Cat Haikus with Pix!

I’ve had a couple request to include photos of my cats with the haikus I wrote last week. So I’m re-posting with pix! You can see more photos and descriptions of my whole family on my bio page here. Sadly, my sweet ferrets, Eliot and Alice, both passed away in the last year, but they’re still with us in spirit. :)

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Hermione britches
Beautiful queen of the house
She’s the boss of me

hermione

Big, fluffy Harry
My sweet boy, always talking
The best all around

harry2

Black cats are lucky
Attention whore Shasta Cor
Luckiest of all

shasta

Billina the gray
Gets shut up in the closet
Almost every day

billina

Judith Crusty Face
The One-eyed Wonder Kitten
Breathes like Darth Vader

judith

Copyright © 2015 by Angie Tonucci

Day Four. Okay, I’ll stop rhyming now.

Today I wrote a haiku for each of my cats. You’re welcome.

Hermione britches
Beautiful queen of the house
She’s the boss of me

Big, fluffy Harry
My sweet boy, always talking
The best all around

Black cats are lucky
Attention whore Shasta Cor
Luckiest of all

Billina the gray
Gets shut up in the closet
Almost every day

Judith Crusty Face
The One-eyed Wonder Kitten
Breathes like Darth Vader

P.S. I’m not a “crazy cat lady” because I also have dogs.

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Copyright © 2015 by Angie Tonucci

8th Grade Limericks

We were talking about limericks in my poetry class the other day, and suddenly memories of middle school English class came flooding back! I wrote limericks for a class contest in 8th grade, and I hadn’t really thought about them much since then. But thinking about it made me wonder if I’d kept them. Sure enough, in a Lisa Frank folder in my keepsake chest, along with various other essays and stories from fifteen plus years ago, was my teacher’s hand-out of the top 20 class limericks. Three of mine had made the cut! So for nostalgia’s sake, here are my 8th grade limericks. :)

The simple one…

There once was a boy called Bill
Who loved to sit on the sill
Until one day
In an obvious way
He fell out of the window on Jill

The one I can’t believe I wrote…

There once was a big, fat nun
Who passed out one day in the sun
When people walked by
They shouted and cried
“Beached whale! Everyone run!”

My favorite one…

We’re having a Pep Rally today
It should be a fun way to play
If all of the teachers
Fall off the bleachers
And homework’s postponed ’til Thursday!

In case you wanted to steal these amazing poetic contributions to the world, they are Copyright © 1996 by Angie Tonucci. :)

“Letter to the United States” By Alexander Byvshev

A new poem was sent to me from Александр Бывшев in Russia. If you don’t remember, I worked with some other Springfield poets to translate some of Byvshev’s work back in the fall. I am awaiting an update on his situation, but I believe he is still facing criminal charges for his poems that speak against Russia or basically voice any political opinion that is sympathetic to Ukraine or any country other than Russia. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with Byvshev’s opinions, we can all certainly be inspired that he continues to write even under heavy fire from those who would condemn him for speaking his mind. I am again reminded that it should never be taken for granted that we do not face such condemnation in the US! I haven’t had a chance to properly translate this one yet, but below is the rough google translation. I am overwhelmed that my simple act of translating and sharing a couple poems has made such an impact on the other side of the world!

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LETTER TO THE UNITED STATES.
To Angie Antonucci

From the greedy jaws of Leviathan
I am writing to you a short letter.
My soul – one big wound.
On the forehead “Traitor” – burned stamp.

Live like human beings, on the discord without spending years –
We tasted this grace.
You light the torch of the Statue of Liberty,
And here we can not see an age of freedom.

Divided we dalyu of the blue …
Let faith in the best quite weak,
My heart’s crippled by pain,
Warmed your kind words.

There, where the United States, the sun sets,
Russia plunging into mourning black clouds.
To full darkness for long stays.
Thank you for your beam of hope …

In the stomach rumbling monster ever stronger.
Nazhrёtsya victim he once …
Goodbye, my dear Angel! … In parting,
Take my air kiss.

(31 January 2015)

Selected Poems

“carousel”

i choose my vehicle from a hundred nonsense animals.
there are purple unicorns
and yellow dinosaurs
with ribbons hanging from the saddles.
i choose a lovely pink giraffe and wildly lunge toward it,
pushing through the masses
with all my strength.
but the masses are stronger.
the bright pink giraffes and sparkly unicorns appeal to everyone else too.
i am pushed aside,
and the only saddle left belongs to the faded brown dog with the broken ear.
i barely make it onto the dog
before the carousel begins its furious journey to nowhere.
i struggle to cling to my dog
its short neck insensitive to my plight.
the ride is all noise and colors,
and i move faster and faster,
the wind blowing my hair,
tears streaming down my dirty cheeks,
unable to construct a
single
concrete
thought.
it goes on forever.
just when my brain and body seem to be getting used to the unending jolting motion beneath me
it all stops.
i am violently flung forward off my dog
and left in a puddle on the hot ground.
somehow i am able to stand.
i brush myself off.
i assess my scrapes and bruises,
shake off my dizzy headache,
and look around.
i sigh as i find myself in the same carnival as before.
only by this time i’ve lost all my money and my sanity between the floorboards of the carousel.
and the only possible way of getting them back is to try the ride again.

Copyright © 2011 by Angie Tonucci

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“Corliss”

Her sails rise above the waves
as the red sun fizzles into the ocean horizon.
The wind fills the sails quickly,
and the sleek boat bursts through the thick air,
and we are carried happily across the water.
Perfectly warm and perfectly cool
we stand behind the wheel,
our hair fingering the wind.
For years we have saved our money.
For months we have planned our route.
The day has finally come
when we leave our stationary lives behind
and follow the currents to new adventures.
Our kindred thoughts are unspoken
as we race the dolphins and seagulls
to nowhere in particular.

Copyright © 2011 by Angie Tonucci

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“gerbiling”

running around and around
inside my brightly colored, plastic wheel.
working frantically,
slaving away,
out of breath,
dripping with sweat.
and for what?
where am i headed?
is there a distant unseen prize at the end of this race against myself?

Copyright © 2011 by Angie Tonucci

“Ukrainian Rebels” by Alexander Byvshev

Hello friends! This has been an interesting week for me, and I’d like to share some exciting news! A few weeks ago a post appeared in my Springfield Poets & Writers group that someone was looking for help translating some Russian poems. He needed to make sure he’d used the proper wording and grammar in his translations. Never one to turn down a super fun chance at playing with words and correcting grammar, I offered to help out. :) Last Wednesday at the groups monthly open-mic night, I met the man who’d asked for help. His name is Mike. It turns out that the poems are not his own, but those of a Russian professor named Alexander Byvshev who is currenly in prison for writing them. Mike explained to the group that Byvshev was arrested and is facing several years in prison for writing poetry expressing his thoughts on recent events involving Crimea and Ukraine and the current political state in Russia. So already, regardless of what was actually written in the poems, it felt like a very important thing to be helping to share this work, simply for the fact that in America, we do not have to fear the police swarming into our open-mic night to arrest us for sharing our thoughts! Mike had two poems he’d translated already, and after helping him make some corrections, I and another reader were asked to read the poems that night. Mine was titled “Putin’s Russia”, and reading it aloud was no easy feat considering I had about ten minutes to skim it a couple times and look up the pronunciations of several Russian names and places. So I am sure I did not do it justice! But afterwards, Mike and I exchanged info so I could continue helping him translate more of the work.

Mike called me the next day and asked if he could send me one of the poems in Russian to translate myself. (This was one of the specific poems that the author is imprisoned for, so no pressure or anything…) I said I would give it a try! I hadn’t really had time to do much with it yet when Mike called me this past Tuesday to say that The State Journal-Register wanted to publish a story about the poems. The only catch was, I had to have mine finished that night!

So many, many hours later, with the help of three online translators, a thesaurus, Wikipedia, and probably a gallon of Cherry Coke, I knew a little something about Russian and Ukrainian history, and I had a little something worth reading! I sent it to Mike, and the next morning, yesterday, he called me about correcting one line and told me to expect a call from an editor of the SJR! After I spoke with the the guy from the SJR, Mike called again to ask me to post a message with my translation on Byvshev’s facebook page, hoping that the translation and a note about why we chose ceratain words may actually help his case. I did so and received a lovely thank-you reply from Byvshev himself! Then today he posted a poem on Mike’s wall, which I will be translating tonight!

This is why I do everything I do, and especially why I write: to affect positive change in the world! And again, most of us constantly take for granted that we have the freedom to express our thoughts and opinions without fear of being imprinsoned or killed for them! I mean, if there is one great thing about American government, it’s that we’re allowed to be unhappy about it if we want. But that is not so in many other parts of the world. Even uttering anything along the lines of “Crimea is Ukraine” in some Russian territories is enough to get you thrown into prison! I therefore feel very honored to be a part of sharing Byvshev’s story! So without further ado, I present to you my first ever Russian-to-English translation. Look for it in the SJR tomorrow! :)

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“Ukrainian Rebels” By Alexander Byvshev
As Translated By Angie Tonucci

The cries of the crows are not in vain!
They forecast the carrion.
They will leave their caches again,
For they know of the fire to come.

A bloody harvest awaits us,
And come what may, God will judge us!
We are united under a common oath:
To strike down the damned, not sparing even ourselves.

We, the soldiers of Stepan Bandera,
We fight the commies and Nazis!
There is nothing stronger than our faith
And our love for our precious Homeland!

For Her, we will face our enemies, even into the mouth of death!
Let us perish for our Native Land
So that She, Ukraine, may never die!
And I will meet you, my friends, in Paradise!

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Here is an article about Byvshev’s situation, which was written in Russian of course, so it translates pretty roughly, but you can get the general idea: https://news.pn/en/public/110549

Also, if it wasn’t regarding such a serious situation, this would almost be funny: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/crimea-made-part-of-russia-on-google-maps–but-only-for-russian-users-9257233.html