Ultimatum 

To My Friendly Neighbor Regarding His Overly-friendly Pet*

Dear neighbor, do you love your cat?
(I’m sure you must, they’re such enchanters)
I’ve got a bag of poo (for you)
It left in all my planters.

My dreams in spring revolve around
My growing plants of many species,
And don’t include, at every turn,
Unearthing feline feces.

I want to plan my garden out
(It’s going to be magnificent)
And dig and sow in tidy rows—
Not sift the dirt for excrement.

Please keep your precious cat away,
For if I catch him in the act,
The act will be his final one;
You mark my words, now, that’s a fact.

So buy your cat a litter box
And teach the pest to use it—
If he comes back to soil my soil,
I swear I’m gonna lose it!

* Disclaimer: No cats were harmed as a result of this poem

 

Dandelions

Through much plowing and seeding
And a great deal of weeding,
__My neat garden’s a sight to behold,
While my negligent neighbor
With not one scrap of labor
__Has produced an immense sea of gold.

 

 

Nature Calls

An Open Letter from a Homeowner to the Users of the Park Adjacent

Dear frolicking, carefree, park-frequenting youth,
Please desist from relieving yourselves on my tree.
Though I do sympathize with your plight (yes, in truth)—
The absence of bathrooms plus strong urge to pee—
When I visit my garden, be my stay long or brief,
I prefer floral fragrance and sweet scent of pine;
So the next time you must use a tree for relief,
Young men, I adjure you—let it not be mine!

 

 

Spring, Out of Season

November’s final day has come. Its dawn,
A woeful understatement, failed to make
With its drab grays a huge impression on
My sleeping form. Thus I was slow to wake,

And most reluctant to begin my day,
Devoid (it seemed) of any cheerful sign
(While Autumn’s festive leaves have blown away,
His chill, I fear, has settled in my spine).

Such was my state of mind all morning long.
Such still, now I step out to check the mail,
Noting the listless songbirds’ lack of song;
Noting the sun—cloud-shrouded still, and pale.

There, nestled midst the weekly ads and bills
Just like a blossom peeking through the weeds,
Is an array of glads and daffodils—
A brightly colored catalog of seeds.

I feel the vaguest stirring deep within;
Something awakens in my dormant soul;
My lips twitch strangely in an almost-grin
As I sit down at once to read it whole.

I breathe the sweet, intoxicating scents;
Dog-ear the pages as I sip my tea,
And through the window, ‘gainst my barren fence
A lovely shadow-garden I can see.

Nothing is different, and yet all has changed:
The chill is gone; new light within me beams.
As I mark my selections one by one
The landscape of my day is rearranged
And in my mind a host of vibrant dreams
Sprout in the warmth of my imagined sun.

 

 

Anna J. Arredondo grew up in Pennsylvania, where she fell in love with poetry from a young age. After living in Mexico for six years, during which time she met and married her husband, she returned to Pennsylvania for one more decade. An engineer by education, home educator by choice, and poet by preference, she relocated in 2017 and currently resides in Westminster, CO with her husband and three school-age children. Anna has recently had poems published in The Lyric and Time of Singing.


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33 Responses

  1. Joan Erickson

    Just wonderful! Love the humor – so needed
    in this crazy world of today!

    Reply
  2. Amy Foreman

    Anna, so glad you are sharing your work at the SCP. “Spring, Out of Season” is especially delightful–from my years gardening in MO, I know exactly what you mean about receiving those seed catalogs during the darkest months of the year!

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you, Amy. I’m pleased to know I’m not the only one to find a ray of hope in garden daydreams during the dreary winter months. Sometimes it’s necessary to root out a “bright side”!

      Reply
  3. C.B. Anderson

    Anna, all of these were delightful. My own neighbor’s cat doesn’t leave scat where I can find it, but rather does me the service of keeping small rodents under control. I’ve been gardening seriously (and professionally) for decades, and I confess that many, many animals were harmed (put to death) under my stewardship. So far, however, no cats.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you, C.B. I appreciate your comment very much. Since you are both a gardener and a poet, it’s great to know that my garden poems have met with your approval. May the neighbor-cats be always in your service!

      Reply
  4. Peter Hartley

    Anna – These poems. especially the first, would be vastly amusing if it weren’t all so damned serious. Why do cats crap on every garden but their own? They used to make at least a small attempt to bury it. Why have they given up even this token sop to civic pride?. The poems are funny and they read well.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Peter, I’m glad you enjoyed the poems, even though they have stirred up your (most justifiable) indignation against the trespasses of contemptuous cats. I think C.B.’s neighbor’s cat should be lifted up as a role model for felines everywhere.

      Reply
  5. Joseph S. Salemi

    I hate cats (as my friend Sally Cook will attest) since for years I have complained about how they come and leave their feces in my yard. Some things do work, as when I set up mats of chevaux de frise everywhere to prevent the cats from walking, but unfortunately this makes your garden look like the Normandy beachhead in 1944.

    Some friends from the sticks have told me that killing a few cats and hanging up their corpses from short poles is amazingly effective, but you have to be willing to put up with the death-stench for a week or two. In any case, we’re not allowed to kill stray animals in New York City, but there are plenty of people who do it surreptitiously and just wrap them up for the garbage can.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Joseph, I dislike cats in general, though I have met some tolerable specimens (which I can count on one hand) over the years — invariably cats whose owners were conscientious enough to keep them indoors and train them to take care of their toileting needs in a litter box.

      A week and a half ago our family was joined by a rambunctious labrador puppy. Perhaps she will prove herself to be a solution to the problem — one that is less medieval and macabre than those you have described. If we can just teach her to stop sampling the foliage and gnawing on random stems, I might even have a garden next spring!

      Reply
  6. Mark F. Stone

    Anna, Hi. The first three poems are my favorites. I particularly like the last stanza of “Ultimatum.” Although I did not make a comment at the time, I also enjoyed your poem from a few months ago “Love Song for a Grapefruit.” It is very well done! Mark

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Hi Mark. Thank you for your compliments! I am new on the scene here, and still hesitant to comment on others’ work, but let me take this opportunity to say that I enjoyed your Pterodactyl poem very much. Well-written and a joy to read!

      Reply
  7. Peter Hartley

    Anna – If I might shove my big nose in again:-

    The dog is resigned to being maligned
    For pooing in public places.
    The cat of your neighbour is far more re fined,
    Combined with its airs and graces,
    Its behind is aligned with your garden in mind
    Where it poos in its own private places.

    Your dog you must pardon
    If he poos in you garden
    Since your mog endeavours
    To poo in your neighbours’

    TheLabrador tries
    To meet our eyes,
    The windows of our souls,
    It’s said.
    The cat’s content to greet
    Our soles
    And meet our feet
    Instead.

    PS I hate cats.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      Peter, You should be ashamed of yourself, especially for your following comment. But who am I to say? I have eaten the flesh of the American mountain lion (or cougar, or whatever you might want to call it). It wasn’t bad. The backstrap was good straight up, and the thigh made a damn good meat loaf after it was ground. I’ve never eaten domestic cat, but I look forward to the opportunity, should the opportunity arise.

      Reply
      • Anna J. Arredondo

        Goodness! The direction this conversation has taken makes me thankful I included a disclaimer on my poem. Clearly the subject of cats and their fecal matter strikes a nerve.

        The issue of which animals are good for food and which are good for pets is primarily a cultural one; I guess no creature is intrinsically one or the other. My children have two well-loved pet guinea pigs; we also have family friends who have dined on guinea pig during visits to South America. Another friend has told us of a popular kebab truck in another part of the world whose offerings he savored until he discovered the unsavory source of the meat — stray dogs. Then there are those who keep a pig or a chicken as a household pet, but have no compunction over eating bacon or drumsticks purchased in neat, impersonal packages from the supermarket. It seems that to cross the line from food to safety, an animal simply needs to be adopted or tamed by a human protector and declared a “pet”.

        I myself have a tradition in recent years of bringing some crickets home in February to serenade me with their chirping and remind me that spring and summer will one day return: thus crickets acting as pets. On other occasions, however, we purchase the crickets to feed to our pet toads or lizards: crickets as food. The food chain is a fascinating thing.

        Regarding cats and dogs, though, I am inclined to abide by the cultural norms of my country of residence, and perceive them as pets (whether loved or hated), not food. Who knows what I might try should I travel abroad… (Probably not dog. Or cat.)

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Peter, the souls/soles contrast is amusing. It seems to me that on encountering dog doo in public places, most people blame the owners for not picking it up, whereas when cats leave their “gifts” in our private yards, the rage is channeled directly at them. Interesting. I suspect this is due to two things: 1. Dogs are more lovable (I have seen some of your fine poems about dogs) and 2. Owners of the public-poo-offenders are often strangers, and easy to blame; the cats who trespass one’s back yard are usually owned by a neighbor, and who wants to start an ugly feud with the neighbors?…

      Reply
  8. Peter Hartley

    …Alternatively they may be cooked in a preheated conventional oven at 220 degrees Celsius, gas mark 7, for twenty minutes then served on a bed of lettuce with a knob of butter, a few asparagus beans and a sprinkling of oregano. Mmmm delicious.

    Reply
  9. Peter Hartley

    … In parts of SE Kalimantan in Borneo the cats are regularly rounded up (has anyone tried rounding up a cat?) on New Year’s Eve, cooked on a roaring camp fire and served spatchcock fashion straight into the bin (or trash-can).

    Reply
  10. Brent Pallas

    Really great poems Anna. Enjoyed reading them. Thanks for posting. I put one up on my FACEBOOK page.

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Thank you, Brent. I’m glad you enjoyed them. Might I inquire which one you chose to share?

      Reply
      • Brent Pallas

        Anna. I liked them all. But I chose ULTIMATUM. I usually just post one at a time. I enjoy people I know who don’t usually read poetry actually reading it and enjoying it and saying so. Thanks again for your work.

  11. Monty

    I ask you to imagine a career fraudster, Joe Bloggs. To avoid recriminations from his victims, he’s assiduously careful to never give anyone his home address. Does anyone think Joe would one day erect a sign outside his house saying: ‘Joe Bloggs lives here’? Of course not! Why would he?

    Thus the domestic cat’s predilection for shitting in everyone’s garden but it’s own. To do so in it’s own garden would advertise its address to all the other cats in the neighborhood. Or, to put it another way: to shit in its own garden would be akin to Joe erecting the aforementioned sign.

    So, to all the misguided cat-haters . . remember this: Us humans are always careful not to give our address to anyone we shouldn’t. So, when a cat shits in your garden, it’s only doing what us humans are in the habit of doing . . taking steps to ensure we never get any unwelcome visitors to our door. This is not even a choice that a cat makes; millions of years of instinct has informed a cat to take these steps. That’s why big-cats in the wild would never contemplate having a shit within a thousand yards of their den . . it’d be asking for trouble. Just like Joe would be if he erected the sign.

    A certain Mr Zimmerman from Minnesota once uttered the words: “Don’t criticise what you can’t understand” . .

    Reply
    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Hello, Monty.

      Though your four-letter-word-flaunting comment seems to be more in reference to some of the cat-haters’ comments than my poem itself, I guess I will reply. A couple of observations:

      1. In your analogy, the domestic cat’s pooping in the gardens of neighboring houses rather than its own so as to not give away its home address is not “doing what us humans are in the habit of doing” to maintain our privacy as you suggest; rather it is the equivalent of ‘Joe Bloggs’ going about trespassing on his neighbors’ property posting fraudulent signs that falsely claim ‘Joe Bloggs lives here.’ To my awareness, we humans are not in the habit of taking such measures to protect our privacy.

      2. I completely agree that animals are NOT humans, and therefore do not (voluntarily or spontaneously) choose to toilet according to human standards and norms. I have found fox scat and bird droppings in my back yard without feeling the least bit of ill will towards the animals that left them. The issue is this: when humans domesticate the creatures, be it for agriculture or companionship, they assume the responsibility for the creatures’ actions as far as they affect society at large. And, while there are laws for keeping chickens that dictate how high the containing fence must be and what the nearest proximity of the coop may be to neighboring property; while there are leash laws for canines, and abundant signs reminding their owners to clean up after them; while no one would dream of letting their goat or ball python or iguana or chihuahua roam free and trespass on the neighbor’s lawn (to the potential peril of either the pet or the neighbor); domestic cats WITH owners who ought to be responsible to look after them are free to hop fences and defecate wherever they please. These things ought not to be so.

      3. The only thing I don’t “understand” is why there are no laws to govern the keeping of domestic cats (and specifically the keeping of said cats out of MY yard). In “Ultimatum” there is no ‘criticism’ of cats for pooping; there is a heartfelt complaint, and that is directed towards the neighbor-and-cat-owner. I stand by my right to complain (it may considered something of a national pastime) of the inconvenience caused to me by my neighbor’s lack of restricting his cat.

      4. Though I know there are some genuine, hard-core cat-haters in the world, my own choice to express animosity toward the invasive pooping creature is a matter of preference: I’d rather hate the creature than the neighbor.

      Reply
      • Monty

        I can see that you’re blisfully unaware of the patent contradiction in your words, Anna; so I feel that I should demonstrate it . .

        “. . there’s no criticism of cats for pooping . . but there is a complaint directed towards the neighbour/owner . . who ought to be responsible for looking after them . . for their lack of restricting their cat” . . . all of that: then, inexplicably (and I mean ‘inexplicably’) you say that you’d “rather hate the creature than the neighbour”!
        Think about that . .

        For your own benefit, Anna, I feel that it’d be prudent not to continue this discourse any further, ‘coz you’ll end up backing yourself into a corner. If we continued, I envisage exchanges such as: (me) ‘And how does a neighbour restrict its cat? . . (you) ‘Keep it in the house’ . . (me) ‘But the only way to prevent pooping is to keep it in the house permanently: is that what you’re suggesting?’ . . (you) ‘Yes’ . . . and we both know the utter senselessness of such a suggestion; so I propose that we don’t let it reach that juncture.

      • Anna J. Arredondo

        Hi again, Monty.

        1. Regarding the futility of a discussion on the restriction of cats, I agree with you. I’d like to point out again the difference in meaning between the word you chose (criticize) and the word that correctly describes my intention in writing the poem (complain).

        complain: express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something

        criticize: indicate the faults of (someone or something) in a disapproving way

        It is entirely possible and extremely common to express dissatisfaction or annoyance about things that one has no hope or possibility of changing. Two common examples that come to mind are traffic and the weather. If I expressed annoyance about the torrential rain on the day I was planning a picnic, would you take issue with me saying, “it’s utterly senseless to suggest changing the weather because we both know that’s not going to happen”? If so, you would be mistaken, interpreting my complaint as a proposal for change.

        Also, the lack of any foreseeable or practicable solution to an annoyance does not preclude one from complaining or wishful thinking.

        2. Don’t assume that because one makes a contradictory statement, they are therefore (blissfully or otherwise) unaware of the contradiction. Having admitted that animals will simply behave as they are designed to behave, and having expressed both a. my annoyance at the inconvenience it causes me and b. my opinion (and wishful thinking) that cat owners ought not to allow their pets to trespass, I then stated my chosen way to deal with the resentment. It is not a matter of logic or reason, but of subjective experience. I fail to see what is inexplicable about it, as the idea of a scapegoat is fairly common.

        It goes something like this: I cannot fault the cat for doing what is in its nature to do. It is doing that very thing in my garden, which irritates me immensely. I have angry feelings I need to deal with. I think my neighbor ought to keep his pet out of my yard, so I begin to direct the anger towards him. However, I’d rather not harbor resentment toward my neighbor, and would prefer to be at odds with an animal than with my fellow man. Thus I decide on a scapegoat: the cat. Works for me.

  12. Monty

    I didn’t choose the word ‘criticism’, Anna.. you did, in your penultimate comment, when you pointed out that there was no ‘criticism’ of cats pooing in ‘Ultmatum’. I just used your word ‘criticism’ in highlighting the anomaly of you saying, in as many words: “I’m not criticising the cat; my complaint is against its owner”.. (which is saying that you acknowledge it’s not the cats fault, but the owner’s fault), and then: “But I’d rather hate the cat than the owner”. See the anomaly?

    Here’s another one: “I admit that animals will simply behave as they’re designed to behave” . . “I can’t fault the cat for doing what’s in its nature to do” . . “so I direct my anger towards its owner”.. (which is, in effect, putting the blame solely on the owner).. but then: “However, I’d rather not harbour resentment towards my neighbour . . I’d prefer to be at odds with the cat than with its owner”. See? I was just about to write: ‘Can’t you see the glaring anomaly in your words?’ . . but I think you CAN see it, Anna. I think you’re as screwed-up over this as your words are.

    Everything you say indicates to me that your real “complaint” is not with the cat, and it’s not with the owner . . it’s with yourself! I think you realise that the only way you can possibly alleviate your frustration is by going to knock on the owner’s door. And the moment you think of doing that, you immediately envisage how the conversation would go:
    Knock knock . . (he) Hello . . (you) Hello, your cat keeps pooing in my garden . . (he) Well, I’m afraid that that’s what cats do: I’m sure he poos in other gardens as well. On top of which, there are other cats in the neighbourhood; how d’you know it’s always my cat? . . (you) I’ve seen it pooing . . (he) What, every time? Don’t gimme that . . (he) So, it poos in your garden; what can I do about it? . . (you) Get a litter-tray . . (he) Are you out of your mind? It’s a fully-grown cat; it’s not gonna take to a litter-tray now. They have to be trained from kittens to use a litter-tray. It’d never use a litter-tray: it’d never even look at it. It’d simply poo outside as it’s always done . . (you) Then you’ll have to keep the cat indoors at all times . . (he) Now now, Madam, if you’re gonna start saying pathetic things like that, then I’m gonna shut this door and end the conversation . . (you) Well, at least prevent it coming in MY garden . . (he) Have you got a screw loose? Are you saying that when I let my cat out, I should say: “Right, cat.. you can go in any other garden you wish, but you’re not allowed in THAT one”. Is that what you’re saying? . . (you) No, of course not . . (he) Well then, how can I prevent it? D’you want me to give up my job, buy a comfy chair, and come and sit in your garden all day . . and everytime the cat approaches, I should shoo it away? . . (you) But it’s . . (he) There’s no ‘buts’, Madam, that’s simply how things are. I’ve only got two choices: I let my cat out to do what it wants . . or I keep it indoors 24/7. There’s no third choice. And even YOU are not gonna suggest the 24/7, are you? ARE YOU? . . (you) Well, no.. but . . (he) Well, there you are, Madam. Just accept that that’s how things are. Treat it like we treat flight-delays: something irritating that we’ve got no control over! Now, I’ve got things to do, so that’s the end of it . . good day.
    And that would be that, Anna. You’d have to walk back to your house with your tail between your legs . . hoping that none of the other neighbours heard the conversation.

    And the reason you already know that that’s how the conversation would go . . is because it couldn’t go any other way. The owner can say nothing other than what he said above. He’s got no other choices . . and there are no solutions . . c’est la vie.

    So, I strongly suspect that THAT’S why you won’t knock the owner’s door: ‘coz you already know what the outcome would be. You know you’d end-up looking silly. And now.. you’re in an unfortunate position: You don’t blame the cat: and you don’t wanna go an’ see the owner. Hence, your frustration remains . . and builds . . and builds . . to the point where you admit “I’ve got angry feelings I need to deal with”. Yeah, I think you DO need to.

    It’s now so clear and easy to see why you ended your last comment with: “So, I’ve decided that the cat shall be the scapegoat . . it works for me”. It doesn’t work for you, Anna: you didn’t DECIDE to make the cat the scapegoat . . you had NO CHOICE in your mind but to make the cat the scapegoat.

    There may or may not come a day at some time in the future where you’re able to say to yourself: “Actually, there are no scapegoats. We’re all just different creatures on the same planet doing the same things: eating, pooing, screwing, raising children . . I should just live and let live”. I can assure you, Anna, that if you were to adopt that attitude, your “anger” would soon dissipate.

    I feel that I’ve now said all I need to say on this matter; and I shall say no more . . regardless of what you say in your follow-up comment.

    p.s. Your neighbour told you earlier that there were only two options available to him: To keep the cat indoors 24/7.. or sit himself on guard in your garden.. thus, no options. But if he was a really straight-talking man, he might’ve said as he was closing his door: “Actually, now I think of it, there is a third option. It’s a bit of a last resort: but if you really feel that strongly about it, then you might consider moving to another house where there are no neighbours”.

    Reply
    • Brent Pallas

      Anna – Love your work and your replies to this Monty fellow. You’re giving him way too much space in your universe and I applaud you for your grace in the face of his ridiculous comments. I think the only thing to say to him is nothing. Dog and cat people are, to paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, are very different from you and me. All the best.

      Reply
      • Anna J. Arredondo

        Brent — Thanks, that’s a breath of fresh air. I agree that silence would be the best reply, it’s just so grating to allow the fellow to have the “last word”. Fortunately for all, he has declared that he has no more to say here. Whew! All the best to you as well.

      • Monty

        Esorp-Denil.

        Although you’re unaware of it, it was imprudent of you to make that last comment; by doing so, you’ve now perfectly displayed – for all to see – your falseness and disingenuousness. It can be seen that earlier in this thread, you’d already voiced your approval of Anna’s poems . . so, to begin your last comment with the ostensible “Anna.. Love your work..”, and to then immediately thereafter steer the comment into a direct tirade against me . . . I wonder why you didn’t have the conviction to’ve simply addressed the comment to me personally in the first place, instead of hiding behind the pretence of making a comment to Anna; to tell her what you’d already told her previously. How false. Even with the assured safety of being behind a keyboard: you still couldn’t find it in yourself to address me personally. That’s quite telling. On top of which, it was none of your business to hijack what was an invigorating, healthy, but private argument. Anna defended herself stoutly and independently; she wasn’t some damsel-in-distress who needed the likes of you to come gallantly to the rescue.

        And all this after you only appeared on these pages for the first time last week with a comment on another poem; a poorly-written comment, it should be said, with all the ambiguity of a modern-day text-message . . to the extent that another commenter suggested you should take a course on grammar, diction and syntax (to whom, hilariously, you replied with the words: “I already admitted that in my last comment” . . when you did no such thing; which instantly led one to believe that you don’t even know the meaning of those three words). See? You exposed yourself again, you fool.

        And it’s highly feasible that you don’t know the meaning of those words, ‘coz in that text-message of a comment, you openly admitted that you were a “free verse guy”. I don’t know nor care whether that means you read it or write it; but I do know that it would explain everything about your shabby, puerile writing (for example, to quote your admission in full: “…since I’m a more free verse guy” . . instead of the standard diction of: “…since I’m more of a free verse guy”). See? You’ve got no feeling for even the most elementary diction.

        I hereby declare that free verse doesn’t exist, it’s a fallacy. It’s just a term used gleefully by those with an inability to write poetry of any kind. They like the term ‘coz it contains the word ‘verse’: which denotes poetry. I imagine you’re still wondering about the words with which I titled this comment: Esorp-Denil. Well, read them backwards, and there you have it: what you like to call free verse, I call ‘lined-prose’. It is, and always will be, literally nothing more than lined-prose. It can and will never be anything else. It simply has nothing at all to do with poetry; it exists only for the likes of yourself, who have no feeling for, or affinity with, poetry, but: “Hey, this free verse thing’s cool. I can just write any old piece of prose, and then chop it off randomly into lines, and hey, presto.. I’ve got a poem. And what’s more, it doesn’t even matter WHERE I chop it, there are no rules; as long as it’s chopped somewhere. And I can now refer to myself as a poet . . how trendy'”. Yeah, how trendy indeed. You can’t write poetry; you’ve shown that you can’t even write prose; and yet you’ve probably got the nerve to refer to yourself as a poet. What a sick and filthy disservice this does to poetry.
        Poetry can only be written by those who were born to write it; lined-prose can be written by anyone.. literally anyone.. especially those looking to become trendy.

        This is a poetry website: it deals only in poetry. There’s no place here for lined-prose, nor its proponents. I’m sure there’s no shortage of lined-prose websites; you should henceforth stay safely within the confines of such sites. There, no one will ever question your sloppy diction, your lack of even the most basic of grammar, and your total unawareness of the existence of syntax. There, you will remain forever within your depth. And for the same reason.. don’t ever again deface these pages with the likes of what you posted below. Your Ms Kumin may indeed be “wonderful”, but she doesn’t write poetry! I repeat: this is a poetry website. Post your lined-prose pieces where they deserve to be posted: on lined-prose websites only.

        The fact that Kumin’s piece has elicited no comments (not even from Anna, whom you gallantly but falsely defended) could just be by chance; or it could equally be by design . . I’d suggest the latter. Given that this is a poetry website, I’d like to think that nobody saw fit to pass comment on a piece of non-poetry. That alone should dissuade you from committing such an act again.

        I now have to repeat the same words to you as I did to Anna recently: ‘A certain Robert Zimmerman once uttered the words: “Don’t criticise what you can’t understand”‘. Anna, bless her, mistook those words as being my own; but if she’d have googled the author’s name, as I ask you to do, then everything becomes crystal clear. Go on, google him.. right now . . and you’ll see immediately why you, in particular, should heed his above words.

    • Anna J. Arredondo

      Monty,

      1. “I didn’t choose the word ‘criticism’, Anna.. you did, in your penultimate comment, when you pointed out that there was no ‘criticism’ of cats pooing in ‘Ultmatum’.”

      Actually, you ended your initial comment on my post with this quote: “Don’t CRITICIZE what you can’t understand…”

      2. I responded to your initial comment for two reasons: first because it showed up below my poems, so I felt I should reply, and second to point out that I was simply complaining, not proposing to change the world.

      I responded to your second comment to set straight your mistaken notion that I was unaware of any contradiction in what I was saying; in that response I mentioned the concept of a scapegoat, which is inherently contradictory — scapegoat: a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency. Also because of your patronizing words, “for your own benefit, Anna… you’ll end up backing yourself into a corner.” I haven’t any qualms or self-doubt about engaging in an honest debate of ideas.

      I am responding to your third comment having realized that you are not interested in an honest debate of ideas, but simply in repeating yourself, at greater length, and with many more personal insults sprinkled throughout. Once I disagreed with your initial idea, countering with a contrasting view of my own, you began a decidedly ad hominem string of “arguments.” Rather than acknowledge my *points* that: I WAS, in fact, blissfully aware of the “contradiction” in my words, was not in the least interested in attempting to get my neighbor to change his ways, but instead chose (yes, chose) to vent my frustration in lighthearted verse, you decided to insult *me*, questioning my intellect, powers of reason, and emotional stability. Your attempt to psychoanalyze me based on these few exchanges would be somewhat laughable if it weren’t so insufferably condescending. You know, you are free to simply say, “I like cats. You (and some of the commenters) don’t, and I don’t agree with you.” You don’t have to set me up as a blathering idiot in order to disagree with my point of view.To avoid sinking into the realm of personal attack in the future, maybe it might be “prudent” to limit the scope of your comments to the poetry in question, or at least to the ideas being discussed, rather than taking unwarranted jabs at people you have never met.

      3. Speaking of contradictions, “I shall say no more…” followed by a post script. Sorry, couldn’t resist that one.

      Thanks for an interesting exchange of words. God bless!

      Reply
      • Brent Pallas

        Couldn’t resist putting up this poem from the wonderful Maxine Kumin since it seems part of the landcape here.

        THE EXCREMENT POEM by Maxine Kumin

        It is done by us all, as God disposes, from
        the least cast of worm to what must have been
        in the case of the brontosaur, say, spoor
        of considerable heft, something awesome.

        We eat, we evacuate, survivors that we are.
        I think these things each morning with shovel
        and rake, drawing the risen brown buns
        toward me, fresh from the horse oven, as it were,

        or culling the alfalfa-green ones, expelled
        in a state of ooze, through the sawdust bed
        to take a serviceable form, as putty does,
        so as to lift out entire from the stall.

        And wheeling to it, storming up the slope,
        I think of the angle of repose the manure
        pile assumes, how sparrows come to pick
        the redelivered grain, how inky-cap

        coprinous mushrooms spring up in a downpour.
        I think of what drops from us and must then
        be moved to make way for the next and next.
        However much we stain the world, spatter

        it with our leavings, make stenches, defile
        the great formal oceans with what leaks down,
        trundling off today’s last barrowful,
        I honor shit for saying: We go on.

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