Seattle Dog: A Eulogy (#24 NaPoWriMo Prompt)

Baby Seattle Toy

Today you were there, just a glimpse.
The humanness in Matilda’s eyes,
The pause in Drover’s step at my command,
Reminded me. And I missed you.


Your little six-month paws at
Double-time to keep up for our slow jog.
Your tilted head when I left.
Your 9-month-year-old joy at my return.

Baby Seattle Dog crop

You were my relentless alarm clock of love.
My focus and my feeling.
You flew in the cargo hold to new lands.
Scaled castles near Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

Seattle Castles

You jogged with me
In Korea and Colorado,
In Turkey and on Turkey Trots
In Washington State and Washington D.C.

Seattle Gila Wilderness

You were there in my first year of the military
And in my fifteenth.
You watched me leave on each deployment.
You were the best part about coming home.

Seattle Dog

When the vet said “cancer,”
And the x-ray was dotted like pox.
You slept at my feet as I wrote my last dissertation chapter.
I guess I could only cry so much.

Hol Seattle and Me

You missed the conclusion.
Yours was at our dining room table.
The needle slipped in. Your feet
Paddled furiously, then infinite stillness.

Every morning a habitual side-step
To miss your sleeping form
Until we moved to a new house.
You, ashes in a wooden box.

Seattle Snow

Nearly a decade now, and there are two more
Kur-aaaay-zee blue heelers.
I know you would set them straight.
Remind them of the rules.

Matilda and Snowman

I wish you could meet Matilda,
She shares your intensity.
I wish you could meet Drover,
He tries his hardest to be a good dog too.

Drover and his monkey.jpg

I wish you could swim these mountain lakes,
Run the forested trails,
Bark at elk and deer and chipmunks,
Sleep pressed against me.

Seattle Regal


The NaPoWriMo prompt for today was to write a positive eulogy. I don’t know if it’s “cheating,” but this spontaneous eulogy for Seattle Dog that I wrote in November fits the prompt and still moves me…

(And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy – a poem typically written in honor or memory of someone dead. But we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it. Need inspiration? You might look at W.H. Auden’s elegy for Yeats, which ends on a note suggesting that the great poet’s work will live on, inspiring others in years to come. Or perhaps this elegy by Mary Jo Bang, where the sadness is shot through with a sense of forgiveness on both sides.)

The Only Thing Missing is You (#23 NaNoWriMoPrompt)


Howl’s and whines, this morning was like every other morning since you’ve been gone. I swear I can hear Tater kitty’s lungs fill before that first “yowl” announcing the approach of 6 a.m. He should be an employee for the Naval Observatory, ensuring the master clock is on time. Maybe it’s Matilda and Dover, blue heeler heightened senses, who realize it. That intake of air and they start to wiggle. I don’t open my eyes. I know they sense the change in my heartbeat and respiration, but I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I’m going to let that cat tell me when to get up.

I get up.

A thundering herd of paws and tails down the gapped, wooden steps to the stone-floored kitchen. You know the routine.  The only thing missing is you.

(NaPoWriMo Prompt: And now for today’s (optional) prompt! Kate Greenstreet’s poetry is spare, but gives a very palpable sense of being spoken aloud – it reads like spoken language sounds. In our interview with her, she underscores this, stating that “when you hear it, you write it down.” Today, we challenge you to honor this idea with a poem based in sound. The poem, for example, could incorporate overheard language. Perhaps it could incorporate a song lyric in some way, or language from something often heard spoken aloud (a prayer, a pledge, the Girl Scout motto). Or you could use a regional or local phrase from your hometown that you don’t hear elsewhere, e.g. “that boy won’t amount to a pinch.”)

If I believed (#22 NaPoWriMo Prompt)


NaPoWriMo Prompt: And now for our daily prompt (optional as always). I’ve found this one rather useful in trying to ‘surprise’ myself into writing something I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise. Today, I’d like you to take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens:
The sun can’t rise in the west.
Pigs can’t fly.
The clock can’t strike thirteen.
A circle can’t have corners.
A mouse can’t eat an elephant.
The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.

If I Believed

The sun could rise in the west
Etched by a pig with wings
As the clock struck thirteen.

My hand could trace a circle with corners while I
Watched a mouse cleaning its whiskers
By its pile of elephant bones.

I could look up and
Find the stars
Rearranged overhead.

I could believe these things,
If I believed I could live without you.

Selfie Self-Satisfied Selves (#21 NaPoWriMo Prompt)

Moonlight selfie
Burning lungs, a scramble up
Twilight stairs, Huffer’s Hill. Your world.
Your arms around me,
Warm against summer chill–12,000 feet.

Wrapped in a celestial cloak,
Wyoming fade to black.

I breathed gortex, mountain, you.
My cheek, your coarse whiskers,
Our vista private, infinite,

In the gloaming below,
Elk, moose, deer, marmots, wildflowers, waterfalls.
This moment.

Long waves light
Faces so confident in our “us.”
Our future.
Our choices.

We hung the moon overhead.

(freewrite paragraph) I remember the air burning my lungs the last bit as we scrambled up the twilight stairs of Huffer’s Hill. You were showing me your world. Your arms were around me, pulling me close and warm in the chill of a July night at 12,000 feet. In our celestial hood, we watched the glow fade from the distant Wyoming skyline. I breathed in your scent, a mix of gortex, and deodorant, and you. There, wrapped up in you with my cheek brushing your whiskers, on top of the natural world, we were complete. Our grinning eyes searched out the elk, moose, deer, marmots, and wildflowers of Colorado incognito in the growing darkness. The photo is the moment. We are self-satisfied in our happiness. The long waves light up our faces exuding confidence in us, our future, and our choices. We reached up and hung the moon over our heads.

I followed Brim’s first prompt for a freewrite about a selfie.  Then, because we are so self-satisfiedly happy in this photo, I decided that it fits within the narcissist prompt.  Using a form of the elimination technique from yesterday’s prompt, I ultimately came up with the poem. These ideas have been so fruitful and fascinating.

NaPoWriMo Prompt: And now for our (optional) prompt. In her interview, Brim provides us with several suggestions for generative writing exercises, and we’d like to challenge to today to tackle her third one, which is based in the myth of Narcissus. After reading the myth, try writing a poem that plays with the myth in some way. For example, you could imagine that imagine the water is speaking to you, the narcissus flower. Or you could write a poem in which the narcissus berates the Kardashians for stealing their neurosis. Or a poem that comments on the narcissism of our time, i.e. beauty and body obsession, etc.

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