Monkeyshines

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“I’m done with this, Mom.”
Well, I am definitely NOT.
This tiny George will stay
On my shelf’s specialest spot.

Clutched in your chubby hand,
He went everywhere that year.
He convinced you to speak monkey
Until the doctor checked your ears.

He was lost and found and lost,
But we never left him behind.
I searched the zoo for a monkey
That was not so easy to find.

He dug dirt with his head,
Stomped dinos with his feet.
He sat at the dinner table
And pretended to loudly eat.

He led armies of animals at war
Across the old orange carpet,
Until the opposing General Giraffe
Fell down the counter escarpment.

He watched himself with you
On those days your nose was runny.
He never failed to laugh at himself.
He was oo-oo-ah-aah funny.

You haven’t carried him for years.
You’d much rather have a phone.
But I will carry the you that did
Here in George’s forever home.


When my son was two, he was in the habit of carrying a plastic animal or two everywhere he went. He was also a huge Curious George fan–so much so that he spoke a mixture of Monkey and English for a long time. His doctor told me that we really needed to encourage English, and I countered that bi-lingualism was all the rage. This little guy was a cake topper I found on Amazon. He’s seen some things, man, but since he only speaks Monkey, we’ll never know.

The things that adventured with your kids have special places, just like their friends steal pieces of your heart later. This little time capsule sits on a shelf where I can see him while I work. The kids may be on to the things that they should be, like ditching mom and dad to hang out at the camp park, or cutting holes in skirts to make “dresses” that are two inches below her navel, but George is happy to remind me of a time when I could sit with a child on my lap and watch a monkey get into shenanigans. Ooo ooo, ah ooo ah AH.

Ps. This is the last day of August! Thanks for hanging out for the poems, some were less bad than others. I really have to get to work on final revisions to my short story compilation, Bitches and Dead People, and I’m six chapters into the sequel to The Tiny Giant, working title “The Hunted Giant.” I’ll continue to update here on any book releases and if the mood strikes me…I might have another poem in me someday. This year was hard, and given that I’ve done this 92 times, I’m going to be satisfied with that for a bit. Probably until next August, when I’ve forgotten how much work it is and convince myself that it’ll be “fun.”

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Food Group

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you need chocolate
and a flatbed-sized cracker
it’s smores for a herd


I opened that picture in Photoshop, all prepared to edit and crop it, but I decided I liked it best how it is. Either it’s very late in August, or it’s very late in the evening (it’s both). These hay bales always look like giant marshmallows to me, and I’ve even tried to convince my kids that’s what they are. My kids get a sort of … whimsical window on the world from me. Teaching them to think for themselves, I am.

Oh, Is That What That Was

I jumped up from the table
And ran into the woods.
You watched me go and sighed,
Then turned back to your food.

You know I get like this
When I’m chasing after faeries.
I’ll explain when I get back
Why—no—which spirit grabbed me.


I think we can all agree that bolting from the picnic table to capture this shot before I lost that light (it lasted another four minutes) was the right thing to do. My husband, after many years of my nonsense, just assumes I have my reasons and waits to see the photo/words/interpretive dance I’ve come up with. Sometimes it doesn’t pan out, and I just sit back down and we pretend nothing has happened.

Toddler Camp

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I will not sleep
I will not eat
I will not put
Shoes on my feet

I will not go
I will not bike
I will not walk
On your dumb hike

I will scream
I will pitch a fuss
Why did you think
This was fun for us?

I’ll wander off
I will eat dirt
Just to spite you
I will get hurt

I will make you
Despair and yell
This outdoor paradise
Is toddler hell


I’ve had several occasions this week to be very glad that my kids are past the toddler stage. I can send them to the playground and assume that they will be in reasonably the same, if dirtier, condition when I retrieve them. Our camp neighbors are not having the same experience. There, but for a few years, go I. Godspeed, camp neighbors.

She Snaps Snail Shots on the Seashore

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“Did you lose something?”
Yes! My angle!
Turns out these snails
Are murder to wrangle.


I was crouched down in a rainstorm, in the dark, trying to capture a decent picture of this guy with a flashlight and my phone, and he was perturbed by my attention. As he turned to tell me off, I realized I must look mildly crazy to our campground neighbors, who were sensibly trying not to get drenched by cold rain in the middle of the night. *shrug* I do what I do.

Scum

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the rainbows enchant
glittering petroleum
sea, how far we reach


Here we are, on our annual beach camping trip, and it’s raining pretty hard for the first time in the kids’ short camping lives. The dog already smells like three-day-old crab and we’ve been here for HOURS. I am having a great time (really), I live for this rainy coast. After the hottest summer ever in Portland, it’s a welcome relief.

Ps. Can we just agree not to mention yesterday? Yesterday was a very long day. Thanks.

We Regret

rejection

rejection notice
just put it with the others
death by paper cuts


This is a fact of life if you’re submitting your work, especially at the beginning of the process. Knowing that intellectually and dealing with it emotionally are two different things. I have one rejection letter in my purse I keep forgetting about–clearly that one isn’t bothering me. The one I received this week, I had higher hopes for.

Here’s the thing–the story has to get to the right person, at a time when they have an opening for it, on a day when they’re receptive to it. That’s a lot of variables. There are two ways to increase your odds–improve your work, and submit it often. Tonight I’ll have a bourbon or two over the notice from this week, grieve just a tiny bit for something I wanted and didn’t get. Next week, I’ll get back to work.