Neighbor’s cat 40’ up the pine,
clinging to a limb.
I’m not afraid of heights.

The extension ladder rests
against the trunk.
Rung over rung I ascend.

The silent cat watches.
At the top of the ladder
I stretch my comforting arms.

Snarls and spitting hisses.
I descend, cat-less. A helper
should not be clawed and bitten.

They told me later the fire dept.
brought a bucket truck.
The cat felt forced to leap.

There should be
some deep lesson here.
Some poetic significance.

Is it bad of me that
all I could think
was catapault?

The End of a Legend: a True Story


(Image from Wikipedia. Not the real Gregory. Nor is it, evidently, the real Santa.)

Conversation with Gregory (age 6).

Him: I hear Santa’s bells at night.

Me: Really? You believe in Santa?

Him: Yeah. Don’t you?

Me: Uh . . . well, does it make any logical sense that there’s some fat bearded guy that visits every house in the world on Christmas Eve to bring presents, and that somehow he manages to bring nice presents to the rich kids and not-so-nice ones to the poor kids?

Him: Now that we talked about it, it doesn’t seem normal.

Me: So what do you think you’re hearing at night if it’s not Santa?

Him: I don’t know — crickets?

Poppy’s Brush Pile


Poppy’s Brush Pile

Poppy liked to tell the story
about the time he did a little
yard cleaning and had a grand old pile
of brush and leaves, probably
about ten feet high more than likely,
and reckoned he couldn’t
bag it all, that Ketchem’s
didn’t have enough bags to sell
even if he’d wanted to, so he
figured on it awhile and settled on
a big burning as the best way—
shortly the pile would be gone,
and while it was a-going he could
set on the porch and just watch.

So he took a dry bunch of leaves
up under the pile and dropped
his half-smoked Marlboro.
One tiny spark and a smidgen
of smoke and nothing else.
Well, this ain’t working
worth shooting, he said.
Then he went to the porch
and got a-hold of the morning paper,
crinkled it all up, stuffed it
in the pile and lit a match.
The paper burnt quick
and awful hot but petered out
before doing its business—
‘bout like my pecker, Poppy said—
so he went back to figuring.

Then he remembered that five-gallon can
of regular gasoline he had sitting
in the shed, and he wasn’t about
to let a damned brush pile
make a fool of him. He took the can
and scrabbled to the top, standing
like the precious good Lord
come again on Mount Olive,
and dumped the gas all over the pile.

‘Course it took awhile to pour
five gallons, so in the meantime
the fumes worked their way
all into the little pockets
of air. As you might guess
but Poppy didn’t, not quite yet,
when the match was dropped
the blast blowed him
clear into the flower bed,
heels heavenward. He said he smelt
singed ass-hairs for two weeks after.

He liked to tell this story and say,
See there, honey, even if you reckon
you got the best idea, you still
might want to figure awhile.

For dVerse Meeting the Bar. I have been absent from the bar for a few months, and sincerely missed everyone. Peak season at work, tons of overtime. I still was able to do a fair amount of reading, but very little writing. Just couldn’t find the motivation, the inspiration, the whatever it is that makes me put pen to paper and try to make sense of my world. 
Anyway, our host Tony Maude has us hearkening back to previous prompts, and since I missed so many I felt a lot of freedom. This poem is meant for the prompt Victoria offered, in which she invited us to write close to home, personal, in the common speech of daily life. I actually had another poem ready that I wrote last night, but things happened and I didn’t submit. Then as I was falling asleep I thought about this story, so I wrote it out this morning. 

Apologia Pro Vita Sua

On the bill tonight at dVerse Form for All—Googlism poetry! Sam Peralta invites us to create a list poem by using the search results from this site. To create mine, I searched for “nico” and chose several results that were incomplete sentences or thoughts that I felt I could do something with. These make up the first line of each stanza, unmodified from the original. The second lines are just whatever first surfaced in my disturbed head. The title is Latin for “a defense of one’s life.”

Apologia Pro Vita Sua
nico is finding that his fumbling around with this pal is leading
       to unavoidable personal discomfort for both parties.
nico is based on the fick method,
       but is a bigger ficking method ficker than a real fick.

nico is also ex
       -plained very well by nothing known to humankind.
nico is a quadruped robot which is based upon principles of 4

nico is designing
       a fool-proof means of escape.
nico is ready to stop while dani is clearly interested in
       continuing. It’s an age-old plot.
nico is without a doubt extremely smart
nico is really impacted by the beauty
       of a stiff bourbon.

nico is gay

nico is currently for sale for more information please contact us at

       the discount booth.
nico is one of the most flabbergasting electric bass virtuosi i’ve heard
       people say, but they were undoubtedly lying to me. Or I might have said that
nico is one of the most flabbergasting electric bass virtuosi i’ve heard
       and the word “flabbergasting” always makes me think of enormous butt cheeks vibrating 
       from the forcible expulsion of air from the rectum.

nico is a happy boy who is great with children of all ages and dogs too

       –it’s the big humans he has a problem with.
nico is as nico does
       so get over it.

James Thurber: It takes away from the beauty of the flowers anyway

Humorist and cartoonist James Thurber, Dec. 8, 1894-Nov. 2, 1961. Very funny man. Famously bad eyesight. I appreciate the several levels of meaning in this bit of humor:

(Credit: Wiki Commons)
I passed all the other courses that I took at my University, but I could never pass botany. This was because all botany students had to spend several hours a week in a laboratory looking through a microscope at plant cells, and I could never see through a microscope. I never once saw a cell through a microscope. This used to enrage my instructor. He would wander around the laboratory pleased with the progress all the students were making in drawing the involved and, so I am told, interesting structure of flower cells, until he came to me. I would just be standing there. “I can’t see anything,” I would say. He would begin patiently enough, explaining how anybody can see through a microscope, but he would always end up in a fury, claiming that I could too see through a microscope but just pretended that I couldn’t. “It takes away from the beauty of flowers anyway,” I used to tell him. “We are not concerned with beauty in this course,” he would say. “We are concerned solely with what I may call the mechanics of flars.” “Well,” I’d say, “I can’t see anything.” “Try it just once again,” he’d say, and I would put my eye to the microscope and see nothing at all, except now and again a nebulous milky substance—a phenomenon of maladjustment. You were supposed to see a vivid, restless clockwork of sharply defined plant cells. “I see what looks like a lot of milk,” I would tell him. This, he claimed, was the result of my not having adjusted the microscope properly, so he would readjust it for me, or rather, for himself. And I would look again and see milk.

                                         –James Thurber, from My Life and Hard Times