Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Chronicle of Leon

Introduction

Time. We treat it as a linear thing, dividing it into pieces by calendar and clock. We treat it as if it moves at the same pace all the time, but we all know Now is much slower than when we look back to Before, and the Future barely moves at all.

Many humans know I prefer the company of non human animals full time, with humans as occasional visitors when I want them. The humans who know me first think I need to work on this issue, and get ‘better.’ They eventually come around to seeing that for me, it’s the best way.

I’ve written many pet stories over the years. Time zipped forward, and through the magic of social media, I had an audience for one particular cat. The Chronicle of Leon is a compilation of stories, social media posts, poems and journal entries. They are assembled in chronological order. The voice of Leon is mine, because he never could type worth a shit, even though he sent a few messages walking or laying on my keyboard. Other than that, the facts are true. What are facts? His weather sense. His ability to communicate with me and the other animals, and my ability to understand what he was communicating when I paid attention. His love and devotion to me in my ineptitude, and my love and devotion to him as a superior feline. Grammar fanatics, this is mostly written in present tense, because it was originally written in present tense, and because I have gone to the animals way and reject linear time.

This compilation was assembled over Samhain 2016 CE, starting with the calendar day and moving through Solar Samhain when the Sun is at 15 Scorpio, on 6 November, 2016. Many of my old ones stopped by for visit, but Leon has stayed around these last couple weeks. Maybe he’ll find a crack in the veil, like he did with the screens, or maybe he’ll make one for himself, like he did with the screens. Regardless, I’ve been grieving them all, and some humans, too. But since Leon came to assuage a horrible period of grief, his presence now is no surprise.

In conclusion, I’d like to thank Chrissy, Pretty Boy, Snowball, Snoopy, Pepe, Missy, Rocco, Angel, Supi,  Abe, KC, Herkimer, Heather, Sam, Andy, Lucy, Alice B, Casey, Earl, Rosie, Whoopi, Big Boy, Fia, Dixie, Tyrone, Princess and Peaches, all who are no longer with me except in the bottomless pit of my heart. And of course, Leon Eugene, who chose me.

Cyn Hanrahan
7 November 2016

Prologue

Serial Pets

By Cynthia Hanrahan McCollum

Once I had a dog named Rose. She was my best friend and soulmate. I have never had a relationship like that ever, human or animal. I’ve always had a houseful of pets, always had human friends and mates, but no one like Rose, ever. We worked together every day in the dog training business, did volunteer work together, and most of the time she went with me everywhere. We understood each other completely and loved each other best.

On the morning of October 1, 1999 I woke and found her dead on the floor by my bed. She was 9 ½ years old. The shock was so great it took my breath away. I was stunned into silence. I couldn’t even cry. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. All I could do was stare into the gaping black hole of loss. I functioned. My other pets helped. My mate and human friends didn’t know what to do with me. Always in the front of my mind was Without Rose. Life went on Without Rose. I couldn’t consider another dog. My other dog Whoopi took over as demo dog for the business. She didn’t like pet therapy so we stopped volunteering. I started eating again. But everything I did was Without Rose.

Christmas morning that year I was having my coffee in the dark Without Rose, when a strange cat came in my cat door. He shot me a fearful glance and cut a wide path to avoid me. He went over to Whoopi and Big Boy, the dane cross, and rubbed them a full body greeting. Got a lick on top of the head from each of them. Then he went over and touched noses with my old cat Earl. The strange cat jumped up on the table and settled down at the bowl of cat food. I was in shock. My critters don’t take kindly to uninvited animals in the yard and tend to chase them back over the fence. They treated this cat like they were all old friends.

I couldn’t kick him out, it was Christmas morning, 1999. When he was done eating he hopped up on the loveseat to lay down next to me. I reached out my hand and he flinched away. Ok, I won’t touch you. The house woke up and he left. But he came back later and after that started showing up several times a day to eat and visit. It took a week for him to let me scratch his ears. I named him Leon.

Leon remained very spooky around people. I had to approach him from a very calm, centered place. If I was stressed or hurried he scooted back out the cat door with fear in his eyes. In about a month he climbed into my lap for a massage and scratching. That became a daily habit. He learned when feeding time was and got very consistent about showing up, even started coming when called. It was summer before I could get him to come inside the house, a violent thunderstorm helped him choose the lesser of the two scary things. Leon started working for me as the dog training cat, helping me socialize dogs. Years passed. Old dogs and cats died. I got new ones. My marriage broke up. Leon came in the house more and would even sleep on the bed.

Most people still don’t know I have a cat. He leaves when people come over, still spooky, preferring dogs. I got a new lover and Leon gave his approval, soliciting petting and occasional lap time. I was amazed. Big points for the new lover. Until he acted like an ass. Then Leon decided not so much.

Everything happens for a purpose. Leon came to help me get over Rose. I needed to get the center of myself back and I had to be centered to get to know Leon. My lesson was a lost love never comes back. But new loves come when you need them and help you to be whole again.


****************************************



Leon The Weather Cat

Joined Facebook 9/17/2010

Retired King of the Neighborhood, dog training cat and provider of fresh rodent meat with a mysterious past I do not care to discuss. I now work part time letting my humans know when it's time roll up the car windows or hang the hurricane shutters.

*****************************************
About Me

I chose the human squatting on this section of my kingdom in 1999, after many months of observation. She seemed the most sensible and respectful of this pest species that has been so prolific. The other predators that lived here at the time were reasonable sorts. So on a cold dark morning near longest night that year, I announced my intention to occupy this domain and provide protection in return for her subservience. The subservience part was difficult for her to learn, but she did apply herself in practicing zen exercises and I rewarded her by deigning to notice her progress, and with fresh rodent snacks. Odd, food training did not have the success I had expected, though she did learn to show gratitude.

Even prime rodent hunting territory can get a bit boring after a while, so I decided to train the dogs that came and went here. She was something called a "dog trainer". Pfft, I am the one who taught those ill mannered mutts some proper respect. Or had the sense to leave if one was truly beyond rehabilitation.

The first summer after I moved here I decided to reveal my ability to communicate with Her, though she was a tad dense in the beginning. Inside means rain in 15 minutes. On the bed means it will last a while. Under the table means thunderstorm. In the closet means Whopper of a Storm. She says I am more accurate than the weather man. Well, duh. Of course I am. I am Feline, Hear Me Rawr! 

After these many years I have retired as ruler of the kingdom and prefer to hang out on this little domain property. There are ample lizards for snacking, but now in my old age I was injured in a terrible hunting accident by a Gigantic Mutant Monster Squirrel and so passed the torch to the youngster up the road. 

This has already proven dull.  So to prove age is no deterrent, I have decided to reveal Myself and grace the pitiful pest species with my wisdom.

***********************************************************

9/17/10
I understand there is a duck in the Left Coast who professes to have My Powers. Huh, go figure. See Bernadette, The Weather Duck on Facebook.

Her mate went to the prey place today and came home with NO CHICKEN NECKS!! Substandard care. I protest, refusing the pathetic canned swill until I am about to faint, and They are not looking. Then I blame the empty bowl on the canines. She really needs to train Him better.

9/25/10
THUNDER!!! Under the table or eat. The rumbles vibrate me and there is no rain. She told me to eat under Her desk in the office so I did.

9/28/10
I told Her so, but did She listen? No. So She deserves to have a bad hair day and come home soaking wet.

10/7/10
The cool & dry has arrived as scheduled. The canines are acting like idiots. Ok, "acting like" may be superfluous here. Seriously, 10 year old Fat Girl doing zoomies? The Devious One breaking into My Personal Garden?

10/18/10
She has opened the gate to MY garden and let the canines have free access!! And there aren't even any strange cats to chase out. She says maybe all the dog pee will keep the rabbits away at night. *grumblegrumblegrumble*

10/31/10
Something ate all 8 of her arugala, and is now eating the pea vines, all overnight. She had the nerve to scold me. Helloooooooo, Retired!

11/3/10
Dry season here, so Her training is slacking. I came in yesterday around noon to tell her the rain would be starting any minute. She completely misunderstood and gave me lunch. That was nice and who cares if Her laundry got rained on?

11/6/10
HAH! It's that canine Devious Dixie who is eating her pea vines and lettuces. And she blamed me for not chasing rabbits. A friggin' dog is doing a rabbit's job, and not chasing them off, which is the dog's job. Hmmm, She needs to get me a trainee.

11/11/10
Did you know that FB policy bans pet accounts? http://bit.ly/2eLUuiY

Human note: FB has since covered the pet issue under the use your real name issue, their very own stalker helper app.

Personally, I enjoy these pet pages, as do so many others judging by how many of my friends these pets' pages collect. Maybe FB should check out this news story - http://bit.ly/2fD2K6p  and re-examine their stupid policy. After all FB is supposed to be a SOCIAL NETWORK. Send a message to FB and tell them this policy must be changed. I PEE IN THEIR SHOES!!!!!

11/25/10
Turkey liver for lunch and white meat for dinner. The food is good here.

12/2/10
The midday sun is warm, but the breeze is cold enough to fluff my fur. She put the blanket back on my chair on the porch and I have made a nest. It's almost time for lap sitting again. Maybe in a few weeks.

12/15/10
Lap time again. The humans took me seriously and hauled in the container garden. She was glad they did when I decided to sleep inside the house on the bed.

12/25/10
It's a good day. I chose wisely coming here and staying. The human is sentimental, She is leaking again.

1/23/11
She doesn't know how to prepare sushi and her mate screams just like a squirrel when you catch them.

3/28/11
Build an Ark! I'm standing on the hall table!

5/3/11
She said the dreaded B word. I'm old, I forgot to groom myself for a bit. There is no need for water torture. Old humans look pretty scruffy, too. Just sayin'.




5/6/11
What. Have. You. Done?!?!?!


You can't see me, I'z hidin' in ma fort. 

5/10/11
I met the interloper today. Rude child, I expect the human in charge to deal with it.

7/8/11
The season of my misery has begun. You will find me on the bed, since I cannot convince the humans that we need an ark.

8/27/11
Today I was walking up the sidewalk taking some air when one of Her friend's stopped to say hello. It was nice. Then insisted on giving me a ride home. It would have been ill mannered of me to refuse.

10/3/11
Well I must say, I am feeling much more energetic in the cooler weather. Also the young squirrels and rats produced this year are not the brightest bulbs in the nest. I've brought home 4 squirrels and 3 rats in the last two weeks. Tyrone is kind enough to guard them from the other dogs for me.



I brought home breakfast, a nice but stupid young squirrel for Her. She said Thanks, but insisted I enjoy it myself. So I did.


I had to growl at Tyrone, so he chose to leave. Dixie kept her distance, trapped behind me.



And then I had to growl at Dixie, too, because she simply could not wait till I was finished to go inside and hide behind Her.



Even Fat Girl Princess managed to restrain herself. I am Leon, hear me RAWR!


Finally left in peace to enjoy my breakfast of squirrel tartar.

10/31/11
The squirrels produced a lovely crop of slow and stupid this summer and I am doing my part to cull the population. Last night I was able to show The Interloper the finer points of squirrel sushi, though I did not choose to share. Yummy.

2/16/12
Here I Come To Save The Day!
as told by She, who is my human

I let the dogs out late and left the door open for them to come back in while locking up the rest of the house. Leon the Cat proudly walks in with a rat. Sets it down in front of me and it runs, quite lively, under the entertainment center. The Man Toy starts screaming like a little girl. Tyrone The Nose (my 80 lb. retriever) barges in and points the crack at the bottom. Man toy keeps screaming.

I get the flashlight and Tyrone has his mark, it's right there where he keeps poking his Famous Nose. Man Toy runs in circles. Tyrone starts clawing at the crack, poking it with his nose and looking at me over and over. Leon leaves in disgust. Dixie and Princess (60 and 50 lbs.) begin tryouts for World Wide Wrestling. Tyrone shoves a speaker out of his way and Man Toy, screaming and running in circles, now has an outbreak of possessive aggression. Princess wins round one of WWW. Dixie insists on a rematch.

I slide the entertainment center out to get a look under. Tyrone The Nose sees his opening and dives into the tangle of wires to get a better point. Man Toy has apoplexy. I tell Tyrone thank you and send all the dogs back outside, remembering to close the door this time.

I get the broom and shove the handle under the entertainment center and swish it back and forth. This somehow triggers the auto shut down of the power to the entire Superior Man Cave Electronics Collection. Man Toy is reduced to a tantruming 3 year old who's block house fell down. I let the dogs back in and quit for the night.

I am awakened at dark thirty by Man Screams and go running in just in time to see Man Toy swiftly exiting the bathroom holding up his pants with one hand and slamming the door shut behind him. I am treated to a loud expletive laden play by play of what happens when you are peacefully having a poop and a rat runs out from behind the toilet. Man Toy grabs Leon, tosses him into the bathroom and says "do your job." Crashing and banging is heard from within. So I go into the bathroom and poor little ratty is frantically trying to get out of this House of Horrors. I let Leon out of the bathroom and give ratty a moment to collect himself. My animal communication skills don't work on hysterics.

Once the crashing and banging cease, I get the broom and return to the bathroom. Ratty has once again taken refuge behind the toilet I have yet to have my turn on. I open the window, set the broom next to the toilet and angle the handle out the window and grab the toilet brush. Ratty, I say, time to make your escape, dude. I poke him with the toilet brush. Ratty decides to make a last stand. He puffs up like a cat and hisses and growls. Leaps at me hissing and growling. I did not know they did that. I say "Dude, look, I gave you an escape route, run up that broom" and push him toward it with the toilet brush. Ratty finally gets the idea and does a great impression of a trained mouse at high speed up the broom handle to the sill and makes a suicide leap out the window.

I spray the bathroom down with about half a can of Lysol and go make coffee.

3/20/12
"On March 30, 2012, all Facebook Pages will get a new design. Preview your page now to see what it looks like and try out the new features." I don't want a new look. I am too old. I like my page just the way it is. Point me to his pillow so I can pee on it.

4/1/12
Need a ride to the house of the person that had this Timeline idea, the people who implemented it, the people who paid for it and of course Mark Z. I'll need a water supply. I have a lot of keyboards to pee in.

7/7/12
Big storm was coming so I came inside and got on the table. Once again I was right. It rained and rained and rained. It rained so long I told Her to make it stop, I needed to go out. But She didn't. So I peed in her briefcase. I blame Bernadette the Weather Duck.

12/26/12
Thirteen winters here with Her now. She gets all leaky this time of year. Me, I'm doing fine.

1/18/13
This silly place has given me the option of having Her pay $10 per day to get more people to like me. It is undignified. I am a Cat, you silly Zuckerhuman. I should charge admission.

2/5/13
Yesterday evening was so lovely I decided we needed another cat door so I could come and go as I pleased. So I made one. Cute, The Interloper has discovered it and made Her chase the tiny evil one back inside. We are amused.

2/17/13
She had a pizza setting on the counter. Convenient, since I love cheese, pepperoni and even those charred veggies. At the very last second, I was so enraptured the pan moved, and She heard it. I chuckle, because she thought it was a dog and I was already full.

5/20/13

Rather embarrassing, seems my rear end gave out. It feels, it tries, but for the life of me it won't stand me up. She says I am around 20 and that happens, no need to worry among friends

This whole thing is very confusing. What?

5/20/13 
as told by She, who is my human, to her human friends.

My old cat is dying.
He wants in the bathtub why?
Peed on me and the floor trying to drag himself outside.
Trying to go off and die alone, but I won't let him
He's 20

5/20/13
Once upon a time, I was the King here. Now I'm just a dying old man lying in the lap of My Love. She offered to share her heat for the night, how could I refuse. She gives the most delightful scritches and feeds me tuna and bacon. She says tomorrow, I will be King again. That makes me happy.


5/21/13
How To Bury A Cat
as told by She, who is my human.

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 tabby 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 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
Call the South
Call the West
Call the North
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.

~

5/22/13

Her voice calls out into my garden.

"Spirits of this land! Your King is Dead! Long Live the King!"

And then I wake up from that dream. My old friends are there, the furred ones who went on long ago. Earl, Alice, Casey, Big Boy and Whoopi. It's been so long.

I stand and stretch long, flexing my strong muscles and elastic joints. Then I give my fur a quick swipe and a shake out. My friends and I touch noses and share bonkings and rubbings. It's good to be back.

Over there, She is standing by a mound of dirt with my pissing rock on top, weeping. I go rub her legs.

"You were King," she says.

Yes I am, I say.

"I miss you," She says. "What is remembered lives."

A voice behind me speaks. "Leon." I turn

There is a huge black bitch towering over me. I crouch and hiss. She cuts her eyes and huffs.

"You know me, I am Rose, I brought you to Her, remember? Told the others to let you in."

Then I do. It was just after cold longest night, I was hungry and they let me eat. She didn't bother me, She let me sleep on the cushions and eat on time. It was warm.

"Thank you," I say, gazing back at My Love. "It's been good here, but She's not happy. "

"No," Rose says, "But this is not a bad one for Her. You had a good run, Leon. More than any of us." Rose looks back over her shoulder at the others.

“This is true.” I chuckle, "More than you and Whoopi put together."

Rose smiles, play bows and darts at me. I let her chase me around the yard at full speed, leaping 6 feet up to the top of a fence post at the very last second. I give myself a quick face wipe and relax, sunning on my perch. Flick my tail at her. We both laugh. This feels GOOD!

She turns and walks inside. I watch Her go and look at Rose. 

Rose is watching Her, too. 

"She'll be fine," she says with love and longing. " We are still here and we'll get Her another."

****************************************************


She, who is my human, adds this epilogue.

Thus ends the Chronicle of Leon, except one small bit.

In October of 2015, after many years of struggle and illness, I gave the house back to the back to the bank in lieu of foreclosure. Legally and credit wise, it was the right thing to do. It was sold the same day to flippers, who fixed it up for sale. In the process, they dug up my old gardens. They planted new shrubs in the front gardens, and laid sod in the back. Leon’s grave was part of the digging up. I know it’s crazy, but I wish now I’d dug him up and reinterred him elsewhere before I left. It was so hard and I was so ill, I had no choice but to leave him there to be tossed into the giant bin the flippers parked in the old driveway, with old kitchen cabinets and bathroom tiles. I am sorry, Old Man, I am so sorry.

May 22, 2016


It's been 3 years ago, today. I asked his spirit, and all the ones before, to follow me when I moved, and forever.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Where I've Been

In the last 2 years or so I haven't written much to post. Scribbles, mostly, in half a dozen composition notebooks, stuffed with scribbles on the backs of envelopes and shelved.

I've always written, I remember writing stories in the third grade, poetry in the 4th. Didn't matter if it was good or not, it let me say my piece and stay sane, stay alive. When I was old enough, I wrote love poems for my lovers and break up poems when it was over. I learned to edit, to keep the poem relevant years after it was written and to never ever use a proper name.

So the last few years. Mostly heartbreak and mourning has come out. When Sandy died in 2011, we were weeks away from moving in together. The horrendous shock of her death by accident, and then the treatment by her family pretty much erased a year or so there. I did keep the scribbles, managed to form them into a non fiction piece that was published and released in an anthology of local poets and writers. Once again I was writing to preserve my sanity, and there is an entire chapbook length pile of poems for her, called Vodka and Rose Petals. It doesn't matter to me if I ever publish it, and the grief is still so raw I'd be a difficult author to edit. I submit writing only to those editors I trust to reject me with kindness if they reject me at all.

The whole time I was dragging a giant elephant around with me wherever I went. And really for years before that. The giant elephant was an abusive relationship with a man who had started as a dear friend, became a lover, and then moved it.

Hindsight is 20/20. But domestic violence creeps in as slowly as molasses in winter. Stealth is it's primary means of insertion. All his friends knew of his domestic violence arrests. All of us knew he got off because his wife was "crazy." He was everyone's reliable friend. I keep saying I should have known, I should have not let him back after the first time, I should've, could've, would've. But I didn't. I loved him and somehow held onto the belief he would stop.

He did not. Which resulted in his removal from my home by court order, a restraining order, a violation that lead to a year of court appearances and one and a half years after his arrest, his release from probation. It only took 2 months for the stalking to start, and now I'm finding holes in the blocks I set against him and closing them one at a time, screen shotting every email, every social media follow before I block it, every bit of evidence of his continued obsession with me. Into the folder with all the other evidence.

The really telling part I only noticed after he was removed. I never wrote him love poems. I never even wrote him a break up poem. Everything I wrote was steeped in fear. Even the notes I kept, dated, radiate fear.

I am not publishing his name YET, or the case numbers. Maybe I'm stupid but I do keep hoping he will go away and leave me alone. Which in reality, will not happen and it will be me who gets to move away, once again, and change phones and change friends and live in hiding for the rest of my life. The difference is now, I understand the judicial system, which is stacked against the victim.

So I'll try to write again, I will stay in hiding, I will keep the brick dust on my doorways, and the mirrors facing the windows and dimming spell in place.

Oh, and the troll I thought I had, it's him in an alt.


A Spell of Remembrance

The veil of alcohol is lifted, and you will remember.
You will remember.
You will remember how much I loved you.
You will remember how I took care of you.
You will remember your tantrums.
You will remember your hours long tirades.
You will remember kicking my dog so hard she limped for days.
You will remember begging my forgiveness.
You will remember me forgiving you over and over.
You will remember how much I loved you.
You will remember starting the cycle all over again.
You will remember not letting me sleep.
You will remember your threats.
You will remember mentally torturing me.
You will remember the purposeful pain you inflicted on me.
You will remember using that which would hurt me most.
You will remember pinning me to the floor and beating me with your elbow.
You will remember the fear on my face.
You will remember the voicemails when I ran.
You will remember the emails from your delusions.
You will remember it all.

It will haunt you.
It will haunt your dreams.
It will haunt your waking.
It will follow you, whispering every detail
you tried to erase.

You will remember.
You will not be able to lie anymore,
to yourself or anyone else.
You will admit you did it all.
You will be wracked with guilt.
You will be wracked with shame.
You will be haunted by your words and actions.
You will be haunted by loss.

You will know you caused me unhealable
harm, scars upon my soul.
You will remember every detail.
It will not leave you.
It will not let you rest.

A elfyntodd dwyr sinddyn duw
cerrig yr fferlluric nwyn
os syriaeth ech saffaer tu
fewr echlyn mor, necrombor llun

So mote it be.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

One Eighth

One Eighth

Most of my people came here to escape 
starvation and oppression, some 
even shipped without their consent, 
their names respelled to suit 
the culture and education of the person 
logging them in at the point of arrival.

My people came here and scattered 
like dandelion seed, seeking their 
own but considering the new start 
a better option to starvation. 
Didn’t matter that their wages 
cost less than keeping slaves. 

They buried us where we fell;
the mine, the levy, the battlefield.
I come from these people, who were white,
and became american. Who had all 
the babies, half of whom lived. I come from people
who say Jaysus, Mary, and Joseph, and it’s not blasphemy.

Except for that one eighth.
The one eight that would make me 
african or asian or native. The one eighth 
granted land by Cromwell, or George III
to come here, bringing civilization.
Bringing genocide.

Those who owned people, their own relatives,
brothers, sisters cousins. Those who kept
the white code and the pedigree 
because that is what the descendants will see. 
Those who edited the stories so it all 
looked idyllic for us who came after.

That one eighth would make me black,
regardless of fair skin and good hair.
That one eighth makes me one of those
who can own humans. This is the part
white people forget about the one eighth rule.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Three Roses

He brings me three roses
in a small yellow vase
and he says, I hear women forgive 
a lot if you bring them flowers.
He says

You are a unique,
you challenge me, and
I’m so glad I found you.
He says I want to spend
the rest of my life with you

and I want to hear that from you
before I invest anymore into this.
I look him in the eye
and the last 5 years fast forward
on the screen between us.

I remember more than he does.
His gaze moves off and 
he says Obviously I'm not going 
to like what you have to say.
I am silent, rubbing my nose

with the unscented longstems.
His alcohol droopy eyes
attempt another focus, his balance 
shift tilts a little too far and 
I try to remember where I left my keys.

I really do not want to do this now, 
I really do not and thankfully, this time, 
he believes my praise of the roses, is hungry
enough to be distracted by dinner, 
and after, passes out in his chair.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Descent

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 scabby knees.
She looks out the window at her neighborhood,
now just the hood, watching what used to be
spin passed the place that has always been hers. 
I watch it with her until she asks again.


Published 2014 in La Palabra: The Word Is Woman

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Novena

She takes her broom to the front door and starts to the left
sweeping every crease, every corner widdershins, out 
with the bad, out out out, all the way ‘round the house till
she arrives back at the front door, willing the stalker Catatonia
out out out with the debris she sweeps to the street. 

She pulls the secateurs from her back pocket, cuts rosemary from
the side the dogs don’t pee on, counting in nines, over and 
over and over till there is an armful. Shakes out the loose and
the lizards before carrying the bundle to the table in the shade of the porch. 
Before going back out to crumble a cigarette under the perennial. 

She she fills the dog water bowl, sets out her sharpened athame (thinks 
bullshit they were not weapons), lights the candle, and from it 
the mountain sage smudge offering the smoke to the seven directions.
Breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out.
Set down the roots. Ancestors and guides hear me, it’s been a while. 

She gathers nine rosemary stems, trims the cut ends even and starts
the red cord wrap with a clinch knot one two three tightened down 
hard, wind nine to the left diagonal, quick one two three at the skinny end,
start back down deosil one two three four five six seven eight nine
and the last doesn’t reach it will need ten so she unwinds and starts over. 

Breathe in breathe out breathe in breathe out breathe in breath out
One two three four five six seven eight nine, tight wrap one two three.
Clinch knot with the tail one two three, wrap from the spool one two three
wrap from the tail one two three and a square knot. So mote it be. She
sets that first aside, begins again. Breathe in breathe out one two three…