Ménage à Moi

Digital illo from a photo: Woolly NillyZoo Zooming

I’m off to see the monkeys now,

The ibex, the Tibetan cow,

The tortoise, hippo, kangaroo—

But if you think it’s to the zoo

I’m heading out, you’re incorrect—

I’m off to feed my intellect

Not in the jungle nearby found,

But where the animals are bound

In paper quarters, for you see,

I’m headed for the library.

Persistent Admirers

digital illustrationLeave the Help at Home

Off she went to see the market, basket full of goods and greens,

And the fond companions with her came to see the market’s scenes,

Prancing, dancing, baying, barking, nipping at her head and heels;

By the time they neared the city, all beset by crowds and wheels,

She her petticoats beribboned had all stained and soiled and torn;

Hat askew and heels unbuckled, basket broken, cob and corn

Strewn, her lettuces and flowers flung amain, and so she sat

In the rutted road’s dry scours, in the dust, and that was that–

No point now to going onward to the market if she would,

Dog and pony show now ended (at the least, that part was good)–

Then the animals felt sorry for the chaos and the mess,

Made a show to make her cheery, give her back her happiness.

Nothing mended for the market, recompense for not a sou,

But she smiled at how they capered, no more anger and to-do,

And they picked up, swift and swishing, tails and coattails all a-sway,

Backward home, though she was wishing it had gone another way;

To the market back, tomorrow, she would go to sell her wares,

But avoid her current sorrow,

Locking up those pranks of theirs!

How Clouds were Invented

Clouds have long inspired a lot of fantasy, and though I’ve enjoyed many a day of lying around imagining what I saw in the clouds–creatures and inventions of all sorts–I’m quite certain I’m far from alone in entertaining myself with this pastime. A frequent identification of clouds by a great many of us aficionados, too, is the spotting of sheep among them. Whitish, puffy and fluffy, sometimes seen in herd-like groups and sometimes seeming to wander aimlessly, clouds and sheep both inspire a bit of dreamy invention in me.

Contemplating the possible relationships between them is just as delightful to me as noticing their simple visual resemblance. My current dream is that once-upon-a-time, there was a gentle old wizard meditating in a meadow, and he found that despite his lovely surroundings and his peaceable and contemplative nature he couldn’t quite get to the point of having the restful nap he so desired. Couldn’t, that is, until he conjured some of the nearby sheep to float around him like sweet woolly zeppelins, whereupon he closed his eyes in quiet ecstasy and drifted off himself into ethereal sleep.digital illustrationSilly, I know (and potentially having some logistical issues attached), but I find the image somewhat comfy myself. Since it’s nearing 3 a.m. as I write this, I do believe it’s a fine time to test whether simply savoring the image might not get me appropriately sleepy. I’ll get back to you on that. Eventually. Though I might be just a little woolly-headed on my return.

Animal Crossings

I know not what the relevance

Of tortoises and elephants

And tapirs, panthers, malamutes

And goats in my dreams constitutes—

I only know that when I sleep,

This is the zoo I tend to keep,

And if it lends to such pursuits,

It may include a thousand sheep.

Hot Flash Fiction 5

The Duchess was inordinately fond of animals. Though her courtiers would never dare say so to her face, they imagined she ought to have been born a zookeeper, or at the very least a farmer. This idea was strengthened, especially, by the fact that it always fell to the housekeepers and servants to make the palace tidy enough for Her Ladyship’s dainty passage through life and to freshen the air when the royal menagerie had pranced, prowled or otherwise paraded through its rooms and left unseemly gifts along the way. The Duke, who was as allergic to all things animal as the Duchess was attracted, considered for some time whether he oughtn’t to have a team of expert taxidermists and artisans solve this problem once and for all, creating a large display of preserved zoological beauty that might be both lower maintenance and less powerfully scented than the living creatures populating his estate indoors and out, day and night.digital collageUnfortunately, the Duchess’s sisters who lived in the east wing of the palace did not support the Duke’s enthusiasm for the design, making noises of disapprobation at least as loud as the Duchess’s favorite dogs’ barking or donkeys’ braying. Perhaps, the Duke thought, he had been a little incautious in discussing this artistic concept with his secretary while within earshot of the sisterly ladies-in-waiting, for they both appeared quite ready to dash off squealing with rage to their unsuspecting sibling, or at the least, to imitate the household fauna in some other impolite fashion.digital collageAs it fell out, the Duke, however incautious he may have been in heat of the moment, was not without the wit born of hard experience. Working swiftly with his retainers, was able to resolve the situation quickly and suitably merely by shifting the subject of the new art to a slightly different one featuring the Duchess and her sisters. As an added benison of this resolution, it was discovered that he wasn’t allergic to winged or four-legged pets after all. The palace staff found maintaining the menagerie surprisingly less onerous afterward as well, even with the added curatorial duties of dusting off the Duchess and polishing her sisters from time to time.

Pop Peacock

Count me among the millions enamored of those strange birds Mother Nature garbs in the most exotic finery yet makes the comic relief when it comes to songbird status. Peacocks are hardly the scaredy-pants of the menagerie, but you’d never guess it when you hear their guttural squawks of Help! Help!! across the way. From what I’ve seen, this propensity for sounding the alarm does in fact make them rather handy gatekeepers for herd and flock, but as for any timidity, that seems to be far outweighed by their curiosity, which instead makes them as bold as their colors would imply.

digital artwork

The Love Song of Alfred J. Peacock

All of this makes them quite fascinating to me, and not only so because of my persistent attraction to all things gloriously colorful and iridescent. It also, serendipitously, makes them relatively approachable when they don’t feel threatened, so besides being photogenic they are also photograph-able. So I have a small but nice collection of peacock portraits and closeups of their dramatically beautiful details from which I can make playful peacock artworks. I share here a trio of my ‘recombinant peacock’ digital pieces using the same elements I’ve shot to create slightly different effects.

digital artwork

Psychedelic Peacocks

The peacocks gave their tacit permission. And I, magpie-type bird that I am, can’t help but oblige. Help! Help!! Help!!!

digital artwork

Peacock Moire