Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Power Out

This is Lisa's brother posting for the Hazards. The storms in Alabama have knocked out power in the Hazards' hometown, and they expect to be without power for 5-7 days. Unfortunately, they won't be able to contact anyone or do any work until their power is back.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Killer by Nathan Tyree

The Killer

by Nathan Tyree

The cat twisted itself around in a corkscrew configuration as
it closed the distance from the branch to the ground.
It seemed to have too much weight for its size;
yet it exhibited a level of grace that Robert found difficult to believe
or understand. He watched as it descended into a low crouch against the earth.
As soon as it landed, the cat looked ready to pounce, ready to strike against any adversary. This, Robert thought, is a real predator.
Not like those bogus tough guys always strutting around with too much muscle,
and too little brain. No, the cat was nothing like them.
The cat was a killer right down to the bone. Pity any poor rodent or reptile
that came into its view. The cat, Robert was certain, had no worries
and no fear. Only hunger.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grimalkin by James Dye


by James Dye

Grimalkin, my unpretentious, self-centered cat,
floats with buoyant agility as if lithe and nimble
as a sylphlike effervescent Kleenex falling.

I found him in the corrupt back-alley of self-serving
where I acquired for a small amount of money
a hollow cat loitering in the emptiness of space
in the paltry shallows of a vain inconsiderable life
commonplace among worthless meaningless moments.

First day, Grimalkin stole my shoestrings, no biggie.
Second day, Grimalkin ate my shrimp, not important.
Third day, Grimalkin left me only potatoes, small potatoes.
Fourth day, Grimalkin reined me in and tethered my arms.
Fifth day, I stayed home repressed, controlled, and governed.
Sixth day, Grimalkin grew to the size of a horse and wings.
Seventh day, Grimalkin pulled God on the back of a Chariot.

Grimalkin grew old and began to shrink after a while.
He’s small enough to fit inside my pocket like a shadow.
He’s vanishing, atomically shrinking, every day
Until his whispers become a low distant muffle
undetectable and indistinguishable from other microscopic,
invisible shadows, indiscernible from other ephemeral cats,
and Grimalkin’s momentary rule is insignificant to historians.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fernando II by Steve Toase

Fernando II

Fernando, the cat with a paint brush for a tail, detested water, particularly the sea. Therefore he was not enamoured when he found himself in service on a mercantile Dutch East India ship. He passed the time, when not tormenting the bursar, by carrying out small acts of necromancy on rats he had recently killed.

It was while serving on the ship that he discovered somewhere in his ancestry a dalliance with the Cheshire Cat had occurred. The skills came into particular use during a short spell in the prison of Devil's Island, but that is a different story. On ship his forebears gifts enabled him to pass unnoticed through the stores of dried fish and salted beef, indulging some of his more everyday appetites.

Fernando had been pressed into service after a hedonistic night around the docks of Amsterdam. The ship's master, Van der Decken, was an arrogant and vain man, insisting Fernando produce portraits of him once a week, each one in the style of a different great master. This did not please Fernando.

While the ship doubled the Cape of Good Hope Fernando untied several storm knots in the fur of his belly, bringing a tempest unequaled on any of the known trade routes.

As Van Decken condemned himself to an eternity navigating the seas, Fernando stood by the rail, evaporating till all he left was a grin of razor sharp feline teeth.

Steve Toase
Freelance writer and archaeologist

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Roxy by Matthew Favreau

She looks at me
Her mellow amber eyes tinged with luminescent green
She listens as I speak to her
Intent, focused, understanding every word, every fluctuation
As no human ever could

The glimmer of her silver fur
As she bathes luxuriously in the warmth of the sun
The delicate purple pads tucked beneath her chest
She stretches, rises, sits, each motion, each move perfect in its timing, its gait
Its beauty

She is the Queen of the house and no one dares dispute it
The Sheba of every armchair, every pillow, every rug worthy enough of her
She knows all this
That she is worth a thousand times the finest pearls
And yet she chooses to lie beside me

Monday, April 11, 2011

Black Cats by Patricia La Barbera

Black Cats
by Patricia La Barbera

Don't ever think it's a mistake
that when we cross your path, you quake.

You see, we've quite a history
and cultivated mystery.

We think that it's quite suitable
for us to be inscrutable.

We also know that our eyes glow
much more than say, a calico.

But it would not be adventitious
if people thought that we were vicious,

so we have learned to hide our claws
successfully in velvet paws.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mixed-Medium by Leila A. Fortier

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Leila A. Fortier is a writer, artist, poet, and photographer currently residing on the remote island of Okinawa Japan. Her poetry is known to be a unique hybrid form in which her words are specially crafted into abstract visual designs, often accompanied by her own multi-medium forms of art, photography, and spoken performance. Much of her work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, German, Hindi and Japanese in a rapidly growing project to raise global unity and understanding through the cultural diversity of poetry and literature.

Her work in all its mediums has been published in a vast array of literary magazines, journals, and reviews both in print and online. She has appeared in several books, anthologies, and freelance publications. In 2007, she initiated the anthology A World of Love: Voices for Carmen as a benefit against domestic violence and in 2010 composed a photo book entitled Pappankalan, India: Through the Eyes of Children to benefit the education of impoverished Indian children. She is also the author of Metanoia's Revelation through iUniverse. A complete listing of her published works can be found here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Bad Day For Mice by Samantha Memi

A Bad Day For Mice
by Samantha Memi

The man was looking at the woman. The woman was looking at the dog. The dog was looking at the cat. The cat was looking at the mouse. The mouse was looking at the crumbs of bread on the floor. The dog growled. The cat turned, hissed at the dog. The mouse ran from behind the cooker, around the cupboard and across the floor to the crumbs under the table. The woman, catching the movement in the corner of her eye, turned, saw the mouse and screamed. The man, thinking she had screamed at the dog, called 'Prince!' Prince leapt at the cat, but the cat leapt back and the dog landed on a rug on the polished wooden floor, slid across the kitchen and crashed into a chair. The chair fell over. The mouse, nibbling a crumb, ran out from under the table, across the floor and into the living room. The cat, its tail fluffed and fur electric, chased the mouse under the sofa. The man, having seen the mouse, ordered, 'Prince, sit!' and followed the cat. The cat sniffed the edges of the sofa, then lay on its side and stretched its paw, claws opened, into the space between the sofa and the floor. The man moved the sofa. The cat looked at the man as if to say 'Stupid,' then sniffed round the edge of the sofa again. The woman came and stood in the doorway and watched the spectacle.

She said, 'Leave it, it doesn't matter, I thought you were going.'

'Its a mouse.'

'I know what it is. I thought you were going.'

'How will you sleep with a mouse running loose?'

'The cat will get it.'

'What if it doesn't?'

'It will.'

The man lifted the sofa. The mouse ran out. The cat pounced, caught the mouse. The dog bounded through, and jumped at the cat. The cat hissed. The mouse escaped. The dog barked. The woman winced at the sound. The mouse ran between her legs. She screamed. The mouse ran into the kitchen, and hid behind a cupboard. The dog barked at the cat. The cat hissed back. The woman spat at the man,

'Get that stupid dog out of here.'

The man shouted, 'Prince, sit!' grabbed the dog and pulled it into a corner. It sat, panting, thinking how clever it was.

'Janine, please ...' said the man.

She picked up the cat and tickled behind its ear. Its heart was beating fast. She carried it through and put it down near the cupboard.

She looked at the man.

'Kill that mouse and then go,' she said.

He found a broom, saw the cat, tail swishing, moved the cupboard, swung the broom at the running mouse and hit a plant instead. The plant broke.

'That's a Chinese Rose,' the woman screamed, and the cat chased the mouse behind the fridge.

'Please go,' said the woman, 'I don't want you here. Go and see Muriel. I'm sure she's not scared of mice. She probably feeds them. Please go.'

'But Janine ...' said the man, 'You're being silly. I don't want to see Muriel. I want to be with you, not her.'

'Bit late for that now,' she said, 'you should have thought of that before you went gallivanting off with her.'

'I only went with her once. We've been through all that. We were drunk,' said the man.

'Oh well, if you were drunk that's all right then,' said the woman, and the cat tried to squeeze behind the fridge. The mouse ran out, across the floor, and under the cooker. The cat wriggled backwards to extricate itself from the wire contraption behind the fridge, then ran over to the cooker.

'You can't say it's finished, just because of one stupid mistake,' said the man.

'I can say what I like,' said Janine, 'It's my flat, my life, and I want you out of both.'

The phone rang. Annoyed, she answered.

'Hello, yes, look Amy I'm really busy at the moment. – Have you? – Oh God, oh all right then. I'll be over as soon as I can. – Yes, I know where it is. – Yes. – Yes, I'm fine. Got a mouse in the kitchen. – Yes, I'm sure it will. – He's here now. – Yes, he's fine. Yes. – No, I haven't heard. I don't think I got it. I mean they would have written by now, wouldn't they. – I don't know, it's a bit of a worry but everyone's unemployed, aren't they? – Ok, I'll be there as soon as I can.' She put down the phone.

'That was Amy. She's run out of petrol, she's in Fulham. Will you please go?'

'I'll come with you.'

'You will not. I don't want you with me. I want you out of my life.'

'We need to talk.'

'I've got nothing to say to you.'

The man crouched down on his hands and knees.

'Look David, you must leave, Amy's stuck in a traffic jam, she's frightened, I've got to take her some petrol.'

'Some friendly motorist will help her.'

'Some unfriendly motorist may well rape her. Look, I've got to go.'

'I'll stay here and get the mouse.'

'I don't want you here when I get back.'

'I'll get the mouse, then I'll leave.'

'Leave the mouse, leave my flat, leave my life, just go.'

David poked the broom handle under the cooker, the mouse ran out, the cat pounced, caught the mouse, mauled it, let it go, pounced again.

The doorbell rang. Janine went through. It was Helen, an old friend she had met recently and invited round, not imagining she would take up the offer. With her was a dog. It barked at the cat. Helen saw the mouse, shrieked, 'My God, it's a mouse.' It ran round in circles with an injured leg and the cat pounced again.

Helen's dog, a Yorkshire terrier, strained at its leash, barking and showing its teeth. Helen refused to move. Prince bounded through to see what the fuss was. David caught its collar. Janine started pushing David,

'Get out of my flat.' She pushed him into the hall where Helen's Yorkshire grizzled at David's labrador-alsation cross. 'I'm sorry Helen, I'm in an awful muddle, my daughter's stuck in Fulham in a traffic jam, she's run out of petrol. So I have to go out. And this is my ex-boyfriend and I can't get rid of him. Come round again. Give me a ring. Have you got my number?'

'Yes, I think so.'

'David, you have to go.'

'Yes, I'll see you again.'

'No, don't bother.'

Helen with the grimacing dog squeezed out of the door and stood looking at Janine, perplexed. Janine pushed David out.

'Give me a ring Helen, I'm sorry about this.'

Janine slammed the door and thought What have I done to deserve this? The mouse was on its back, convulsing. The cat was flicking it across the floor, first one way with one paw, then back with the other; then it crouched, watched the mouse convulse, then wriggled and pounced again. Janine couldn't watch. She went into the living room. There on the sofa was David's jacket. He'd left it there on purpose to give himself an excuse for coming back. She wouldn't let him in. She'd get a chain for the door. She wouldn't let anyone in. She ran to the front door to check he wasn't still talking to Helen, but the hall was empty. She got her handbag, found her keys and jacket. The phone rang.

'Hello mum, it's all right, I saw a friend of mine, what a coincidence, eh, and he got me some petrol. It's really lucky 'cos I really fancy him and I wouldn't normally have dared speak to him, but I just saw him and waved and he came over and now we're going to Brighton. I might not be back tonight. I'll see you tomorrow. Is everything all right?'

'Yes, everything's fine.'

'You sound a bit down.'

'Just tired, that's all.'

'You don't mind, do you?'

'Mind what?'

'Me, going to Brighton?'

'No, of course not, you go and enjoy yourself.'

'See you tomorrow.'

'Yeah, take care.'

'I will. Bye.'


Janine put the phone down. She was crying. Why had David done that? Why did he want another woman? Soon Amy would be leaving her. Soon she would have no one. She'd be a middle-aged single mum with a grown up daughter who came to visit and scrounge once a month with a succession of boyfriends.

'This is my mum. She lives alone.'

The mouse still clung on to life. Janine poured a glass of Rioja. She looked out at the grey London sky.

'Fuckin' world,' she thought as she swilled down the wine. She wanted to put the mouse out of its misery but didn't know how. The doorbell rang. She didn't move. It rang again. She sat down. The mouse suffered. She poured more wine, drank it like water, poured another, and from the corners of her mouth curled the purple wisps of a clown's smile, and she felt like a mouse escaping the trap, escaping the cat, caught by the poison.