Yo Ho Howl

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It’s a shame that pirates
Get parrots by defaulty.
I would get a little dog
And name him Mr. Salty.

He could distract the targets
By asking them for scritches,
While I most efficiently
Relieved them of their riches.

With my Salty sea dog
The plank I’d never walk.
A dog can bring you jail keys.
All a parrot does is squawk.


I confess, all of that was because I thought it would be funny to name a dog “Salty.” I think of a lot of these things as I’m falling asleep, and I text them to myself. If the guys in black suits ever look at what I’ve been saying to myself, they’ll either make me a very high priority or decide I’m not any kind of threat at all. Arrr.

I’m also pleased to present this example of why I don’t do my own illustrations. Ta Da.

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Ask A Poet An Abstract Question…

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“Mom, what is the meaning of life?”
Oh, it depends on which meaning you mean.
Sometimes it’s amorphous, ephemeral, obscure—
Other times it’s the spaces in-between.

I’ve glimpsed it in sunshine and moonlight,
Walked its beat in a graveside procession.
Been smacked by a smile, a laugh, a look,
Lost its trail in shrouding depression.

This question is too complex without context!
I could fill books with the conflicts I’ve had.
Saints and philosophers have failed as I—
“Umm…thanks, Mom, I think I’ll find Dad.”


My kids ask me a lot of questions, big questions, and I do go on. Sometimes I can tell it’s all rushed over them like a gust of wind, barely ruffling their intellectual hair. Other times, we spend an hour talking about cremation or self-respect or kindness, and I feel like I’ve made a little bit of an impression. I think we owe it to them to try, though, even if they won’t get it until they’re adults. Every bit of understanding of the human condition leads to self-awareness. Self-awareness plants the seeds that blossom into empathy, and good grief, do we need more of that.

I also use a great number of words my kids don’t know or understand–yet. How’re they going to learn them if they never hear them? Slap out those five and six-syllable monsters and then define them. It’s hugely entertaining when they work them into conversation later.

Clutch Tight Your Pickanick Basket

img_7889high in Montana
bearware the ursine menace
claws, fangs, frosty floats


We went to Glacier and honestly saw very little of it, because of the massively swollen ankle and our lack of an appropriately-sized vehicle. The kids were delighted to see this bear, however, because instead of eating them, he gave them things to eat. A+, A & W bear.

Apollengies to Joyce Kilmer

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I think that I shall never see
Something as bumbly as a bee.
Molest too much the flower it flew;
It might decide to bumble you.


When my little girl was three, she came running to me in a panic outside one afternoon. “Mommy! Mommy! That bee bumbled me!” She just received a warning buzz, but she wisely decided to leave the lavender to the bees for the rest of the afternoon.

Today, the puppy was outside trying to eat the bumblebees. This seems like a bad idea, but my apparent interest in taking pictures of them reinforced her idea that they are snacks. Why else would I bother with them?

One, Two, Boogaloo

Nose party

There’s a party in your nose
And all your fingers are invited.
Show your mom your goody bag,
She’s sure to be delighted.

The dance floor’s kinda small,
But you can twist and grind.
Tear it up and lay it down,
No boogie left behind.

Tissue box across the room?
There’s storage even closer.
Your mouth is right below your nose
And bonus—even grosser!

So cram that finger way up in
Until it disappears.
When that party’s petered out,
It’s time to hit your ears!


I found this classy picture on the iPad and it inspired me to heights of verse. I’m pleased to add some culture to your Sunday.

Setting Myself Up

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For two years we waited
After we said good-bye
The click-clack of nails
Fading into the distance

Kids were growing fast
Life going on about itself
We said “someday” then “soon”
Then “today” finally came

Not a ball of fur, bigger
Halfway from pup to dog
You named yourself Hazel
We agreed and signed the paper

From quiet to not quiet
Small shadow at my heel
On the third day
My heart broke and reformed

Remembering
the end starts
with a beginning


When we lost our dogs, Daisy and Dot the dachshunds, they’d been in our lives for 15+ years. I still have moments where I think of them and grieve, two years later, so I wasn’t surprised to have a few bittersweet moments as I fell for Hazel, our half-grown Schnauzer. Hazel doesn’t know about any of that, she’s currently concerned with what room I’m in and why those kids are so loud. I’ll have to try to live in her moments, the ones that are right here, where nothing is wrong and there is no end in sight. That’s dog magic. I’m glad we have magic again.

Lavatriage

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Heart of a young parent
Inside a middle-aged host.
The floor may not be lava,
But your ankle sure is toast.


My dear 46-year-old husband did this to his ankle in the middle of our roadtrip to Montana last week. He was playing “the floor is lava” with the 6-year-old. There are many advantages to having your kids later in life, but occasionally your body decides to remind you that there are consequences for your foolishness.

The 6-year-old was the one who told me exactly how this came about. I’m glad she’s around to make sure no detail is left unshared.