Who Lies Here?

Who Lies Here?

who lies here? 

a cemetery 

a headstone 

an urn 

a photograph 

perhaps no final resting place 

perhaps many

who lies here? 

someone with a birth weight  

delivered, diapered 

swaddled in a blanket 

placed into the waiting arms 

of a tearful mother 

    full of hope for her baby

who lies here?

someone who stood up 

      took first steps

fell down but 

      kept standing up 

who lies here?

someone who stood up 

in first grade 

  recited the Pledge of Allegiance        

      before ever learning to read 

who lies here? 

someone who stood up 

       for a friend 

on the playground 

       or in a war zone 

   someone who 

        had someone else’s back 

who lies here?

someone who stood up 

for what was right 

       who voted 

         who lived with passion

           who felt conviction

              who bravely took a side 

who lies here?

someone who stood up 

     and made a promise

        and kept it 

someone who stood up 

  who signed up

      who enlisted  

who lies here? 

someone who stood up

   for a country 

someone who stood up 

   for rights 

        and freedom 

who stood up for family

who stood up for strangers 

who stood up for you 

who lies here? 

someone with a death weight 

delivered home

swaddled in blues 

entombed in a flag-draped casket 

eternally held 

    in the indebted arms  

      of a nation 

whose hearts still beat 

to the marching cadence 

of the memory of 

one who stood up 

who lies here  




Those few extra zzzzzs

When he takes the dogs outside 

Does your job for you 

All so you can sleep 

Just a little while longer 

Because he loves you……

O. Deer


O. Deer

Her doe name is O. 

O. Deer is nibbling breakfast

close to the window.

Fitz and Boo explode!

O. Deer ignores, forages.

She’s One classy doe. 

O. takes her sweet time.

She lingers over grasses,

dismisses asses.

Her priorities 

do not include arguing 

with foolish dog foes.




A Chueh-chu short sonnet

aaba cada 

Shall I retire at fifty four?

I would be blessed forevermore! 

I’d linger with my pen a while 

instead of racing out the door. 

Retirement thoughts bring dreamy    


daydreamy gaze of coastal shores ~ 

I want a plan that lets me breathe

sheer satisfaction to the core.




there’s nothing like it 


with brown sugar 

     and cream 


there’s nothing like it 

with maple syrup 

     and mixed berries 

or with bananas 

     and milk and honey 

there’s nothing like it 


versatile oatmeal 

with raisins 

     and cinnamon sugar 

there’s nothing like it

(Today’s breakfast was a Viator poem – my first attempt at this form today shifts the refrain in each line to the next sequenced line in each stanza where the refrain is always the final line of the poem)

Onyx Fox Squirrel


Onyx Fox Squirrel

There is a certain fox squirrel…. 

that drives our Schnauzer, Fitz, nuts. He is no ordinary fox squirrel – he is onyx black with a tan nose, rather the size of a medium rabbit, who scampers curiously at the edge of the woods, his long bushy tail like a Jetski rooster, flagging his location as he darts about the tree line. His tailflag lowers and hangs like a damp dishrag whenever he snoozes as a black bear would on a limb, legs drooping down either side, illustrating the essence of coziness in a tree. He has absolutely no regard for Fitz, who watches from his window and barks incessantly to threaten the squirrel crossing boundaries. Fitz considers this particular squirrel even more maddening than the rest of his menagerie of lizards, deer,

and other critters all combined. 

We’ve talked about this, Fitz and I. And I’ve suggested that this squirrel could be deaf, wise, hyper focused or selectively ignorant. 

Deaf is a possibility, though not a strong one since he’s surviving in a territory filled with land and air predators. He didn’t get to be this age without a high degree of withitness. Hyper focus is also possible, but also unlikely because of the need to have the full 360 degree awareness of his surroundings to survive. Fitz believes the squirrel is ignorant and takes full canine offense to this selective tuning out by the squirrel, whose behavior shoes more than it ever tells Fitz that all the pine seedlings in the ground are more interesting than a mere glance at a fat black Schnauzer. But if I had to pick, I would say that the squirrel is wise and intentional in his patterns and routines. Every school kid could take a lesson from this furry rodent who does not let others get to him. He moves about his life with purpose and does not let his enemies ensnare him or rabbit-hole his efforts. He knows himself as the strong, important creature he is and does not allow himself time to stop and compare his own unique qualities to those of this fool-headed dog. He represents the true Libertarian logic “to each his own” – he is thinking : I’ll live my life, you love yours. I don’t care about your politics, religion, sexual orientation or income bracket – I’m fully supporting myself and I am capable of making my own choices without heeding your sphere of influence. 

The halls of every high school would be filled with far more successful students if they took some social lessons from this clever and wise fox squirrel! Nature – including our dogs – has much to teach us about human interaction! 

Farm and Island Dog Joy


Farm and Island Dog Joy  

The deer conversations of the morning are nothing like what happens next in the timeline of a day in the life of one of our boys. There are all these lizards that bask in the windowsills of our house and drive our fearless Schnauzer, Fitz, to the brink of insanity  –

Broad Headed skinks, Five-Lined skinks, Fence lizards and Chameleons. This whole daily charade starts each day when the sun rises over the Johnson Funny Farm pines situated along the eastern boundary of the farm and warms the Savannah Gray bricks in the Reading Room windowsill overlooking the southeast edge of the pine forest. Fitz is long awaiting their appearance before they ever arrive – he lies in wait on the olivaceous ottoman and calculates his newly-devised attack strategies. Generally, he begins with the whiny alert that there is a considerer who pokes his head up and flagellates his tail before he ever commits to actually sprawling out into the full lizard bask – this goes on for fifteen minutes or so. He escalates to a high- pitched short bark just before any of his reptilian enemies relax – just enough to keep them wondering if the glass will offer protection from Fitz’s futile hunt for the day. Once any of these slithery specimens settles in enough to close its eyes, the full-on glass pawing begins – and sometimes on the inside sill to add noise and violent vibration, like bed-digging clear to China. 

The serious manner of his imparting fear and intimidation into his lizards is real to him and comes with a sheer passion to not only protect his people but to someday succeed in the art of the hunt – to bring home a trophy just like a farm cat would, dismembered and mostly mauled beyond recognition except for perhaps half a head and a set of spindly claws from a foot.  For Fitz, the whole encounter must be a lot like watching a hunting show on TV – all the while knowing that just like you will never win a new car watching The Price is Right in a game show, you’re never going to catch a lizard on the opposite side of a window pane. But still – your excited heart is drawn into the rush and you can’t let it go. 

There are no conversations between Fitz and these lizards as there are with the deer – at least not that I have overheard. He is not threatened by them in the least – he simply wants to tear them apart and be praised by his people as a great and legendary lizard hunter.  Oh, for that day to arrive! 

Meanwhile, on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia, Fitz’s adopted Aunt Kona, a Schnoodle seven years younger than he  – who reigns as queen of her local dog park and who is known by name to all the locals – is having a birthday party today at 5 pm inside the double fence. All the regulars and the dog owners will be there as she leads the birthday parade into the park with a portable cooler full of ice cream for the guests who are there to celebrate the difference she has made in her owner’s life in only four short months. She entered his world only through divine intervention – (understand: there is no such thing as a free female young doodle, delivered in the arms of a man wearing a Florida State University t-shirt who drives three hours to meet you halfway for the drop because he’s going through a rough divorce and knows that his prayers for his dog have been answered – – this happens nowhere in this world except by the hand of God in Romans 8:28). Celebratory cheers will erupt in the park today as attendees select their choice of ice cream sandwiches, nutty bars, and other sweet frozen treats. They’ll lift their hearts in joy as they sing a birthday song to a sweetheart of a dog who has brought a band of caring folks together who all share the unconditional love of their dogs – a love that transcends all that is humanly possible.  

Non-Reindeer Mind Games

 Non-Reindeer Mind Games

There is this sweet little doe who comes to our window and plays mind games with our schnauzer Fitz, who knows his one job is to keep wildlife at bay. But this deer won’t budge

He warns her repeatedly, but 

she says that this is the best yard in the entire state of Georgia and she has no intention of settling for another one 

he scoffs and growls at that remark 

she says she likes the lush grass and vegetation – such lovely flora-  and the safety from the threats of predators nearby in other yards where there are guns

Fitz tries to convince her that this house has guns, too, but she refuses to believe him… she says she knows his daddy

she says this grass is the best green color for peeing on anywhere that she has ever seen and has her favorite spots all marked and that he would do well to stay off of them

Fitz rebukes her, insisting that she is killing the grass that his dad works so hard to maintain, but she says no – she says sees him out on the tractor and that his dad has invited her to live here and pee on any spot she likes….they talk, she tells Fitz….

she says the trails and routes that she take at various times throughout the day are her favorites she has ever made and that she will keep right on walking them, as he barks his little head off from the window. She says if he wants to bark like a fool and lose his voice, that’s his choice, that she will just keep staring at him like a caged enemy

Fitz tells her that this is no place for safety, that he has personally seen rabid foxes and raccoons, coyotes beefy enough to take her and her girlfriends and their babies down, hawks attacking small mammals, and packs of dogs fiercer than serial killers , not to mention the copperheads and rattlesnakes slithering about 

she says those animals are only looking for small, black, fat Schnauzers that look like little insane German philosophers and that they do not scare her

he tells her that there are more ticks and spiders in this acreage than anywhere else in this county and that Lyme Disease is the new Covid for deer

she tells him that his dad has treated the entire property just for her with some special, safe tick dust that might kill little dogs and ticks, but it won’t hurt her…she says she heard he brought a tick to bed that attacked his mother and that his mother says it might be safer to sleep with a deer, so she’s coming indoors to sleep with us tonight in his spot – and lifts her chin and walks behind the trees

Fitz lets loose a stream of mammalian cuss words not translatable to humans and storms off to our bed, claiming his spot for a morning nap and strategizing his next mind game moves

….as he does every morning…..

Late May Morning Ramble


Late May Morning Ramble 

On the back porch swing, the one that’s 14 years old and was the first birthday present from your now husband and has been repaired twice with new chains but still has the original cushions all faded and worn, and that squeaks and squeals and scares off the wildlife, the morning is cool and crisp enough even on a late May morning – 61° – to scoot inside and fetch the rag quilt from the bed, the one made with flannel backing to match your plaid quilted comforter with its autumn colors- leaves of green and rust, cranberries, butters – its edges frayed purposefully for that shabby- chic/ rustic modern farmhouse look, even though your house is your own unique blend of mix-matched styles without rules for fitting in except that nothing is mere frippery and it all serves a purpose, unlike those candles people never burn because they think tomorrow will always come and who keep clothes five sizes too small because they also believe their thyroid gland might come back to work full-time, even in a world that can’t hire enough help not to have long lines at the short-staffed sandwich shops and dollar stores that were called dime stores in the 1970s before so much inflation, because unemployment now makes it easier to stay home and watch stories all day like my grandmother used to do in her living room in front of her ironing board – watching As the World Turns  and All my Children and Days of our Lives in her dusters and terry cloth stretch slippers and hair net, only without their modern-day irons since they aren’t going anywhere these days to actually need pressed pants or button down shirts, and besides – the cleaners would do it in today’s world of modern conveniences anyway, like the way you use Clicklist to avoid time spent grocery shopping when you can click a few days’ or a week‘s worth of items, pay for it online, pull up and park and wait for it to be loaded and drive off never having stepped out into the parking lot, even though convenience is not the reason you use Clicklist – your reason is introversion and not having to wait on people who don’t know what brand of pork skins they want to buy and who stand in the aisle with entire extended families blocking the way like they’re  aimless deer standing in a herd, caught in the headlights and frozen in stupid, while you cuss newly-invented words under your breath hoping modern technology never finds a way to flash across your forehead for all to see or hear what you’re muttering to yourself while you – at the same time – ask forgiveness and summon God’s peace for the polite breath to say “excuse me” to these complete morons and wait for them to move at the speed of two-toed sloths to the side so you can go around and grab your husband a simple bag of respectable Doritos that you’re glad Clicklist saves you the trouble of doing, which even at the unwaived $4.95 shopping fee, is well worth the money when you are a person of pretty routine habits and meal preferences to know exactly what you want without feeling the need to venture out with so many options because you don’t have the time or desire to cook new recipes or dine like royalty after working all day –  you just want to put a small strip of steak and a piece of marinated salmon on your 14×12 electric grill plugged in on the porch and pop some steamable edamame and a bag of Uncle Ben’s Jasmine Ready Rice into the microwave and call it a meal in 20 minutes and hope and pray this time – without all the mind cussing beforehand – that you didn’t contract Alpha Gal Syndrome from the Lone Star Tick you pulled off your neck last week and saved in a Ziploc bag just in case you keeled over and died so your husband would then be able to confirm for the investigators that he didn’t choke you – you died of a legit tick bite from eating the meat of a hoofed animal and asphyxiated because you failed to heed caution and get the tick and yourself tested to know whether or not to get an EpiPen for times when you mix-meat grill both hoofed and gilled on the same shared surface, and all of this makes you stop mid-swing and wonder about the risks you’re taking with outdoor swinging, bundled up in a rag quilt where your warm body is nothing but one big open invitation to every Lone Star tick eyeing you from the freshly-bushhogged edge of the yard, now crawling as fast as they can, running as fast as ticks can run,  sprinting towards you to sink their Alpha Gal poisons into you and bury their full heads into your flesh and drink from you like a frat boy drinks from a keg for days on end, all drunk with lethargic unawareness like that same herd of deer from the pork skin aisle – – so you quickly wrap up and go inside, thinking it’s safer snuggling with your sweet little Schnauzer on the couch  – your very sweet little dog who probably brought the Lone Star tick indoors to you on the paws of his Nexgarded self in the first place last week, to pass off to your unNexgarded neck in the dead of night while you slept peacefully under the rag quilt …..

Lover’s Terza Rima


A Lover’s 5W and 1 H Terza Rima

why should we worry about what isn’t said? 

why do we lie awake, unasleep in bed? 

why do word ghosts creep through shadows of our heads?

who am I to him, and who is he to me?

who are we as one, together who are we? 

who have we both been, who do we wish to be? 

where is one and where are two in wedding vows?

where does trust live in all we must allow?

where are we in life -yesterday and now?

what is commitment, and what is its price?

what is love, and what must we sacrifice?

what is all hope but a roll of the dice? 

when disappointment disheartens both or one 

when we wonder should we stay? …..should we run? 

when does a rain storm not give up on the sun?

how do lovers ever not give up on love? 

how do we forgive another’s sideward shove? 

how do inward eyes return their gaze above?