animals, Just bitchin', poem, writing

Ebony

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She follows me,

a slinking, silent presence filled with expectation.

Her coat is dusty.

She’s been rolling in dead leaves,

rubbing her skin against pavement and stems.

She itches;

a pleasure that will turn to torment with age.

A black ghost, a shadow.

I offer food, water, play, affection.

Green-flame eyes bore into mine.

Stupid human not to understand.

They are everywhere.

She is near the end of her life

and her world is thick with spirits

I can’t see.

Yet.

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Just bitchin', poem

For Fatherless Girls on Father’s Day

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As you recall times shared with family and father,

some of us look back on a singular lack.

I remember hearing ‘Girls don’t need fathers as much as boys do.’

Emphatically and thoroughly not true.

The place where a father might have been is empty and dark.

Less than grief, but more than loss, a separate chamber in the heart.

We’re girls who learn men from the outside first,

slaking a congenital thirst.

We grow up strong, we make up the lack,

But there’s something that we never get back:

the memories others celebrate today,

fathers and daughters along the way.

We’re grown women who have learned our way,

but the father-shaped abyss echoes today.

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animals, Just bitchin', poem

Windwalkers

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Bounced awake at 3 a.m. by feline urgency.

Pet-propelled, I follow the meowing fur-alert to the door.

Open it.

Wind.

But not our wind.

Not native to a northern clime.

This is a wind from the south, spiced with cinnamon and roses.

Santa Ana, the Witch’s Wind.

It reaches deep into our DNA.

Barefoot and pad-pawed, we walk into the primal.

The wind has claimed this night for the naked and the mad.

Blood surges.

Reason departs.

We hunt.

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image:Night Wind from flickr.com

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poem, writing

A Goreyesque-ly Good Day

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The weather is savage.

Wind churns the bay into frothing whitecaps.

The waves batter against the bulkhead with force that resonates through the cottage’s foundation. Two feet of concrete seems like a flimsy barrier upon which to depend when salty droplets pepper the windows.

Leaves and pine needles fall before the gusty assault, turning into missiles that sting the flesh, scoring it with reddened welts.

You feel small and mortal and anxious before such force.

It’s the perfect start to Halloween weekend.

To make it even better, the online literary journal Goreyesque has published my poem ‘Ogre’ in their Halloween edition.

http://www.goreyesque.com/cat-jenkins

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Always a fan of the subtle, sublime, and unsettlingly brilliant author and artist Edward Gorey, I am honored.

Once again…

…Happy Halloween…

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Just bitchin', poem

Cougar

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She is slinky.

She is of indeterminate age.

She prowls the night with avid eyes, searching for something to satisfy her hunger.

Glimpse her from the corner of your eye, and a sense of danger flicks your instincts to life.

She is watching.

You are wary.

In the shadows, tawny fur…tawny eyes connect with yours.

Noise and music and safety is a scant ten yards away.

No one will believe this.

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poem, writing

Another Farewell…

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A raging beast, the disease came back.

At the end her memories rose to the surface,

effervescing.

A champagne distillation of her life.

Words halting and slow.

‘City lights,’ she said. ‘I saw them

like a belt of stars against the night.

Do you know, I could find their echo in the streets…

Fairy lights twined through iron balconies

like a giant’s brush of glitter.’

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Her eyes closed.

‘Smiles. I never realized I’ve seen so many…

so many…

Do you know, thinking of them makes me feel warm…

in here…’

A decimated hand touched the hospital gown

over her heart.

Eyes opened, so earnest.

‘I think the most precious thing is trust.

I used to think it was love, but…

Do you remember the rabbits I found?

How the mother let me help her babies?

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That wasn’t love. It was trust for love’s sake.’

Her words grew fainter.

‘Maybe it was born of love,

but trust comes first.

I’m going to miss all of you.’

For the last time, lids lowered.

‘I’m going to miss weather.

I hope there are storms…’

 

She left us

with the image of a woman

raising her face to taste rain and thunder.

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poem, writing

Good Friday

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A quickie post, because it doesn’t happen all that often.  Just frequently enough to keep a writer hanging on.

But it’s one of those moments when a thousand rejections are worth it, to know there was an acceptance waiting in the wings…

Thank you, Page and Spine Literary Magazine!

http://www.pagespineficshowcase.com/poems.html

 

 

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Just bitchin', poem

A Page Turns…

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A tiny thing has vanished.

Like the barest tip of an iceberg, its disappearance signifies something much bigger. Something as vast as sorrow and as limitless as history.

Every year, no matter where I’ve lived, the weekend of Veteran’s Day will find an elderly gentleman sporting a military hat, or sometimes a chest of medals, sitting at a small table, handing out red, paper poppies in exchange for a small donation. Often these simple tokens are handed out for free when  their bright color catches a child’s wide, untutored eye. It’s just a pretty thing to them. They don’t yet know what it means.

But this year there is no table at the usual place. No poppies. No veteran.

When I asked about it, I was told that there were no more of the old school soldiers left to take on the task of dispensing poppies at this locale. They have all passed on.

So for those children who won’t see the poppies this year, know that they were the first flowers to grow among the graves of soldiers in a faraway place called Flanders.

Remember…

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

                     —– John McCrae, 1915

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Just bitchin', poem

Letter to the Ghost of Osama Bin Laden

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The page has turned.

Another anniversary.

There is a qualitative difference this time around. Previous years were rife with remembrance. Sharp shards of unavoidable history.

But this year, I was hard-pressed to find them. What had previously been a deluge, now a trickle.

Maybe it’s me.

With the extraordinary adaptability of the human animal, I have subsumed you into daily life, feeling not terror, but wariness.

Such a lukewarm legacy. Was it worth it?

I see no time when our beliefs and cultures will mesh.

Enemies eternal. A common view, me and you. I bet it bothers you to share something, anything with the likes of me.

Like children in a schoolyard; one offering his lunch money, eager to make friends, form bonds, buy them if he has to. A little desperate to be liked.

The other filled with nameless rage and bared teeth, hating those whose very existence he feels invalidates his own. Acting out.

You envisioned a roar, but left only an echo.

Part of it is the passage of time.

But most of it is because I love my country with a ferocity that surpasses your fanaticism.

We’re still here.

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poem

Dark Side

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She sees her in the mirror
from the corner of her eye.
Pretending to be strong,
she’s actually quite shy.

When she sees others suffer,
she sometimes feel her grin.
As much as she dislikes her,
she’s trapped within her skin.

She’s cold and mean as iron.
She helps her get ahead.
She stole someone else’s husband
in someone else’s bed.

She tries to reason with her
before she lashes out,
but her anger and her cruelty
are all that she’s about.

So she looks into the mirror
and once again she’s there.
When she asks her why she’s bad
She shouts that life’s not fair.

Her charity and kindness
are things she can despise.
She sees them as a weakness
in a world that runs on lies.

She wonders what to do
to make her go away,
but she’s everything that’s strong,
so in shame she hopes she’ll stay.

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