Tag Archives: cats

How My Life Story Wound Up in the Sentinel: NaPoWriMo 2021, Day 13

 


How My Life Story Wound Up in the Sentinel

Startled awake by the end of the rain,
I rise to the quiet push of air
against my face and brain. I light the fire,
then lie on the couch under quilts.
One gray cat lies on top of me,
and the other jumps up soon after;
so for this long time before full light,
I am a warm bed for cats.

They fit themselves along the curves of my body,
pressing into the empty spaces.
My shoulder and arm are tucked
and held in place by the large male cat,

my folded knees and legs
pinned by the smaller yet heavier female.

As I reach for yesterday’s Sentinel
and the crossword puzzle pen clipped to it,
the male cat spills from my shoulder and arm
and moves to my hip.
Forsaking the Sunday puzzle,
I instead stroke his soft fur—
this stroke becoming an addiction
to both me and the cat,
who butts my hand with his head when I quit.

With my other hand,
I squeeze words into the margins of the newspaper—
the only paper within arm’s reach.
I have filled the margins of page one and I am writing
over the picture of a Maine house with no power.
My ink partially obscures the name of the female cadet
who has dropped out of the Virginia Military Academy
as my pen nudges closer to the comic pages.

I am telling my life story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Over Dear Abby, my pen sails like a schooner.
When she says to practice tough love,
my words are over her words and my words say,
“I let the cat out
to the cold morning that fills the spaces
between the redwood trees.”

Five minutes later, he’s back again
crying at the door,
and I tell of it,
crossing the obituaries with details
of life in the mountains with cats
and a husband still sensibly in bed.

I write of rain that sits like a box around us
for five months of every year,
pressing our minds down to crossword puzzles
and mystery novels until,
huddled in bed under the electric blanket,
we find each other curled up
in the same cocoon.

His body spooned to my body
like a cat,
under the covers of rain,
we draw again into
the small bit of magic that powers
our crowded lives.

Outside, crisp air stands still, expectant,
as  from very high above, a squirrel
drops cone shards like confetti
from a swaying redwood branch,
her crooning forest calls
falling with them.
The sun is rising
and clear air beckons me to walk
to the end of our long rain-soaked driveway
to retrieve today’s paper.

In  the long hours spent awaiting dawn,
I’ve filled up with these words
the margins of yesterday’s paper.
I’ve crosshatched the want ads
and the “Bay Living” section
and the comics,

So that a  gray squirrel
zips across Blondie’s nose,

and a redwood tree spills its needles
onto Hagar the Horrible.

Somehow, my spouse ends up
nestled into bed
next to Dagwood,

and Cathy is almost obscured
by the curled bodies of cats.

Moving away from, then settling back into
this safe nest we’ve made,
I add one last description of my journey
down my driveway

and a life that for this moment
is released from rain.


And that is how my story—
what fills up my life—

came to fill up
the pages of the Sentinel.

The NaPoWriMo prompt is to write a poem in the form of a news article you wish would come out tomorrow.

Over Head

Over Head

Lying in the hammock, searching for my words,
I come up with nothing, so I consult the birds.
They lift up off my trees to circle in a ring
as though they’re reconnoitering every single thing.

Swooping to partake of swirling clouds of  gnats,
eying all my fruit trees, teasing both the cats,
who, crouched up on the roof, dream culinary wishes—
far above their heads, those tiny feathered fishes

far out of their reach, but so mesmerizing that 
they far exceed temptation of squirrel or of rat.
Cats find bird movements insolent, drifting high up there.
Such an outrê thing to do, floating in the air!

Prompt words today are consult, insolent, outré and reconnoiter.

Morning Ritual

Morning Ritual

Boy cat awakes at six o’clock
to begin his morning walk
across my former sleeping self,
then jumps down from my bedside shelf

to continue his aggressive sass.
Wrestles the rug, then bats the brass
light cord, yowls and kneads the sheet
until I rise. Admit defeat.


He leads me to the kitchen door.
I let him out , but do no more.
I don’t renew his empty dish.
No new beef and no new fish
adorn its naked metal sheen.
It’s six o’clock! I’m feeling mean.

Back to bed until at eight
the dogs begin their loud debate.
The girl cat’s where the boy cat’s been,
taunting them from here within.

She jumps up on the headboard table,
disconnects my laptop cable,


turns off its screen and then what’s more,
knocks the lampshade to the floor.

Jumps down and then attacks the rug—
A slide-attack, a pull, a tug—
until once more it’s hillocked, rumpled.
twisted, skewed, distressed and crumpled.

Now the dogs both go ballistic
and I, alas, become realistic.

Thrust myself up from my bed,
and after both the dogs are fed,
I give in to the cats’ loud din—
one cat out and one cat in.

One says good-bye, one says hello. One seeks to come, the other go!

When I shop, I buy the flavor I know their highnesses most favor.

Walk barefoot over the cold floor,
open up the outside door,
and, stepping out to feed the cats,
I open up the cupboard that’s
located by the kitchen door,
to grab the cat food can, but then
as one cat exits, one rushes in!

I spoon the goop into one dish
to tail-swaying and whisker swish.
Pour kibble in another one,
step back inside and watch the fun.

Seeking nutritional renewal, they fall upon their kitty gruel

Sharing a dish, cats bob and sway
in graceful pas de deux display.
Alternating, dish-to-dish
from wet to dry, whate’er their wish.

And finally, the herd all fed,
exhausted, I go back to bed!

Prompt words for today are goodbye/hello, brass, renewal and favor.

Pile of Kittens

I just can’t resist adding a pile of kittens to balance the adorable video of the pile of puppies I just posted. Here they are, Kukla, Fran, Ollie and Roo, days after they all climbed up the bougainvillea vine and over the wall, into my heart. I came into the guest bathroom that they had claimed as their own and found them all piled up on the lid of the kitty litter pail.  What’s a mom to do other than grabbing a camera?

Cats Trump Dogs: Oct 14, 2020

Click on photos to enlarge.

Cats Trump Dogs

My dogs are perspicacious with insights most profound.
They’re aware of every flutter, on top of every sound.
Their vigilance professional, with duty it is fraught.
Nary a squirrel has crossed the yard without being caught!

No passerby is overlooked, no lizard, snake or newt.
Their senses are omniscient, their judgments most astute.
They keep my backyard creature-free, pristine for lawn and blossom.
They will not suffer gopher or mole or vole or possum.

Guard duty’s not a hobby. They see it as a task
that they were truly born for. I need not even ask.
The cats they see as horrors—wily and uncouth.
They cannot bear their presence. They see it as the truth

that cats are unorthodox. Not banished to the ground,
they roam the roof and wall and trees, rambling all around.
They tease the dogs from far above, safe from all their fury.
Sauntering off slowly, for they aren’t in any hurry.

Prompt words for the day are professional, unorthodox, hobby, perspicacious, truth and horror.