Saturday, December 28, 2013


Winter came when I wasn't looking.
Gray, cold fog snakes between the trees,
ghosts around the foundation.
December came knocking at my door.

Gray, cold fog snakes between the trees,
cobbles glisten slick in the lamplight,
December came knocking at my door,
Mist fingers dancing circles of a waltz.

Cobbles glisten slick in the lamplight.
Grave chilled bone scaffolding hides
mist fingers dancing circles of a waltz,
enfolded in the arms of darkest night.

Grave chilled bone scaffolding hides
Winter that came when I wasn't looking.
Enfolded in the arms of darkest night,
singing ghosts around the foundation.


The first
silence fell hard,
unexpected spring frost
burning all the new to black mush.

birthed from melt miles
upstream, followed flash flood
water wall bulldozer. Dead flat

number three hid
beneath the tornado
rubble wall, not even birds sang
out loud.

Fourth time,
mist crept in, grey
tentacles slithering
velvet around the furniture,
gloom thick.

The fifth
silence rose up,
storm surge forecast weeks out.
Evacuate or drown. I float,

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ode to a Frozen Booger

I flicked a booger out my window,
or at least I tried, but the fucker stuck,
so I rolled it between my fingers
ala rubber cement until it finally let go.

Later, coming back out to my car
in the dimming winter light
there is this smudge on the back door.
Not bird shit, it's that fucking booger.
Try to wipe it off but the hours between
my flick and my find have solidified
the greenish gunk to superglue
that will defy scraping till the thaw.

(Thank you to Eleanor for the prompt, Ode to a Frozen Booger)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Future Looks So Bright

In the aftermath of the suicides, Foxconn installed safety nets in some of its factories that make iPhones and iPads, and hired counsellors to help it's workers. In 2012, Tim Cook took a cut that reduced his annual pay to $4M.

Because this is how you honor your father.

Install motherboard, install motherboard, install motherboard,
install motherboard, install motherboard, ignore the intestinal cramp.
Do no take time to look for a clock that isn't there.
Install motherboard install motherboard install motherboard.
Two weeks three weeks four weeks double shift
collapse, your hands move in your sleep, small room
with seven other girls, joints already grinding at 18,
repetitive motion does that, elegantly efficient movement forward back down 
forward back down forward back down forward back down.
Do not fall behind, do not make a mistake, do not interrupt the rhythm
install mother board install mother board install motherboard
install motherboard stand in the pay line, sorry there has been a mistake 
NEXT my money my pay my overtime my $228.82 this month what will
I send my father  my family my village, move along NEXT. Air air air I need
air the sky is blue, my father my family my village
fly home, Tian Yu, fly home.

Did she think of her father when she flew out that window?

(second edit)
(another 5 words 5 minutes "Iron Poet" draft. This one sorta got to me, I took the time to look up the Foxconn story to be sure and went over on time. I'll work on it more.)

Bologna Inserted

Sneaker toes counting time,
finger popping headphone 
Chewbacca howling along with god-knows-what 
or who in his teen-strewn room
bologna sandwich curling on the floor
until his father, who once
played air guitar
in his parent's foyer wearing only
tighty whities on a stolen day,
opens the door and gives 
The Look

(Another 5 words 5 minutes poem. I hear the next generation down calls it Iron Poet.)
(Also, working title. In the first draft I forgot the bologna and the prompt giver said title it this.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I just played the poet's game 5 words in 5 minutes. 5 random words and you write a poem in 5 minutes. Short is fine.

The words I was given are bananas, blue, wheelchair, cup, pool.

Then this happened. Thanks, Eleanor.


The pool sparkles blue as the cabana boy
serves her a coconut cup filled with banana daiquiri.
She smiles up into his RayBan tan.

The attendant smiles back and turns to the next
wheelchair in the circle at the Center,
passing out apple juice.

Monday, November 4, 2013

This Shell

He says
do not become a little old round woman.

I look down at this shell
and find no way to stop the process

written in my DNA.
I did not grow taller

after the sixth grade
when the twin shames

sprouted on my chest.
I did not survive 

55 winters without learning
the name of each line, each scar,

each fold mapped upon this skin.
I did not learn

to swallow past the anorexic 
gag shards, tiny bits by the clock,

without donating my size fours.
I was not born

to be reduced, 
an arm trophy without sun 

or food or a body owned
by anyone but myself.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Facebook, Blogs and Copyrights

You will notice that today I moved 27 poems/essays here. That is because I was using Facebook as a preview, locked down as far as I could with their convoluted privacy crap. Just to get some feedback from friends, etc.

This morning I got an email from Facebook stating they were making changes to their TOS. I read it and followed all their this is too much trouble to follow so I'll just agree bullshit. See, they depend on us deciding it's too much trouble. Anyway, it says that anything we post on Facebook, including things locked down private, may be used by them without any notice whatsoever. So, copyright infringement even if you copyright stamp your work. Or your children's photos for that matter. With your GPS location on the timestamp, I might add.

So while I will still be using FB for communicating with friends, this blog is now resuscitated so I can control my copyright. I'll post the links to the FB page. And fuck them very much.

August 30, 2013

Vodka and Rose Petals

Vodka and Rose Petals

Three years since you left me gasping,
since the thieves of light chased me away,
denying the gift of you ever existed.
Life now thrift store bargains for strangers.

Three years since the mantle
swept clean of rose petals and dog hair,
kitchen scrubbed so empty the ghost 
of Grey Goose can’t find the freezer.

Three years since your scent filled me.
Perfume soaked Qtip in the desk drawer
of the smoky office now fails 
to summon your fading details.

Three years since. Color should 
be back in my wardrobe but
dark has always been my choice.
You were the kaleidoscope, extinguished. 

Growing Daughters

Growing Daughters

August 15, 2013 at 1:46am
daughter of
long lean graceful
lines and curves
surprise the body grows
catching up with an old soul
shining out of
brown eyed beauty
wise words spring forth
followed closely by
childish pouts and giggles
who at fourteen earned
respect of elders
for strength and insight
absorbing knowledge from
the world without
filed for future reference within
you should be a druid priestess
or a charismatic politician
or a Supreme Court Justice
and save the world from it's inhabitants.

amazing you were fathered
by an illiterate who
likes to fart
on vinyl booth seats
at Denny's for laughs.


The Mossberg Rejection

The Mossberg Rejection

She don't want me.
Me! In all my oily black glory
abandoned on the kitchen table
looking like Ah-nold  just stepped away 
for more shells.

She wants a 20 gauge
bantam, says I'm all too much,
says she 
don't need bling to compensate
for an undersized dick.
Just wants meat on the table,
maybe hamburgerize
a home invader or zombies
when the apocalypse comes.

His gaze caresses me,
he says,
but, honey, it's beautiful
She says, no,
just scary looking.
He says, ain't that the point?
She says no, meat is the point,
and I'm already scary enough
without that thing. 

That Thing? She calls me That Thing?
Mossberg Persuader 590A1 
with a pistol grip and a red dot sight,
you betchurass I'm scary. 
Famous, too, ain't she 
seen The Walking Dead?
Didn't she see me on Fox News
at the Tampa RNC keeping
those rich white people safe from 
the marching women and children 
with their sillyass signs?

Take it back, she says.
Just get me the Remington.
He lets out a big sigh and 
strokes me again, 
carefully wipes away a speck of dust
before wrapping me in the plastic,
setting me back into the box.

Out in the garage
he glances over his shoulder.
Takes me out of the box, out of the plastic.
Wraps me again
first in oily rags, then in a black garbage bag. 
Quietly opens the attic hatchway
and stows me under
a long wad of insulation with 
four boxes of shells.

He makes sure she sees 
him carrying the box to his truck.
Few days later he
earns a smile and a kiss
with a deer gun and a sack of shells.

So here I sit hidden, 
in all my oily black glory.
Waiting just like Ah-nold would,
ready for the zombies 

when the apocalypse comes.



She leans forward in her chair by the window,
studies my face and asks, Who are you?
I remind her, again, I am my mother's daughter.
She just shakes her head, But you are so old!
I nod. Here in this tiny old house where she was born 
I am forever 8 with crooked teeth and scabs.
She looks out the window at her neighborhood,
now just The Hood, watching what used to be
spin past the place that has always been hers.
I watch it with her until she asks again.

How To Bury A Cat

How To Bury A Cat

First, drive your oldest friend to the vet,
his most hated place on the planet,
to send him on his way.
Be sure to wait until his veins
are so fragile
the first stick blows and he does not die.
Torture him further with a second stick.
Whisper in his ear
You are the King,
Cats, Rats, Squirrels, 
Dogs fear you and 
tremble at your feet.
This is your land. Take it back, my friend.
I love you. Feel the last heartbeat
and then no more.
Tell the vet the pulse is gone
even as he sets the stethoscope
on the camouflage fur of the ribs.
See the look of horror on their faces
as you ritually tie the beloved
body in his sheet,
buckle his collar around your ankle.
Drive home.


Have your marine wannabe grandson
chicken out on digging the grave.
Discover killing brown people and burying pets
require different sorts of courage.
Be sure your child, his mother,
supports this idea.
Order the sky to open up
with lightning thunder and torrential rain
after your old self gets the ground broken,
grave dug down six inches of the required two feet.
Watch it rain while your old cat 
cools in the garage
tied in the sheet that was his 
porch bed for ten years.
Smoke a cig. Drink a beer.
Let the dogs and the other cat out of the house
to see if the rain is really stopped.
Chase boy dog off the 
growing dirt mound on the blue tarp.
Pick up the flat faced spade.
Cut. Toss. Cut. Toss. Cut. Toss.
Seems the rain actually helped
turning sandy powder into chunks.
Chase the boy dog away from
the dirt mound again.
Hit hardpan clay like concrete
after the long dry winter.
Measure 18 inches of
the required two feet.
Chop some clay a bit.
Decide no county worker is
going to dig up your dead cat
to measure.


Call the East, Element of Air.
Call the South, Element of Fire.
Call the West, Element of Water.
Call the North, Element of Earth.
Spirits of this place
Your King is Dead
Long Live the King!
What is remembered lives.
Clip rosemary branches from 
the bush next to the grave,
make a nice soft bed.
What is remembered lives.
Go get the cat.
Retie the shroud.
What is remembered, lives.
Carry his pissy smelling shrouded self
out to his grave.
Lay him in.
What is remembered lives.
Turn back to the rosemary bush,
clip more to cover him.
What is remembered lives.
Pick up the shovel, carefully
fill in around him. Lay the first
shovel full on top.
What is remembered lives.
Fill the grave halfway.
Step in and pack the dirt.
What is remembered lives.
Fill the hole.
Step in, pack the dirt.
What is remembered lives.
Drag the blue tarp over
and dump the really large amount of
leftovers for his small body on top.
Step on, pack dirt into a mound.
What is remembered lives.
Roll the Carolina Marble
boulder he used to like to piss on
over to his grave.
Shove it on top.
What is remembered lives.


Go inside, get a new beer.
Open a can of tuna.
Pour the tuna water on the kitchen floor.
Let the dogs and the New Queen
clean it up. Take a drink of beer.
What is remembered lives.



for Honey Boo Boo's Mama June
on the occasion of her marriage 

In the spotlight, an uneducated fat woman
becomes a cackled joke because
she married the man who loves her.
In a camo dress. With a blaze orange sash.
Caption this, Clever.

Cruelty shining so sharp she doesn't feel the slice
until the blood is pouring.
Pass her around on her wedding day
like a dirty joke in the seventh grade.

All the oh I'm so bads don't forgive you.
All the shoot me nows don't excuse you.
It's only facebook doesn't make it better.
Ever mind the Law of Three...

The camera becomes your mirror.
All the superpowers of wordsmithing,
cruelty learned young
wadded into one big water balloon of
payback from someone you never met.

Hit Enter.

In The Time of Sandcastles

In the Time of Sandcastles

June 10, 2013 at 12:40am

In the time of sandcastles
we exfoliated digging
trenches with our feet in
sand finer than sugar
and swore we'd never
pay for a pedicure again.
We'd walk and walk and walk
till the muscles of our bare feet ached
and then until they didn't anymore.
We never used sunscreen.
Drank bloody marys in the morning,
mint tea in the afternoon,
from the same sweating glasses
washed several times each day
in the tiny modular kitchenette.

In the time of sandcastles
drifting sleepy on my hot pink raft,
a wave knocks me into the turquoise
while you are sunning
face down on the beach.
I nearly drown,
drag myself ashore somehow.
Vomit a gallon or so of seawater at
the tideline. Stumble to our blanket
and collapse, still gasping.
You let out a melodious little snore.

In the time of sandcastles
we wreck our nails peeling shrimp,
cut our hands cracking blue crabs,
lips flaming from cayenne and lemon
extinguished by icy long necks,
Toss heads and legs to the gulls
circling and screaming above the canopy.
Long before the time it was safe to kiss
the butter shine from your lips in public,
I lick mine at you anyway and
watch you glance around, trying to
hide your blushing giggle.

In the time of sandcastles
night was still dark.
The Milky Way reflected so brightly on the water
we could see clearly with no moon and the flashlight off,
and walk some more on the cool sand.
Quiet so loud, only the crash of the waves
and nothing else unless we spoke.
Windows open, cold breeze blew the sheers
out long over our bed.
Salt taste of warm sun brown flesh
with the fun parts glowing cool moist white.
Sleeping with the roar of the Gulf
for our lullaby

In the time of sandcastles
the smell of our neighbor's bacon
woke us and hurried our coffee.
We torture them with the scent
of biscuits baking while they make do with toast.
We drank bloody marys in the morning,
mint tea in the afternoon
from the same sweating glasses
washed several times each day
in the tiny modular kitchenette.

I had 5 of these each year



May 10, 2013 at 12:52am

I fall at your feet
or at least where your feet used to be
or at least 400 miles from where they used to be
because you don't live there anymore
and I will be arrested if I go searching
for your feet there.

Those feet don't even exist anymore
except as cremated powder probably
on your stepdaughter's mantle
next to your long late husband's
Bitch won't tell me, or I would be
worshipping at your ashes.

I hope the maid accidentally knocks
you over and vacuums you.
Then you would be free.
Or at least trapped in a wad of dog hair
where you would be happier.


That Party In Heaven

That Party In Heaven

May 9, 2013 at 11:59pm

Gap tooth giggle brown arms envelop
breathe lilies smoke salt
 icy blue Skye
                   three olives

Miles rings out Bitches Brew
she dancin 
    skinny butt switchin
       White Girl Overbite

Gramma leaves off stirring
  gumbo, hands me coffee milk,
   toaster oven cinnamon rolls.
    rockin on that pillow bosom

        Spoon cuddle belly rub
          soft black, breathe clean retriever,
       Siamese angel head boop
         cat fur stuck on my face

Papa's cowboy
he knows I'm not a girl
plays along, winkin
        our secret

    Short bus pulls up
     latest arrivals disembark.
        Driver waves me inside, ain't your turn yet
        girl, come on home now.
   Smiles, we be back for you later.

One, 2013

One, 2013

May 5, 2013 at 2:27pm
One, 2013

Tell me now.
Open your mouth and speak,
never mind the consequences.
I do, or I do mind but I speak anyway.
You will not change my mind,
or convince me to go down
a road so much travelled
there is no need to pay attention,
even in the dark. One foot in front
of the other, I will die here of boredom.
Better to run off downhill at high speed
in full dark because the valleys always have
water and that's all we really need to live,
isn't it?

Bheannaigh Bealtaine! With Old People In Urban America

Bheannaigh Bealtaine! With Old People In Urban America

May 1, 2013 at 7:07pm
Beltane, the Rite of Early Summer, originates in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. First day of summer for a pastoral people. Time to take the herds out to summer pasture, celebrate fertility, dance, drink may wine, all that marked around the first of May. The herd beasts are driven between two fires before summer pasturing. Makes  sense, a good smoking/scorching would kill a lot of skin parasites. When the work is done the party begins with drinking and dancing. Soon couples wander off into the shadows to honor the Goddess.

America, May 1, 2013. ManToy comes home all proud to tell me he has researched 'my holiday.' He wiggles his grey shot eyebrows at me. I lift and wrinkle mine at him. Research of Beltane? Ok, this is the first time he has put any effort into understanding my paganism. I make an effort to smooth my brow.

Here in my town we are still under a no burn order unless contained in a pit, so ManToy proposes we light both barbecues. There is plenty of charcoal. We have no cattle, but the dogs will do. The dark cloudy sky opens with a torrent. Ok, scratch the smoking of the dogs.

We crack a couple craft beers and watch the rain.

He says he will be happy to put up the beach umbrellas so we don't get wet with the outdoor sex. I look at the sky. I look at the muddy puddles. Wet is the least of my concern. I tell him rain isn't the issue, we are old, both have bad backs and arthritis. That ground may be wet and squishy some places, but it's also hard and rooty in others. And there is always that missed dog shit. He gathers his sexiest, grins the face that always got his way with women, with me, and with my glasses off he could pass for 45.

Standing up. He wiggles his eyebrows again.

Standing up. Naked. Outside. Under beach umbrellas. Old people. I get the giggles. Too bad we don't have surveillance cameras, we could be viral internet stars.

He is miffed.

Ok, honey, you take a viagra, I'll get my bottle of lube. Maybe the rain will stop and we can smoke the dogs, then outdoor sex in the mud standing up under beach umbrellas with our wrinkles flapping in the relatively high wind. It's just too much and my giggles morph into guffaws.

Hahahahha bring the ball gag, you are loud under the best of circumstances. HAHAHHAHA it's not me, it's you who is the screamer, and the neighbors already know what you like and exactly how you like it. Screaming laughing tears, do you really want to explain this to the paramedics?

Being crone has it's advantages, but I do miss the mother days of righteous Beltane celebrations with my warrior. Who knows, maybe the rain will quit and this fine porter will inspire us after the sun sets.

Blessed be the land and the tribe and the Goddess.

My Dog Rosie

My dog Rosie

April 16, 2013 at 11:32pm
My dog friends will appreciate this.

Fetch, It's Who I Am by Cyn Hanrahan McCollum

First Field Event
The first GA Specialty (92, I think) was my first. I had my first flat coat, Woodsong’s Damask Rose CDX. She was my heart. Rosie, The Rose Nose, St. Rose The Perfect (well after a few years, anyway).

Rose was the first dog I ever attempted field training with. She was a really calm house companion for the most part. She was an obedience ace. Who knew she would be such a beast in the field? Barking in the van, dragging me face first through the mud because I refused to let go of the lead after a shot and tossed bird. My fault, Rose, sorry. For some reason I was swayed by this word “steady.” We are entered in the WC and Unsteady Singles and we’ve been getting up and driving to muddy fields all winter very early in the morning because of the Florida heat. The group is convinced she should pass easily.

At the WC I park way up the road so she can’t see or hear what is going on (or at least I could delude myself that dog barking in the distance was not mine). A few numbers before us I bring her down. From that point on things get a bit fuzzy until we get to the line.

The field is a cleared grassy hill enclosed by trees just leafing out in spring. Quite pretty. I am shaking and Rose is vibrating, snuffing her nose and prancing her feet at least three or four times to my one step. But at least she is not dragging me.

The memory bird is up the hill a ways. Rose marks it. The first bird is ridiculously close. Judge says dog. I say Take It and she is there and back in a flash. I’m in newbie shock, this is all happening so fast and loud. Time seems to slow at this point.

I turn Rose to the memory bird and she looks. Judge says dog. I say Take It. She shoots off the line straight up the hill. The hill. Rose has never seen a hill before, we live in Flat Florida. Oh damn she stops short. She starts casting around. She looks at the first bird spot and starts toward it. Double damn. The judge says she’s switched in a quiet voice. Triple damn.

At that moment a breeze picked up. Rosie’s head lifts and she huffs the new scent stream in and out of her mouth and nose. She turns her head to the left, toward the gun. BIRDS!!! She charges over to the gun and seizes the mesh bag of dead ducks. The gun hollers and grabs the other end of the bag. A fine game of tug ensues. The gallery is suitably entertained. The judge chuckles call your dog, ma’am. She responds to my whistle. We leave the field with mixed emotion, me sad and embarrassed, Rosie proud and elated at her fabulous score of the most birds in one place ever.

The Paper
Rose was a working dog who took great pride in her jobs. She was demo for my training business, nanny to the pups that stayed here, benevolent alpha who could rain hell when needed, and my constant companion. At home she still needed chores, so I made fetch jobs for her. X V.2 and I taught her to carry the TV Guide to whoever needed it, which morphed into her carrying things to all the family members by name. Fetching dozens of things around the house by name. And getting the paper, of course.

The only problems with the paper were her high drive and the short depth of my front yard, and the errant arm of the paper delivery guy. Mostly in sight, but sometimes I had to point her in the right direction.

One morning, bed head, raccoon eyes, barefoot, wearing a tshirt and panties I open the front door with Rose in a sit at my side. Scan the yard, the paper is under the corner of the car a short angle to our left. Not too bad. I shift Rose a bit, show her the line and she sees the paper. I send her. She shoots off strongly, barreling straight across the street, the main drag in our neighborhood, and grabs the across the street neighbor’s paper. She flips around, tail trashing at high speed totally thrilled I have given her this longer fetch first thing in the morning.

Horrified my dog may be killed by a car I bellow DOWN! Rose drops like a stone, still holding the paper, puzzled by my out of context request, but ok, maybe this is part of the game. Her tail never slows.

I grab a leash off the hook and cross the street in my bed head raccoon eyed barefoot tshirt and panty ensemble, get my dog, praise her and go home.

Drinks In The Garden
At one point in my life I had a nice garden fenced off from the dogs so I could actually have flowers, a bird feeder, stuff like that. It had a gate. Rosie was allowed in with me because she understood what a privilege it was and enjoyed just hanging out with me. Sometimes on a nice evening we’d just sit, I’d have a cocktail and we would share a snack in the pretty golden light of just before sunset.

One late spring evening I carried a gin and tonic and some chips and homemade salsa out to the recliner. Rose lying in the grass at my side. There were doves on the fence cooing. It was so peaceful.

We sat midway between the fence and the corner of the house where the bird feeder hung. A dove decided to make a lazy arcing glide off the fence to the bird feeder, the apex of his low arc right before us.

Rose shot out of her relaxed down and caught the dove in flight. It protested. Mayhem for a few moments. I struggled out of the recliner. My dog’s head is encased in flapping dove wings. I see her jaws compress gently. Flapping ceases. I call her, Rose here, give. She does. Dove is alive but broken. She is vibrating and chattering her teeth in pride. At that point in my life I could not ring a neck, so I go out to the front yard and set the bird under a bush to gasp it’s last breaths. Mea Culpa.

Shaking, I cut back through the house to wash my hands. I go back out to the garden to see Rose finishing off my gin and tonic, the chips and salsa untouched.

About then the cat comes over the fence with the now dead bird to show us what the cat gods offered him today in tribute.


(from a prompt asking for a persona piece written from the perspective of my vehicle)


April 11, 2013 at 12:07am
4/30/5 (prompt for a persona piece from the perspective of our vehicle)

Since 2005 I have been hers.
She promised me 100,000 miles on
the parking lot of the dealer
and I believed her and promised.
They tried to make it a bigger deal,
but she didn't go for it
I'm just a minivan,
a mom bomb,
a carrier of groceries and dogs,
a place to sleep on the road,
or camping above the wet.
And she kept her promise.
Here I am at 60K
a bit scratched up from the grocery parking lot
but high and dry for the camping.
And the dogs, well the dogs love me,
we go for rides.
I'll carry them, her, where she wants
and get them there safely.
Have for 8 years now.
Some oil, some tires, a belt or two.
Seems she thinks I am like one of the dogs,
worth caring for for my lifetime,
and I'll give it until I can't and
then she will start over.
Her daughter named me
The Starship Enterprise
three vans ago,
300,000 miles ago
they were blue, I am silver
I will carry her and hers
where they will go

The Help

4/30 The Help

April 7, 2013 at 10:00pm
When I can't sleep,
when the worry is too great
to let me rest, I go to the place
where I could as a child
in the arms of my siblings' nanny.
Her name was Miss Juanita.
Brother called her Mi' Nini.
After he was down for his nap
she would let me crawl into her lap
and rock me, humming songs I did not know
and let me stick my thumb in my mouth
and let me fall asleep against her great bosom,
rubbing my back with her brown hand.
And I could relax,
feel safe
and sleep.

Long Walk

3/30 Long Walk

April 3, 2013 at 9:45pm
There is this woman in California
who has more bodies buried
in her yard than I do
(and I have very predatory pets)
drawing me continental
long long long
string with cans knotted at each end
and if you are old enough
to know what that is
then maybe you can
feel the vibration 2400 miles
as the crow flies
or more accurately
as the horse walks
goddess fierce magick mother
Brighid oracle siren singing
she is easily as crazy as me.

The White Knight

2/30 The White Knight

April 3, 2013 at 8:03am
2/30. April 2, 2013. This is at least good for getting starts down.

The White Knight

500 years ago today
white people landed in
what is now Florida.
And the genocide began.

No mistake, I was raised
on tales of glory, our people
overcame much, experienced tragedy
in this taking of the land
Manifest Destiny
the divine appointment of a land
filled with conveniently disposable savages.

And wouldn't you know, the resident
savages were so irascible we had to
import a more docile variety.
At great expense, mind you,
and don't you know they were ungrateful
for the many advantages
they were granted.

500 years, well that's been over for
a while now. So it's over. We, now, did not do that
so how can we be held accountable?
I did not choose to be born white.
Oh of course I'm horrified by what
those people did. Yes they are my
ancestors. Yes. YES,

My cousins, uncles, great grandfathers.
Did that.
The ancestor stories, pruned as carefully
as bible class. Yes,
they were all very nice white people
who did great things.
For white people.
Thieves. Rapists. Murderers. Ancestors.
But that's all over now because that
was all long ago, right? Right?

The sins of the father shall be visited upon the sons.
The sins of the father shall be visited upon the sons.
The sins of the father shall be visited upon the sons.

The Pagan Dog Funeral

The Pagan Dog Funeral

October 8, 2012 at 10:45pm
Sunday evening there is a knock at my door. A glance out the window shows me what appears to be a sweaty disheveled female crackhead, so I send the ManToy to answer it. He whispers to me, 'it's the neighbor across the street and she is crying'. I know she is not a crackhead so I go see what she needs. She bursts into tears. Her dog has died, in front of the whole family eating their dinner. Poor woman is crumbling and weeps 'I don't know what to do.'

I take her by the hand and say let's go home and take care of things. I lead her to her house and see yes, the dog is indeed dead there on the floor of the silent, seemingly deserted house. Yellow haired lab mix, she has pee'd a bit in her dying. She is stiffening but still warm.

Where are your children, I ask. She has sent them to their room. I sigh. Here is my task. I look her in the eye. Get them. She hesitates. Get them, this is sad, but not horrifying. This is a lesson for them about death.  Keeping them away will make them more afraid. Let them say goodbye to her.

She ushers three small boys into the room where their dog is now cooling on the tile floor. 6, almost 4, and 2 1/2, blondes that will turn brown haired as they grow. Mom sobs something like Trinity has died, we need to say goodbye to her. 2 says Bye Bye Trinity. 6 says nothing, holding himself together bravely. He is the only child that  really knows what is going on. Almost 4 says Is she with Jesus? Yes! I turn to middle boy, grasping at the first clue on how this family needs to handle this. Trinity is with Jesus now. Her spirit is, she is done with this body now, and we need to make it ready for her funeral.

Where is your husband? He is calling around seeing where a cremation can be affordable on a Sunday afternoon. The dog is leaking gas and I know she will shit soon. Get him, we need to wrap her in a blanket. Middle boy says She peed! Woman crumbles again and hurries out of the room leaving me with her kids and her dead dog. I know her husband does not like this dog, he has said so more than once. I also know this is her dog, about 3 years older than her first child, both from her first marriage.

I have a moment to look around the home, noting crosses and plaques with bible verses. Me, in this so obviously Christian home alone with a stranger's kids looking at death for their first time. The parents are useless in her grief and his irritation. Yes, I tell middle boy, she has peed and she might poop soon. Middle and little giggle, oldest still stoically trying to not cry. When our spirit leaves our body we don't need our body anymore and so it forgets what it knows and it can make a mess.

Husband arrives with a blanket and we get the dog on it and wrapped just in time. Middle and little follow Dad down the hall and into a room. Oldest stays with me. No. Oldest stays with his dead dog. I start to cover her head and he sets a gentle hand on mine, stopping me. I nod. I remove her collar and hand it to him. This is for you to keep. Your parents are going to take her to the vet to prepare her body. Let's go see what they have found out. I take him by the hand and lead him down the hallway.

Husband is googling dog cremations, getting hits for the human funeral homes that also do pets at truly phenomenal fees. Call your vet, I tell him. He tells his wife to call, she gets a recording. I give him the name of the weekend and evening vet to search. Oldest sits on the bed beside the computer desk. No one seems to notice the great struggle he is having controlling his face. I give Husband a significant look and nod toward the child. He gives the boy a manly hug, boy bursts into tears. Husband lets go and goes back to googling. Boy sits back down on the bed and renews his struggle with his face.

Husband asks if $180 is a good deal on cremation. It is, so he tells his wife to call that number. Woman calls and starts sobbing so hard she cannot speak. I take the phone and handle that part, too.

We are all crammed into a small bedroom/office, the youngest kids running in and out with toys. I sit on the bed next to the oldest, who is still trying to control his face but leaking tears and snot. I see the youngest two run  into the family room, where the dead dog is partially wrapped in the blanket. No one else seems to notice, so I follow  them. They are very curious about Trinity's situation. I call Husband to us, we need to finish wrapping her and get her in the car. I finish the wrap while Mom sobs, oldest attempts his leaky stoicism, middle and youngest run off to play some more. Husband is mentally tapping his foot. He moves Trinity to the car. By this point I'm getting really irritated with him. All that is left to do is the driving, so I hug the Woman and go home.

The next day after work she is at my door again, looking her usual pretty self. She thanks me for helping and tells me what happened at the vet. She invites me to the dog's funeral Saturday. Of course I will be there. She says she is so grateful I took charge. I smile, and tell her I was grasping for some direction until her middle boy said is Trinity with Jesus now. Then I knew to take the Christian route. She looks puzzled. I tell her, Oh, I'm not Christian, I'm pagan. She says, but that was such a Christian thing to do! I smile and hug her and say, yes, but being nice and helping neighbors predates christianity by a long time. I tell her I am honored to be invited to the funeral. Her face sort of falls and freezes, then she smiles a sad smile, says thank you again and goes home. I say let me know what time. She lifts the corners of her lips and waves her fingers, turning for home.

Well damn, Cyn, open mouth, insert foot.

Saturday comes and goes. I did not go ask what time they have their ceremony, I know I have been uninvited. Poor Trinity. Poor Oldest Boy who loves her. Poor Woman who accepts the kindness of strangers who do not share her dogma in an emergency, but does not welcome them into her home when the crisis has passed. I am sad, but it is not my place to intrude.

That night I go out in my yard under the moon and cast a circle. I ask Jesus to look out for Trinity, she is a good dog. I ask him to look out for her people, because they surely need his most wise counsel. I ask my gods and goddesses to help them in the same way. I write Trinity Is A Good Dog on a piece of paper, set it in a bowl of sand and light the paper with a short candle. As the smoke and ash rise, I say Trinity is a good dog, thank you for helping with that most excellent child and for loving his mother. The paper burns down to a smolder, then black. I crumble the ashes under my rosemary bush and rub them into the dirt. I blow out the candle. I break the circle. The night is clear and starry.

copyright 2012 by Cynthia McCollum