Monday, May 21, 2018

Quarter-Life Poems: The Cat Lady

The Cat Lady

In the morning
the cats at the windowsill
and twitch their pink noses
The warm sun rays
soak into the tips of their fur
until they glow
like golden ghosts.

the house
are more

(on the back of chairs
and on empty shelves)

Inside the house
is a woman
sitting in a chair.
She looks at her hands
withered like a September plum
left out in the summer sun

She thinks
of everything she touched with her hands
all the places she has left her fingerprints
the plates and hand railings and door knobs
she had temporarily marked
with the swirling map of her finger tip

She thinks
of all the hands
she has ever shook.
Hands of friends
and strangers she would never see again.
When she was young
she use to press her palm
against the cheeks of all those she loved.

Now her hands connected with cats
their fur underneath her palm
their wet noses pressing against her finger tips.
She gently scratches the tops of their heads
They purr and look at her with pleased yellow eyes.

One of her cats never meows.
Instead he whispers her name
in the exact voice
of someone she knew long ago.
She is afraid of the cat with the human whisper.
But she must keep him too.
She knows that inside of him is a ghost
and she can't bare to leave the ghost behind.

Someday, a stranger will knock on her door.
When she opens it, all her cats
will run toward the fresh air.
Cats she almost forgot about
will run from underneath the couch
or from almost empty rooms
out the door
where they will feel the hot cement
or prickle of long blades of grass
press against their soft paws.
All her cats will leave her,
except one
the last cat will rub against her leg
his tail slightly twitching.
He will look up at her
and lightly whisper her name.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Book Review: Patience by Daniel Clowes

I finished reading recently Daniel Clowes' graphic novel 'Patience.'  Daniel Clowes' has  a unique and recognizable artistic style that I appreciate. A few of the other novels of his I have read have a bit of a surrealist bent to them (Like a 'Velvet Glove Cast in Iron' and 'David Boring'), which 'Patience' had but with more sure footing in the scifi genre. The story was about a common and delightful scifi trope: time travel!!! Hurrah! Who doesn't enjoy a good yarn involving time travel. But it is not just a story of time travel, it is also a story of love and mystery.

Jack Barlow's pregnant wife Patience is murdered and Jack quickly becomes the suspected guilty party. Eventually he is proven innocent and is let out of jail, but his freedom doesn't mean he has his life back. He is suppose to be living a life as a father and a husband, and instead he is a lonely drifter with a chip on his shoulder. He wants revenge against his wife's killer. He wants to know who the murderer is. He wants the life he was suppose to have with Patience at his side. When he discovers a means to time travel, he feels this is his opportunity to right the wrongs of his past and to save his wife and unborn child. 

The reader is brought along with Jack and Patience as Jack discovers secrets from Patience's past and Patience encounters strangeness and unexplained encounters.

Patience was a very interesting and enjoyable book that I recommend! 
Pair this book with: Sitting on a patio on a sunny but slightly chilly day, a warm cup of tea, and the sounds of the outside world (birds, distant cars, breezes in the leaves.)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

First Harvest

Our garden had it's first harvest!

Some little arugula sprouts that we had to pluck to thin out so the arugula could grow big and strong. But we still took advantage of the little sprouts we picked! They were good and full of spice!

A strawberry! It was very sweet and scrumptious!

Here's to a summer of fruit and veggie abundance!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Animal Stories: Unsinkable Sam

What was Unsinkable Sam thinking as he floated on a wooden plank through the choppy, chilly sea that May 18th in 1941? He was a cat, not a fish, not even a dog who at least is often confident in it's swimming skills. Sam though, was a feline accustomed to dry places and high places and hiding places, not the wet world of the open sea. He probably looked up and saw bunched clouds curling and billowing above him. He probably looked down and saw the outline of fish or the pink round eye of a jellyfish body bobbing up toward him. He probably heard behind him the cry of the sinking sailors and smelled all around him salt and brine and smoke.

Someone had brought Sam aboard the German ship Biscmark to be a feline companion. Maybe the night before boarding the ship, the sailor had a burst of dread seize his insides. He thought he didn't want to be alone, so he brought his cat friend. Maybe the night before the ship sank, Sam and his person curled up in bed together and shared a nightmare, the last thing they shared before Sam found himself floating through the sea and his person found himself sinking in the sea with 2000 other ill-fated sailors.

Sam was rescued by a British destroyer ship called the HMS Cossack. He had to learn that "good cat" meant the same thing as "Gute katze." He had to learn that tuna tasted even more delicious after almost drowning and almost joining all those swimming tuna in the sea below. While on the HMS Cossack, he had a different name: Oscar. It wasn't the name he had on the Biscmark, and it wouldn't be the name he had forever, but it was the name the British sailors said as they scratched his head or sneaked him a bit of cured meat.

It wouldn't be long before Sam truly earned his unsinkable stripes. A torpedo raged through the already raging sea and slammed against he Cossack, causing the ship to sink down toward that graveyard of ships below. With it, the ship took 159 sailors. But not Unsinkable Sam! He survived in a similiar fashion to his first survival. He clung to a wooden plank and floated to safety.

Sam probably thought to himself, 'That's it! i'm done with the sea and the salt air. I'm tired of clinging to planks as hungry sharks swarm below me!" But like most true sailors, that sea breeze and the persistent call for sea adventures gripped his heart, and his destiny was intertwined with the whims of the sea.

So he set sail again. This time on a ship called HMS Hark Royale. Maybe Sam thought to himself that this would be the one! The successful trip across the sea. But whatever his expectations, the ship sank. This time, Sam's crew mates had luck more inline with Sam's notorious good luck. Only one unfortunate soul succumbed to the merciless wrath of the sea. The rest of the crew, including Sam found their way to safety. Sam once again relied on his old go-to of drifting on a wooden plank. When he was found, Sam was described as angry but unharmed. Sam did it! But he was certainly very fed up with this song and dance.

Luckily, Sam was given compassion and was allowed to retire on land in the United Kingdom. He lived out his days at a home for sailors. Likely this home for sailors was on the shore, so the sailors could stare wistfully at the sea from their windows. Sam probably perched on the highest windowsill and peered down, searching the sea for sinking ships. At sunset, a sailor or two probably went outside and sat on a bench where they watched the sea and told each other stories about their travels at sea. Sam probably said "meow" which meant, I almost drowned three times! But I survived! 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Quarter-Life Poems: Flying North

Flying North

I board an airplane in California
around me strangers stir-
fumble with their seat belts
rummage through their carry-ons
The experienced travelers are already snoring
before the plane even takes off.

The voice of the pilot
crackles over the loud speaker
warning of turbulence
He has the voice a pilot should have
stern but soothing
slightly gruff
like his wind pipes are filled with indentations

The shake of a plane
still send sweat sliding down my forehead
my hands like merciless talons
grip the armrests

I imagine the pilot and his crew are friends
together they watch the world change
in a way few people experience
trees disappear and buildings emerge
under the constant shift of clouds

Behind me, a baby cries
across the plane, another baby responds
in a gentle rolling sob.
They  are not really unhappy
they are talking to each other
in the only language they understand.

Below me,
I watch as farmlands
blend into forests
until I can see mountain tops
poke through low hanging clouds.

Soon we will land
descending through murky gray clouds
until we gently bump against the runway
and rattle to a stop.

Outside, the world will dimly glisten
under the low Autumn sunlight
and the gloomy gloss of rain.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Being A Local Tourist in Seattle

Before I moved to Seattle, my family and I visited here when I was a seventh grader, unaware that my path in life would bring me to the Seattle area to live. One of the tourist things we did was to visit the Space Needle. The Space Needle of course is one of the most iconic places in Seattle. The funny thing is that I haven't been back once in the entire 11 years I have leaved in the Seattle area.

That seems to be how it often is. If you live in a place, you have forever to go and visit the places that tourists flock to, so it ends up not happening. Since living here though, there are plenty of fun tourist things I have done.

One Seattle tourist activity I do a lot is wander Pikes Place and the waterfront. It is great for people watching and for sight seeing. Recently, my friend and I checked out the extension to Pikes Place and I took lots of pictures. We also wandered to the waterfront, which is also being changed and renovated. That is where the carousel and wooden human sculptures are.

Besides Pikes Place, I have other 'local-tourist' activities I like doing. Here are some of my favorites!

Here are some Seattle tourist spots that I have not been to yet but want to go!
  • Columbia Tower- The view from the top is suppose to be amazing!
  • Wing Luke Museum-I am not really sure how I haven't been here yet.
  • Kubota Gardens- I tried to go here once but it was super crowded with a wedding party so I left to leave it for a less chaotic day. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Oscar Digs a Hole

One day, while in the back yard, Oscar was overcome by the intense need to dig. He smelled the dirt and he seemed to spark with inspiration. His little paws were no longer just instruments of transportation, they were tools for digging. He put his nose to the dirt, sniffed in the glorious smell and frantically paddled at the dirt with his fuzzy paws.

Was Oscar just digging a hole for the heck of it, or was he digging a hole to get somewhere? He certainly seemed on an intense mission. The dirt probably smelled like something to Oscar that we couldn't comprehend...animals, history, worms, dogs that once were in contact with that very dirt but now were just the memories in their humans hearts. All those scents told a story to Oscar that we could never comprehend, and Oscar was going to get to the bottom of it.

Maybe if Oscar dug far enough he would find himself in a wondrous new place to explore. Traditionally when little kids dig holes in their backyards, they claim they are digging a hole to China. Oscar of course has no concept of China. It is just one amazing world to dogs.

Maybe Oscar was digging a hole to the center of the earth. There are all sorts of interesting theories about what is in the middle of the earth. Some people think it is a hollow earth. In this hollow earth are all sorts of fascinating sights like dinosaurs and giants and aliens and a huge sun. Oscar would probably be pretty thrilled to meet a dinosaur. I can just imagine him wanting to be friends with a huge lumbering triceratops.

Once Oscar dug a shallow hole, he placed his head in it. Presumably he was inhaling huge, informative sniffs.

Whatever the odors were telling him, he soon decided that was enough and halted his journey toward the middle of the earth, deciding his life here on top of the earth was pretty grand after all.

Sometimes though, he will get that lingering curiosity, and decide just for a short time, maybe he should try again to get there, to that magical mysterious place (whatever it is in his doggy mind).

But in the end he always decides that he likes his home and that he is okay with just laying on the comfy, safe bed where he can daydream about magical lands of dinosaurs and pork chop castles.