Birdlike — Elan Mudrow Photography

They were birdlike and referred to their planet as the nest.

(Timothy Lake, Oregon, July 2018)

via Birdlike — Elan Mudrow Photography


An Uncompromising Editor

Mr. Fry during a writers' workshop.
Mr. Fry during a writers’ workshop.

I feel a slight brush

Of fur and tail

upon my calves

Then, a head bunt.

Mr. Fry is concerned

About my Word document

My Scrivener, my Office Suite

PDFs and printables

Sharing and synced

Blogged, published, backed up………


My prose is threatening to verse

My verse is proposing to prose

My characters are in a state of mutiny,

My alliteration is acting like an assonance

My plot took a poop

“My dialogue sounds suspiciously like

Someone I know”, the narrator said

My enjambments are threatening to reach the right side of the page and beyond

My cliffhanger fell to its death

My denouement denounced all involvement

I’m suffering from hyperbole!!!! It’s no exaggeration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mr. Fry, who knows

When to place something

In the litter box

Offers his help……

Searches at my feet

Looking for stray words

I may have disregarded, for…………

He loves to bat words around

Like a plastic ball with a bell

Engaging the toy mouse muse.

He’s intent on editing.

First, it’s the tail……….chewed off

The sewn-on eyes and ears

Are the last to go,


What is left?

Left……….. is a bag with stuffing

The finished piece? 


No, for then he moans

 (He’s half Siamese)

Wanting better words

Ones that act like catnip

That make him silly with play

Taking him to a higher

Realization of Cat

To touch, to speak, to comprehend

All that is of Cat


I tell him, sorry dude

Not today,

Promising to go to the store


To pick up a treat.

I return to my scratch pad

He chews on my T.S. Eliot books.

About The Bird

Cindy Schnackel

I was invited to one of those huggy, huggy group meetings. You know, the type where everyone reveals inner lies about themselves, others, and the world around them. Well, we soon started picking out animal personalities for each other, which sucked, because someone else chose what animal you were. So, right off the perch, things weren’t going to be honest, just brutal like a writers’ workshop. There were cougars, bears, eagles, dolphins—lions, owls, deer, and yadda, yadda. Me? I was a bird. Not a specific bird, just a generic, B-I-R-D, bird. That’s the word. Not an avian personality like a bluebird or gold finch, but a plain old bird. What were they trying to tell me?  All I could do was pretend it was a compliment. My feathers weren’t ruffled and I didn’t chirp up. I wouldn’t dare peep in public.

If I was to be a bird, then I must be a flightless bird. After all, I drove ten miles to attend the meeting.  Somewhere, back in my sordid evolution, I had the ability to fly. Now, for reasons of survival, that ability was lost, because I wanted to drive a Prius, Passat, or Volvo and feel good about it. I developed a quick, efficient waddle that could outrun stupidity. Unfortunately, stupidity is stubborn and I have had to keep running, continuously. My beak became sharper. I needed the perk to peck the shit out of anyone who was particularly problematic. My eyes moved to the front of my head from the sides, so I could see who was insulting me and who I insulted back. I went for easy prey, foraging in schools of overpriced degrees, chewing on grants, choking on loans, leading to a career inside an aviary called community college. This led to teaching kids who don’t read, who prefer spark notes instead of critical thinking. Thinking is for the birds. Go America. I watched out for (not always successfully) bigger hunters who would kill my personality. They fed voraciously upon individuality like it was Tweety’s feed, spewing out rotten eggs of ego during union meetings. I would mate with those of my kind, but since none of us could fly we kept to ourselves. Occasionally a kindly scientist patted me on the head and gave me a treat, but they always wanted something in return.

So, the meeting was a success, yes I’m a bird. I’ve now been caged.  But, I’m going home proud. You’ve heard about migration, so I’m going to get seasonal. By the time you hear my birdsong. I’ll be long gone. I just need to find my keys.

Cat Watch


My cat does not pass judgement

Nor does he profile.

If he were to guess wrong

About my sneaky movements in the kitchen,

He has not made an assumption.

He’s acting upon detailed information.

For I have been known to

Pass out a treat or two……three or four.

And If some friend or snackless fool,

A human like me…..

……..Were to be lurking around my kitchen

For no good reason,

Perhaps for a glass of water

Or to eat an innocent chocolate chip cookie,

My cat pays no mind to them.


You see, even though we all

Are enamored with Pokemon Go,

Watch Justin Bieber’s hair with avid interest

And wonder who having sex

On Game Of Thrones,

My cat is smart enough to know

Who passes out treats.

Regardless of how our limbs,

Voices, yawns and wants are placed together—

The trick is that…

He must see an “individual”


Dig a hand into the treat bag

Dishing out the good stuff

Before he knows for certain

What’s going down


He makes no educated guess

No theory

No scholarly charts of bias are involved

No gathering of tendencies

No cat debates that rhetorically argue

About which kind of human gives out snacks

And which kind of human does not

No, guessing happens


Maybe if my cat were to watch more

“Reality” television.

He would think

Every human is a potential snack thug.


No move in the kitchen would

Be ignored,

Everyone in the kitchen

Must be scanned

Profiled, suspicious of treat dealing

In the dark, dark corners of the dining room.

He would watch all of us

Very, very, very, very carefully

And cautiously.

He might even rub against a leg

Just to make sure that no tricky movements

Were perpetrated against his food bowl