Category Archives: Things that don’t rhyme

Be More Zen

Photo by Wendy Idele, '93

Photo by Wendy Idele, ’93

If there’s a surface in my house
That doesn’t have a heap of things piled on it
I can’t find it.
Most of the time I can turn a blind eye—
90% of the time, I don’t give a crap.
But that other 10% is a doozy.
Suddenly all my lack of caring
Is condensed into one hard hairball of bothering.
I’m so bothered, in fact, by the chaos
That I dig out clippings from the local classifieds
Of people eager to dispatch my mess.
I’m on the verge of picking up the phone
When something stops me.
I read somewhere that creative types
Need chaos to thrive.
Well that’s my excuse.
My other argument goes something like this:
When I let go of my perception of chaos
I’m being very Zen,
And let’s face it, we all need to be more Zen.


DSCF1812The moon is a blank-faced clock
Its ripe orb the only thing
That pagan man in pre-historic times
Could hang his hat on.
The deep chill of winter began the slow
Rumble of the seasons
The waxing and waning
Of the moon
Etching itself into the everyday.
The tug that set the hens to laying
And the shrimp to drift in on a high spring tide.
The high, sharp-edged disk
That lit up the eyes of a fox on the prowl,
Pups nipping at her heels, pouncing on frogs.
The May moon, anticipated by farmer and poet alike—
The moon to wipe the slate clean,
To slap the palm, sealing the deal of a new year’s agreement.
The warm, lazy moon that enticed lovers into the woods,
And small children into achingly cold mountain streams to catch minnows.
The harvest moon
Slipping silently up through half-naked tree branches
Sealing the coffers for another year.
This is the moon to be beguiled by sweet music, honey wine, and blood.
The powerful moon that holds the thread of life.
If she is not fawned over and appeased
She will slowly, with one eye on the clouds,
Unravel the thread.

I wrote this thinking of the early inhabitants of the island of Ireland, but the moon has resonance for every culture. I would love to hear about yours.


I Hate My Cat

DSCF2120I have a confession:
I hate my cat.
Am I ashamed?
Mildly so
But I make no bones about it
She smells
She’s fat
I have to wipe her ass
I didn’t ask her to stay
She snuck into the basement and gave birth–
How could I say no to five kittens and two eager kid faces?
Didn’t think she’d stick around
After they were weaned.
She did.
I had her spayed.
She got fat,
Didn’t want to live in the basement any more.
Winter was coming,
How could I refuse?
And she’s been lying around ever since.
I could buy myself a fur coat with all the money I’ve spent on vet bills,
And then she has the nerve
To up and leave.
Just when I think she’s dead and gone
And I’m on the brink of tossing the kitty litter for good,
Dredging up a few fond memories to send her on her way,
She shows up again.
My husband says she’s found herself a fancy man
I say, it’s someone with a readier can opener than mine.
And yet, what can I say,
The animal’s tenacious,
A born survivor,
Still alive and kicking at 17
You’ve got to admire that
In a cat.


November Morning

DSCF1629Quiet world.
Feathers of frost on glass.
The clack of buttons and zippers in the tumble dryer,
Cat snoring stolidly,
Radiators ticking, keeping the cold at bay.
The lone cricket whose slow trill I pinpointed in the spirea
Has gone silent.
And all those boisterous crows and blue jays
Conducting their business in full-throat yesterday,
Have been subdued.
The ‘possums entrails, spilling in pink coils out of its belly onto the road
Have frozen—frozen dinners for turkey vultures.
Low burnt-sienna sunlight through closed lids and closed window
Is still warm enough to bask in.