Latest Tweet

image

When the lights go down

there’s no one else around

she steps out in the silence

like she was dancing on a cloud

Those who love her stay

others go away

guess that’s what keeps a girl remembering

who she was

when the skies were not so undecided

when the stars bowed to the sun

when a soul, so strong, could be divided

they’d come…she’d hear those voices singing

Somewhere in the cool night breeze

the world stood still while she believed

that anything can happen

in a dream

But the truth is that miracles

are seldom what they seem

Dancing on as the floor fell from beneath her feet

she gazed down the street

at passers by

reaching out her hand

she tried

to touch them

Katie and Me                                     Fiction-by Kirsten Nash

Katie and me were sitting in the field and we were smoking.  We were smoking grass, and not the kind of grass that you could brag about behind the backstop at school, but the kind of grass that you rolled in the paper insides of cigarette package foil.  You needed a Bic lighter to run the flame under the tinfoil part until it kissed the paper goodbye.  When the paper was lifted from the glue, we curled the hay up in it, because that’s what the grass really was…shredded hay, and we licked, twisted and snapped at the edges of the paper until we had a cigarette.  We were desperate for any vestige of sophistication, and so we took long, languid drags from our “cigarettes” and pretended we were big city bohemians in bookish, jazz-laced coffee shops, arguing over the respective mojos of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.  I thought Leonard Cohen was the sexy one, dark and lost, but Katie thought Bob Dylan was the renegade, the cool one.  After all, he smoked pot with the Beatles!  Then we pretended we were Bob Dylan groupies, which seemed kind of lame after awhile, so we changed to Katie being Bob and I was Leonard, smoking each other up at a rock concert, in San Francisco, 1968, backstage at The Airplane and Grateful Dead concert.

“Now that would be cool!”  Katie had the joint, and was trying to get some continuity out of it.

“D’ya think maybe Jimi an’ Janis will be joinin’ us?”  I was trying to lay myself out like I was reclining on the velvet couch on the front of the Janis Joplin record my stepbrother had left behind for me when he moved out.

            “I don’t think so, man,” Katie droned in a mock stoned voice, “But we can check out Jimi at the Filmore next week, man…”

“Cool man…” 

We sounded more like Cheech and Chong than Bob and Leonard, but we didn’t care.  Whoever we were being wasn’t from anywhere near us, and that was all that we cared about as we dreamed our dreams on that late summer day.

Even through the smoke we could smell the shedding arbutus and the impatience of autumn. The week before the fields had been splendid, waving and arguing with the split beam fences, but now they sputtered and lisped with the urgency of time out of hand, ruing any wasted seconds of sunshine, heads bent, waiting for the thresher. 

We both took turns sucking at the reefer, fat and bulbous, roughshod and lacking.  Lacking in substance and conformity, it flared and stifled, and one match after another was sacrificed on the path to its’ eventual demise.

Katie’s new stepfather had false teeth that clicked.  When I sat down to dinner with their family before our sleepover the night before, it was the one thing at the table that everyone knew but nobody talked about.  Click-click…clack-slurp-click…all through the soup and the salad his dentures rubbed and crackled. Listening to him chew a steak was like hearing a drunk tap dance; no cadence you could count on, just spastic rhythms and sliding, grating tendons engaging in a kind of tribal, primal mastication.

Katie and I looked at each other across the table and she kicked my shin when I crossed and uncrossed my eyes in time with her father’s porcelain maracas, trying to crack her up.  Then later, when we were in our pyjamas, we stood in front of her dresser mirror in her bedroom and I tried to show her how to cross her eyes, but try as she did, only one eye would reach it’s corner.  Her other eye was a “lazy” eye, and stayed a few beats behind.  But she could bend her thumb right back on itself, like there was no bone there at all, which was pretty cool once I got over the way it made me feel like puking.

When Katie’s new dad finished supper, he took out his false teeth for a while and set them on the table beside his chair, then lit a homemade cigarette (a real one, not like ours) and his face collapsed.  He had a mechanical cigarette maker, cartons of hollow cigarette tubes and bags of tobacco that he set on the kitchen table with a box of red wine. When the butt was ready to be stuffed in the glass ashtray they got from Reno on their honeymoon, he popped his teeth back in then he and her mother sat down and took turns stuffing the tobacco in the metal groove and cranking the lever that filled each paper tube as they drank the wine box dry.

I tried to get the last gasps of smoke out of our hay cigarette, sucking my lips in like Katie’s stepdad, but there’s no way you can get the same depth with teeth in your gums to stop your cheeks from imploding.  The best I could do was to look like a cross-eyed grouper fish on fire, with the smoke pouring from my nose and mouth.  Katie started laughing like there might have been something more than hay in that cigarette, and I joined in, between coughs and wheezes.  We laughed the kind of laughter that only two newly teenage girls can laugh, rolling side to side, convulsing under the harvest sun until, our stomachs both aching, the last giggle had been spent.

            I can’t believe school starts tomorrow…Katie didn’t much like school.  She didn’t have the clothes for it.  All summer on the farm left the dust she wore thicker and less patchy than her t-shirts.  No one saw fit to teach her about hygiene, and as her body changed no one seemed to notice or care about the new odours coming from her pubescent pores.  Except for early last spring at school when her favourite teacher, Mr. Hines, had to take her aside and tell her that other kids were refusing to sit beside her because she was smelling so bad and went on to tell her how to properly wash herself and use deodorant.  She was even more humiliated because she had thought he was going to tell her she had the lead in the new school play.

            WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE MY FRIEND!!  Katie yelled at me on the way home that day.

I didn’t really notice…honest!  Maybe ‘cause I’m around you so much, maybe I’m used to the way you smell!                   I was getting angry.  She was always blaming me for something she should have been angry with her parents for.  I was proud that she looked up to me, but sometimes her trust fell a little heavily on my shoulders.  Besides, most mornings I got up, the first thing I did was milk the cow and feed the chickens.  I smelled more shit before seven in the morning than most people did in a lifetime. By the time I got to school, my nose was used to a funky smell.  How would I know it was coming from Katie too?

It’s not like you can tell your best friend their smell blends in with your cow shit, so when we got to my house, I gave her one of my Dad’s old deodorants to try as a peace offering, after I picked a couple of hairs off first.  I would have given her one of mine but I only had one, and it was the first one.  Dad and me got it just a couple of weeks ago, with his sister, Aunt Jo, who was visiting us all the way from Nova Scotia and said “You know…” a lot in a high, twangy rasp and then usually went on to tell you something you actually didn’t know at all!

“You know, Abe, she really needs a trainin’ bra…an’ you know, some deodorant would be useful right about now too.  You can’t just leave the girl growin’ wild like them raspberries out back, you got to prune her, clean her up now an’ then!  Jaysus!  Don’t her mother even come an’ take a look at her ev’ry so often?”  And Aunt Jo paced the kitchen with her cigarette fidgeting in her hand, ashes in feathery chaos settling on the floor around her.

Dad took her rant in stride, fidgeting with the saltshaker as he stood by the counter.  “I guess now’s just as good a time as any.”  And he started walking to the front door and out to the car, just expecting us to follow, screen door slapping shut behind him.  Aunt Jo jammed her cigarette in the sink’s hole and as it hissed a quick death she grabbed her purse and sweater off the bench she’d set it on when she first came in.  Her wedge heels were shaky on the gravel driveway as she followed her brother out of a lifetime of habit to the truck waking and coughing beside the garage. 

I stood for a minute more in the kitchen, trying to process what had just happened and what was about to happen.  A bra?  Deodorant? The awkwardness of the mission overwhelmed me.  I was only thirteen!  As yet, only one of my nipples had popped out, and the other had caved in!  What kind of bra was going to work for me?  Katie had talked a few months ago about getting a training bra, but neither of us could figure out what she should be trying to train her titties to do?

For me it went deeper than that.  I had one of the best arms in the school.  I out shot the boys in shot put, discus, javelin and I had a mean over-hand pitch.  When I struck a boy out sometimes they would snort and smack their bat on the diamond or chuck it at the backstop and get a warning.  They’d be blaming the wind, blaming the bat and the umpire for not calling my pitch a foul ball.  They’d just about do anything than admit that a girl just struck them out. But up until now I hadn’t been much of a girl. If I were to start wearing a bra, that would be the end of it, there was no way the boys would let me keep playing with them.

Katie stood up. Bits of hay stuck to her pants and she was brushing them off but I was rolling on my back, side to side in the bristled grass.

“Whatchya doin’?”  Katie cocked her head critically to one side, watching me writhing in the dust.

“My back’s itchy…” I jumped up, suddenly self-conscious and dusted myself off.

            “What do ya’ think you are?  Some kind of cow or somethin’?”  She set off impatiently, shaking her head toward the gravel road without waiting for an answer that was in no hurry to come, and I followed, distracted, our footsteps absorbed by the matted field.

The road kicked up more dust as we set off to where my bike was waiting, leaning against the fence.  My backpack, stuffed unceremoniously with my pyjamas, toothbrush and the training bra my aunt had picked out for me, was hanging off the handlebars.  I would be waiting until the last minute to put the ridiculous pink contraption on. Just before our driveway there was a large cedar and cottonwood thicket, and therein was my impromptu change room.  It would go on to serve me through most of grade eight as I did my best to fend off the inevitable changes that nature was hoisting upon me.  Every morning I would stop in the thicket on my way to school, take off the bra and stuff it in my backpack, and rain or shine, wet or dry, every day I would stop on the way home and put it back on again. Not that Dad would have noticed its’ absence.  I figured that he had made an effort in getting me the damn thing, so I ought to respect that by wearing it around the house. But the Devil’s ass would be frostbitten before I’d be shackled by it in the schoolyard.

The truth was, for a year or so nobody, even Aunt Jo, would be likely to notice if I was wearing a bra or not.  Not like Katie.  No boy had looked her in the eyes for a few months now, especially at the lake in her new two-piece swimsuit.  She said she thought the boys were creepy, but I’d known Katie long enough to know that she thought boys were anything but creepy.  Her body was just catching up to where her spirit had been all along.  Soon, I knew, not only would she have her own deodorant, scented like lilacs, but she would be taking long baths almost every night and nagging at her mom for bath salts and musk oil soap.

We said goodbye a little stiffly and as I bounced along her driveway on my bike steering clear of the potholes, Katie disappeared down the forested trail to her house. Turning out onto the pock-marked country road, I was conscious of the slapping of my backpack on my hips as I pedaled through the maze of blazing maples, fields, fences and roadside brambles that marked my way home. It always seemed that around the end of summer was when things started ending and beginning.  Some people think that the beauty of it happens in springtime, but I think it’s at the end of summer.  For something to be born, it seems like something’s eventually got to die and what could be more beautiful and selfless than that?  As I jumped off my bike in the cottonwood thicket and pulled my bra, already hooked, up my legs, under my t-shirt and slipped the straps over my shoulders, I wondered too if autumn was nature’s way of testing your faith. As the world browned all around, I reasoned, one had no choice but to believe in spring. Things are always simpler when you have no choice but not necessarily easier.

I walked my bike slowly out of the thicket and onto our driveway, wanting to hold the last few memories of summer close to me.  School started tomorrow.  It was Katie and my first day of high school.  There would be new girls, girls with curls and lipstick who dotted their “I’s” with hearts and gobbled up gossip and sugarless gum in the halls. There would be boys who would stand around them, shifting foot to foot, trying desperately to be cool.  I didn’t much care how or if I fit in, I never had.  But Katie was different. It mattered to her so much that just my not caring seemed to threaten her these days.  Of course, that idea could have been more rooted in my own insecure teenage imagination than in fact, but one thing I did know as I leaned my bike against the back porch and clomped up the stairs to open the creaky kitchen door, was that times, they were-a-changin’.

 

 

 

 

 

Morning in Whistler…no snow yet of course, but so peaceful…deciduous in full bloom, evergreens hunkering down for the weight of winter, a few birds still calling, chipmunks furtive, dashing and stashing. The sky grey with a slight mange of blue, the sun slow in waking, scant rays getting through.
Autumn and pumpkins outside the store yesterday where I saw the boy…I can see him right now, all of five years
holding with wild-eyed glee a pumpkin carving kit
And I smiled to myself just to think of it!
And in this remembering, a smile too and then the faintest of a tear
These seasons, these lessons, this never-ending thrust
the leaves, they keep falling as ever they must, in showers of lime, tangerine and rust
Seasons that leave me here remembering my own little boys, pumpkins carved, broken toys. And Christmas mornings, tooth fairies too! Mornings in panic, homework lost, sick days and monsters, then girlfriends! Oh my! And then just an echo, a life that’s gone by. The leaves they start falling, as leaves always do…it’s morning in Whistler…I’m thinking of you:)

Read this and tell me if you still want a revolution…I see a lot of damn the rich out there still…to be expected, that’s the way politicians have been setting up the propaganda for years now. Course not the very rich, like the ones that help get the politicians elected; just the ones you see day to day, the ones that bug you because of what you perceive they have that you don’t, the ones you figure got there because they were lucky, the ones you assume have no sense of charity, the ones people like to assume a great deal about. It’s so easy to point fingers and Mao’s cultural revolution is what happened when pointing fingers got out of hand. Of course many of the people who profited from this revolution, government ministers and their cronies and their families are bringing billions into the North American economy, from a country that supposedly has made it illegal to take any money out of, they bring billions, much of it stolen from the people in one form or another. And we can say, oh it’s just the Chinese, or just the Russians, just the African despots that are the corrupt ones, but they are people, we are people, separated only by geography and circumstance. Just like in Egypt, one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, and no matter how much blood is shed, the same government gets in…maybe not the exact same people, but their nephews, cousins, sons etc. We live in a very dangerous time, where people only learn their history in wikipedia info bites, headlines are all many people read, few can be bothered to take the time to read more than a paragraph or two…most people can barely get through a song without being distracted, which has a lot to do with the state of the industry these days, and ultimately with the state of the world. When a society is as ready to absolve itself of responsibility as ours has become, that’s when a Mao or a Hitler comes along and says, tell you what. You make me the Dude, the divine Man, and I will play Robin Hood and take all the money the rich stole and give it back! Hooray! Except they are humans too, if only barely, and they inevitably get to like the trappings of power, more than they care about the people they exercise that power over, and they decide that money they’ve taken from the rich they’ve killed is better used to coat their toilets with gold, because a golden toilet is a sign of how great a nation is theirs, in fact embassies worldwide with golden toilets would really show them….and so it goes. Because as I always say, it’s never “them”, it’s only “us”, and as such we, the collective humanity have allowed the Maos of the world to do their evil because of base emotions that exist in all of us: greed, hate, and envy. If we can change those emotions to love, empathy and acceptance, that will be all the revolution the world needs.

http://www.voanews.com/content/cultural-revolution-memories-resurface-in-china/1732355.html

 

Father’s Day

I have had three fathers. My birth father, a Belgian, my first stepfather, a German and finally my British father. Jokingly, or not, I often tell new friends interested in the cacophony of my family tree, that my mother was one of the founding mothers of the European Union.
My German father, Werner, is the first I remember. His voice a baritone as I remember it. It is very difficult to give the reader an idea of what kind of relationship I had with Werner….I was so young. He was a difficult man….and in my mother he had found a difficult woman and so the relationship was by default a difficult one. There were loud voices and violence…he was a man who would stay propped up drunk in a chair in the corner of the room, folding his belt in half and snapping it….rhythmically…Then there was the inevitable conversation in the kitchen.
"Who do you want to live with, your father or me?" my mother asked. Except that somehow I knew, at age 6 that he wasn’t my real father and so I said, "I want to live with you," and my little brother, his son said, "I want to go where Kirsten goes!" He didn’t say he wanted to go with his mother or father, but with me because at age six, I was already both to him.
Werner lost that battle, but came back a few years later to claim my little brother. I wasn’t there but my brother told me of Werner almost beating him to death with a baseball bat when he found out my brother was gay. Werner committed suicide, like his father before him. One day he taped up his garage, started his car and went to sleep.
The man I call my Dad was a Britsh man named John. Soon after Werner finally left, my mother met John in a nightclub she sang at. In no time we were living with him, a widower with four sons who I came to revere as older brothers. But mostly I came to love “Uncle Jack” as my brother and I called him.
When he married my mother and told me he would like it if I called him Dad, I was so happy! Firstly, my brothers had brought me a wonderful Scottish terrier puppy we  named MacGregor, but I felt like for the first time I had a real family. Dad and I hit it off big time! I used to love watching him build things in the basement…the stacks of wood here and there, shavings on the floor. He would always make sure there were big chunks of wood for me to create with, circles, bricks and half moons, all vessels of my imagination. He built a rabbit coop with me, had me hold the sea grass tight while we made benches. When I was sick, it was him who made sure the edges of the toast weren’t too hard, when he made my lunch for school there was a Roger’s chocolate and one of his special biscuits and a perfectly carved sandwich. He taught me to read time and not to cheat at Scrabble or any other parts of life. 
 
But he was tough too, strict and unforgiving sometimes…I dreaded “going into the drawer”, where the ones who disappointed  him would end up, smiling photographs shoved in drawers until the storm passed. Sometimes the storms never did pass and one or another would be stuck in the rain clouds against a mountain praying for sun. But I loved him fiercely, love him still. He was there for me when no one else was, and I am forever grateful for that.
It was Dad that encouraged me to seek out my birth father, Paul. My mother had told me that my birth father was dead. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I finally learned that he was not only alive but living in San Francisco. He had known my mother when they had lived in the same brownstone in San Francisco. At some point, the story goes, I was conceived, he questioned paternity, she took offence and yada yada, here I am! But he is not. I met him the first time in my late 20’s, but then my Dad, John, got cancer, and I abandoned the birth father ship in hopes that my martyrdom would save my Dad. It didn’t.
After Dad died, I received, in a very round about way, a call from my birth father’s(heretofore known as Paul) wife, saying  in a very round about way, “He would like to meet you, I would like you to sign off on any rights to our(mine and my two children, his step-childrens) money, estate, our family history as it pertains to him and if you will do that, and take a DNA test, providing it is positive, I will allow you to come to his birthday dinner”.
And you know what? I did that! And yes, it turned out I was his daughter. It turned out he was thrilled to have me as a daughter, and my son, 4 years old at the time, who looked just like him, as his grandson. And we had a wonderful day, despite his ice queen step daughter and her mother. We connected, I played piano for him and sang and he hovered and couldn’t believe that he had a second chance with a daughter having messed up his first chance. And it turned out that his wife really wished it wasn’t true. His second wife that is. His first wife was my half sister’s mother.  Confused yet?
A month after his birthday Paul was in a coma. I had received a call at 4 am from his wife that he had had a stroke and was in intensive care just outside of SanFrancisco. I took the first plane I could get on, arriving some time around noon and going straight the hospital. I was in shock. Things had happened so fast…just a couple of days ago we had been emailing back and forth and and finally said “I love you” and “I love you too!” And now he was in a coma, this stranger father man, who looked so much like me, who I knew without knowing. In the hospital room his step daughter was busy on the phone calling his lawyer to make sure that the codicil to his Will they had asked him to sign in case the DNA test came back negative, had in fact been signed. I was stunned. She and her mother left for the night, leaving me with him. I remember holding his hand, my hand. I said, “Remember how you said you never wanted to disappoint me? Well this is pretty darned disappointing!” I cried a bit…well a lot. Then after a while, his eyes opened. They weren’t focussed, and I had been told not to expect much. So I sat quietly holding his hand. Then I swear he focussed. He, from it seemed a million light years away looked at me, for maybe 15 seconds and in those seconds he reached out and held me and said I’m sorry and then he went.
I watched as his eyes checked out, felt his soul say I’m done, machines clicking and whirring around him and kissing his cheek I said goodbye. The next day I came back with his wife and son as she did her best to get him off of life support. I listened as she questioned on the telephone the expense of a $250 cardboard casket and asked why she couldn’t just bring him over in the body bag. Of course, he was still alive at this point…she was just thinking ahead.
He was alive when I left, but by the time I got home again, he was gone, dead for sure this time. His wife offered to send me a lock of his hair, one of his ties but I said no thanks. I was tasked with calling a sister I had never met, who had no idea I existed, to tell her that our father, who lived no more than a mile away from her, was dead. 
Father’s Day has always been a tricky time for me. When Dad was alive it was easier, I used to look forward to making cards, to bringing him tea, to having a joke and a few of his “biscuits” in the Marks and Spencers tin. He always knew he wasn’t the only focus of the hand coloured cards. He knew and encouraged me to search out my roots, putting my happiness above his own. And so he will always be my only “Dad”. But I have had 3 fathers, none of them perfect, but then who is? Three men loved me enough to call me their daughter. Perfect or no, sometimes that’s all a girl has, and so I wish them and all of you a Happy Father’s Day! Above all, let there be love:)

I know I’ve been pretty quiet here. I find all these social media sites both fun and exasperating…fun to be able to update people and express ideas as well as enjoy all the news and ideas others share with me, but so time consuming. What I’ve been focussing more on lately is practising, getting ready for my first solo opening set…just me and my Hummingbird, opening up for the R&B Allstars on July 5th and 6th at the Anza club. I’ll also be taking my old spot in the horn section of the Allstars, so of course there is much practising to be done for that. THEN, somewhere in there I’ll be recording my new EP…maybe CD…there’s a lot of songs to pick from:) This time I really want to focus on making it all flow together, a sound unique to this period. It’s amazing how the creative river flows here and there, now and then getting stuck in pockets then moving on. I am also looking very forward to going on a writer’s retreat in June with Richard Wagamese, the very prolific and successful author of “Indian Horse” and many others, acting as host with his wife Debra in Kamloops. I am so grateful for the opportunity to focus on writing for those 5 days and to hopefully grow as a creative being. Of course I am a little nervous…I’ve never done anything like this before, but I always find my greatest learning is done outside my comfort zone, so I’m expecting big things…but then I’m always expecting big things!

Anyway, back to practising I go and will be updating…when I can:)

Have a great day!

Finally got around to posting the next 3 songs from the first act of Alice in Modernland. In order they are “Stuck in the Blues”, where the Duchess comes upon Alice passed out on the sidewalk. The Duchess used the be “the Queen” of Modernland, but she has long since traded the warmth of the footlights for the warmth of the bottle. But she does have experience, and she shares that with the semi-conscious Alice. Then into the scene comes Mr. Big, a slimy record company owner, who seeing Alice hitting “rock” bottom, figures he has a good chance at further defiling her. Alice, with a lifetime of abuse and her recent missteps behind her, feels she can go no lower, follows him to his “lair”. CC, the Cheshire Cat, a trumpet playing dude, with his posse of Hipcats, watches her leave angrily. He and his band gave Alice her start in Modernland, and the first chance she had, she ditched them for the record deal in the sky. He tries to get hold of his anger, but it’s compounded by the fact that he has a bit of a crush on Alice.

I  have placed these new tracks in order in a Soundcloud set (https://soundcloud.com/kirsten-nash/sets/alice-in-modernland-act-1), so you can review the songs before, or just start where you left off in the story.

Once again, John Ellis on guitar, Norm Fisher on bass, me on most everything else, except for Ray Harvey, who helped me mix, in the bug infested garden shed in my back yard:) Enjoy!

https://soundcloud.com/kirsten-nash/08-stuck-in-the-blues?in=kirsten-nash/sets/alice-in-modernland-act-1

https://soundcloud.com/kirsten-nash/09-forget-about-it?in=kirsten-nash/sets/alice-in-modernland-act-1

https://soundcloud.com/kirsten-nash/10-cool-cat

This is The Red Berry Review that “Farm Rules” (see below) was first published in.

This is The Red Berry Review that “Farm Rules” (see below) was first published in.

The farmer put on his black rubber boots 

and stepped outside on to the muddy trail.

One foot in 

front of the other

slapping in the puddles

 he was lost

in thought 

when an acorn hit him

on the head.

He fumbled with the sore spot and looked about

up 

and   across     the rutted    tufted yard         when

BAM!  

Another acorn smacked the back of his head

harder than the first one.

“OW!”

The farmer turned around indignantly, to see

a squirrel rocking 

back and forth in the arms of the ancient oak tree

one spindly paw holding an acorn 

and the other 

rubbing his furry belly.

And he was laughing!

“WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR?” 

the farmer scowled

checking his fingers for blood

“You pissed me off,” the squirrel finally managed

when he had gotten control

of himself.

                   “Pissed you off?”

“Yes.  Last night.  All your catterwalling about.

It pissed me off.”

“Catterwalling about?”

Then it occurred to the farmer that he had been playing the clarinet

quite late into the evening of the night before.

Four pints at the pub then the long walk home

by the time he got to his chair

he had thought

he might sleep

then he had another thought that 

he might 

dust off his clarinet 

and play a little

“I wouldn’t call it catterwalling”

and with that the farmer turned and headed

                                                                  back 

as the squirrel                                                 down 

flitted                                                       the 

                                                                          sloppy

   down                                                            trail

 the trunk

of the oak                                                                       to the                            

tree                                                                                                        barn

“Well what would you call it then?” the squirrel taunted.

“It was bloody awful!”

“Art is subjective.” Picking up a weathered old bucket,

the farmer cranked a worn spigot to fill it

         “You find me one being on this planet

that thinks what you were doing last night 

is art

and I’ll jump in the rain barrel!”

                                               up

dared the squirrel hopping             and 

                                                                    down

very pleased with himself         

giggling madly.

“There are no rules.” 

With that the farmer dumped the bucket of water  

                                                                                   i

                                                                                       n 

                                                                                            t

                                                                                                  h

                                                                                                         e 

                                                                                               pig’s trough.

“Of course there have to be rules!!” the squirrel shrieked.

“Without rules there can be no form, no  

f   r  a m

w         e

o  r  k  !!  

Next thing you’ll be spouting out of your pie             h

                                                                                  o      l

                                                                                      e 

is that art is

in

the 

im

per

feckt

shuns!”

The farmer did not reply 

but shook the last few drops from the bucket

and surprised the squirrel

with his speed

as he upended the bucket

and dropped it over

the screaming rodent

trapping it 

inside.

On a fencepost, lethally still

sat an uncommonly large tabby cat.

“Of course, sir, the rules

the rather obtuse little fellow might be referring

to could be the “Farm Rules”

the cat hissed softly.

“Farm Rules?”  

asked the farmer as he kicked the mud off his boots

at his front door.

“Number one. 

Never befriend anything you might have to eat someday,” 

the cat smiled lazily and   s  t  r  e               t  c  h  e  d   

his back.

“Well, he’s yours to educate,” and with that the farmer picked up his  c

                                                                                                               l

                                                                                                               a

                                                                                                               r

                                                                                                               i

                                                                                                               n

                                                                                                               e

                                                                                                                t

   and closed  the 

           d

           o

           o 

           r

           .