POEM:    “Oasis”



warm water streaming over strained muscles  taut with the tension of
 a thousand

   stir-crazed hours of intrusive solitude within a small space yet

     none purely owned by me excepting this waterproof box

           where for five too short minutes

                steam tingles wet skin

voice reverberates

                Beatles and Aretha

                          bounces against panels

                          of thin

      acrylic as


         suds wash my


       down the





                 bubbles...  .. .   .


Thank you for visiting my blog! I’ve been wanting a break from all the depressing news lately, so I thought I’d share this poem as (hopefully) a little break for you too: an oasis in this shared storm we’re all weathering. 

Wherever you are, stay safe, stay well, and read often!

*Image courtesy of www.publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

2020-03-30: Virtual Poetry Reading for Soul Picked Clean by Cat Russell!

Today is the one year anniversary of the Book Launch for my first published book, my poetry collection, Soul Picked Clean.

Since an in-person event is obviously not possible now, I wanted to celebrate online! I read a few of my poems, explain the thoughts behind them, and talk about how to keep in touch online. Enjoy!

If you would like to attend my FaceBook LIVE Book Birthday Party tonight, please visit: https://tinyurl.com/rhmzktp


PODCAST LINK: https://authorcatrussell.podbean.com/mf/play/53ujkf/2020_03_30PoetryReading-SPC-CatRussell.mp3

*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons License.

POEM: “Living in Limbo”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Living in Limbo


life is lived

in the spaces between


the crook of the elbow

bent to bring the cup to our lips


the devil’s dimple smiling

just before that first warm sip


eternity peeks from behind

the crook of each bony finger


pinky extended toward 

the taste not yet reached



This past week has been challenging for the entire world, so I thought this poem would be both appropriate and cheering. I hope you enjoyed it. Stay safe, stay well, and read often!

POEM: “The Gift”


The Gift

Li Po’s poetic heir explains why

he destroys his poem after reading:


gifts are only given once, and I imagine

those torn papers floating downstream

or sacrificial flames engulfing verse,

rising smoke lyrics for the gods to enjoy.


Why can’t poems be given more than once?

Each reading–a sown garden of rock and sand:

the hard elements remain but with wind

and days the pattern will change.


I’ve reread my favorite verses many times.

What would I give to hear them read anew

by creators long dead and gone? Yet their words

live beyond the short years of their lives.


As lovely as that gesture is, I want

to gather those torn pages, mend them

with strong fast silver threads. I want

to press them between my palms

like the bright petals of plucked dandelions.


I long to keep what’s given.

Poems may be lost to time

but a single reading is not enough,

not for me.     Not for me.


Words, like breath, are too precious.

They change the world

with each exhale.



Happy November! And if you are participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, Happy Novelling! If you would like to be writing buddies or just check out my progress, I go by ‘ganymeder’ on the NaNoWriMo site.

I’m concentrating this month on my (already work-in-progress) novel, but my posts will still drop here once every two weeks and my additional Patreon posts once a week. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know in the comments, and have a great holiday!



*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons Universal License.


**This is a reaction poem inspired by the poet Sony Ton-Aime’s performance of his gift poem at Latitudes Poetry Night September 2019.


POEM: “Her Neti Pot Ate Her Brain”


For All Hallow’s Eve, I’m going to skip the tricks and just give you an extra post this week as a treat! Believe it or not, it’s inspired by a real event. I picked this poem, because I thought the creep-factor fit the holiday nicely. I hope you like it!

Her Neti Pot Ate Her Brain


The news article was not

particularly specific,

at least I didn’t absorb more

than the fact that when

the doctors opened her skull

to operate they discovered

a golf-ball sized patch of brain

turned to bloody mush

from the amoebas eating away

her grey matter–or is it pink?

no matter, at least none

of that golf-ball sized patch

that could think clearly,

the amoebas in the tap water

she used in her neti pot,

tap water organisms normally killed

by stomach acid

given free access to her brain

through her nasal cavity.


Do I dice with death

during every shower?

Turning my face up,

head tilted back

to wash the shampoo

from my hair,

each drop’s

a tiny clear bullet

just waiting

to hit its target.


What else is given access?

–a spider crawling

in nose or ear, making its way

to build webs in cerebellum,

normally there would be

no room for such an enterprise,

but a hollowed-out golf-ball size

patch of medulla oblongata

might be enough

for a small spider

to set up housekeeping.

Waiting for her first

unsuspecting prey,

she sits,

a bloated black ball

chitchatting with killer amoebas

awaiting the fresh kill.



Happy Halloween! And if you are participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, Happy Novelling!  If you would like to be writing buddies, I go by ‘ganymeder’ on the NaNoWriMo site.

Since I’ll be concentrating on my (already work-in-progress) novel during November, I’ve already scheduled my posts to drop once every two weeks on this blog, and once a week on my Patreon–except for my podcast; I’ll record my second episode of My Writing Niche 3.0 at the end of November, so I can recap November’s excitement! In the meantime, if you have any suggestions or requests, please let me know in the comments, and have a great holiday!



*image courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net via Creative Commons

POEM: “Blessed Milk Thistle” *AND* Current Events

The lovely month of May brings dandelions (my favorite flowers), free comics, and nerdtastic holidays, but it’s also full of personal milestones as well. My anniversary, my son’s Prom, and his graduation all happen in the next few weeks!

I’m also really excited about upcoming poetry events this weekend! First, this Friday at 7pm, at Hackenberg Realty Group in Canton, I’ll be competing against the esteemed John Walters in my second Writing Knights sWord Fight! I’ve created a promo video for the event (above); it’s suitably serious. The other event I’m really excited about is the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Competition this coming Saturday evening.

For now though, I’d like to share a poem with you.


Blessed Milk Thistle

Your bright purple blooms
so reminiscent of dandelions
and other maligned weeds
guilty of growing
where they shouldn’t–a blight

to urban gardens, but a delight
to lovers of wild things and bright
colors exploding against green grass

a boon to herbalists, home cooks,
pharmaceutical companies,
and mothers presented with
fiery bouquets picked by small,
chubby fingers and presented
with a smile.

Upon your spiky green leaves,
gardeners wage eternal war.


Upcoming and Current Events:

Friday, May 10th (7pm – 9pm)

Writing Knights sWord Fight poetry competition is a monthly event where poets compete against each other via verse. This is my second time participating; this time I will compete against poet John Walters. Come by, and wish us luck!


Saturday, May 11th (7pm – 9pm)

I’m so honored to be a finalist in the Hessler Street Fair Poetry Contest. I will be competing in Cleveland against the other finalists. Come and hear some great poetry!
Wednesday, May 15th (7pm – 9pm)

Latitudes Poetry Night is every third Wednesday at Compass Coffee (Akron) from 7pm – 9pm. There is usually a featured poet, followed by a short break and then an Open Mic.


Thursday, May 23rd (6pm – 9pm)

The Write Stuff Authors’ Group meets monthly at the North Canton Library to workshop WIPs before adjourning to TD’s Grill at about 7:30pm for general literary merry-making.


Saturday, May 25th (all day)

Towel Day! May 25th is the fan-tastic holiday for fans of the late great Douglas Adams. Every year my son and I celebrate by taking photos of ourselves to post to the Towel Day Flickr group, watching a Douglas Adams themed program (such as the BBC Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy mini series), and attempting a Terran non alcoholic version of the universe’s most alcoholic drink: the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster! The drinks are almost always terrible, but that’s in keeping with the effects of a drink that’s the equivalent of  “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.” We often attempt Vogon Poetry as well, but then again, we like to live dangerously.

Now that National Poetry Month is over, I’m returning to my regular schedule of posting every other Friday. I plan to continue to include a poem and/or short story each time, as well as updated current events. If you are interested in keeping up with my appearances and other poetry events, I suggest you check out the Cleveland Poetics Calendar (page link at top) or my social media accounts (on right).

In the meantime, I wish for you a month filled with poetry. Thank you for visiting my blog, and I hope to see you at one of these events soon!

POEM: The Ides of March


The Ides of March

I knew his time was short:
his suffering would end

beginning another,
shoved into the dark
dusty corners of my mind.

Beware the Ides of March,
for when a life ends
others are changed.
Knowing it’s coming

does not lessen the pain.

*Today’s post is dedicated to my father, who died three years ago today.