Five Haikus

Where did Homo Saps come from?

An answer in five Haikus.

Heat dissipated

and crystals nucleated

the Rocks of Ages.

Rain scoured the rocks.

Small cracks multiplied

sand grains, freed to roam.

Lightening sparked union

of carbon, hydrogen, and

oxygen atoms.

Molecules arose,

mingled, merged, emerged as new

complex, craggy shapes.

Crags caught each other,

multiplying possible

outcomes. Here we are!

Note: This does not contradict the Bible, despite what some might think. Those are people who do not understand the difference between a mechanism (what I am describing here) and the cause, reason, or motivating force, which I can give no better answer to than anyone else. I am a deeply spiritual person, and it is aggravating when people accuse me of being an atheist. Consciousness preceded or coincided with matter. Like the bumper sticker says, “God Spoke, and Bang It Happened.”

A new story

“The river of cake batter was a nuisance,”        Officer Blando grumbled sarcastically to           himself.”

He continued mumbling as he drove away from the house, shaking his head. He knew that the river of lava was well beyond being a nuisance. It was an outright danger, and those new immigrants just didn’t understand that they needed to obey the evacuation order pronto. They thought they were far enough away from the molten rock. Akamenabar had told Officer Blando that they’d leave the following day. His family was still working on cleaning up the river of cake batter.


Commentary: This came from two sets of prompts. On March 3, 2017, we had “nuisance, river, cake.” I usually don’t do the homework for my writing group. Most of they are retired and have more time. But that day I felt smug, as I had immediately written “The river of cake batter was a nuisance.” There the sentence stood, in its loneliness, on March 22, the next time I could attend, when the prompt was a photo of a lava flow. When I read the story, one of the listeners said she saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. That’s what I like about creative writing. It’s a new story in every reader’s mind.

Interestingly, coincidentally, NPR’s RadioLab episode for today, April 2, 2017, is about translation. The first piece is about a writer who ended up with a 700 page book that resulted from multiple translations of a 28 line poem, that had only 3 syllables per line. Check it out.

Something Silly: Cataboolie, the Unicorn Hunter

From some fun writing prompts at Mid Michigan Word Gatherers!

a unicorn hunter, a planet inhabited entirely by cats, a glitter gun, and “strange times at the cupcake pagoda”

Chapter 1: The Unicorn Hunter of Catatanga

Catatanga orbited Star X-teen 43, as it had since the birth of the multiverse, or at least as long as any of its cats could remember. The great mountain, Catmandu, towered over its base on the smallest of the five continents which pierced the surface of the smooth, green sea of Catatanga.

“Today!” Cataboolie told herself. “Today.” That was the only word Cataboolie needed. Indeed, using any other word would dilute the strength of her incantation. And Cataboolie had more self control than to do that.

She strapped her holster on, and slid the new device into the pocket. She looked out the sky light, and nodded, satisfied, at the complete darkness. She turned, and opened the door to the tunnel out of her lair, and started out toward Base G of Catmandu, her silent paws bringing her ever closer to the unicorn camp. Her skin tingled as she thought of the honors she would receive as she led the Unicorn through the streets of Tangatown.

Cataboolie found the rock she had scouted at the  last dark of the moon, and slipped behind it. She steadied her breath, pulled out the glitter gun, and peeked around the rock to see the circle of prancing unicorns. “Beautiful invaders,” she thought, then quietly saying, aloud this time, “Today,” she jumped out from behind the rock and sprayed the circle of white and yellow unicorns with green glitter.

“Success!” she called. This was the cats’ price for the unicorns’ settling on Catatanga. The ritual completed, Cataboolie mounted the glittering being and urged him back toward the city.

Chapter 2: Strange Times at the Cupcake Pagoda

Business went on as usual at the post card pavilion. Briskly. Catapoochi made sure of that. His photography skills were far superior to those of the other cats of Catatanga. His network of outlets gave him economies of scale that his competitors could not even dream of achieving. Now, the Annual Festival of Uncertainty had arrived. It was the biggest event of the cats’ year, and Catapoochi had every intention of using the opportunity to build up his retirement nest-egg.

Likewise, Catakowie of the sausage pavilion was doing a brisk trade. The aromas of spicy mustard and fresh hot rolls mingled with that of the meat to attract yet more customers. Tangablu had his nephew out in front of the beach paraphernalia stand, demonstrating the latest styles of sunglasses  and umbrellas. The Temple of Catachristus had a long line of devotees waiting to pray their respects.

Catapoochie looked at his pocket watch. Time to head back and make sure that Junior was keeping up with the customers. One last place to check along the way: The Cupcake Pagoda.

Catapoochi stopped and stared, along with those being pushed out of the way, as the Cupcake Pagoda expanded and bright lights flashed along the edges of both roofs. The pagoda floated off the ground. The last customers were being pushed off the floor, which was now several meters above the ground. Fortunately, the unlucky customers were encased in transparent foam bubbles, so they bounced gently as they landed on the hard planet. “Indeed!” thought Catapoochi. “Strange times at the Cupcake Pagoda!”

Good thing he had his new camera. There weren’t many who’d be able to compete with him for this postcard. Catapoochi clicked one last shot, and rushed back to relieve Junior, so his son, too, could see the miracle of the Cupcake Pagoda, with his own eyes, before it left the atmosphere of Catatanga, perhaps for good.

Happy Holidays!


She touched the little box in her pocket

Here’s a little story I came up with at my writing group this week. The prompt was “She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled.” We had 15 minutes.

She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled. She skipped along the sidewalk, happiness in her heart. The memento was more than it seemed.


She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled. Her other arm linked with Amy’s, warmth radiated from her heart. The memento was more than it seemed. Its importance had grown over time. It seemed to lighten the load of books she carried home from school.


She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled. Her shoulder warmed by the palm of her lover, her hips swaying with each step, love radiated from her heart. The significance of the memento had grown over the years, even as its importance diminished.


She touched the little box in her pocket, and smiled. She stood at the podium, waiting to address the august body assembled before her. Compassion radiated from her form. The box was unimportant, yet, it was light, so she continued to carry it, out of habit. Every morning, she put it in her pocket. A memento, nothing more. It had been years since she had even opened it to check on the contents. But this was an important day. Maybe she should confirm her memory.

Her eyes swept over the assembly, and her fingers, perhaps involuntarily, grasped the box and pulled it out of her pocket, flipping it open. The velvet lining was still rich in color. The sacred space it still enclosed was intact. She closed the box, replaced it in her pocket, and smiled at the crowd.



THOUGHTS: For some reason, I thought about the incorrect translation in my Jewish Bible, where the Hebrew said that the Children of Israel were to build a box supplied with poles, so that the spirit of God could dwell amongst them (THEM, the Children of Israel, not IN IT, ie, not in the box), and be easily carried from tribe to tribe.  The English translation had God living in the box. Yet the same words in a different part of that same translation had it right. The limited, empty box was a reminder of the nameless infinity called to our attention by the nothing. That is why the symbols for zero and infinity are so similar. Infinity is a zero with a twist. Zero is easy to represent symbolically. The empty hole. Infinity? How could there be a picture of infinity? For Buddhists, emptiness is where it’s at! In any case, emptiness invokes infinity, just as the elephant conjures the mouse,

(check out this link, and yes it’s a funny looking mouse…)

and vice versa, a full bladder at night brings a dream of a toilet, and hunger brings the dream of a banquet.

The First Alchemist: Text Version

Alchemist Number One

The Year 420, After the Peace Fare Virus

A planet far from Earth

“Good night, Fritzie. I love you. Sleep well.” Hilda felt almost like what she harbored as a dream of motherhood from her far away memories of life on Earth.

“Story, mommy. Story please!” Fritzie was doing well up on the mountain. She sometimes didn’t want to admit it to herself, out of fears that the situation might change, but she felt good too.

“Ok, Fritzie. A story.

“Once upon a time, that means a long time ago, that means on Earth, before humans came to live on other planets, there was a boy named Brandon. He was a little boy, and he found all things interesting. He loved music, and making art, and playing games, but he loved the outdoors too, perhaps more than anything else.

“Even though he had only lived through about eight summers at the time of this story, he used his skills of observation to a greater advantage than most adults. He also knew how to move very quietly in nature. Between those two accomplishments, he made a lot of opportunities for himself to see birds and insects and snakes and lizards and the like up close, and in detail.

“He kept a notebook made of paper. The computer age waited in the future. He decided that every day, he would find time to walk the same path through some woods and a field where a lot of different kinds of plants grew. When he managed to sneak up on a bird or squirrel, he drew a picture of it. He did not know how to read or write, so he had only his pictures to remind himself of what he had seen.

“One day, he found a striped caterpillar on a milkweed plant. He had heard that these black-and-white-striped caterpillars eventually turned into big orange and black monarch butterflies. We don’t have butterflies on this world. The monarchs were big insects with beautiful colored wings that lived on Earth, where daddy and I were born. Brandon did not have anything to take the caterpillar home in, so he watched it munching on the milkweed, drew a picture, and left it in peace.

“The next day, he found it, or another one like it, on a milkweed plant a meter away. This time, he was prepared. He again watched it, and as he had been taught, he watched it until he noticed something different from what he had noticed they day before. Instead of paying attention to the colors of the caterpillar, like he had the day before, he watched how it moved. He made a series of pictures showing a caterpillar next to a leaf. Each picture had a little less of the leaf left. He actually got to see the caterpillar poop. It was green, the same hue as the milkweed leaves, but darker.”

Fritzie giggled softly.

Hilda continued, after gently rubbing Fritzie’s arm.

“When he was done with the drawings, he picked some milkweed leaves and put them in a jar, along with the caterpillar.

“Now most people know that when the caterpillar stops eating and attaches itself to the stalk of a plant, it’s ready to transform itself into a beautiful green chrysalis and then into a butterfly. And, most people who go to the extent to keep a caterpillar to watch, have noticed the beautiful, light green chrysalis which becomes visible after the outer striped skin falls off. Most people notice that the green tapered cylinder becomes less cloudy over time, and less green, eventually showing the new butterfly inside of a delicate glass like casing. But some people, who are really observant, have also noticed that there are tiny gold spots that form on the chrysalis as well.

“Well, Brandon was very curious. His family did not have much money, and he wondered if he could collect the gold from the chrysalis. But he did not want to hurt the butterfly.

“Every day he drew the chrysalis and the developing butterfly. He noticed that the widest part of the chrysalis had the center part of the butterfly. The head and body were wrapped around the top wide part of the chrysalis. He noticed that the gold spots were concentrated at this wide ridge. The butterfly had gold eyes and a line of gold spots along its tummy.

“Well, he decided to go back to the milkweed field to try to find more caterpillars or chrysalises. He succeeded, and had the beginnings of a gold mine! Or so he thought!

“Sadly, his attempts to use the butterfly gold mine for security to buy a new house for his family did not go very far.

“But, discouragement had no place in Brandon’s life. For the next few summers he started a new butterfly gold mine. He hoped the banker would see the light. Finally, at age ten, his parents decided that they could put off teaching him to read no longer. Brandon had been hounding them to teach him anyway. Soon, he started researching the lives of insects. He found out that the gold spots were simply the dried tears and sniffles of the monarch butterflies, royal beings, crying for their lost freedom, not yet aware of the greater freedom that awaited them in flight.

“So Brandon cried too. No gold mine, no new house. But his tears dried quickly, as he ran off to celebrate his freedom to breathe in the fresh air of the summer afternoon. And he rejoiced when he saw a sparkly gold rock! But this time he knew that the gold he would probably end up with was the gold of new knowledge and understanding of the natural world, and probably would not be accepted as a down payment for a new house!”

“Thanks mommy,” Fritzie said very sleepily. “Better let you grown ups worry about money, whatever that is.”

Hilda walked softly out of the sleeping area. Karl had a cup of tea poured for her.

“He’s asleep?”

“Will be in a minute, if not.”

She sipped her tea. “It’s hard to come up with stories that make sense on this new world.”

“What do you mean?”

“I realized too late in the story that we don’t have banks, gold, money.”

They both laughed.

“We can live without it, can’t we?”

Karl put down his tea and got up to pick Hilda up, because he could, and gave her a hug.

The Statue: Flash Fiction

The Statue

NOTE: The origin of Lady Justice with a sword had to do with the fact that you needed bronze to make a sword and that was EXPENSIVE. So only the rich had swords, and thus only the rich had the means to enforce their judgments and decisions.  The arrival of the iron age brought a little more democracy!

By Shona Moonbeam © 2016

The arm of Lady Justice still pointed her sword upward to heaven, but the green patina of the bronze was streaked white with pigeon droppings.

Kelly stopped in front of the statue that guarded her school, and looked up into Justina’s kind face. Kelly had made friends with the lady over the years, stopping often to chat on her way home. Asking for advice when a teacher was mean to her, or to any of the other kids, or for acknowledgment of the sorrow she felt for her fellow humans when the current events class had covered particularly distressing news.

Usually, she held her conversations with Justina in private silence. But today, the first day of a new year, she felt optimistic. “Lady J,” she said, softly, at first, and then a bit louder, as she felt a surge of confidence after the words escaped from her throat.

She looked up again, at the face, and then allowed her eyes to follow the arm up to the clouds, and back to the face. Kelly jumped back in surprise. The head of Justina was tilted downward, to look at her.

“Lady J?” asked Kelly, “do you really see me?”

The mouth of the statue started to curl upwards at the corners, just slightly, for an instant.

“I think that the new teacher is an improvement,” Kelly told the statue.

The statue nodded its head, then resumed its former impassive, classical pose.

“Thank you,” Kelly whispered, “thank you.” Then she turned and started walking home, thinking, thinking.