To be, or never was…

I don’t get it, I say aloud
though no one’s in the room save the dog.
He tilts his head and gives me
that quizzical look that could mean so many things.
Or nothing at all.

Today I am impatient and so his sweet face doesn’t work its magic.

Go chase the cat, I tell the dog.
His ears perk up. Although he understands but a few commands —
and of those known obeys even fewer —
he jumps to his feet and scampers off, ostensibly in search of the cat.

I feel sorry for the cat and a bit mean for having made the suggestion,
but who really thought the dog would follow through?

I still don’t get it, I say aloud,
and this time there’s no one in the room at all,

the cat’s tail flicks out from behind the drapes.

Green eyes peer around a fold of cloth and lock me in a stare.
I heard what you just did, the cat seems to say.
I’m sorry, I mouth silently so as not to give his presence away.

I hear the dog sigh as he squeezes beneath my bed in the back room.
His favorite napping place. He has given up the game.
Cat is safe for now, but by his look I can tell I am far from forgiven.

I continue my soliloquy.
You know what I don’t get? This!
I point in the general direction of the glowing laptop screen.
Lines of text — some
some longer — parade down the edge of the screen.

Sometimes a line or two

skips toward the center screen
as though it were the end dancer of a cancan line and missed a turn.

No rhyme nor reason.
Well, sometimes a rhyme. After all, it’s poetry, right?

Or so it self-proclaims. This is what I don’t get.
I don’t understand poetry. What makes something a poem,
and not just some random words stitched together
in seeming sincerity?

I’m too shallow, I tell the cat. He has come out of hiding
and jumps on the couch in hopes of securing a warm spot near the laptop.
Poetry in motion, that’s what they say about cats. Sometimes.

The cat meows in response and I press my finger to his lips to shush him.
Too late. The dog scrambles from beneath the bed and pads out to be with us.
No poetry in this dog’s gangly moves. Maybe he’s just a limerick.

Am I too shallow? I ask the dog and cat. They fail to reach a consensus.
Never mind, I say.

I return my attention to the keyboard.
I’ve gotta hurry up and bang out this poem
before I go to bed.


NaPoWriMo challenge, Day Ten: write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happening at once.

About Maggie C

Stained glass artist, writer, respecter of life.
This entry was posted in creativity, daily prompt, poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to To be, or never was…

  1. Peggy Lemmer says:

    Thanks, that made me smile, in spite of Zoey’s constant objections to the construction outside her window. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maggie C says:

      Chules is waiting for a walk, but my ankle is acting up, so that may not happen. I tried reading this piece to him, but that didn’t distract him for long at all. Maybe we’ll have to limp outside for at least a turn around the block. Hang in there, Zoey, Those workers wouldn’t dare invade your space.


  2. Shuku says:

    ‘No poetry in this dog’s gangly moves. Maybe he’s just a limerick.’

    I love that! And I have the same feelings about poetry too, trying to figure out what it is, and what makes one good and one an indulgent piece of nonsense. This poem, however, is good, and it was a lovely ready!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Maggie C says:

      Thank you! I peeked at your poetry, too. Paradise down the toilet was particularly up my alley. Something I can understand (maybe cuz my dad was a plumber. No unicorns in my family, though.) 🙂


  3. “I don’t understand poetry. What makes something a poem,
    and not just some random words stitched together
    in seeming sincerity?”

    I see that you’ve been reading me lately. 😀 😀

    Seriously though, so many similar thoughts. Alas, lacking a cat for some perspective. Bestia is too kind. Also, banging one out right now so I can go to bed. Things we do. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “No poetry in this dog’s gangly moves. Maybe he’s just a limerick.” I love this line! It’s hard for even the most graceful and elegant dog to match a cat’s easy grace. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You may be wondering intellectually “What makes something a poem/ and not just some random words stitched together” but emotionally you have nailed it! I love how you take the scene of you in the room with the dog and cat and turn it into an occasion to meditate on the nature of poetry, and contrast that meditation with the completely embodied responses of the pets. They certainly never worry about such questions!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. JANE says:

    I agree,definitely emotion has something to do … a poem allows the writer and reader to grasp the emotion in a moment… captured crisp, clear, in the raw. I love the way your short lines and stanzas can herd emotions and take them in sleek paths… to tell a wonderful story… from three points of view.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I really enjoyed this. Purrrrrfect!

    Liked by 2 people

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