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Poem: "Pet Projects" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Pet Projects"

This poem came out of the September 6, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from thesilentpoet, marina_bonomi, my_partner_doug, jenny_evergreen, and kelkyag.  It was sponsored by marina_bonomi.  Lots of people wanted to explore the idea of pets in Monster House!  You can read the other poems in this series on the Serial Poetry page.


Pet Projects


We have a full house
here on Hollow Oak Drive,
me and my wife,
our daughter and our son ...
and so forth.

The little old lady ghost,
the monsters under-the-bed and in-the-closet,
the bogeyman and the lurking shadow,
even the troll in the basement --
they're housemates, more or less;
people, if somewhat peculiar ones.

The coblynau come and go
through the vents,
living in a world of their own.

The gargoyles on the roof
are like barn cats:
ever-present but aloof, not very cuddly,
good for eliminating vermin.

The gremlins generally are  vermin,
chewing things open or taking things apart,
but the seeing-eye gremlin is just like a guide dog.

The radiator dragon could be considered a pet,
since it isn't very smart and seems to
benefit the heating system by ambient magic
rather than by mechanical aid.
Like the gargoyles, though,
it's not something to snuggle
unless you want an instant sunburn.

So when my daughter wanted a pet,
it seemed like a reasonable request;
surely we've seen stranger things.
After I had to veto the boa constrictor
and the salamanders
I should have known better.

The cat should have worked.
Cats can see everything,
so ought to fit right in.
Unfortunately the cat who saw everything
never got used to anything.
He hissed at the little old lady ghost
and growled at the lurking shadow
and tried to sharpen his claws
on the monsters under-the-bed and in-the-closet.
One night someone left the door open
and the cat moved next door and never returned.

The ferret was perhaps a poor idea,
but I didn't know that until it was too late.
She chased the coblynau through the vents
while they and the bogeyman tried to nail her with hammers,
and she climbed all over the monsters until they refused
to go anywhere near the beds or  the closets.
So we had to give the ferret away.

The goldfish at least had its own habitat,
but ultimately fell prey to a late-night toast
between the bogeyman and the lurking shadow.
Don't ask.  I didn't.

Finally I just bought a lava lamp
in the traditional teardrop style with yellow fluid and red wax,
and told my daughter to pretend it was an alien aquarium.
She liked it.  She sat in front of it for hours,
the purple eye of her necklace focused on the shifting blobs.

My wife bought another one, in a modern style,
a little cylinder filled with vivid blue fluid and pale creamy wax.
Our daughter liked that one too,
saying the probabilities were different.

Then she asked for a new one
as a birthday present,
and her grandmother showed up
with one so big it stood on the floor, a huge tall tube
full of red-violet fluid and eerie yellow-green wax.
It clashed with everything, but our daughter didn't care.
She put it in her room and watched it, grinning.

I couldn't for the life of me imagine
what she found so mesmerizing about wax blobs
until I peeked in there
and one of them winked  at me.

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Current Mood: busy busy

33 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: September 7th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoops! That was a bit of a surprise, but if it's a gift from That Grandma, it probably shouldn't have been.

Much fun.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 7th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

It was also somewhat inspired by certain types of aquarium pet, such as crabs and octopi, that like to play peek-a-boo and scare people.
From: minor_architect Date: September 7th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ha! I think the Monster House family is about to get its second Doctor of Scientific Oddities... ;)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 7th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Hmm...

You know, she hasn't said yet what she wants to be when she grows up. She's culturally flexible, artistically talented, and intrigued by various sciences. This could go anywhere.
From: minor_architect Date: September 7th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
That sounds like a future prompt for the Monster House series if ever I heard one:

"What do you want to be when you grow up, honey?"

"Umm...a little of everything?"

:D

fayanora From: fayanora Date: September 7th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
In a world with magic, like that one, there's another possibility. I have a character named Lyria Spellspinner who is basically a sane mad scientist* who works with magic as well as science. Her magic came first, but she uses her interest in science to inform her magic, and as such comes up with a lot of neat ideas.

* = She doesn't want to take over the world, or the universe, or the multiverse. She wants to become a Creator, and thus create her own multiverse somewhere off in the True Void. Worldly power and wealth she _does_ seek (and have), but only as a means to that end.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: September 7th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, the poor monsters under-the-bed and in-the-closet seem to've gotten the short end of the stick in trying out pets.

I'm surprised they ever got the ferret back once she was loose in the vents. I suppose the more agile household residents were motivated to help round her up.

Grandma's gadets continue to be fascinating! Winking at someone seems much more aware/sentient than I expect from most aquarium pets.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 7th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>Ah, the poor monsters under-the-bed and in-the-closet seem to've gotten the short end of the stick in trying out pets.<<

*laugh* Yeah, they really did. It's kind of like when cats have a tropism for the person who is allergic to them.

>>I'm surprised they ever got the ferret back once she was loose in the vents. I suppose the more agile household residents were motivated to help round her up.<<

That was partly inspired by an incident at a convention I attended, where a ferret got loose in the hotel venting. I figured on a smaller scale, eventually the ferret would reappear in the main part of the house.

>>Winking at someone seems much more aware/sentient than I expect from most aquarium pets.<<

Not exactly sentient, but aware enough to interact ... some aquatic critters will do things like that. If other people feel that this doesn't fit well enough, however, it could be changed to "blinked" instead.
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: September 7th, 2011 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not exactly sentient, but aware enough to interact ... some aquatic critters will do things like that. If other people feel that this doesn't fit well enough, however, it could be changed to "blinked" instead.

The octopi you mention in a comment above are a good counter-example.
(Deleted comment)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 7th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I love the things. The first two are examples I have owned personally. The third color combination is one I've seen in stores, and there are floor models available, though I boosted the size a bit.
kitrona From: kitrona Date: September 7th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, I got chills from that last line! Excellent! :D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 7th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yay!

I'm glad it worked for you.

That's pretty much what tends to happen with a tank containing an octopus or some other critter that likes to tease people. *chuckle* I think it's their version of tapping on the tank.
eseme From: eseme Date: September 9th, 2011 03:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I should have known that "normal" pets would be right out.

I love the lava lamp aquarium idea. And the reappearance of Grandma, who has just the right idea. I like Grandma.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: September 9th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)

*laugh*

>>I should have known that "normal" pets would be right out.<<

Yeah, I'm reminded of the scene from "Lilo & Stitch" that goes, "Something that won't die, something that can protect itself ...

>>I love the lava lamp aquarium idea. And the reappearance of Grandma, who has just the right idea. I like Grandma.<<

Mad scientist Grandma fixes everything. ;) Because that is what grandmothers are for.
33 comments or Leave a comment