Friday, July 11, 2014

The Sculptor Poses

Be still, Bastet.
Our friends have gone
to some expense
to acquire "something
to remember us by,"
though how a thing so flat,
so smooth, could aid
their memories a whit,
I cannot say.

I could sculpt their souls,
you know, build up each virtue,
gouge out each vice,
carve forgiveness in deep relief,
smooth some with their kindness,
scar others with mistakes.
I could put nobility 
and baseness on display,
covered with a filigree 
of laughter or tears,
the feelings of years.

But if they came to see
with only their eyes,
they would not know themselves.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Flip Flop

Take notice of me, referee,
writhing in my agony!
Call down a grievous penalty!
The other team deserve it.

Behold, the game continues on.
Don't they realize I'm gone?
    Guess I ought to move along,
play football, not observe it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Photo by Terri Windling

For Sale > Collars
     Shiny yellow collar with human commercial logo all over it.  Worn once.  Not my style.  Must go soon--puppies will be teething in no time.
Housing > Swap
    Need a change of scene?  Cozy one-room doghouse with a great view.  Fenced yard for privacy; good soil for digging your own entrance.  Neighbors keep garbage bins well-stocked.  Available for rent, or will consider a swap with your house.

Jobs > Salons > Stylist Wanted
    Cushion available for experienced stylist.  Skills in pedicure, shampoo, male and female grooming a must.  Experience with styles for poodle and wire hair fox terrier a plus.  Trot around with portfolio to apply.

Lost & Found > Lost Ball
    Lost favorite fuzzy, jingly ball.  Last seen on golf course.  Reward: golf ball I picked up instead.

Musicians > Auditions
    A capella group seeks bass woofer for frequent moonlight gigs.  Our pack performs popular covers and original tunes.  Bring prepared piece, and be ready to improvise. 

Personals > Female Seeking Male
    Slender blonde likes chasing pine cones, getting caught in the rain.  Seeks blue-eyed Husky stud.  I want to have your puppies!
Lessons & Tutoring > Etiquette
    Afraid to go out?  Tired of being embarrassed in public?  Learn confidence from our experienced teachers.  In our Basic course, we will help you teach your human to:
  • shake your paw
  • throw a stick properly
  • behave well at the park 
  • respond quickly to commands such as "open the door" and "go for a walk"
    We also offer Advanced courses (dogs only, please) such as
  • The Language of Tails
  • Vocal Training--get the most out of your growls, barks, and howls
  • Appropriate Gift Selection--for canine and human friends
Services > Limousine
    Cruise in style with a dozen of your closest friends!  Durable leather seats, cozy carpet, and five pairs of fully-opening windows for your panting pleasure!  All rides include complimentary spring water and gourmet biscuits.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April Shower

Photo by Takkk

Unpack your colored chalks;
draw them in an arc across
the gray slate sky, washed clean.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Upon Her Hyperopia

Photo by Kelsey Hannah 

When I consider how my sight is spent,
full half the day searching the web world-wide,
t' inspire hands with new skills, which, if applied
might cheer eyes, warm the cold, or save a cent,
or seeking books, wholesome entertainment,
or learning tunes, for which my spirit sighed;
how, with corrective lenses now denied,
shall time to serve and improve self be spent?
Methinks I need to look beyond my nose,
beyond my needles, pages with type set,
recall the feel of earth beneath my toes,
prepare the ground for seeds, though it's so wet.
I pray the lenses soon will be restored,
but I will dig the dirt (dust be ignored).

Hooray!  My new glasses came!  I can post this without zooming in  500 times, and still getting a headache.  And my peas are already sprouting.  Apologies to John Milton, whose gift and trial were so much greater.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


gauze must be crazy
trying to fill wisdom's seat
soften the impact

At 15, my son seems rather young to be so full of wisdom, and to have it forcibly removed.  But, alas, that is how we spent this morning.  He seems to be taking it well, but if there were any gems of knowledge in his babbling on the way home, I didn't catch them.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Feast in the House of Simon, 1610, El Greco 

You run a certain risk
when you invite the Master to dine--

You may run out of wine,
or water,
for His dozen dusty friends;
unsavory gate-crashers
may entreat Him with more unction
than thou.

You make a show of listening
when He answers your
unspoken sneers.

What if you opened wide
your narrowed eyes,
unstopped your pride-corked ears?
You just might recognize His truth.
And if you dare
lay bare your heart,
He'll heal your hidden scars.

Forgiveness can't be bought.
It must be begged--

and then He freely gives.

Find out more at

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Look

Room 1504, Lee Plaza Hotel

Why, Granny,
you've redecorated!
What sharp eyes it takes
to achieve a chic so shabby--
such sharp claws to simulate
so much distress
in so short a time.
And what sharp teeth
could really sink
into this vintage chair?

It doesn't suit me,
I'm afraid.
I prefer the sleek look
of the hunter's lodge.
What big guns he has!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Leo and the Nightmares

The Sleeping Gypsy, 1897, by Henri Rousseau

Pippa finished the jig with a flourish and raised her bow in the air.  Its tip tapped the dingy rafter above her, and she hastily lowered it.  But she smiled and bowed, along with Rosalind and Leo, as the audience clapped and whistled.  "Thank you!  Thank you!" Pippa called out, flushed with the thrill of a well-played set.  She caught a meaningful glance from Leo.  "And good night!"

"What, already?"  The landlord stepped forward as the performers filed off the stage.  "'Taint even midnight.  They was just gettin' warmed up."

Leo brushed past the man, latching his lute case.  Rosalind stopped, smoothing a stray lock of blond hair behind her ear.  "Sorry, sir.  Band policy."

"But . . ."

Rosalind shrugged, taking her flute apart.  The landlord stepped back on the stage, facing the already grumbling crowd.  "One more round of applause for Leo and the Nightmares!  And anyone for one more round?"  A stale bun bounced off the wall behind him, and he quickly stepped down.

"It's all for the best, sir."  Pippa settled her fiddle and stood up.  "You really want this rabble here all night?  Turn 'em out and get yourself some sleep."

The landlord sighed.  "Very well.  Meg'll show you to your room."

"Thank you kindly, but we can't take one of your fine rooms.  Save them for your paying guests," Rosalind said.

"But that's what's done!  I give you room and board, you play your tunes and attract custom."

"It's all right, we'll take coin instead," said Rosalind.

"And breakfast," added Pippa.

The landlord buried his face in his hands, his business model overturned by some upstart young minstrels.  Thinking of a loophole, he looked up, but they were gone.

Pippa and Rosalind scurried to the stable and ducked into an empty stall.

"Whew," said Rosalind, pulling off her boots.  "I thought he'd never let us go."

Pippa buried her fiddle case in the manger, and sneezed.  "Unlike old Count Droopy-Jowls, who couldn't wait for us to leave."

"I think we've improved a lot since then."  Rosalind folded her dress and placed it in a clean corner.  "If we played for the Count again, he wouldn't even recognize us."

"Except for the name he gave us."  Pippa sneezed again.  She selected a comb from the tack wall and blew out the lantern before dashing back to the stall and undressing herself.  "Do you think he'd remove the curse?"

Rosalind untied her braid and shook out her hair.  She shrugged, stretched, and whinnied.  Pippa had seen her sister's body transform into a beautiful palomino every night for months, but she still wondered:  Why does she go first?

After another sneeze, Pippa had completed her own transformation.  She was able to understand Rosalind again.

"--not so bad, really," Rosalind was saying.

"There are advantages," Pippa agreed, and took a deep breath through her enlarged nostrils.  "It cures my hay fever, every night."  She kicked the comb toward Rosalind's head.  "And I can grow my own bow-hair.  Would you mind combing the loose hairs from my tail?"

"I think I have some, too," Rosalind nickered before grasping the comb with her teeth.

"I think we could use this more to our advantage, though."  Pippa pawed at the floor as Rosalind combed her.  "We could travel so much faster if we went at night, as horses.  Then we could play in more towns, get paid more often.  Why won't Leo let us?"

Rosalind dropped the comb.  "It's hard on him, being the big brother and the only one who doesn't change."

"We're strong enough to carry the bags and Leo.  He hardly touches his food anymore.  He can't be that heavy."

"Leo needs his beauty sleep."  Rosalind snorted.  "And so do I."

Pippa combed Rosalind's tail next, and could tell her sister was dropping off to sleep.  But when she set the comb aside, full of useful hairs, Pippa felt wide awake.  And curious.  Where did Leo spend the nights, anyway?  He wouldn't take a room in any inn, and he never came to the stables with the girls.  She decided to take a trot around the village.

Pippa searched high and low, but didn't see any sign of her brother in the village.  She checked the surrounding fields, stopping for the occasional mouthful of clover, then decided to venture into the wilds.  The full moon cast plenty of light, enough to show that her brother was nowhere to be found.

The moon was sinking, and Pippa's eyes were growing bleary, when she finally spotted a figure on the ground.  The moonlight threw the man's face into shadow, but glinted off the strings of a lute.  It had to be Leo.  She studied him for a moment.  It might be nice, sleeping out here under the stars.  He certainly looked peaceful enough.  Did he just need some alone time, away from greedy landlords and drunken villagers and nightmarish sisters?

Pippa was about to wake Leo and ask, then remembered that he wouldn't understand a word she said.  Dawn was coming soon, and with it, her re-transformation; she should return to the stable.  But something caught her eye as she turned away, and she froze, one hoof in the air.

An enormous lion padded out from behind a boulder.  His sleek mane shone in the moonlight, but blood stained his chin.  The lion strode silently, straight to Leo's sleeping form.


Pippa couldn't help it.  She screamed, her horse-voice full of terror.  The lion lifted his head, looking at her with sorrowful eyes.  Pippa wheeled about and galloped back to the inn.

The lion sighed.  He had tried so hard not to frighten anyone. 

He reached across the still body and strummed the lute strings with one great claw.  He couldn't really play it, though, not like this.  Which was probably the worst part of the Count's curse.  Leo stretched his four legs and settled down, hoping for a catnap before the dawn came, when he would reinhabit his human body.

Then, it seemed, he'd have to do some explaining to his sisters.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Writers' Block

Poet's Sleep, 1989, by Chang Hong Ahn

New writer on the block
looked for rooms to let
the inspiration percolate.

Blank wall, blank page
hand cramped around dry pen.
The only view:
the empty hopes and bones
of tenants past.

Lay down your head
to sleep, perchance to dream up
a gripping tale
full of wit and pathos
and signifying everything
to hordes of eager readers.

On the off chance,
neighbors with glass hearts
jostle for position,
prepare to cast their stones.