My Old Friend

13 Oct



The bizarre and heart-wrenching story of our oldest pet’s tribulations this past year or two spun me hard for a minute, and led to the painful birth of this poem.  I’m not maudlin about pets, especially cats, but Coco is special.  It’s hard to keep these types of verses from being corny, but the effort to avoid such I think led me to some of my favorite phrasing ever.

Click Here to listen to me recite it, or read below on your own.


My old friend had found us

At the bottom of despair

And let us hang around him 

As we made our way from there.


He came to us in chaos,

He purred us into peace

He pardoned hearts imprisoned 

Upon granting their release.


Birth and Death, Divorce and worse,

He suffered other pets

He murdered critters in the yard

And flabbergasted vets.


A broken fang from fighting, 

A tendency to roam,

He disappeared a fortnight once, 

And found his way back home. 


The road was rough for Tabby tough,

Transitioning of late.

Now deliverance awaited

Down the interstate. 


But Irony presses the fabric of life

In a wrinkle-free garment from hell;

And my old friend who mended hearts

Would crush them just as well. 


Road trip, rest stop, food and water

Hours from the end.

Couple hundred miles, 

A brand new home for my old friend.


But freedom beckons boldly

Of a cold Kentucky dawn;

My travel buddy bolted

For the woods across the lawn


I followed, flailing, logic bailing,

Failing to discuss,  

That losing sight of my old friend

Would mean the end of us.


A dismal fog of doom descended, 

Dimming daybreak’s flush

I thrust into the thicket, 

Over logs and underbrush


Bramble flayed my flesh to mesh

With fire in my breast.

The Wolf of Truth consumed my soul,

Mosquitoes ate the rest.


Of course my pal outpaced me quick,

As cats are keen to do,

But I swear I saw him smiling

As he faded from my view.


Hawk, she screams from high above, 

Mourning dove, she moans.

Crow she cackles, Owl she hoots, 

In haunting, taunting tones. 


Cricket chirps a marching dirge 

To measure my defeat

Squirrel hurls insults

At my pussified retreat.


Blue Jay scolded, “stupid man, 

your friend is gone for good!”

And Nature’s mocking music 

Thus expelled me from the wood.


Coyote howls to greet the day, 

Cougar hunts alone.

And all nine lives of every cat 

Remain, in fact, his own.


To Bear the pain was down to me, 

My friend was unafraid.  

So I took one final look 

Into the trees beyond the glade.


A Frog of grieving choked my throat, 

I croaked his name and then,

I finally, broken-hearted, 

Drove away from my old friend.

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