He is a hobo;
his worldly goods humped
upon his back
He is an athlete;
in the race to be slowest
He is Hansel
leaving a silvery trail to mark
where he has been
He is a bear
hibernating in the cave
of his shell
He is a tank,
tough, tenacious, passing over
in the kingdom of the small
he looms large.
He is a king!
after reading Beth’s post ‘Slowing Down’
Perhaps I am a porcupine.
I am prickly by nature
& when I forget to shave
I have a prickly kiss,
Like most porcupines
I live alone
except when I cohabit
with other porcupines
in which case, I’ve been told,
we live in a prickle.
When my quills are quivering
people steer clear of the thornbush
that is me.
what animal are you like?
want to add a little poem about yourself as that animal?
A few years ago I read a book called Wolf Hall.
Now I’m writing about Wolf Down
what the cat does with food when it’s been stuck
on the roof all day;
what we do now
wolfing down pleasure,
the great outdoors,
going for drives,
doing stuff together,
hoping to outfox the old virus for another day.
I go out the front to get something from the car when a voice pipes up from the fishpond.
Hey! Where are the f*&*ing fish flakes?
It’s Goldie in her usual peremptory tone.
Mind the language, I say.
You taught us to alliterate, she snaps. You gotta love the ‘lit, you said.
I know, I say.
I got three ‘f”s out of that, she says.
You did well. It was just a little inappropriate, I say.
F**&&& the inappropriateness, she says. So where are the flakes?
Coming , I say.
That’s the trouble with having a literate family. They answer back.
Why aren’t you laughing? I ask the laughing kookaburra.
What’s there to laugh about? he says.
Well, I begin, there’s the …. and the ….
Exactly, he says. Nothing. Zero, Zippo. Zilch. Where will I begin? Lockdown? Coronavirus? visitors with hang-dog faces? zoo keepers worried about their jobs? and the Bad News Bears blathering on TV in the office next door.
Well, you’re supposed to be ‘the laughing kookaburra’.
Maybe, he snaps, but I’m no ninny. I’m allowed to be morose if I want to.
Okay, Okay, I get it, I say as I shuffle on, shoulders slumped, head on my chest, rummaging in my pocket for the Lifeline number.
And the bees. You don’t see the bees amongst the trumpet flowers not even when they’re braying their beauty.
The creatures have abandoned us, Seb said.
And you don’t hear the rats anymore clattering in that small space behind the fridge where you can’t get at them. Nor the mice chittering in the corner.
The world’s gone quiet, Seb said. It’s like that film.
You know. ‘A Quiet Place’.
The wasps too. And the crows in their black leather jackets ….congregating like thugs at the back door. And making a racket. I kinda miss them.
Me too, said Seb.
And that stray cat with the asymmetric face. Why, even that plaster statue of old Rumpole doesn’t pee on the cobblestones on a full moon any more..
Not even the ghosts, sighed Seb. Not even the ghosts.
He came bouncing into the world like a red rubber ball. Over time he lost his redness but never his bounce. He knocked over problems as if they were pins in a bowling alley. Hurts and insults found no purchase on him for though he was hard and rangy, his soul was round and smooth. He took the global view on things and realized that the earth had lost its bounce and needed nurturing too.
As she lay in the hospice ,
cranked up by morphine,
she thought of Mr. Barnes
That little red rooster from her childhood days
In Battlelake, Minnesota.
That Barnes — he was something,
Puffed out his chest and walked through life:
“I want the biggest and the best and the most of whatever
He had attitude.
He had a harem.
One day when she was home from school with chickenpox
She watched Mr. Barnes
Fornicate with his hens forty six times and that was when
She was awake.
He was the sheik of Battlelake
Even strutting off to other farms.
That Mr. Barnes!
He thought the whole world belonged to him and beyond that —
The sun, the stars, the Milky Way — all of it
& as she lay dying
She hoped to meet him on the other side.
do you have a hero? what qualities do you admire in that person?
do you have an animal you admire, either in literature or real life?
You can’t swat it.
Shut it out.
Tell it to sit. Stay.
It’s in yr brain.
Friends, fellow writers
That first flicker of success
The green frog of envy.