I saw this in my Twitter feed yesterday and watched it more times than I will admit because, well, I just needed to laugh and to feel outsized joyful emotions for another being. When I went to YouTube to get the URL, I noticed that there were 12,465,938 views since January 3, 2016, which included 366K “likes.” But there were 4.5K “dislikes,” and I’m trying to figure out why. I’m typically very sensitive to anything that has even a hint of animal cruelty, but I don’t see any here. Is it that those who gave a thumbs down thought he was being teased or exploited perhaps? Or did they just not like the sound of the dog expressing himself so passionately? Or were some simply being trolls who roam the internet looking for ever more ways to be a******s? If you have any ideas, please leave a comment.


“Well anyway


the dead

are dead”

hushed but

busted wide

with want

that Jim

still begging

for one

last go

and Francie

so starved

she’s throwing

down fries

just minutes

before closing

those eyes

of hers

and the

dog’s ball

was buried

last fall

but what

a shedder

she was

that pup

this one

time gobbling

up chocolates

with franks

poor girl

nearly died

then but

didn’t so


the sun

it’s white

the wind

it’s up

the bits

of straw

skitter across

granite and

grass these

rose petals

dying, yes,

but still

so fragrant




robin egg

I will tell you about the naked oak in our yard and about

my dead robin, June, who couldn’t fly south for winter

and about the Cooper’s hawk that swooped down to eat

the poor thing, pecking first at a dull eye, while close by

two cracked eggs, each the size of a large jelly bean,

lay oozing yolk and about the cold sky pulled thin and

plumed across my low horizon and about Hyena, with

his pail full of silver buckshot, who shouted from across

the avenue, “Wanna lick my lollipop, pancake tits?”

while behind him two fat boys cackled, with Br’er

Rabbit, the older by some years, in Daddy’s pink shirt

and about mother leaving for the City, her thin

lips painted plump, and about my gray lunch

congealing in a tin pan that sat on the top rack of a

cold oven and about the canned peaches she dumped

into a tea cup and placed on a shelf in her

refrigerator. But not yet and not here




but the best encounter


I’ve ever had

the best one

was when

I was tracking a jaguar

in the jungle

by myself

which I usually don’t do

I saw these big male tracks of a jaguar

I’d never seen before and

I just took off thinking okay

I’ll track it a little while but

I shouldn’t be alone but

I ended up tracking it for hours and

 it was getting dark and

I didn’t have a flashlight and

I can’t be alone in the jungle without a flashlight so

I turn around and

there’s the jaguar

in back of me



(Excerpt from an 8.18.14 interview between NPR’s Diane Rehm and zoologist/wildlife ecologist Alan Rabinowitz )

The scrouch pendi

PuliThis morning I awoke from a dream and wrote down the words “scrouch pendi” on a pad. It seems I had invented a new dog breed while I was sleeping, and I was telling someone about this right before I opened my eyes. Throughout the morning, I laughed whenever I thought about the new pup my psyche had conjured.

Wherever did this name come from, I wondered. Had I heard the words before in conversation or had I read them online or in a book? Curious, I looked up the word “scrouch” and discovered that, according to Urban Dictionary, scrouching is the act of crying, “usually excessively, after having an orgasm” and then “instantly falling asleep” afterwards. “Pendi,” I read in Wikipedia, “is a village in the municipality of Monidigah in the Lerik Rayon of Azerbaijan.”

Which got me to thinking about the mind and its inscrutable mysteries. I know so little about what animates me, really, and, just when I think I understand something true about myself, the knowing evaporates. Sometimes I am startled by the idea that I am utterly alone in my thoughts and that no one else can ever enter inside them.

These days I find I am hungry to understand the mind of the person who commandeered Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; the mind of the man who killed three soldiers, wounded sixteen other people, and then took his own life; the mind of the youth who in a minutes-long rampage stabbed twenty-one students and one adult.  How can I even begin to understand the thinking of another, though, when I don’t even know my own mind?


Two years!

Two years ago today, I wrote my first Ruminationville piece, “Underthinking is Overrated.” Typically not one to stick out difficult commitments for the long term—except, of course, the commitment of motherhood—I am amazed that I have managed to keep something going here. I can only attribute it to the quiet support of those who have been following me over these many months. Each time I sit down to write, I think of you…and of never wanting to disappoint. Here’s to another year, or two, or four!

On gobbling the gobbler

Terrified TurkeyLast night after work I bought a slice of roasted turkey, a spoonful of stuffing, and a dollop of mashed sweet potatoes. After packing my pre-Thanksgiving dinner neatly into a small brown carton, I licked my lips and headed for home. Once there, I settled onto my faded corduroy couch; turned on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, my heroine; and shoveled in some poultry. No sooner did the first bite register with my brain than it rewarded me by playing back a song I had learned in grade school.

A turkey sat on a backyard fence as he sang this sad, sad tune: ‘Thanksgiving Day is coming gobble gobble gobble gobble and I know I’ll be eaten s-o-o-oon. Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble I don’t like Thanksgiving Day-a-a-ay. Gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble gobble I would like to run away.’

This kind of thing happens to me a lot. I stopped eating veal when a calf visitation appeared before me and the poor thing squeak-mooed when I put the first forkful to my mouth. Same went for a hamburger and the appearance of a mommy cow with long eyelashes.

Throughout my life, I have had protracted periods of vegetarianism because I really cannot stand to eat meat, but eventually my hair falls out, I become faint, my skin gets spotty, and I backslide. I think I’ll be piling a lot of broccoli and salad on my plate come Thursday. I wonder, though, what the piece of turkey I hide underneath the greens will have to say to me.

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