My Alex

years ago
I last held
his tabby furred body
That worried look with the “M” eyebrows
won me over first glance.
But he fled upon first seeing me
then returned, time and time again.                                     Alex Always
Hunger always conquers fear.
Eventually he fell in love with me…
and I him. 
I saw that clearly one day, 
when I called for him:


and out of the vast expanse of countryside
his black banded tail held high
wound its quick way ziggzagging a path 
through dense rosemary groundcover 
until his worried face looked up at mine
as if to say, “Here I am here I am here I am.”

My Alex.

Nine short years with that dear cat.
The last year hard, good & bad, up & down
fighting chronic kidney disease. 
But those were our closest days.
Those were the days when 
his personality soared and expanded. 
His talkative meows vibrated through the walls
of our large home, now in suburbia, 
where he was safe from the coyote dense wilds
only to be attacked by disease.

We played and cuddled, he purred and purred loudly.
I recorded that purr for later.
I knew I would miss hearing it.
I’d hoped it would bring him closer 
during the forever days thereafter.
It hasn’t.
We were given an extra year…
I held him for as long as grace allowed.

My Alex.

I struggle to find poetics in his death, even after ten years.
But his life was an eloquent soliloquy on catdom 
and I… I was his honored patron.

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Half Closed Eyes

Early Sunday morning brews the gray sky brighter, lifting it higher, away from trees that heave and sigh in a brisk wind. This soft diffused light brings steadiness to the half-waking self still clinging to the surreal realm of  last night’s dreams. Inchoate thoughts succumb slowly and like a rainbow gradually fading, reverie dissolves as the mundane presses in. A daily list of chores looms visible to inner eye, there to check off item by item. Still, the mind see-saws between two realms, leans back into the unorthodox that creates quirky rituals: I journal (this) and doodle, yet know soon the wide-awake world will win out, will cuff me by the neck and haul me into the day. No use fighting it… I put down my pen and journal.

My sleek Siamese bats around a stuffed mouse that falls limp with each swat and soon sleek kitty loses interest, walks to window, jumps up and looks out: not much there either. He spots the small round cat bed next to the fireplace, stretches out and slips down, ambles over to it. He settles in, with a buddha’s half closed eyes. I sigh… that I might live such a life, bat around things of short-lived and dubious interest then return to meditative realms for long enlightening stretches. 

But, no. The sun, though obscured by a yawning gray, is steadily rising in the East, and the day will be long and active.

Leo the Meditator© pcniles

Leo the Meditator
© pcniles

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April: National Poetry Month

Yesterday morning,  I discovered the idea of creating Book Title Poems, called “Spine Art.”  In honor of this month’s celebration of Poetry, I offer the following created from books from my own library:

Book Spine Poem1

What If?
fearless CREATING!
(was) The Key
(to) The Vein of Gold (?)
DO IT! Let’s Get Off Our Butts

Book Spine Poem 5

(After) A Night of Serious Drinking
David Copperfield
(aka) The Little Prince
(saw) The Catcher in the Rye
eating naked.


Book Spine Poem 4

Head Hunting in the Solomon Islands
(was) The Beginning and the End
(for) Henry & June
(in) Nineteen Eighty-Four . . .
For The Time Being.

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Jazz Days (senryu)

Jazz NotesTea kettle’s jazz riff
a fusion of morning chores
harmonic routines…

and modulation intones

Jazz NotesThis daily bebop,
the interludes, the solos
my melodic life.

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In Passing…

A two column obit with a full color pic
showing her in younger, healthier days,
long curled folds of auburn hair
swept off an attractive face,
bearing a  half-smile;
wearing long beaded earrings
that seemed to belong to another era…
and now do.

I did not know she’d pass only a week ago;
assumed she would survive,
assumed she’d continue wearing
her pink ribbon.
But cancer extinguished
the bright light of her life.
Only two years older than I.
This is all starting to feel too close.

We were neighbors, never friends,
but we were friendly enough,
although she always seemed preoccupied
as though she was running late,
had other more important things to do
than stand and small talk with a neighbor.

She moved away a few years ago,
to live farther inland, away from the coast.
The fog depressed her, she said,
and the northern wind rattled her nerves.
It was too cold too.

She sold real estate in the area;
did very well during those bubble-boom years,
then fell ill about the same time
our national economy bottomed out.
Of course, that’s just a coincidence.

I read she wanted to become a model,
had moved to Portland after high school
to pursue that dream.
When she returned wasn’t stated but we know
she came back home, raised a family of her own,
had five kids, drove a  maroon Hummer…
and of importance to me,
she owned an old dog named Lucy,
and many orange tabby cats.

The obituary stated she loved life, 
loved her large family,
her many friends
and her neighbors,
but most of all she loved
The Lord Jesus Christ…
A celebration of her life will be held
later this weekend.

I would like to attend, to honor her,
to pay respect to her life
and the fleeting, seemingly inconsequential
time wherein I knew her. But alas,
prearranged commitments with other things,
may prevent my attendance.

Somehow, I think she’d understand
and not give it much thought.


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