Friday, July 30, 2010

Nikki by Michael Lee Johnson


By Michael Lee Johnson

Watching doves
peck away,
all day long at
a full bowl
of mixed seeds,
out on the balcony-
the cat curls
up on the sofa,
after a meager
meal of house flies-
and dreams of
sparrows with
wide soaring


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Purrsonal Story Goodbye by Alice Folkart

by Alice Folkart

We found Oliver, our black and white rescue cat, still warm, behind the sofa two days ago. His death was sudden and unexplained. We miss him. Stan, our other cat, misses him too.

But, like the good friend he was, Oliver came to say goodbye. Last night a semi-transparent, weightless cloud of black and white jumped up on my bed, climbed onto my chest and settled down, paws just so, and stared into my eyes as he had always liked to do.

If my eyes hadn't been open, I wouldn't have known that he was there. Still, I didn't realize that he was more than a comforting apparition until he spoke.

"Awake?" he whispered in a softly sibilant voice.

"Oliver," I whispered back and reached out to stroke him. My hand passed through a band of slightly-warm, electrically-charged air, but touched nothing solid.

"I come to wish you goodbye."

"Oh. I miss you, Oliver. It was a shock. The vet said it was your heart, something you picked up when you lived wild."

"Ahhhh, what is 'heart?'"

I put aside all thought of couching my answer in terms of chicken gizzards and such that he might understand, and just said, "It's what lets us love."


"Yes. Let me see. Oh, you love tuna. I love you," I said, hoping that this was an explanation that a cat could understand.

I don't know whether he did. He changed the subject. "I just lay down and stopped. You came, but I had left that body," he stated flatly.

"You were still warm."

"You dropped salty water."

"Tears, Oliver dear. I was so sad."

"I sad also. Odd for cat--feeling. Your sadness brought me here. When it is gone, I can go."

"Then you'll have to stay a long time, Oliver." Out of habit I reached out again. Nothing. "You were so young."

He narrowed his eyes in thought, "Don't know age, time. Is only 'now' with cats. This day. Sleep. Eat. Play."

"You are so wise, cat."

He blinked at me, "Wise? What is wise?"

"I don't think I can explain," I said. "But were you afraid?"


"Of dying."

"Dying? You mean 'stopping?'"

"Yes, stopping."

"Didn't know I would stop. No fear. Will you stop? Will Stan-cat?"

"I'm afraid so. All living things stop eventually. Humans know that it will happen, but not when or why. Some of us think about it a lot."

"You'll excuse my saying so, please, but that is silly."

"I think that's the price we pay for being human, Oliver."

He made a deep, growly purring sound, "Hmmmmm, I think price you pay for being human is having two cats."

I laughed, and he was gone.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In Memory of Connie Hazard

Loving wife, daughter, mother, grandmother and friend. A true animal lover, too.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cats on Crack! by Anne Latsko

Cats on Crack!
by Anne Latsko

Cats are falling from the sky!
Pink ones!
Blue ones!
Green and red!
I know that when they hit the ground
They surely won’t be dead.
Because the ground is made of cotton candy
Cotton balls,
All light and dandy.
Fluff meets fluff as fur hits the ground
The cats are bouncing all around!
They hit the floor; they reach the sky,
Soft whiskers tickle my noise
As, with a whoosh, the cats fly by.
Kittens hang on mother’s tails;
Mews fill the air in delightful cacophony!
Sunlight bathes coats in liquid light rays
That cats breath as they soar.
I wish that it would never end.
That the cats wouldn’t stop playing,
That the sun wouldn’t stop shining,
And the floor would never go from cotton candy
To cement.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To the Author of My Epitaph by Krikor N. Der Hohannesian

by Krikor N. Der Hohannesian

Hanging helter-skelter in the closet
a favorite cardigan, color of plum
frayed at the elbows, wide-wale corduroys
worn smooth at the knees…

these are the clothes I wore

My guitar, coffined,
lies on the floor, the metronome
tick-tocks silent rhythms. Sheets of Sanz,
Giuliani, Calatuyud…

this is the music I played

One Hundred Years of Solitude,
The Plague, Paradise,
A History of Armenia, The Fall,
Beloved, The Spark of Life…

these are the books I read

and don’t forget to check the shelves,
the dog-eared journals veneered with dust-

in some you’ll find my name

How long does the spirit linger
like dust motes dancing
in cones of sunlight
before it is all forgotten?


a black cat, sleek,
purring for eternity.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Art by Zarah Oktober Cook

Hazard Cat is back from a break with art by Zarah Oktober Cook.

Friday, July 9, 2010

February by Russell Bittner

by Russell Bittner

My cat walks in on foggy feet,
and I light up like Frost.
She slurs a purr—like dykes in heat
at face-off in Lacrosse.

With marbled eyes, she looks askance,
as if to say ‘How twee
that you should now romance a dance
that Sandburg wrote for me’—

which then reminds me that her nails
might profit from a clipper;
but as no sharper tool avails,
I lay siege with a slipper

that flung in haste, cannot erase
my misplaced attribution.
And yet she’s just a cat, I think,
while I dog execution!

“You sound like Pound!” now lastly seems
insipid with conviction—
as I know solecisms earn
the Academy’s eviction.

That Frost is more at ease with fog
is to my cat not new,
since she views skewering similes
as what poor poets do.

And yet, if cats are what it takes
to shake up my redaction,
just like the grave, I’ll grind this knave
with staves into retraction.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Funeral of the Queen of the Cats by Norman A. Rubin

The Funeral of the Queen of Cats

by Norman A. Rubin

Good evening my good friends. Your company is quite welcomed in theseblustery days. Let me take your coats and hats. Now, come closer to the warmth of the fire. Yes, pull up your chairs to the hearth and make yourselves comfortable. That's it. Now set back and listen to my tale that will raise your hairs and chill your flesh. Relax as I relate the tale of the funeral procession of the Queen of Cats.....

"Down in the easterly part of England, not far from a pleasant town on the road to the fair city of London, there stood a sexton's thatched cottage alongside the small village church. For all that is known the edifice still stands and its weed-strewn cemetery still holds the ancient crumbling bones of many generations of the village.

"It was about two centuries in the past when Mad King George ruled the British Isles when that unpleasant incident at the burial grounds to the church was noticed and duly noted. Under the crazed king's corrupt rule the Colonies was lost and lawlessness was part and parcel of the daily life. One of the daily pursuits in obtaining a fair living, outside of trifling with public and private funds, was in corpse snatching.

"Oh yes, my friends, corpse snatching was a very profitable occupation as various universities of that era required plenty of cadavers for dissection by their many interested students; the fresher the body the higher the payment.

"Now where we? Yes, yes the story!

"On a fair Autumn evening at that time when the full moon was high, two scruffy gentlemen were quite busy at the cemetery on the grounds of that village church. It was quite difficult to discern their features in the dark of night. One could say that one was rather thin and long-legged. The other was rather middling in height with a rolypoly body. The only similarity was the shabbiness of their dress.
Also both their faces were covered from the noses down to the neck with a decorative kerchief.

Quite busy I dare say as they were quite occupied in exhuming the body of the corpulent town's barkeep who recently expired from the vapours. It was a seemingly easy task as the vicarage grave digger couldn't count over four feet; and not one of the mourners took notice to the depth of the final resting place.

"The light of a dimly lit lantern shone on their efforts in violating the final resting. All was almost quiet except the sound of the hoot of an owl on the prey and the squeal of the hunted field mouse. Grunting noises were also emitted from the twosome as they shoveled earth and gravelly stone from the grave pit.

Then suddenly the sound of the shovel hitting wood could be heard. Again and again the noise of the scraping of the spade on the pine was emitted as the grave robbers busily cleared the earth from the plain pine coffin. Eerie silence followed as the tiring work stopped as the wooden coffin of the dear departed was fully uncovered.

"'Aye matey, there she be, the box!" chortled one of the foul grave robbers, 'gimme a hand in opening the cover.'

"With the quickness of their hands they forcibly opened the pine cover. There was no reverence in their souls when the receptacle of dead revealed to them the cadaver wrapped in a winding sheet. The stink of death was all around accompanied by the body's wormy comrades. But all this went unnoticed by the nefarious boyos as the
smell of money was stronger in their avarice hearts.

"'Aye tis a proper body, quite fresh! Should fetch a good price,' commented one of the chaps.

"It took a bit of effort for the two body snatchers to pull the body from its resting place. As they were lifting the rather heavy body they were startled by a rather loud hullabaloo. Without a further word they dropped the corpse, which unwound from the the sheet. Then they quickly snuffed the lantern and cautiously peered over the top of the grave.

"The noise frightened the living daylights from them that turned their stomachs and made them feel queer all over. The weird noise was the sound of caterwauling by a crowd of cats miaowing and yowling. Yet above the screeching the grave robbers could make out distinct wails and chants.

"Yowrl, yowrl, yowrl,
Tell all, tell all, the queen is dead,
The Queen of the Cats is dead,
No more no less,
As clear as the church bell,
Yowrl, yowrl, yowrl."

"The frightened body snatchers peered into the gloom of the night spread across the gaunt grey gravestones and saw a sight that chilled their blood. Coming towards them were thirteen blacks cats; seven were in the lead and six were bearing a heavy coffin of walnut wood, which was partially covered with a drape of crimson red and bearing a small gold coronet.

"The robbers held their breaths, not daring to scratch an irksome itch or wiping a sniffling nose. The strange funeral procession was heading slowly, but slowly towards them. At every forth step the feline pallbearers stamped on their paws and let out a low chanting miaowing in chorus, just like the winds of lamenting doom.

"Within time the funeral procession came closer to the open grave hiding the two gentlemen. The chappies peered with saucer-like eyes and they could see more distinctly. The cats in their sight had eyes that shone like coal embers, burning in an amber glow. The procession was led by big black beast of a feline, followed by six equally large black cats and in the rear six smaller black cats carrying the coffin. They moved solemnly between the shadowy gravestones, never stumbling,
never violating a grave with their steps.

"The body snatchers's knees were knocking quite hard and what hair they had on their heads was standing on end. Their teeth chattered as they uttered a prayer for salvation. The black cats came to the opened grave. Then the hellish procession stopped.

The two men dropped to bottom of the grave and hugged the earth walls. As they look up into the dark of night they saw the leader of the funeral procession looking down at them with a baleful eye. The grave robbers felt a trickle to their pantalons as they remained still in their terror. Finally, after a a moment of agonizing silence, the black cat addressed them in weird sounding cat-like human voice.

"Yowrl, yowrl, yowrl,
The Queen of the Cats is no more,
She was born amoung mortal beings,
She died truly consoled Amoung the gods,
Yowrl, yowrl, yowrl."

"The eerie sight and the equally frightenening sound was enough for the body snatchers. A blessed swoon overcame them and they drifted into the land of dreams, or rather disturbing nightmares, never daring to return in their subconciousness to earthly awakening.

"At the cock of the crow the following morning the elderly sexton of the church awoke to its call from his restful sleep in the comfort of his cottage. With a bit of grumbling he lifted himself from the rumpled sheets and went to the china chamber pot under his bed. Afterwards relieving himself he went to the washbasin on a small
wooden stand near the a large window that faced his small church and the cemetery alongside.

"He dipped his hands carefully in the cool of the water as he looked at the grounds in the clear sun filled days. He blinked as he looked towards the cemetery. The sight was unbelievable to his eyes and with a quick splash of water to his eyes he attempted to wipe away the terrible view. Yet, it was true to his eyes, that the earth from the grave of the corpulent barkeep had been shoveled away to the last bit
of dirt.

"'Goodness gracious, heavens above, this is sacrilege," he cried out.

"The elder sexton's thin creased face was etched in agitation from the view that shocked his dimming grey eyes. With a tremble to his limbs he rushed as fast as his spindly legs could walk and he made his way to his wardrobe. He searched about into the depth till he found his thick knobby walking stick.

"Then he donned his thick woolen robe and scruffy slippers. He puffed up his scrawny chest, grabbed his weapon and unlocked the door to his dwelling. With caution to his walk and with the knobby stick to his shoulder he stepped on the path to the cemetery. He was appalled at the sight of the mound of earth at the grave of that good citizen of the community.

"Slowly by slowly he went to the opening in the ground. Then he gripped his weapon tighter as he peered into the depth. A strange sight greeted his eyes. One of the grave diggers was seen locked in the arms of the corpulent barkeep, uncovered from the shroud with his eyes opened in supposed bewilderment. The other chap was sitting
against the earth wall of the grave, dirty in smelly filth, and chanting over and over in senseless rhythm...

"Yowrl, yowrl, yowrl,
The Queen is dead,
The Queen of the Cats is dead,
Yowrl, yowrl, yowrl..."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Poem by Jason Lamorris Rivers

I had a cat as a pet
And I shared with
Different friends,
Ashamed to love this cat,
But I couldn't no longer
Cats are so innocent,
And so easy to befriend,

We would feed this cat
Cause we cared about it bad,
And if we didn't feed it,
Then we would suddenly get

Cats mean no harm,
With us, they don't want to fight,
They just want to meow,
And demand that we hold them

That cat was amongst many
Who were astray in the woods,
We didn't know much about
But we did what we should,

When you treat cats right
They tend to hang around,
Which may not be good
When certain family's around,
Cause they may not,
See cats as innocent as you do,

Cause they're afraid of cats,
They start jumping around,
And running for their lives
And make screaming loud sounds,

Cats get confused,
Cause they don't understand
Their vibes,

They're suddenly ran off
From the spot where they layed
Then by you they feel
They were suddenly betrayed,

I hate it the most
When cats are abused,
Hit by brooms, and shot
By pellet guns,

Enough to the point
Where it just makes me
Want to cry,
Cause abuse against
for no reason!? I wonder why?

They just want to be loved,
And they're in search
Of a friend,
So for cruelty of cats
I just ask that it ends

Jason Lamorris Rivers Copyright ©2010

His Web site

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Nike and Braveheart

Contributor Janet Garber's kitties.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Left of Eden by Debora Ewing

Left of Eden
by Deborah Ewing

The cat circled lovingly around Eve’s leg, and Eve reached down blindly to stroke its ears.

“Oh, it’s all so awful. I'm supposed to be packing, and I can't stop crying,” she said to the cat. The cat purred, and stood on its hind legs to give Eve a head-butt. Eve picked up the cat and snuggled her, pouring out her sorrows.

“I was just trying to fix him some dinner. I made a perfectly nice dinner, and set it out, and he said it was boring. He said I made the same thing last week, and I did, but last week he said he loved it. So I offered to make something else, and he said that was boring, too. I named every stupid thing in this garden, one by one, and he didn't want any of it. All that was left was that tree in the middle, I told him, and he just stared at me, really meaning something but I didn't know what. ‘We aren't supposed to touch that tree,' I said, like he didn't already know, and he made this disgusting noise and lay on the ground. What was I supposed to do? ‘Take care of him,’ He said. ‘Don't touch that tree.’ “ The cat chirruped. Eve put her down. “Yeah, I know, He has final say over everything here, even Adam, but Adam can be such a prick sometimes. And I don’t even know where I got the idea ‘the snake told me to do it.’ I had to say something. They were both just looking at me, and I don’t know, I thought that making up a lie would be better than blaming Adam. He’s just so...helpless isn’t really the word, but seriously. I don’t know what he’d do if I wasn’t here to figure out everything for him. He’d stand at the bottom of the banana tree and wait ‘til one fell off and hit him in the head. I’m the one who taught the monkeys to bring some down for us. I’ll bet Adam doesn’t even know. I’ll bet he never even thought about where the banana peel goes after he eats.” The cat sat on its haunches in front of Eve, and twitched its whiskers thoughtfully.

“I know, Child.” Eve sat up straight, because even a sliver of a second after she thought the cat had spoken, she realized that the voice had not come from the cat. “Did you think I could make all of this, and not know what goes on here? I knew, even when Adam was born, that he could not survive alone. So I made you, and I told you to be a help to him so that you would not be bored. But you see you have already exhausted all of the means given you in this Garden, and so I have to give your wonderful brain something to do.”

“But I’m so HAPPY HERE!” Eve wailed, and a new fountain of tears spouted.

“My dear, you would not have been happy here much longer. Adam gets bored because he has no imagination. You crave mental stimulation. It’s not the same thing. And while I thought taking care of Adam would be a nice thing to keep you busy, I can see I did a much better job creating your brain than I realized. I can tell you two things that will make your new journey easier for you.”

“Really?” Eve sniffed. God came around in front of her, kneeled and picked up the cat.

“The first you already know, but you’re too upset to realize.”

“What’s that?”

“You don’t have anything. There’s no need to pack.”

“Oh. OH! God, you are so right!” Eve was feeling hopeful already. “And there’s another thing?”

“Yes. Two more, is that I don't even know what’s out there, really. I mean I do, because I know everything, but it’s not inventoried. You and Adam are made in my image, separately, you see, and I used all the finesse I used to make you two when I made the garden.” God shrugged a little. “Out there, that’s just stuff. I mean it’s my stuff, but I put it there more in the way Adam would than you would. He's not detail-oriented."

Eve shuddered a little. “It sounds gross.”

“Surely some of it is a little gross, but some of it will be wonderful. You’ll have to find it. You’ll have to get Adam to do the heavy lifting.”

“He’s offense,” Eve complained. God chuckled.

“No, he's not lazy. Like I said, his brain works differently. He doesn’t have the imagination you do, so you have to convince him in ways other than expecting him to see your vision.” Eve drew in the sand with her finger.

“And there’s something more?”

“You see that? One of your inner traits is Hope. Just remember you have it, and it will always give you energy to go on. Hope will never leave you. Just like this cat—it has the instinct to follow you for warmth. It will always be nearby, and if you are quiet and peaceful, it will come to you for love.” Eve looked up sharply.

“I get to keep the cat?” God stood up and chuckled again.

“You get to keep the cat, if you want to say it like that. Nobody really Keeps the cat.”

“Oh, God, I just want to hug you. Can I hug you?”

“I don’t think you can,” he answered thoughtfully. “But, listen. Go get that Adam up and moving. He’s moped long enough.” Eve smiled and nodded gratefully, and tiptoed over to where Adam was sulking on a rock. He looked up, mournfully.

“Did you pack everything?” Eve bit her lip, and produced a smile.

“Honey, we don’t have anything. There’s no need to pack.”

“Oh. Right.” Adam got to his feet, slowly, and started shuffling toward the gate.

“Come on. It’ll be fun. Even God doesn’t know what’s out there, really.”

“I guess.”

“It’s an adventure, Adam! Come on! You love adventure.” Even took his hand and pulled a little, and then let it drop. Adam felt more hope, and picked up the pace a little. He looked around at the garden one last time.

“I don’t know why you had to talk to that snake...”

“Shut Up.”