Jackals in the Key of C-Sharp Major

Day 21 of NaPoWriMo. The prompt:

write a poem that incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.

I’ve been told before that I don’t make sense, but I’ve never before been asked to make less sense. Does that make any sense? Here goes:

Jackals in the Key of C-Sharp Major

When the jackals came calling, we hid
on top of a mound of field mice stacked like rows of bricks.
The jackals didn’t see us;
they were searching through the magazine racks to the east.

Turkey vultures triangled above, calling to the jackals,
pointing with their flowing pink boas,
but the jackals didn’t hear them pointing.
They were listening to us sing songs about the stupid jackals.
The field mice joined in on the chorus,
but only when it was in the key of C-sharp major.

Then the tanks rolled in, three across and ten deep,
camouflaged with tie-dyed circles the color of a midday shadow.
They rumbled through the disco,
rattling the ground with their relentless tracks,
strewing trails of Skittles in their wake
like so many teeth shaken loose from a cantaloupe skull.

Turkey vultures flapped their pink boas and chased the Skittles to ground,
trying once more to alert the jackals,
but all the hapless birds could manage to squawk out
through candy-jammed beaks were
the words “peace” and “sunshine.”

The field mice, or at least the bravest among them and
those upon whose heads we were not standing, ran
toward the turkey vultures singing “peace and sunshine.”
They wanted to join in on the chorus,
but only if it was in the key of C-sharp major.

The jackals chased the field mice down the tank tracks,
scattering Skittles, tripping over turkey vultures,
dancing through the disco, flipping through magazines,
and came to a rumbling halt at our feet, and – non-coincidentally –
at the teeny-tiny paws of such field mice as had remained behind.

Other than the pink boas circling their heads like fluffy crowns,
the jackals looked utterly ridiculous.
And stupid.

We sang them a song in the key of C-sharp major
and headed home.
All of us.

Posted in Animalia, creativity, daily prompt, humor, poetry | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Weekend Wildcard (Flashback #2: Brushing off my Faith)

WILDCARD liftingThis is my second time of re-posting from a no longer active blog I started in 2012. The blog was my way of working through a rather severe episode of depression.

My purpose in revisiting the “old” me is — I guess — the same as it was then, to remind myself and any others who care to read, to:

claim the positive energy that is available to each of us for our own benefit and for the benefit of others.

This entry was posted on July 13, 2012:

Brushing Off My Faith

While we can control a lot of things in our lives — probably a lot more than our depressed minds allow us to believe — there are certain things that will play out for us however they will, with very little input potential from us.

So what do we do? Sit there and be the victim? Stick our heads in the sand and hope the problem goes away? Mindlessly bash away at the problem with futile “solutions” that don’t really solve anything? I don’t know about you, but those have been my top go-to responses. How’s that working for me? Not very well, thanks for asking.

Since my last mental melt down (maybe not the proper medical terminology, but you get the gist), I have been unable to return to my job. Bills are mounting up and prospects for work that I can do in the future without relapsing back into “melt down” mode seem few and far between at the moment. I don’t consider myself handicapped by depression, but I am extremely cautious about the choices I will need to make moving forward.

Buddha smallThe big question for me is: what am I going to do about these concerns? Obviously worrying about them, ignoring them, or trying to bull my way through some desperate stop-gap measure isn’t going to help. So I am choosing to turn to another resource: faith.

That doesn’t mean that I have dusted off my Sunday School shoes, or that I let someone dunk me underwater in a lake somewhere. Not that those would be bad scenarios per se, it’s just not what I am talking about at this moment. I guess I am talking about what some might consider that “mumbo jumbo” kind of faith. Putting my situation out there into the Universe and trusting that things happen for a reason. I am here for a reason. I am in the situation I am in for a reason, and there is some (Divine, if you will) plan to all of this.

I don’t know the plan. That would take all the fun out of it, I suppose. I hear the Universe has a rather quirky sense of humor that way. But I am willing to trust that there is something bigger than me and that that “something” has my back. Something’s gotta give eventually, and my part in this is to be ready, receptive and proactive when opportunity comes my way.

A tall order, to say the least. It’s all too tempting to rehash every negative thing that has ever happened in my life and say, “See? Nothing ever works out for me. Why should this situation be any different?” But what does that line of thinking get me? Nothing good, for sure.

I am fortunate that I still have some wiggle room. There is still a roof over my head. And maybe that makes this whole faith thing a lot easier to swallow. My inner naysayer is telling me to just wait and see how I feel about all this Universe stuff once my back is really to the wall. That’s my typical depressed person thought, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And sometimes the naysayer is right. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I have a choice in how I respond to my situation, and I am choosing to trust, to put my faith in an outcome that I cannot see at this point. I will do the leg work once I figure out what that is. I don’t expect anything to be handed down to me from the clouds.

We’ll see… a great experiment. If it fails, I guess my naysayer can say it told me so. But if it succeeds… ah, there’s the faith!

All my best,

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NaPoWriMo, Day 19.

The prompt:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an abecedarian poem – a poem in which the word choice follows the words/order of the alphabet. You could write a very strict abecedarian poem, in which there are twenty-six words in alphabetical order, or you could write one in which each line begins with a word that follows the order of the alphabet.

Okay, the directions seemed simple enough, but somehow I got it backwards.


Yearned to
While breathing is indeed a
Valuable asset for living, it is generally
Understood that if one goes to the
Trouble of inhaling, it’s
Simply impossible to
Refrain from exhaling. The obvious
Question, then, is what
Prompted Zoey to possess this
Oddly understated desire.

Needless to say – one would hope — the perpetual
Mishandling, neglect and abuse of an animal will
Lead to mistrust, fear and – in Zoey’s case – a
Keen sense of danger such that
Just by exhaling, she might incur the
Inability to protect herself from harm.

Her wish for safety and security was
Granted one day in the
Form of earthbound angels who
Extricated her from her dire,
Debilitating situation, and through
Care and love and patience, Zoey was
Bestowed once again with her rightful
Ability to fully, exhilaratingly exhale.

Posted in Animalia, daily prompt, humanity, poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

When It’s Time

NaPoWriMo, Day 18.

Our optional prompt for the day takes its cue from how poetry can help us to make concrete the wild abstraction of a feeling like grief…

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. This may not be a “fun” prompt, but loss is one of the most universal and human experiences, and some of the world’s most moving art is an effort to understand and deal with it.

When It’s Time

I wonder how they know.
They make the call.
It’s time to come.
But how do they know?

He’s been gone for years already.
The memory, the recognition, and —
eventually — even the words.

But now he lies here, eyes closed,
erratic breathing, pale skin.
The phrase “death warmed over”
comes (irreverently) to mind.

Still, how do they know?
Mightn’t he wake up tomorrow with
that good-humored sparkle in his eye
and say something silly?
“You’ve grown so tall now;
your legs go all the way down to your feet!”

No, of course not. But still…

His skin is hot.
His breathing is ragged.
I expected clammy and shallow,

I kiss his forehead, pat his hand.
I feel embarrassed that I don’t know what to say,
even though he can’t hear me.

I don’t say goodbye, because —
well — he’s still here. For now.
Then again, as I said before,
he’s been gone a long time already.

I wonder how they know.

Posted in daily prompt, humanity, poetry, serious stuff | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments


NaPoWriMo, Day 17. Due to the demise of my computer, my muse has been forced to sit silent for this past week. But we’re back!

Today’s prompt:

Write a poem that presents a scene from an unusual point of view.



Rrrrtch tssss whooos.
Match strikes to life.
Sulfurous head turns black,
then glows orange-red.
Blue flame encircles the head,
turning yellow as it reaches upward.

Match touches wick.
Wick resists, but then
accepts the flame with a
complaining sizzle and pop.

Flame dances brightly to the
rhythm of an invisible breeze.
Wispy white smoke coils up and away.

There’s warmth in the watching,
shadows chiseled by the light,
danger cloaked in tenuousness.

And then, Pifft!
Match is extinguished, and all that is left
is that copycat flame perched ridiculously
atop a flimsy wick and weaving like a drunk parakeet.

NaPoWriMo, Day 17

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Rain drops, water falls.

Sometimes it gets sloshed and spills.

Clumsy H2O.

Posted in 5-7-5, Haiku, humor, Photography, poetry | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Things People Say

Day Nine of NaPoWriMo.

Today’s prompt is inspired by the work of Sei Shonagon, a Japanese writer who lived more than 1000 years ago. She wrote a journal that came to be known as The Pillow Book. In it she recorded daily observations, court gossip, poems, aphorisms, and musings, including lists with titles like “Things That Have Lost Their Power,” “Adorable Things,” and “Things That Make Your Heart Beat Faster.”

The prompt:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.” What things? Well, that’s for you to decide!

And so:

Things People Say

“I understand.” A phrase often misunderstood.
If one truly understands,
there are many more effective ways to say so.
Better yet,
illustrate the understanding through actions.
Show, don’t tell.

“Are we there yet?”
Often responded to with a white lie:
If one feels compelled to ask, the answer is
most likely “no.”

“I love you.” Best said when true.
Often withheld until one’s paramour has said it first.
Show, but also tell.

“Thank you.” Not said often enough.
Tell, and show,
at minimum seventeen times per day.

Posted in daily prompt, humanity, humor, poetry | Tagged , , | 2 Comments