefully sends forwarded emails to you shows up in your inbox, you tend to take the time to read it (unless, unbeknownst to them, THEY are that forwarding monster on your friends/family list -- a fact I sheepishly admit may apply to me). So, does that mean you are wasting their time EVEN MORE? Perhaps it does.

The bottom line, in a post that I'm sure no one will read, is that no matter how careful you think you are in sending your emails, someone may take it the wrong way. Isn't that right Netflix?

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I'm having a Summer writer's block party. Chapter 16 is lazily meandering to the festivities and my poetry is still inside playing video games. I resolved to at least get a blog entry in with the scant poems I have. Perhaps I will get inspired and write something new. (I would settle for finishing up Chapter 16, which is now going on several months of being "in progress".)

mechanical hums
the awakening of birds
Spring in my kitchen



the day of the dead -
woke up late for work again
still with the living

through the shifting
black -- a long coat and
short skirt -- the woman's legs
moved like a frightened fawn
suddenly realizing this
well-manicured lawn was not
her home -- in fact -- she
was lost and also running
late for work


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Here's the Deal...

It's been a while since I've blogged, and even longer since I blogged about my adorable nephew (who will be three this June). The latest thing he does, presumably learned from his parents, is that he makes deals. The bedtime ritual goes something like this:

parent: Time for bed
kid: Okay, here's the deal, Mom. I play for 10 more minutes then go to bed.
parent: No, I don't like that deal.
kid: Okay, I play for 5 more minutes then go to bed.
parent: That's a fair deal. Shake on it? Remember, if you shake on it, it means you have to do it. That's a promise.
kid: (kid shakes hand)
parent: do you see the big hand? it's on 7, when the big hand is on 8 that means it's time for bed. Do you understand?
kid: (actually goes to bed without a fuss after 5 minutes!)

If my sister could describe how she has been able to produce such a savvy and well-behaved kid, it could earn her millions in book royalties!

The best part was the next night when his father was putting him to bed. He didn't know about the whole "big hand on the eight" five minute deal and was shocked when James said: Okay, here's the deal, Dad. When the big hand is on the 8, then I go to bed. I'm sure he was even more shocked when his son dutifully trotted off to bed five minutes later.

I don't want readers to mistake my awe at the logical mind of my three-year-old nephew as some sort of maternal yearning on my part. My biological clock is still a sundial at night. I enjoy being able to play the cool auntie who teaches him neat stuff. I get to enjoy the funny anecdotes and can commiserate with the frustrating and bad stories via the phone many miles away. It's the best of both worlds!

And next week, he will have a little brother or sister! I am excited to finally find out whether I have a niece or nephew. I'm probably more excited that I will be spending time with my sister and family next week. It's one of the things I cherish most about my family. We (for the most part) enjoy each other's company and celebrate our family during events like this or even just routine holidays.

I'm not sure how to end this post without sounding like a complete sap or Hallmark card, so I will end with a link with some jokes.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Silkworm 4 now out!

The Florence Poets Society has released Silkworm 4, their annual review. Below are the poems I have included in it.

suitcase full of crazy

we’ve all grown weary travellin’
on these gritty different streets
some of us have fancy shoes
but most are on bare feet
we think our destination
is the only place to be
but we’re always where we are
if we’d only look and see
in our quest we drive along
every should or could have been
the what-ifs or the maybes
and the dreams we don’t go in
we pick up bits of crazy
at convenient local stops
or wander down a detour
to find special crazy shops
and when our journey’s slowing
if we’re lucky, towards the end
we stow away our suitcase
and share crazy with our friends



in the fog of pain
killers pumping
through my veins
I choke -- cough
up this tube

memories of college
drinking aftermaths
spew through my mind
but that was decades ago
and though my aged body
feels just as bad
aspirin won't fix this

I struggle without
the aid of pure oxygen

my father and I
when I was ten
watched fish that we caught
flop and gasp on the floor
of the rowboat he rented

I watched him die too
like my family
is watching me now
how can they do it -- well

it won't be long at least
already their voices and songs
are getting far away

and it feels better
not to breathe


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Kestra's Cancer (my kitty) is back

Kestra's lymphoma is back. After 15 months of watching and worrying that her Lymphoma would kill her (as the doctor indicated it would do rather quickly after the surgery that confirmed the diagnosis), another tumor has developed. I had hoped the surgery to remove the cancer-ridden node in January of 2009 would rid her of it completely, but that is not the case. The vet treating her is thorough, though. He spoke with the Tufts Veterinary Oncology Department to determine the best course of treatment for her. There were three options. 1) surgically remove the second lymph node from the neck; 2) treat with steroids to shrink the tumor; 3) do nothing. The bottom line is that she has Lymphoma, which is systemic, and will not go away. It is incurable. Surgically removing the tumor will only put the cat through that trauma and another tumor may develop somewhere else. Treating with the steroids might shrink the lymph node or it might do nothing (or it might cause her to have bad side effects even though the majority of cats tolerate it well). Doing nothing would only allow the tumor to continue growing and possibly spread to the other lymph nodes faster.

I decided on the steroids. The least invasive option that may produce favorable results. Can cats get six-pack abs ? Should I worry if she starts moving the furniture around while I'm at work? But seriously, I'm hoping she doesn't have any bad side effects and that it really does shrink the lymph node. At least the cancer is a slow-moving one. The doctor called it indolent nodal lymphoma . I don't know what this means for life expectancy, and she is going to be 11 in August. Maybe she'll be with me another three or four years. (A girl can dream.)

On a side note, a few weeks before I discovered the enlarged lymph node I was talking with my co-workers and made the following comment: I would gladly accept my cat's cancer back if my friend's cancer would be completely gone. She's currently going through radiation, after going through chemotherapy, after (a while ago) undergoing a complete hysterectomy (she has endometrial cancer). She won't know for a few weeks if her tumor is gone, but at least the chemo stopped the spread of it (it was found in her lungs); hopefully the radiation will knock out the initial tumor.

So, did I make a deal with the Universe? And, if so, can I use the loophole of "gladly accept" as justification for treating my cat rather than letting her just get cancer-ridden and die?

Monday, February 22, 2010

a bevy of death poems (or would that be a murder?)

Death has been on my mind lately, given the recent events at my condominium complex. Then again, as a brooding poet, I have always been enamored with Death as a subject for poetic speculation. Here is a mix of new and old poems on the subject.

in the presence of death

the certain reaffirms life
they fuck or climb mountains
in defiance of the unfeeling body
that awaits them – they tingle
in the knowledge of their place
in this realm – they know
they are meant to be here
and fight to remain as long as possible

the questioning retreat to the bunker
they are most comfortable with
their books or electronic databases
of information – some even consult
the mysterious forces they believe
give a damn about the
corporal beings on this plane
they’re not looking for answers
since those would make them certain
instead they walk on the illusion
of a never-ending path

there is another group – uncertain, yet
unquestioning – who stops when Death arrives
and politely yields the way as they would
for the rushing ambulance or busy busboy


On the Death of a Catholic Friend

"I'm not afraid," she said despite
the monitors beeping in the night

The Universe -- blasé -- waited
as mortality dissipated
from the sterile human room

Consciousness lingered stately, stoic
as if dying, somehow, were heroic

Silently, her eyes fell closed
from habit as though in repose

lights and echoes down the hall
but, no -- no angels gently called
her home


Response from a Catholic Friend on Her Death

"I'm not afraid," I said
despite the monitors
beeping in the night

God is present
by my side
waiting for me
to finally decide

Humanity lingers
stubborn, defensive
as if dying, somehow,
were offensive

Silently, I chose to go
to a Universe
I didn't know

Angels came with
my release, but friends
couldn't see
how I found peace


A Dirge for the Living

At the point of my death
don’t cover my head
Don’t calmly recite:
“I’m sorry, she’s dead.”
Don’t stand in the morgue
for a teary good-bye
Don’t color my face
with lip and cheek dye

When my time has come
don’t bury me deep
Don’t pray to the Lord
my soul to keep
Don’t limit your wardrobe
don’t wear the veil
Don’t accessorize your anguish
with a heart-wrenching wail

When this body is broken
the life slipped away
when words go unspoken
at the end of my day

Don’t order me cut flowers
like lilies in white
Don’t hold vigil for hours
in votive candlelight

Don’t mourn future memories
Don’t weep for this shell
Don’t belittle my life
with “at least she died well.”

Don’t ask God for answers
‘cause he doesn’t know
why -- if you believe in Heaven
you’re sad when I go.


we accept
death as a job
similar to the ones
we suffer through
a necessity
to make ends meet

we fight death –
a nemesis to conquer
as it stalks victims
we try to stay
one step ahead

but it is neither
apathetic nor malicious
nor the wind that comes
ravaging in a storm

it is the Sun that rises
every day – not because
of some internal motion

but because of our
journey around it

Death itself is static


For Emily

Sir, please Kindly pass me by
For we have met before
I’ve seen you walking with my friends
or lingering -- at their door

We’ve sat together side-by-side
‘til one of us went home --
to tend to mundane tasks -- put-off
or to inhabit the Unknown

Now this -- Great Hall is bathed in light
the decorations stunning
music teases through the night
Your humble offer -- cunning

But, I’ll not be responding -- s’il vous plait
to your bold invite
you see, my card -- alas -- is full
I cannot dance tonight


reaching into death
the living must be certain
about coming back



in the fog of pain
killers pumping
through my veins
I choke -- cough
up this tube

memories of college
drinking aftermaths
spew through my mind
but that was decades ago
and though my aged body
feels just as bad
aspirin won't fix this

I struggle without
the aid of pure oxygen

my father and I
when I was ten
watched fish that we caught
flop and gasp on the floor
of the rowboat he rented

I watched him die too
like my family
is watching me now
how can they do it -- well

it won't be long at least
already their voices and songs
are getting far away

and it feels better
not to breathe


after the moment

when machines
are turned off
family in a daze
makes their way
past the nurses’ station
an orderly
gently pulls IVs
from sluggish veins
then squeezes a soapy
sponge one last time
before caressing
each part of the body


The limerick’s no medium for dying
but that won’t stop me from trying
for while it’s grim compose
about the final repose
it’s certainly more fun than crying.