Escape From Pandora: Chapter 1

Chapter 1: The New Agenda Arrives

“The edge of a storm brings strong winds.”
~ Clara the Wise

On Day 1 of the New Agenda, thinking was banned. The edict came down from Central, along with official wishes for the Great Leader’s continued good health, since this was also his birthday.

Of course, no one paid much attention to it. There was always a new edict or new agenda of some sort or another being announced. And we, the humble Patrons, just ignored or found ways around them.

This one was just so particularly ridiculous, not even the Local Leader took it seriously. Still, she did pay it official lip service at her Talk of the Day by praising its timeliness.

“Thought has become so tiresome,” she chanted, and gestured for us to join in.
We did. But we also moved on with our lives, chalking this up to one more thing that would fade as new edicts arrived.

But then the messages began to appear on our house screens: Continue reading


The Child Upstairs

Two Years Old.jpgThe child upstairs has just turned 2
There’s very little I can do
She runs with glee above my head
And this is normal I have read.

If you met her you’d surely say
“This tiny girl can’t spoil your day!
So sweet. So small. So very charming.”
But noise above can be alarming.

When cute as hell she does her dance
It thunders down here like elephants.
Throughout the day the noise rains down
I heave a sigh with every sound.

And while I’m told this can’t be stopped
Into my head a question popped.
For the next few years inside her home
Can’t this sweetie be cushioned in foam???


ART CREDIT:  By Ida Waugh @1888. Found on Wikimedia via

The Good Ole Daze

By JJ Harrison ( - Own work

Some sighingly long
For days of old
When things were so much better.

When people en masse
Knew right from wrong
And water was so much wetter.

A time when all
Had perfect jobs
And life was far less bitter.

Just tell me who
Will be the one
To tell Trump there’s no Twitter.

And let’s not forget
Cures will be lost
If we head back to days of yore.

Plus every new human
More recently born
Will suddenly be no more.

The past may be wrapped
In filters of gold
But glitter just masks the haze.

What might seem so great
In memory’s mind
Oft leaves out much darker days.


Photo credit: “White Perfection” by JJ Harrison  [jjharrison89 (at)]

Who Says Cats Are Stubborn?

OOMH_cat_profileWell, to be totally truthful, I do. All the time. Then sometimes the furry little scalawag surprises me. Like she did today. But I don’t want to get ahead of the story.

Each morning, after scarfing down breakfast, my sweet but oh-so-stubborn cat Lucie jumps up on the living room table. I originally thought it was mine to use as a dining spot and work space, but now, undaunted by the embroidered linen table cloth (once bereft of hairball stains), she has claimed the territory as her own, turning the table and cloth into a favorite resting place.

Of course, I can easily see why. Besides the soft, enticing scratchability of the cloth, the table’s placement next to wonderfully large urban windows offers an active view of blue skies and the vast outdoors. This includes visits from countless pigeons and butterflies she undoubtedly chases in her dreams.

As part of her morning ritual, the table also becomes the sacred place to lie on as she meows commands at me to brush her. And, lord knows, I have often been tricked into at least trying to do so — again and again. Like today. Continue reading

I Just Killed a Dust Bunny

OOMH_mouseNormally I’m not a violent person. In fact, I often go out of my way to catch little insects or spiders that I find creeping about on my apartment walls or floors, and I bring them to the window to let them fly free. Sure, there are those crawly things that don’t actually know how to fly, and I do feel badly about that. But intent has to count for something.

I once had a cat who was great at finding and eating the little critters. While I wrestled for a while with the idea of letting him do that without trying to save them, I eventually figured it’s just the circle of life. (The Lion King is especially great for rationalization.)

But my current cat, god bless her, sees the little buggies and just watches them … without lifting a fur-covered muscle. On the other hand Continue reading

A Bolt of Fire

Lightning by Axel Rouvin via Wikimedia

A bolt of fire

Hurled downward

By dispassionate gods

Looking to amuse themselves.


In one moment,

All we once knew

And held so dear

Sits on its head

In charred disarray.


Can tears flow upside down?


[For a dear friend. ~ Photo by Axel Rouvin via Wikimedia]

When Mockingbirds Fly

Mockingbird in tree photo by Tim McCormack via Wikimedia CommonsBethany knew the dream well. She’s lying in an open coffin, eyes alert to the world outside. She lifts her head and glimpses a vision of soft, rolling hills caressing the horizon. The scene feels strangely familiar, yet she can’t quite place the memory. In the foreground, resting on a low branch of a leafless elm tree, a mockingbird dressed in black satin smiles, steps forward, clears his throat and screams “Eereet! Eereet! Eereet!”

Then come the huge shadowy arms reaching slowly upward and latching onto the coffin, their magnetic grip pulling her downward, ever downward. Though her mother has been dead over a year now, those arms are unmistakable. Arms that in life never let go. And now the grasping fingers hold tightly to the coffin from which she is unable to escape – and doesn’t even think to try. Flapping its wings, the mockingbird rises and circles above. “Eereet! Eereet!”

Bethany woke from the dream to a chilly, gray Monday, Continue reading

A Rainy Day in March


Scattered patterns
On the screen
Painting pictures
Of far off places.

I see shimmering Paris
To the left of Berlin
Where it rightly belongs.

And radiant Miss Rio
Surprisingly near Beijing
Dripping kisses to Tibet.

And there above all
Sits pretty San Francisco
Winking hello to us all.

Let the soft rain fall.
I have the world outside
Waiting with open arms.

Worries for Sale


What if tiles by Maryeoriginals from Wikimedia CommonsI’ve been thinking how nice it would be to package all my worries in lovely boxes and put them up for sale. Sturdy boxes of all sizes and shapes, with seductively-patterned wrapping paper, of the very finest quality.

Enchanting boxes with brightly-colored ribbons, tied lovingly with a perfect corkscrew swirl at the end. Hopeful boxes waiting anxiously to be discovered by just the right person, someone who will be happy to adopt them as their own.

I can just imagine the tremendous relief, not only relief in letting go of things I no longer need, but in helping old friends find welcoming new homes. And I can also imagine the consummate joy of at last being free of what binds me.

Of course, that’s assuming someone else will actually want to buy my worries.  And that I, in turn, don’t find myself wandering around the well-stocked Worry Store, tempted at every turn by what others are selling. So many pretty packages calling to me.

But then packaging can be so deceptive. And empty spaces so often clamor to be filled again by new friends who feel a lot like those we once knew.


Existential Cat





The empty food dish taunts me.

SHE lumbers about doing this and that. Nothing of consequence. Nothing that gets me one iota closer to finally receiving the sustenance I so desperately need.

Can she not see I languish away, while my dish just lies there, untouched by the very hands that could so easily bring relief to this misery that is life?

If not now, WHEN???!!!

“Tis the Season 2014


Across this vast land
Icicles on giant balsams
Hang like frozen tears.

Bone-weary doors creak open,
Hungry eyes scouring the horizon
For glimmers of impending dawn.

Once more the hope rises.
Yet again the veil falls,
As emboldened clouds rush forward
To darken the softening skies.

Oh elusive light
When will you step forward
To at long last claim
Your rightful throne?