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Dancing with Hedgehogs Published by Fowlpox Press

ŠMMXIV KJ Hannah Greenberg All Rights Reserved ISBN: 978-1-927593-40-0

Dancing with Hedgehogs

KJ Hannah Greenberg

Preface: When hedgehogs get caught stealing Cheetos, it’s easier to sneak boys in than to slip girls out. To wit, all manners of poetry, rhymed and free ranging, traditional and so contemporary that the assemblages rival green peaches, twinkle stinking little stars in this chapbook. Dancing with Hedgehogs brings proof that the too often wished for squealing, self-anointing, and keratin-stiff aspects of existence, thought to be indigenous to both spiny mammals and verse, get left behind when puppies’ playful stance, joggers’ chant, or other oddly pitched “conversations,” muck with the gears and levers of cosmic meaning. In brief, this text espouses that unwarranted cultural snobbery serves neither man nor beast. Accordingly, Dancing with Hedgehogs strives to focus our mentations on hip hop among the branches, means for deconstructing literature’s intercultural mythos, and ever ubiquitous starlight. If this collection’s readers snort, guffaw, or cry a bit en route, it’s okay; sometimes we win, sometimes we fail. Nonetheless, always, it suits us to tuck into a stanza or ten and to embrace an assortment of favorable and challenging goings on. KJ Hannah Greenberg Jerusalem, 2014

Dancing with Hedgehogs

Preface Introduction: Sussing it out on Planet Betty I. Despair 1.1 Hedgehogs Stealing Cheetos: A Lunchroom Ballad 1.2 About those Codfish 1.3 Because of the Debauchery in Their Homes: Unwarranted Cultural Snobbery 1.4 Hip Hop Music among the Branches 1.5 Deconstructing Literature’s Intercultural Mythos 1.6 Conversation 1.7 Fish Grill 1.8 I Don't Think I’d Like Being Dead II. Hope 2.1 So, Sometimes We Fail 2.2 Jogger’s Chant 2.3 Puppies’ Playful Stance 2.4 For Annmarie: Loving Cysts Forever and Always 2.5 Eventualities 2.6 Principally Relic 2.7 Twinkle Stinking Little Star 2.8 It’s Easier to Sneak Boys In Conclusion: Eating Peas About the Author Credits

Introduction: Sussing It Out on Planet Betty I think I saw it on Mulberry Street, Where Theodore Geisel made it complete. ‘cause Planet Betty’s denizens were ever so sweet ‘bout the tracks left by a goon’s cloven feet (‘cept the clues they caught refused to meet). Cats like Priss and hounds like Baskerville, Caterwauled in this neighborhood ‘til It all made sense in a (round ‘bout) way, Or did it, given the hyjinks of Mr. Sashay? (One fish, two fish, red fish wouldn’t say). That dude and his goat, hunched in bunches, After licking 30 tigers for their lunches. So ‘fraid of Thidwick the Big-hearted Moose, That they took the king’s stilts and remained on the loose. (They stole: a tub of bubbles, an Oobleck, an antique caboose). Therefore, I pulled all light fingers from the scene; I’m big, strong, harpy-like, mean, plus red-green. Oh, the places I’d been, the ‘ventures I’ve seen ‘cause I run the zoo and the circus, too, As any smarty pants like me would be wont to do. “Friedan’s” my cover; Betty coulda’ been my sis; We don’t stand for cussing of any sweet miss Or mister (or for stolen goods). We’re fems of a sort, Pals of ‘ol politically correct, bold Horton, Hired by folks to help ‘em get through the sortin’. Scrambled eggs’ super for tracking some beasties Keeping tabs on fiends like Mr. Sashay, least he Put the moves on “delicates” such as Betty Bop. Who shouted, in a crowded theatre, “don’t hop on Pop!” Kids like me make sure sour thieves stop (or, minimally pay railroad taxes). Breakfast over, the Lorax called me to his joint, Where some pictures of Betty Hutton he anoints.

Sly dag that furry friend, son of Atomic Betty, All neutrino pistols, also MAG machine guns, ready, Had his paw on some triggers, nice, straight, surely steady. Priss, Baskerville and I were nearly meatloafed. Forsooth, it wasn’t Sashay or his goat (but it was close), But Geisel “the dead,” smoking weed aplenty Who had made entry in the Lorax’s ledgers, Wanting McElligot’s Pool for his private pleasure. We took ‘em down (neat work if you can get it). Did I ever tell you how lucky you are? To have us bizzies buzzing Planet Betty? Working the fast lane, being ever so deadly, Sweeping up crooks, fiends, villains already. Name’s Betty Ross, sir, ma’am, Cousin and kin to Inspector Sam, Proprietor of Suss It Out’s Green Eggs and Ham. General Thaddeus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross’ daughter, Crass hulk that I am, I hate marauders.

I. Despair

Hedgehogs Stealing Cheetos: A Lunchroom Ballad Puffed cornmeal treats, cheese-flavored, or, slightly mixed up salsa, Brought prickly beasts from window seats, toward cabinets in school. They chewed through wood, through plastic, plus, some wire and some balsa. (In small mammals’ chief domain, crispy, crumbly delights rule). I offered fluff to those small bugs, since we had a sugar surfeit They ignored my mallow bits, while leaping towards a counter. About such snack foods as go crunch, those hedgies felt quite fervid! (Yet their little paws, their smallish jaws failure grew loud and louder). At last, they fashioned a quaint chain, which they sported toward a latch. Save for the bottommost poor sod, they might’ve met their purpose. The foundation one, sneezed alright, then fell flailing, forward, catching None. Here, there, everywhere, our class’ critters’ tower worthless. Alas, oh woe, our dogs and cats, those creatures, too, need munchies. They gobbled up the spiny brats in large, delicious bunchies.

About those Codfish About those codfish, All that swishing to milt, Blood-filled viscera expanding, Shootings of sticky promises; Tomorrow. Later. The future. About those taxes, Officials gurning constantly, Fiduciary ephemera floating merely, Shorthand budgetary tumescence; Striving. Leveling. Robbing. About those lessons, Handfuls of writing workshop students, Ordinaries confusing refrains and avowals, Quiescent prepubescent critters; Compensating. Hiding. Bluffing. About those asemic care providers, Hornswoggling ideological miscegenations, Confounders of concerned compatriots, Voguing elite stumblers, plus bums; Adjudicating. Beseeching. Dooming.

Because of the Debauchery in Their Homes: Unwarranted Cultural Snobbery

Because of the debauchery in their homes, most types of ornamentation do stick. Goodness of hidden selves, naughtiness of overt others, plus contextually imprinting Dear ones’ cataphracts on tangible qualities of violent crimes, roast beef, dandelions, Fairly matches universal attitudes towering toward housing projects’ crack babies. No matter their notched obsessions, we believe those roguish “extras” glom pong. Their merit, weighed in acid’s chalky spherules, pushes creation’s friable ethics Biases civic facilities against warding off depredation, zombologists, drug lords, Coordinates work sessions, profitably, while ignoring most rockers’ dyspeptic ends. Soberly dancing a schottische, thus, gains importance akin to their bona fide life factors; Items wrought from serial delinquencies, minus ouroboros logic, turtle spit, feathers, thrill. Every so often, when cozening limits, we deracinate or attempt physical transformations, Bring forward hinky sorts’ downfall, crush factory fronts, maybe even subdue some rebels. Consider, street walking devotees, of syncretic faiths, dropkick reserves, adhere Integral probity when exterminating most congeners, bungs, rats, politicians, So as to aposematically encourage predators to roll around in loess, trances, sweat. We, in response, imagine moxie, choose to take up malaperts, forget social IOUs. Those “stick and twig networks,” among civilization’s disdained minorities, rot, appear Crummy adjacent to our preordered rampion salads, smell like devolving regional rituals. Why usher in fluvial hospitality, bed with inimical sorts, or run to completely fall over? If feeding inmates verjuice, we have to forego happiness, fart privately, essentially sneer. Late development assignations, on balance, make bright headdresses, roister calidity, Cull group pathos, pillage, rob, produce moral compromise. Their culture slinks. No fault recidivism’s our most puckish retort beyond hostages or animal sacrifice (No one hoots our inability to laud true wattle and daub or to transform revenants). As ever, our economic health impacts their spiritual “necessities” Regla de Ocha, Kindred paths, remain unprivileged. Satiations, meat, wine, bookies’ profits, roller Coasters, prove that some women keep on rebuilding while men’s impudence fetches Sufficient potlatches, ignorance of ignore household virtues, simple dignity, dustbins.

Hip Hop Music among the Branches They played hip hop among the branches. The birds did. Winging sometimes skyward, With child-like people voices, worlds above Puppies, fathers, pretzel venders, taffy fears. Complexity gets confounded facing down simple things. Little, caramel-colored lions, boxed homes, Rocks placed At right angles, feathery bed clothes, mints, night lights, Find proud guns, sleet, medallions, pain, nearly unfathomable. Cold containment merely pulls back from heart-felt doors, Exploring, privately, dirty blinds, grayed wallpaper, Pigeon flight marked by broken windows, dumpster cats, Elderly scholars sans podiums, plus drunk street fighters. Most popcorn bands sing kernel songs, share bubble gum Harmonies where debt builds, spirits droop, homicide reigns. Knee-deep in hay, creative sorts tend toward hopelessness, Old agon finds men struggling to levitate, expand, espouse.

Deconstructing Literature’s Intercultural Mythos

Academic, or otherwise “refined,” educated at Oxford, Harvard, Zürich, Those parvenues pride, ride shrill on conversant roles in attenuated doxy; Self-liberated moralists, such sorts complete “major” horked undertakings, Embrace questionable quirks, accept, as peers, lots of stumblebums, onagers. In balance, when choices matter, gauche would-be leaders seek novel brevets. (Literary works provide limited sustenance in light of rationalizing dead end jobs). Thereafter, postilion aided or not, power addicts suck support from jarts, vultures. The salacious kind enjoys food while people starve; they pine just for paparazzi. So, new media campaigns, beyond existent, churlish intelligentsia’s inventories, Make impossible, for verbal artists done with cultivating patrons: omitting corteges, Skipping perpetually scantily clothed states, sitting on cow patties, shooting flechettes; No amount of dolmades, despite pedigree, bothers writers with twine, tape, or glue. Rather, high flying malapropos social artifacts, other mummery, insist on fallacy, Provide individuals, otherwise neutral or friendly, with purely exculpatory praise. For scrittices striving to square perspectives on private communications with public Language usage, no heuristic exists that promotes beyond pandering or penning pulp. Heaping measures of hope, sanity, even vexation, remain insufficient to create legerdemain. Word play successfully deconstructs mythos only when equally applicable to all venders. Once regularly saddled with subaltern commitments, editors’ ripostes ripple, slush builds. The business of authoring insights falls to censor by susurrus, liminality, adumbrative rants. Shagreen mentors’ promises notwithstanding, finding erudite welcome gets reduced To coping with shameful walks, elevated social entitlement, dishabille manuscripts. Publication destinations morph into cochineal-dyed texts, extraneous thoughts, waste. Backers carry on disporting ways, fill CVs, hire publicists, gather to celebrate “fame.”

Conversation Two birds, on a wire, talked. One winged away, not glancing back; Its partner persisted romance. Rebels cause much outlier disease. Flaneauses’ lame narratives, By nature, possess metabolic speed. When waking from dreams, finding Forked tongues smelling our toes, We ought to consider conceding. Remember, boulangeries confer samples; Common plants’ therapeutic benefits normally Can’t calm our backwater kingdom.

Fish Grill

Certain loathsome moves do not deter some wolves from baying. Remarkable dissolved peduncles droop, Weighed down by too many bursts of flowers. Suddenly sessile, Plants personify entire generations. Apathetic responses from a White House, numb to Mideast woes, Embrace dunes as middens. The rest of us get stuck perusing global dumps for all manners Irrational diplomatic hypnagogic. Just saying, most munge, especially birthed from old NSA spins, Makes kings oil barons tyrants. After all, what’s friends when rivals readily supply our renown?

I Don't Think I’d Like Being Dead I don’t think I’d like being dead, Laying supine, my most private bits exposed to creepy crawlies, Finding hedgehog friends defeated by meretrixes, those neither good nor fun Verse mirrors chiming alongside of criminal rotational accelerations. Woman who escape magicians’ boxes of swords, When faced with malevolent audiences, tend to kidnap their tormentors, Rather than plod along inelegantly, buoyed by faith, shiny objects, the path of champions, Seem more willingly buoyed by photographic memories of ordinary trollops. Opening up truth, and then pushing out pus, Becomes messy, can pong repetitions of olfactory möibus strips; Acculturated sops, senescent beings, receptacles of irritations and elations, Excuse demonizations, libels, other facets of war. The temporarily Arab-occupied section of the Old City, Gathers leaf mold for tinder, jerks metacarpal arches, sashays across media, Fashions hard-won integrity into salutes to toughness, sass, hopeful rage, Years after primary political diseases have been in remission. Kindred arrangements for artificial flight, Like purchased stimulation and other easy leisure, Garner money for additional ammunition, maybe cigarettes, anvils, locust, Forget apology, stuff formally uttered prayers, lets evil canter on.

II. Hope

So, Sometimes We Fail So, sometimes we fail. Legs, like unfortunate umbrellas, Open where hands miss railings, Weddings, walls, other supports. Instead, mud, gravel, urban waste, Fills our landings. Betrayal makes upside down Experiences predicate gains. Whereas shell plus gristle disappoint, Certain categorizings, picked apart, Bring along growth opportunities (Especially if bookended by despair). Commitments fold. Knees hurt. Friends essentially disappear. Puddles populate our paths Bankruptcy, infidelity chime. Spinach moments, so it’s said, Build character, develop strengths. Yet, heartburn, too, causes flushing. Calls up yesterday’s buffet.

Joggers’ Chant Power. Thunder. Boulder. Park. Pigeon droppings in the dark. Lillies. Froggies. Ponds ‘o scum. Running trails for everyone. Cyclers. Venders. Copses. Grass. Blurring as they convoy past. Conveys. Road bocks. Yippy dogs. Joggers can't stand most road hogs.

Puppies’ Playful Stance Puppies’ playful, light-primed stance Brings romantic eyes toward swirling Leaves bequeathed by natural means, Circumstances not askance with doggie Tricks, licking, wagging, chewing bugs, Rugs, even slippers. Whispers no worries Gives sweet voices, yields choice of leash.

For Annmarie: Loving Cysts Forever and Always “Cyst” sounds like easy sliding through puddles Without getting feet wet, hair tangled, or fingers dirty. “Tumor,” alternatively, is the worst of being bogged, In ice, grit, unfriendly snarls of cells spilled over. When I read the email, received the phone call, hugged you, No words, truth, euphemism, could substitute for such news As was made better by white coats flagging benchwarmers. (Surgeons know proxies remain medicine’s best advance.) One case was skin cancer, another breast. Someone’s diagnosis, Pancreatic, was as gray as the skin of his eyes. A different verdict, Juvenile, squat killers, ran war flags up and down our prayer group, Caused strangers to huddle in chat rooms, over phone lines, cry. Sometimes, judgment’s wrong, overcautious. Otherwise, too little, Too late extremes get sought, measures taken. We’re feeble, puny, weak, Relative to small bits which reveal renewal or, worse, unwelcomed results. So, forever and always, I’m grateful they found yours were membranous sacs.

Eventualities Sweaters lifted beyond soft curls’ crown, Bloomers dropped swiftly, covers lifted. Other fabrics similarly shed. Bedroom eyes. Smiles. Four hands. Salutes. Arms, legs, hips, noses, intertwining again. Seal-like diving, gull-like cawing, laughter. Adjustments for comfort heeded. Folds of warmth, Smirking moments. Inhalations. Kitteny cuddling. Exhaling long seconds. Sighing. Sleepy tea time sentiments. Shrugs. Certain summers’ sweet nirvana. Rainy day recollections. Tense happiness. Eventualities.

Principally Relic A regularly bombardment of fiscal woes, Alongside modern versions of boxes, Plus newer versions of fifth and sixth walls, Those doors capable of opening/shutting, Meant participation with refulgent others. Among such folk, stentorian voices Were disbarred from parlor meetings. Paintings featuring frogbit, angsana trees, Also tridex daisies, grew popular. Rose Whiffs, like white flowers, being passion’s Currency among matured individuals. Regardless of access to local ramblas, Elderly patrons proffered the utility Of dopp bags’ petals, bark, scent. Percutaneous acts proved good sex. Tempera paint, water colors, oil, all Got employed to enhance aged lust. Grandma, without Grandpa, grooved.

Twinkle Stinking Little Star Twinkle stinking little star, You evil nighttime fiend, Ill-results are all you want From our domestic scene. We won’t yield to your beacon Bend toward your brackish throne, Give in to you sinful whim, Yielding hearth and home. Cosmos-style complexities Might bury us in dirt, Yet, your malevolence ways Won’t mark our greatest hurt. Beyond your ceiling flicked with light Dwell noble hearts and souls. Your slight criminal intent, In contrast, ain’t that bold.

It's Easier to Sneak Boys In It’s easier to sneak boys in than slip girls out. Love letters aren’t always complaints; sometimes they glow Like tritium, or shine with the intensity of Iodine-131. Where most parents believe, deeply, in making visits, Crooked individuals, like scion, act culpable, Remain out of luck, also out of folded sheets, clothes. Long lost relatives, thereafter, slug down sodas, Or suck up drinks made with palm syrup, Artificial colors, chemical flavors. Certainly, when few hours go undocumented, Refereed vacations serve entire populations, Research-related debts guffaw silently. Then the penalty for acquiescing to childishness, Concomitant to high classes’ members, especially, Blends with schemes of green groups. Consider all undergirding weak situational links, Which alleviate pressure, provide bonus time, Remain highly associated in embarrassing matters. Interesting juxtapositions of things brings about tests, Plus tears, drawers full of expletives, questionable tolerance, Aesthetic sensibilities running counter to self-preservation. Yet, consequences of bitter choices, no matter how harsh, Ordinarily dispense determination to housewives, Mayflies, soldiers, troubadours, and guppies, alike.

Conclusion: Eating Peas Eating peas, Like popping bubble wrap, Most often, regardless of school, Obscures chitchat, fantasy play, kin. Kissing frogs, Getting work into print, Making snide remarks, offsets Responsibilities to book publishers. Eschewing notions, Perhaps, brings about science, Meant, decades ago, to sort out Differences of zonkeys, zebroids, okapis. Taking up basket weaving, Mirroring The Big Island’s vogue, In semantics, rhetoric, ethics, pedagogy, Banishes potential commonplaces, outsells recognition. Flapping discourse, Substituting for functional kitchens, Temporarily grants welcome to negotiated insights Bring forward ministrations focused on siblings, cousins, dogs. Generating words, Ghostwriting sociology or psychology texts, In spits of small numbers meant for outsourcing, Kindly predisposes some aliens, standardized patients, doves. Accommodating random realities, Easing dreamy expressions breath by breath, Making eschewed poetry explode, dance the rumba, Causes truth to stumble into arabesques, improved turnout.

About the Author: KJ Hannah Greenberg is a three time Pushcart Prize Nominee, one time Best of the Net Nominee, one time Million Writers Nominee, and an actual National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar. She pretends to be indomitable, tramps across literary genres, and giggles in her sleep. As well, Hannah eats oatmeal and keeps company with a hibernaculum of (sometimes rabid) imaginary hedgehogs. Those critters, in turn, take bites out of brooding critics, uncomplimentary readers, and assorted nocturnal terrors. Hannah’s most recent books include: The Little Temple of My Sleeping Bag (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), The Immediacy of Emotional Kerfuffles (Bards and Sages Publishing, 2013), and CitrusInspired Ceramics (Aldrich Press, 2013). Her most recent ambition is a full night's sleep. In the near future, look for her Jerusalem Sunrise (Imago Press, 2015), Simple Gratitudes (Propertius Press, 2015), Cryptids (Bards & Sages Publishing, 2015), Mothers Ought to Utter Only Niceties (Unbound CONTENT, 2015), Word Citizen (Tailwinds Press, 2015) and Rabid Hedgehogs and Friends (Bards & Sages, 2016). Meanwhile, buy lots of marshmallow fluff and apply as needed.

Credits: “About those Codfish.” Bewildering Stories. Jan. 2014. “Conversation.” Mad Swirl. Feb. 2014. "Deconstructing Literature’s Intercultural Mythos." The Hamilton Stone Review. Mar. 2014. “Eating Peas.” Mad Swirl. Oct. 2013. “Hip Hop among the Branches. Spark! Feb. 2014. “It’s Easier to Sneak Boys In.” vox poetica. Oct. 2013. “Joggers’ Chant.” Winamop. Jul. 2013. "Puppies' Playful Stance." Winamop. Aug. 2013. “So, Sometimes We Fail.” Spark! Dec. 2013. "Twinkle Stinking Little Star.” The Camel Saloon. Aug. 2013.