Cats and Wives

Cats and Wives

My cat loves me but swipes with razor claws 
so people say I should give him away because
he sometimes hooks one in me. It's scary,
granted, and painful to watch a thin line of red 
open up along my arm or leg. You rat for a cat!
Once again you've done your master harm.

But those same people who say give him away
don't see him rubbing my shins at 4 a.m. when 
my feet hit the floor and here comes Buddy Boy
with steady tread and so happy to see me again!

Then he sits on my chest purring and splays
two white paws with ten sharp claws that
very softly begin kneading me, each claw
a pinprick of a veiled and potential threat
hinting at a deep gash and blood flowing red.

Instead, I delight in watching him purring
and loving and kneading me. And sure,
that rascal melts my butter when he looks 
me in the eyes and says: "You trust me 
not to rip your heart out, don't you?"

You bet your horse, and your ass, that I,
thinking of consequences, gulp and say yes!

Now, wise men say truth hurts but it's love
that sets you free. I ponder this as my cat sits 
idly on me, loving and kneading me,
purring and smiting me just as you sit idly

on my heart, purring and smiting me,
loving and needing me, pinpricking me
with your claws, saying: "You trust me
not to rip your heart out, don't you?
And again -- I gulp and say yes!

Now, Eckhart Tolle says he's known
a few Zen masters -- all of them cats.
Interesting. I think my little boy, whom
I found as a kitten trembling and starving
under a car, isn't into Zen. I think he favors paws,
claws and mice -- not meditation. And you my dear?
You're a woman. An enigma. A complete mystery.

I know little about cats. Even less about women.



What Would I Do Without You?

What would I do without you who always has my back

My front and sides? Let’s just call it: you have all of me.

Belly to brisket, head to toes, that is how our river flows.


So thanks, because I can’t always hold myself.

Sometimes I run through my fingers like water.

Now there’s a helpless feeling for you. Other times


I’m fire. I burn things down. No, that doesn’t capture

The size of it. I burn everything down. I flatten shit,

Level earth. Rising with Pluto in Leo, I destroy.


And when nothing’s left, when only ashes remain

You’re still next to me, you little Phoenix. Ma petit bijou.


You don’t call me an idiot. You hand me a hammer

And a bag of nails and, mad as hell, tell me to get busy.

(By the way: I hate it when you do that.) But you stay.


So thank you for that, thank you with all of my heart.

Words could never flesh out the depths of my gratitude.


So what would I do without you? That’s easy. I’d be dead

and buried long ago, one of many crosses in a row probably

next to a busy road cars drive on all day, keeping me from

a good rest, which I never got while alive, either. So yes,

thank you, thank you very much for saving me from that.


Besides, remember? I wanted to be cremated anyway.

The Writing Lion

The Writing Lion

The Writing Lion,
who is creative,
bold and fearless,
strides the jungle path
of poems, eager to eat,
ready to sink his teeth
into the meat of
a good metaphor.

Behind him, Dog
holds the pen ready
for Lion when he tears
into the main courses
which, naturally,
will be verses.

Queen of Pens

Queen of Pens

The British bulldog who once helped Britannia rule the waves

Holds high with honor the Queen of Pens in all her pearly blaze

Splendid, as she is, all trimmed in gold and stolen from India.


In regal glory (and with a consort or two) the Queen rules, then,

o’er her court of princess pens: blacks, browns, reds and greens.


And when she says, “Girls, let’s uncap ourselves

and write a story!” The princess pens all clap with glee

and begin the hunt for metaphors and allegories.


A Fighter Pilot’s Son

A Red-Tailed Voodoo

A Fighter Pilot’s Son

(Knodishall is a little village of a couple hundred people
on the east coast of Britain just in from the North Sea.
I lived there as a child for two years.)


“Come, children. Your father’s going to visit us today.”

Huh? You say. She takes us three boys by our hands

into the yard, points to the sky and says “Stare hard.”


And we do. At nothing. “Keep looking,” she implores.

Then a dot, a tiny pinprick of a dot on the horizon

gets larger and larger with the rumbling roar of a

mighty war bird, a military airplane fast and low.


Mother shouts: “Here comes Father in his jet!”

Then he’s overhead dark and swift, the shadow

of death. You can bet it’s the coolest thing

we’ve ever seen – an F-101 Voodoo with

a huge red tail sprinkled with white stars.


A most awesome flying machine streaking

in now at hundreds of miles an hour and I

am like six years old. Holy cow and wowzers!


The gods of thunder and the gods of war all

bow down to the mighty roar. Thor himself

stops hammer in mid-blow to nod approvingly

at the majesty of two Pratt and Whitneys

turning raw jet fuel into blazing afterburners.


The Earth shakes. Birds stop flying. Dogs howl,

think they’re dying. Dad pulls ‘er up, nose to the sky,

twenty-foot flames shooting out the back end.


Crawling things stop crawling. Rabbits stop dead

in their tracks. Dad? He’s spinning round and round

on his back in the cockpit, grinning I suppose, pointed

straight up until he disappears in the thin blue sky.


Mother says: ”Well, children. Did you wave to Father?”

Us? First we had to pick our jaws up off the ground, shut our

mouths from drawing flies and get our eyes back in our heads.





Finally the leaves must surrender

To a will far greater than their own

Desire to dance on limb and bough.


With timid tumbles and cautious flips

They commit themselves from the heights

Nervously uncertain of the seed’s promise.


Old Stone Lion


Old Stone Lion

(14th Street, Omaha, Nebraska)

Old Leo, it’s always good to see you

no matter the time of day or season

I enjoy staring at your regal bearing

as you guard your spot on this empty lot.


You sit alone and I, your kindred spirit,

walk alone, sometimes stopping by

to see if you have anything to say.

I believe you must, for I look at you

in all your kingly glory and think

“I’ll bet that fellow has a story!”


Your furrowed  brow bears marks

earned from years of wisdom; therefore

I beg you, Sir Leo, share your vision.


But what worries you so? You look inward.

Something you forgot? Did a bad thought

get caught in one of your regal dreadlocks?


You big cat. What happened to your passion?

I’m certain in your day you were quite dashing.

Shouldn’t you be out romping and roaring

all over the savannah, humping lionesses

and tearing into those damn hyenas, then

ending such pleasure with a royal snooze?


That’s the path I’d choose if I were a lion

like you. Wait. Don’t tell me. Those days.

Not over for you, are they? Oh my gosh!


They are, aren’t they? Caught up in a coup,

chased off by a younger version of you.

Your days of roaring decidedly through.

Now I know what makes you blue.

You’re a deposed lion, aren’t you?


Friend, we can’t break bread. You’re stone

and can’t eat. No worries. I’ll sit. We can

share stories, enjoy a mental feast instead.


And if it’s tears you want to shed, we can

get to crying. For I, too, am a deposed lion.


#Omaha #poetry


I’M BACK!!!!

I’M BACK!!!!

Friends, amigos, Freunde! Sorry for the absence. I got manic in August and poetry took over. Seriously. And I do mean took over. Sometimes four a day. It was so bad, one night I was leaving my son’s place and he said: “Damn, dad, the Muse is raping you.”

The next morning I wrote a poem about “My Muse.”  And you know, some people say: “Poetry?”

And I reply “Well . . . yeah.”

Did you know in forty years of writing I’ve been a military journalist, a city hall reporter, a news service editor, a magazine feature writer and college writing instructor? I’ve written a volume of short stories (Ganja Tales);  a novel I couldn’t sell (“Free Fall”) and three marijuana screenplays (I’m trying to sell): Ganja Tales, Southern Bud and The Osipenko File.

Now poetry.

Thus, you can see I’m a writing fool. Not too many of me left around. This statement leads me, in effect, back to my topic, which is: What’s your blog about, Craig?

Hell, I don’t know! Stuff. Stuff you like to read; stuff I like to write for you. Things that hit home.

Truths others avoid. A sense of humor through all the pain. Kind, like you I bet. Because we’re all living the same life, breathing the same air, hurting over the same things; we’re all just loving and crying; living and dying, winning and losing and trying to keep going. So yeah, plenty to write about there!

Thanks again for reading. Your eyes are worth more than money to me.