Scragamuffin: A New Chapbook on Patreon

Today, I’m sending my patrons a new chapbook–Scragamuffin.

I didn’t intend to write another chapbook; it just sort of happened. Unfortunately, we lost another one of our cats, and this one was only nine. So, it’s been kind of a bummer.

Scragamuffin, Poems about Pete by Rachel Swirsky brown cover image with white cat sketchI wrote a bunch of poems about Pete, and also started drawing pictures based on photographs of him. I lucked into a style I like a lot so I’ve been drawing other animals–pets and otherwise–since.

This Patreon chapbook contains about twenty poems, about twenty illustrations, and the rules for one game (which can only be initiated by a cat).

I hope folks find it fun or funny–or at least furry.

All of my patrons receive premium content every month. Donations of any amount are gratefully appreciated. Every little bit helps. (Especially, alas, as my husband has been laid off again. Poor Mike.)

 

Haiku Roundup for September 2021

The cats cuddle close
wanting the warmth of my skin
offering their fur.

No leaves sprouting yet,
but the warmer, longer light
promises they’ll come.

Crowded coffee shops
overheated in the
rain  of broken voices.

Sunset mid-evening
lights over the pier are twinned
in water, dawning.

Reasonable dawn
glows white outside my window,
strange swaddled morning.

sunset mid-evening
lights over the pier are twinned
in water, dawning

Brightly overcast
where the sky, this morning, wept,
like all seasons here.

A note about Haiku: A while back, I decided to write one (or more) haiku a day about my life. These are semi-traditional haiku: I used seasonal imagery to explore my transient experiences, but I didn’t follow any other content rules. I also used English syllables instead of Japanese morae.

 

Haiku Roundup for August 2021

I posted this a few years ago, but I think it’s worth posting again.

A while back, during a phase when I was having trouble writing fiction, a friend of mine showed me a haiku they’d been working on. I couldn’t manage something like a whole story, but writing seventeen syllables of poetry came easily, and felt right. 

These poems are only sort of traditional haiku. For one thing, I used English syllables instead of trying to adapt English words to Japanese morae which are similar to syllables, but not the same. I did use a seasonal reference in the first line of each, but they aren’t necessarily the kind of seasonal imagery that would have been used in a traditional poem. Also, I talked a lot more directly about what I was feeling, instead of using the metaphors to convey it.

However, I did try to convey my thoughts as I experienced them in that transient moment. I also tried not to revise, to just let them be as they were. (I think I cheated a couple of times, though.)  

These haikus aren’t necessarily in order, and they’re from a bit ago, so they won’t match up with the current weather, but I hope the words mean something to you.

 

Light through naked trees.
My dreams were not peaceful, and
I just want to sleep.

In night’s deep belly,
midnight is a great crevasse,
dark but sheltering.

Pet me, please. Now, please.
Stop tapping on that machine.
I’m here; I love you.

Evening starts at three.
I have a day’s work to do
in the waning light.

The twilight sky bleeds
to deeper and deeper shades
of thoughtful Winter.

Half-naked branches,
black, with yellow flags waving
gently in the wind.

Bitter, windy, dark,
clattering cold strikes the rain,
sharp, overwhelming.

Hasten through the cold,
the wind pushing you backward.
The windows are bright.