Category Archives: poems

Multiplication Fable

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Multiplication Fable

We were to memorize if able
the whole multiplication table.
I learned the ones to sixes fine,
yet still have trouble with seven through nine.
So when the cents approach a dime,
I always have an awful time.

It was during chicken pox
(when I, attired in gloves and sox
was simply trying to score an itch)
that my math skills developed a hitch.
As others mastered seven through nine,
I was there at home, supine.

Six times seven’s forty-two.
that’s the last sum I easily do.
Six times eight is forty eight–
determined after some debate.
But six times nine or nine times six
always leaves me in a fix.

Sixty-three, perhaps, or more.
Could it instead be sixty-four?
At nine times eight I’m surely lost.
Those sums I should have had embossed
upon my wrist in a tattoo.
These long delays just will not do.

I breathe a sigh when once again
the multiplier ends up as ten.
Ten is easy, so I strut
as I just add a zero, but
as I stumble through its next-of-kin,
I approximate, then write it in.

 

The prompt today was memorize.

Kukla’s Story

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I, Kukla, testify that the tale you are about to hear, narrated by me and transcribed by my mom, is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, tuna.

(But first, a few words from Judy.) After reading an account of Murdo Girl’s trip to my old stomping grounds in South Dakota narrated by one of her dogs, I harangued her to let her cat narrate a tale as well. Voicing some objections to this, being that her cat can be a contrary soul, she finally assented and her cat told an interesting story showing none of that contrary nature suggested by her mom, who is prone to exaggeration, I must say. Since then, she has been similarly haranguing me to allow one of my kittens to tell a tale. So, fresh from a nap, I went in and grabbed Kukla from the pile and let her narrate to me this true story of what happened the night of my film night. I will stay out of it except to warn you against inviting even writing friends over to see the film about Emily Dickinson entitled “A Quiet Passion.”  Much as I like her poetry, this film was a depressing YAWN!!! Kukla’s tale, I hope, has more energy. Okay, here it is, straight from the cat’s maw:

Kukla’s Story

As I was wrestling with another,
our two-footed human mother
came to take my brother outside
to the sala where her friends reside
to sit there, bored and subtly snoring
as they watched a film as boring
to humans as it was to cats.
Edgy and restless, I guess that’s
why he jumped down from her chair
and scooted himself out of there.

The next act of the status quo
occurred as they prepared to go.
She thought she’d put him back inside
the guest bedroom where we reside
and certainly this may be so.
We were all sleeping, so didn’t know.
But shortly after their departing
(with much stopping and restarting)
after she had shut the gate
and come inside to cogitate
on the film “A Quiet Passion,”
regretting it, as was her fashion,
there came a huge great caterwauling––
yowling, quieting, rising, falling––
in the front yard. Some creature bitten?
Could it be an escaped kitten?

We heard her open wide the door
and give a certain panicked roar
as was her wont—a silly ditty
comprised of “Kitty, kitty, kitty?”
And what she later then related,
as soon as her query abated,
a cat like us, but bigger, tore
out from the shadows and past the door.

It must have been our feline mother
for why would it have been another?
Who abandoned us here months ago
and went where errant mom cats go
once that they have vamanoosed
from the kittens they’ve produced.
She streaked across to disappear
into the shadows that were near,
two-legged mother most surprised
for she had always just surmised
our mother was the big white cat
who had appeared months before that
fine day when we climbed up her wall––
so small to climb a vine that tall.

But this cat I have heard her say––
the one that came just yesterday––
Looked exactly like we four
as she streaked quickly by the door.
And when two-legged mother started
to close the door, one more full-hearted
yowling pealed out from the left.
It was Ollie, lost and bereft.
Somehow he’d made his way outside
and chosen just to cower and hide
until four-footed mother appeared
to warn that other mother who’s reared
us all from little lumps of fur––
who nourishes and makes us purr.

Could it be that that first mother of all––
who nursed us all when we were small––
has been watching as we grew?
Watching all we say and do?
Being sure the one she chose
deals with all our needs and woes?

Two-footed mother will never know
that it is true that it is so.
We have two mothers watching us––
enjoying all our leaps and fuss.
And in the absence of a padre,
they have conspired to co-madre.

IMG_0387I, Ollie, testify as to the veracity of Kukla’s relation of this tale. It was a harrowing night out there in the wilds. I was too agitated to tell the tale myself.

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Writing is exhausting so I had a little nap as mom polished the tale, dotting all the i’s, closing all the parentheses, spellchecking the caterwauls.

First Step

 

First Step

When I’m feeling frail and iffy,
what revives me in a jiffy
is a tiny bit of sinning—
a little chocolate or ginning.

There’s nothing wrong with using them
unless one is abusing them.
And an abuser I am not.
(Except, perhaps, for chocolate!!!!)

 

The prompt today was jiffy.

Unscheduled Visitor

 

Unscheduled Visitor

I hear a rapid rapping and I’m wondering, “Who is it?”
It’s too early in the morning for a casual drop-in visit.
I’m still in my pajamas and the dogs and cats aren’t fed.
How can company be calling while I’m still here in bed?

The knocking is insistent but I have no way to spy
upon whatever passer-by refuses to pass by.
My intercom is broken, so I call out from the door,
“Who is it?” but it’s obvious they aren’t there anymore.

I wander back to bed again, feeling somewhat tense.
Only when I’m sleeping does the knocking recommence.
“Who is it?” I scream out again, accenting every vowel.
The dogs sense my frustration and they begin to howl.

My bedroom sliders are open, so my voice soars over the wall.
Any passerby could hear if they could hear at all.
But still nobody answers. This Saturday morning’s still.
There are no other noises up here on my hill.

No car horns and no dog barks. No children’s noisy play.
No birdcalls. No construction to mar this quiet day.
Except for my invectives as the rappings start again—
louder, oh much louder than they have ever been.

As I charge out of my front door, I grab for an umbrella—
in case I need a weapon to fight off some unknown fella
intent on ruining my day, but when I turn the key
and open wide my front wall gate, there’s no one there but me!

I roar in my frustration. The whole town must hear my wails.
I throw that damn umbrella. Over the wall it sails.
I stalk back to my room and pull the covers over my head,
praying for more silence, but what I get instead

is the steady rat-tat-tatting that now upon reflection
seems to emanate from a different direction.
I draw aside my bedroom drapes and wonder, “What the heck?”
sweeping my sight across my yard, I finally crane my neck

and see it far up in a palm—an industrious woodpecker
whose ruthless drilling is the thing that’s been my sleep-in wrecker!
I cannot throw a shoe at him for I can’t throw that far.
If I tried to knock a golf ball up, I’d be far over par.

At last I view with humor this ridiculous affair,
and so I pull on Levis and smooth my ruffled hair.
I shuffle off to feed the dogs, the kittens and the cat
and just accept as music this rat-a-tat-tat-tat.

 

The prompt today is casual.

Best for Last

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Best for Last

Just as I’m ready to ingest
the morsel I consider best
and so picked out from all the rest
to be my last bite, savored with zest—
last memory of this gourmet fest—
from north and south and east and west,
descends each winged little pest,
radared in on diabolical quest
as though invited at my behest.
They put my appetite to the test,
settling as though to the nest,
their hairy feet intimately pressed
upon that morsel that I loved best.
I wave my hand over them, lest
they eat too much, then I confess
I guiltily consume the rest.

 

The prompt today is pest.

Green Tea and Me

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Green Tea and Me

The taste of green tea is a taste to which I do not cotton.
Instead of tasting fresh and green, to me it just tastes rotten.
Although it is a liquid that I must daily swallow,
it clearly is a flavor in which I don’t choose to wallow.

Health drives us to those foods and liquids we would never choose.
Makes us eat our kale and fish oil, takes away our booze.
If we want to keep our blood pressure from simply soaring,
we’ll be giving up our salt for flavors much more boring.

So nature takes our simple pleasures from us one by one.
Things like buttered popcorn become a smoking gun.
If we want our  bodies to cooperate and function,
we’ll gobble less for pleasure and nibble more for unction.

The prompt today was tea.

Pick a Pickled Pepper

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Pick a Pickled Pepper

Some girls lick on lollipops, but I never will.
I prefer the piquant taste of vinegar and dill.
Pickle up some peppers  and shove them in a jar.
Put a label on it to show them who you are.
If a cute boy eats one, he will pucker up,
and perhaps you’ll plant a kiss where he deigned to sup.

Pick a cherry pepper, press it to your lips,
and that spicy boy might want to steal some sips.
Do not tell your mother. Do not tell your dad,
or that might be the only pepper that you ever had.
Lollipops are sweet but just a little coy.
Pickles work much better for picking out your boy.

 

The prompt today was lollipop. Strangely enough, the song “Lollipop, Lollipop” has been going through my mind for the past few days.  I even made up different lyrics to the tune of it to sing to Annie, my 15-year-old ill cat,  as I drove her (meowing all the way) home from the vet the other day. The men who stand in the road to wave people into the fish restaurants near San Juan Cosala must have wondered at me as I hollered out the strange song at the top of my lungs, just like my dad used to do to startle a howling baby into silence.  Ah well.  We get odder as we get older but have more of an excuse for it!