Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14 -- Nature Pushes Its Way in

Check out the Josephine Quarterly!


  1. We never knew what we would find when we opened the back door. Sometimes it would be as simple as a dead bird or a wounded mouse. Sometimes it would be chewed up bull frogs.
    Inspite of being declawed, Captain was a fierce hunter. Stocky, heavy, fearless and scary, he preyed on anything that came into his path.
    The house next door was empty, and the grass in what would have been the backyard was always waste high.
    One day, while I sat in the driveway, the tell-tale rustling of grass grabbed my attention. There was a high pitched scream. Then the grass exploded, as a huge gray jack rabbit launched into the air. Seconds later, Captain followed, fangs flashing, the call of the wild too strong for him to ignore.
    A few moments later, another scream, some growling. .. then silence. I held my breath, the anticipation almost too much to handle.
    Emerging from the grass, my sweet little kitty triumphantly drug out the corpse of the rabbit.
    He walked right past me, his mission not yet complete. Captain hauled his trophy to the back door, and deposited it on the porch.
    I stood up and walked over to inspect this most gracious gift. Many times had I the pleasure of receiving presents from my cat, but this time he had out done himself. I smiled, scratched his head and told him what a good boy he was.
    Of course, he was not satisfied with being a good boy. A few weeks later, he brought home a crane. Would have loved to have seen the look on that birds face, when he realized he was being taken down by a declawed house cat.

    1. That's really strong. That cat loved you too! Man. This is nature coming through the false veneer of civilization!


    Rain is just one of those things. No matter how rare it is sometimes you have to deal with it. My boy was in the hospital, fighting for his life really. The doctor made a mistake.

    Does nature ever make a mistake?

    It threatened to rain that week, but like so many Southern California forecasts I paid little attention. He was in for an appendectomy. Arthroscopic, noninvasive is the term they used, and now this was the second surgery, third counting the first botched noninvasive one.

    When I left the hospital that afternoon, it was pouring, but I really didn’t notice until the car wouldn’t start. I had left the lights on. I tried to pop-start it down the driveway. The way I’d done when I was my son’s age, but I ended up at the bottom knee-deep in run-off, the water unexpectedly rushing at the car door.

    And normally I would have cursed the sky. Normally I would have felt betrayed by nature, but my son was waiting for another chance, and all I could think was nature doesn’t make mistakes. And all I could feel was that I was part of the flood.

    1. Sean this is your strongest one yet. This is fantastic! Well done. This is a powerful poem!

    2. "Does nature ever make a mistake?" great!

  3. Tiki Torch

    I wanted to hit her. I was never violent, but this time the fight was off the charts. Was I wrong to want to hit her? We argued before, but nothing like this

    I felt like less a man, not having a say, not cleaning up without the nagging. It was a mess. Water was spilled all over the kitchen floor, from the portable swamp cooler, which made her take control again and I had had just about enough of her trying to control the situation. The argument proceeded into the living room, as she was in the corner of the house near the T.V.

    A loud bang came crashing into the corner of the house. The palm leaves were thrown off on fire, passed the window. It was like a pipe bomb went off and rang out making everyone stop in their tracks, especially me. The sound was so loud it made your ears ring like a firecracker went off next to your head.

    She was from the Philippines, as she stopped her fighting and said, "it was thunder, it was thunder", as I opened the door and went into the porch of the front yard, looking out the screen door. To my amazement, a palm tree was ablaze and on fire from the top of the thirty foot palm. It was hit by a bolt of lightening! The shock of the sight made me think of the moment it struck, being two feet away from her and approaching with a madness in the midst.

    Why would nature come from the skies at the time I was suppose to end the argument with my aggression? What was I thinking, At that instant, it was like a divine intervention, coming through the electric skies defining the moment. Breaking up the fight, calling the fire department, putting out the torch lit in the front yard as the air was filled with awe and wonder. The firefighter was never called to such an event as a palm tree on fire!

    1. Man that was like nature commenting on your mood. Great poem!



    With every system we invent, we create corruption. Language led to sophistry, religion to sin, law to fraud, economy to graft. If only we could uninvent the structure or cause it to unravel and leave us spirits with nothing to manipulate, with nothing but to feel. But there is an appeal in structure, the way things are done. There is a contract created when we agree upon the fundamentals. Logic. Accretion. Reality built up slowly in layers, assumption upon assumption.

    The beams and the rafters must be hammered into place over time. This is how we convert internal power into external reality, the spiritual into the physical, energy into matter. It is a shared effort, a process we undergo together. The question is: Why? Sorry is the man who dies without seeing through the veil and knowing that objects are nothing more than ideas, each of them imperfect.

    I can remember that day in October when I felt the burning of the sun, the layers of my personality stripped away and, calling out my true desire, in one spectacular moment a synaptic explosion within my brain dropped me to my knees and I lay face down in awe and understood. But the mind cannot remember what I knew and I soon recanted for the chance to rejoin a world that has been empty ever since. Three times I was required to confirm my sanity and yes I did, for I am human. I am only human.

    1. That's great man. It's a powerful and really sad poem!

  5. Mount Hood

    The first time I saw Mount Hood was a few weeks after we moved to Beaverton. T.V. Highway is the main road through Washington County, through, Beaverton, Aloha, Hillsboro, Forest Grove. You can go months in Oregon and rarely see blue sky. One day, driving east, on T.V. Highway I saw it, a perfect triangle, a giant in the distance, it dominated the view.

    Mount St. Helens

    From some of the hills in Portland you could see it. Mount St. Helens was round, like a woman’s breast, beautiful like Mount Hood. I remember reading an ad in the TV guide that Sunday about buying land on the Toutle River, and later thinking how ironic, and how sad that that beautiful mountain now had the top blown off like a giant had scooped a huge chunk from the top.

    1. That's great. You saw the eruption too didn't you? Did you live there then?

    2. Now that's mountain top removal done the only right way.

    3. What is funny, is that I don;t remember if we saw it because we are often overcast (something I brought out in the first poem), and we did not hear it because the sound went over us because we were too close, but people we knew in Seattle area and Springfield are heard it.

  6. The desert just kept creeping in. Windstorms left deposits of sand under the most carefully insulated doors. Crickets, June bugs, silverfish were frequent visitors. Flies were constant year-round invaders, along with moths and ants. Scorpions found their way into the shower. Lizards scurried along the walls. The rough world outside was always near. The yips and howls of coyotes scratched and scraped at our ears at night, and March winds ripped at the palm trees in the yard, tore at the roof, made sandy brown soup of the air. Plant invasion was seldom a problem, however; the cottonwood tree that my father planted in the yard was the only problem, and it was years before it had to be cut down. Nevertheless, something always found its way into the pipes and when it did, we had to invade the orchard, seeking privacy between the rows of citrus to answer nature’s call.

    (aka TM)

    1. That's great. Nature gets in one way or another. This is one of the horrors of home ownership.

    2. i like this one. that first sentence is very appealing and pulls me in.

    3. I love this. I always think I would love to live in the desert, but there are drawbacks.

  7. The deer of Coupeville

    The deer come through the backyard and the front yard with their children and they eat everything green. They gobble up the tulips of our neighbors which is why we didn’t plant tulips, and they chomp on the roses of the people down the road so they have made a little mesh pavilion for their flowers which is fine but now the garden looks stupid if you ask me which no one does here because they know I am a CITY PERSON and therefore ignorant of plants. Which happens to be true. But I know what I see and what I see is that deer eat it all. The deer eat holly and they eat grass and they even eat pine needles in winter. My husband shouts at them when they eat the leaves on the japanese maples, but they are pretty confident deer and mostly they just look at him, wondering — perhaps — what is this strange human doing waiving its arms and bellowing? I have stopped yelling at them, because they are beautiful. They leap just like in the Disney movie, and now the new children have just been born, and they are the size of cats and then very quickly the size of small greyhounds and then suddenly they are themselves grown, and that means that the children’s children will come through our yards next summer, and I will watch them through the glass with my cup of coffee and feel pretty smug that I never planted flowers.

    1. Nice. My sister lives in Montana, on an Indian reservation. their "backyard" is five acres and mostly a little forest and at the back of it is a deer trail. They adopted a doe that lost it's mother (although they weren't supposed to).

    2. Great poem, Stephanie. When I've lived in rural places, I've always wondered why people are upset at the wildlife. That's why I moved there!

  8. Ha! I like that punchy ending!

  9. (My unique but relevant interpretation of the prompt lol)


    Marshmallows, bright colors, chocolate, popping sounds, fun names, back of the box mazes, coupons and sweepstakes, endless list of ingredients with unheard of names.
    This was fun.
    This was how cereal used to be
    before the USA realized
    sugar filled corn
    might not be
    the healthiest thing
    to feed a child,
    despite the fact,
    that it tastes good
    and was a wonderful thing
    when it first happened
    and for the many years after
    that it was a staple.
    But we realized
    we needed to be
    Because Nature whispered into someones obedient ear
    That we were forgetting her
    for Captain Crunch.
    She had a point,
    therefore, we regressed
    into goodness.
    And let Nature have it's way,
    introducing us to Special K.