Archive for the ‘dog’ category

D is for–

April 4, 2018

D is for

I found me in a whole behind the bookshelf, there in the molding, hanging on to a spine of the Junior Britannica, our set covered in leathery red.

The volume was D; I snuck a letter into it to my dog once because I had killed her and I didn’t know how else to send mail to a dead dog.

Of course, I had not meant to kill my dog but, for a child, result is not mitigated by intention.

Fate had thrown me a hard ball.  It had not been a particularly hand throw, but it was a base ball, and in that game of catch, the trees blurred green and the grass smoothed to ground where I stood beneath a locust’s grape-fingered shade and I just missed–my hands and glove knock knees (at least for that catch), which meant that the ball hit the trunk of the locust, rebounded to the side, then tagged the small dog as she barked and darted at the back of our game in what was somehow the perfect place in the neck to break it, and the dog’s lithe little body immediately lay limp, and though I probably screamed, my re-creations all seem silent except for my mother who ran out of the house, shrieking ”oh no oh no oh no” and not to bring the dog inside.

So my father and I huddled the little body over to the car me kissing its nose in an almost surreptitious way as I wondered frantically whether you could do mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation on a dog, but somehow felt too embarrassed even in extremity to ask, while my dad in his own extremity careened us to the vet’s, and when the vet was closed, our family doctor, heaving with every gear shift, even as I kind of calmed, feeling, after my lap wet with warm, that surely if the dog peed she must still be alive.

And I said to the little girl in the molding, who held the spine of the D Junior Britannica, “what are you doing,” and she simply said ‘I’m sorry,” which sounded at first as if she hadn’t heard me but meant, I realized then, that she was simply being sorry over there, actively being sorry, being sorry her/my whole life long, and I said to her/me, “but look, that was many years ago,” and she said, “I know.”


This is actually a short excerpt from a little book I am working on; it is very much a draft. I am posting it today for Brendan MacOdrum”s prompt on Real Toads, which I am interpreting as a prompt about the panoply of things that make us sing (or at least write.) 

The pic doesn’t really go with the piece!  It’s actually from a different book I am working on!  (A children’s book)  (I have all sorts of highly unfinished projects!)  But anyway, there it is.  It is my drawing, charcoal and pastel.  All rights reserved. 

Brain Hurts

May 1, 2016
Updated Brain in Bed (With Dog)

Brain Hurts

My brain hurts
from inhaled pain,
swollen now
to not quite sane.
Nought it knows
will be the same,
nor answer to
its (or my) name.

My heart hurts
with built-in stain;
it’s been set
by drenching rain;
what washes it
might have a name,
but I don’t know it
just the same.

Very much a draft ditty for May 1 and Kerry O’Connor’s 55 word prompt on Real Toads.  I’m just doing recycled drawings at the moment; this of a brain in bed, with canine companion.

Would-be Novelist Asked What She’s Really Like

April 28, 2016

Working with....Lappup

Would-be Novelist Asked What She’s Really Like

In a far car whirring
past corn,
we played a game of what breed of dog
we’d be if dog-born,
what flower, what tree–so hard
when what you knew you were
was not what you preferred;
easier to name an uncle as German Shepherd,
an aunt as violet.


Draft poem for Mama Zen’s prompt on Real Toads to write about who you truly are in 50 words or less.  This is (I’m guessing) probably my 30th poem for April, as I think I was a couple ahead. A recycled drawing (of mine) , of typing with lap-pup (Pearl!) 

And the Sixth Element’s the Page

December 11, 2015

And the Sixth Element’s the Page

Terry Pratchett says the fifth element’s
surprise–this, to me, seems the most prevalent:
surprise that earth is not what you thought it would be,
or is; surprise that air can still feel free
or doesn’t–is there, but, like a boa,
ties upon your chest a knot of woe, a
chest of not, an anti-treasure.
Surprise that fire is lately measured
by the thousands of acres, or the double
digit pulls of a trigger finger.  Trouble
so often spelled as water, but–surprise too–
that its flow still washes us anew. Oh, wise, you,
Sir Terry, and your inky types, who know
to prise smiles from mere words, mere us, this now.


Draft daft poem.  Inspired by Bjorn Rudberg to think of a sonnet (sort of) and by the Real Toads prompt by Hannah Gosselin on the classical elements–earth, air, water, fire.  My favorite writer who discusses the elements–actually my favorite writer when he discusses anything–Sir Terry Pratchett–added in the element of surprise. 

I’m not sure why I am using this picture– the little dog seems hardly surprised!  But it’s a pic I did that makes me smile so put it here.  All rights reserved.  

Sally & Seemore Samples? (Woes of Non-Illustrator)

May 23, 2015


Hi All!

On my break from poetry, I’ve been thinking about poems all the time!  (Also, doing a bunch of long-overdue cleaning projects.)

I have not yet had the courage to look at the children’s book project–a manuscript for a child’s novel–that I hope to finally finalize.  But I did get myself to do a couple more pics with the book in mind.

When you try to draw pictures for a book, you become immediately conscious of how wonderfully skilled trained illustrators are.  They draw in single defined strokes instead of ten or twenty pale scratchings!  Their characters look the same on every page!  And yet not the same!  Meaning that the characters are recognizable, but the postures and facial expressions change.  The difficulty in drawing consistent human beings is why I usually stick to elephants.

Anyway, here’s a couple of new ones.   I don’t know if I can use them as the little girl is just too young here.    And really the dog should probably not be smiling quite so much.  And these pictures are supposed to take place in an attic; I completely forgot about any kind of sloping roof.

But thought you might enjoy.  (Or hope so.)

PS – girl’s name is Sally; dog is Seemore.

Fish In Some Kind of Water

May 14, 2015

This picture DOES NOT go with the poem–I just like it.

Fish In Water

We feel
like a fish–
I use here both the royal ‘we’
because I am gold, and
the collective ‘we’
because that was how
I was schooled.

We are not out of water
but tanked.
Our owners, easily tiring of the tedium
of our boxed obliviousness, feed us repeatedly
just to see us fetch.

Sure enough, we’re fired up
by the flakes, swish for the catch
in the mitt of our hinged-jaw maws–

The taps feel to us
clapped applause
even as they shake us
to our cartilaginous marrow.
‘My turn’, ‘no,
my turn,” regaling and hailing
until the sounds dumb
to a clouded sky
with only occasional
dandruff, the food of random

Too much–too little, but still
too much,
until our sheen slimes,
scales bloat, and patches spread
over our once-rich red,
patches pale as the underbelly
of some creature we wot not–

Something is very wrong here,
more than just

A rather strange one, probably linked to nowhere!


Dogged Rivalry

April 18, 2015

Sharing Computer

Dogged Rivalry

“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” 
Terry Pratchett

She knew already she’d never be cool–
he didn’t have to tell her–though he did constantly–
that her saliva pooled mid-tongue
and that she drooled
at tongue–
though truly she drooled
at any food whose fat glistened
on a platter;
or for that matter, how plebian she was
to actually listen
for the Man, then wiggle in that low squiggle, literally em-bare-assing–(he said)
even when the Man didn’t
dish out meat, or – yawn -some dry-mouth

No, he did not need to insinuate
by moue–um–
for she knew–
from her tail that could never curvily fold
to that nose that was typically more or less cold,
but not, somehow, cool–
that she was in no way hip, hep, or any
kind of jewel-eyed cat, and that that
was simply that–

still, as the Man scratched her ear vigorously enough
to make her face tilt towards his hand
and one band of canines grin,
she somehow couldn’t care if he up there
watching from an arch in
the sofa where only the fabric
was scratched (and not, she thought,
his head) wished her dead,
if only he would someday please
just play.


A rather silly poem for Kerry O’ Connor’s prompt on With Real Toads to write something inspired by quotes from Terry Pratchett or Leonard Nimoy.  Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors ever, and has so many very inspiring quotes that have nothing to do with cats.  I was working on something more serious but finally felt maybe I’d had enough of seriousness by this 18th day of April. 

Really, it should be the dog on the computer for purposes of this poem, but the cat took over.  

Ps I have edited since first posting.  

This Is A Poem About

March 25, 2015


This Is A Poem About

the vagaries,
of words.

Sure, some show
what they mean–ice floes:
ice that flows;
ice that, even stuck, floats.

Spoon: curve cool
in your mouth, still warning
not to bite down.

Or, spoon:  the warm fit
of your flank, peace beyond
the swoon.

Penis:  the stretch before
the close;
vagina or -al:  I/hinge/in winged.

Sorry–I say to those of you uncomfortable
with moist words
in this dryish confabulation,
but it too does its work–no one as sore
as the sorry, as sorry
as sorry me.

Then there are those words
that just won’t
say themselves,
whose sounds don’t sign
their crossroads, vowels don’t knell

This moment tries.  This–assertive,
but oh, how that long mo fools us, its promise
already at
its end.
Went somewhere

faster than an ice floe
caught upon a spoon, cool
in your mouth, hot
at your flank.


Draft poem for With Real Toads Open Forum. 

Couldn’t resist reposing a picture of my dear departed Pearl as she jumped down onto a passing ice floe one evening in NYC a few years back.  (Both pics are mine–all rights reserved.) 


Competing Drafts — “Sometime After the Anniversary of a Dog’s Death”

February 7, 2015



I often call freshly posted poems drafts, which can bring up a certain digital laughter among readers/fellow poets.  I don’t mean to be falsely modest–but to emphasize my indecisiveness in writing/posting.  Sometimes I’ll go back into a freshly posted draft to repeatedly change it–other times (more often), I can hardly stand to look at something after it’s posted.  (I suffer a kind of backlash, I suppose, at having had the audacity to put something out in the world–it manifests itself as acute embarrassment.) 

One solution, of course, would be to just post less–hang on to something until I am absolutely sure it’s done.  But, to be honest, I get a huge amount of comfort and energy from moving ahead in my work, so I am selfish (or audacious) enough to put something out before it may be ready, hoping that the caveat of calling it a “draft,” will protect me on the embarrassment side. 

At any rate, here’s a poem/draft that I wrote last night, and re-wrote this morning, and I thought it might be interesting to post both, since it shows how difficult it can be to make decisions about these things.  (Please only bother to read if you are interested in these kinds of issues–)  I tend to think the original shorter one (posted first) may be better, but I also like this morning’s longer version.   Thoughts of others are welcome, as always–


Sometime After the Anniversary of A Dog’s Death
(Glad of the Deep Snow)

I always worried
that some animal
would dig you up,
knowing that I myself
was not a great digger,
though also an animal;

even knowing
that I’d dug deep enough
only my thighs
reached the earth’s surface
and that, later, I secured your top soil
with a host
of stones.

But how the heart is snagged
by loss, that barbed

Loss, you finder
of all we no longer can,
you keeper.


Sometime After the Anniversary of a Dog’s Death

I always worried
that some animal
would dig you up,
knowing that I myself, like you,
was not a great digger,
though also an animal;

yet knowing too
that I’d dug deep enough
only my thighs
reached the earth’s surface
and that I’d secured your top soil
with a host of stones;

still, glad
when the ground froze
and when even those stones
were buried; glad when the snow too
froze, and I was absolutely sure of your safety
from the claws of some harder-scrabbler–

but how the heart is snagged
by loss, that barbed

Loss, that finder
of all we no longer hold,
Loss, that keeper,
who does not care
how deep we dig,
how thick snow falls,
what freezes, what thaws–

Not Pulling It Over Anyone’s Eyes Here

January 15, 2015

Brrr….. (Note that wool socks are not being worn)

Not Pulling It Over Anyone’s Eyes Here

The cold is truly fine for those
with knitted wool upon their toes.
Silk liners make it even finer–
(forget your cottons, hose nyloner).
Wool underwear’s another must
over your bum and on your bust.
And sweaters–wool again, my dear–
else the cloth of some clove-footed peer–
a goat, alpaca, maybe yak–
(frizzy fuzz from someone’s back).
More wool or fleece to wrap your legs
or down, if on bent knee each begs–
(for down, oh down, I rank it highest,
though perhaps it’s best when cold is dryest–)

Picture your bod as princess pea–
your layers multi-mattressy
(not only are you safe from freeze,
your limbs will also bounce off trees).
Though novices claim itchy pain,
wool never hardly shows a stain,
so you can scratch that same long john
without a break all winter long,
unless, of course, you’ve got the heat
of someone else beneath your sheet.
Oh sure, sometimes space can get tight,
the two of you may even fight,
but a cure for any winter schism
is the other’s high metabolism,
keeping far the bitter cold
just as well as weave from 
sheepish fold.


Here’s a sort of poem for Fireblossom (Shay’s Word Garden) Friday on With Real Toads to write about winter.  I realize that, as a vegetarian, I neglected to extoll the virtues of fur–I’m not really in favor of new fur (given my sense of how it’s produced), but if you can find something old and long ago taken, it is also pretty darn warm. 

The picture is an old drawing of Pearl, also now gone.  I alway tried to persuade her of the virtues of wool, but perhaps being a lamb in wolf’s clothing–or the reverse–she was wary of it.