Posted in Life, Poetry

Get a Cat (or Don’t)

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Cats are such a joy.

Usually.

On one hand, they’re adorable.

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* Love *

And they provide hours of entertainment both in the form of comedy…

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“Mama, I ate ALL the catnip!”

…and drama.

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The Six Stages of a Relationship

But they can also be needy…

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“Could you bring me a beer?”

…and creepy…

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She seems to be waiting for something to come out from under the couch. (!!!)

…and owning a cat often means waking up to this:

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“Good morning. I’ve been grooming your hair while you sleep.”

It’s a tough choice.

Maybe this poem, first published by the Poetry Society of Texas in A Book of the Year 2016, will help you decide if you need a cat. (Or not.)

Get a Cat (or Don’t)
* a series of haiku *

Why you should get a
cat: Explanation for all
those mid-night noises.

Why you shouldn’t get
a cat: The increased number
of mid-night noises.

When the cat doesn’t
help: You hear a noise… the cat’s
sleeping beside you.

When the cat makes it
worse: You hear nothing… the cat
hisses anyway.

Worst possible case:
There is a ghost… the cat likes
it better than you.

What should you do? Get
rid of the cat—problem solved.
Wait… what was that noise?

© Carie Juettner
First place in the Poetry Society of Texas Fill in the Blanks Award, 2015

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Posted in Poetry

That Summer

This poem was published in A Book of the Year 2017, the anthology of first place poems from the Poetry Society of Texas annual contests. Now that it’s July, when we’re steeped in Texas summer, it seems like a good time to share it with you. Plus, I just got home from spending a few days with my wonderful family, so I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. I hope “That Summer” takes you back to some of your favorite summer memories.

*

That Summer

I sat on a threadbare pink towel
on top of the ice cream maker
my dad and grandfather
taking turns at the crank
my grandmother
slicing homegrown peaches

my fingers stained
from hammering black walnuts
on the anvil in the backyard
the skin of my palms raw
from gripping the rope swing
in the hackberry tree

my mom in shorts and sandals
a glass of iced tea
sweating in her hand
my brother eating
a smile of watermelon
juice dripping down his chin

lightning bugs blinking
a slow Morse code
hummingbirds in the trumpet vine
bare feet and dirty knees
and the voices of my family
hovering in a comforting cloud

I’d like to reach back
and catch that summer
in an empty pickle jar
poke holes in the lid
and keep it for a while
warm and safe in my hands

*

© Carie Juettner
First Place in the Poetry Society of Texas Campbell Prize, 2016
First Published in A Book of the Year 2017

Posted in Life, Poetry, Reading, Writing

A Mother’s Gift

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Last November, I attended the Poetry Society of Texas Annual Awards Banquet, where two of my poems took home first place prizes. The banquet was lovely, the food was good, the poems were wonderful, and of course I was excited about my prizes, but the best part about the whole thing was that my mom was there with me. She was my date. 🙂

My mom is the best. She’s been an integral part of my life as a reader and writer. She read to me when I was little, taking me to the public library to check out every Dorrie the Little Witch book they had, over and over again. Even when I got older and could read on my own, I still preferred reading stories with her. One of my favorite memories is us sitting side by side in my twin bed, giggling our way through the Bunnicula books.

My mom has always been a reader. Mysteries are her favorite, but these days she also reads a lot of middle grade and young adult novels. My whole family read the Harry Potter series as it was published and loved to talk to each other about the books. Now we’re doing the same thing with the Lockwood & Co. series. My mom read the first two before I did and kept telling me how good they were. She was right. Now we get to experience those hilarious and spooky tales together and ponder the cliffhanger endings. I love being able to talk about books with her.

And now, I love being able to talk about writing with her.

Some moms might have second thoughts about their daughters quitting their careers to write. Maybe my mom did too, but if so she never showed it. She’s been excited about and supportive of my writing adventure from the very beginning. Even when I started writing horror, which is not her favorite, she still kept her chin up, learning to accept (if not embrace) the fact that her little girl sometimes writes dark things. Lately though, my mom has become more than just a supportive presence hovering outside the crazy sphere of publishing and marketing and querying. Lately, as I’ve explained more and more of the process to her, she’s become a real ally, asking me now and then how my agent search is going and telling me how proud she is of me and all I’ve learned. She’s read all my published work, as well as my middle grade manuscript. She loved the book, which of course feels pretty awesome. 🙂 My mom feels like a traveling companion on my writing journey now, and I love that too.

Having someone as loving and supportive as my mom on my side is invaluable. That’s why I took her to the PST banquet with me. And that’s why, when the anthology of PST poems including my two winners arrived in my mailbox this week, I sent it straight to her, for Mother’s Day.

I love you, Mom! Thank you for everything.

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