February 19-25, 2024: Poetry from Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal and William Ogden Haynes

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Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

Luis lives in California and works in Los Angeles. His poetry has appeared in Blue Collar Review, Escape Into Life, Kendra Steiner Editions, Medusa’s Kitchen, and Unlikely Stories. His latest poetry book, Make the Water Laugh, was published by Rogue Wolf Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

On Fire

You are so precise.
Each day you illuminate.
Always you are on fire.
You are all over the place.

You are a sensation.
You bite and bite.
From your throat, light explodes.

William Ogden Haynes

William Ogden Haynes is a poet and author of short fiction from Alabama who was born in Michigan. He has published ten collections of poetry and one book of short stories all available on Amazon.com.  Over two hundred and thirty of his poems and short stories have appeared in literary journals and his work is frequently anthologized. Visit William on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by William Ogden Haynes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Mating Call

One evening, I was drinking a beer, watching a television documentary
on the mating habits of African lions. My cat, Jack, was curled up on the
couch with me watching the broadcast with great interest. I quickly

learned that even for the king of beasts, life is not always easy, especially
where mating is concerned. That’s one thing humans have in common
with lions. The documentary described the male lion’s courtship ritual that

usually entails lots of head rubbing with the female, spraying urine,
licking his genitals and patiently following the lioness. Thankfully, as
humans, we don’t have to do this. When a lioness is in heat and looking

to mate, she has total control, and some would maintain this is true
for humans as well. First, she will mark the ground with her scent,
urinating, rubbing against objects, growling and rolling on the ground.

But although she manifests this display, she will also send mixed signals.
She will rub against the male, shoving her posterior at him with tail raised
invitingly. Then suddenly, when he makes his approach, she turns on him

yowling, scratching and spitting. But the next moment, she is writhing again
on the ground, inviting his attention. It was gratifying to learn that it’s
not only humans who send mixed signals. When the lioness is ready, the

male will try to grip her neck before mounting, a definite no-no for humans.
Once he mounts, copulation is generally completed with just a few thrusts,
another no-no for humans. After copulation, there are more mixed signals

as the female reverts to screaming, snarling and trying to claw the male,
who jumps back growling. But within a few minutes, the courtship is resumed. 
Females will mate for three or four days during their reproductive cycle, and

during this period the pair usually mates every 20–30 minutes, with up to
50 copulations per day. As a human, I can only have deep admiration for
the lion’s perseverance and endurance, something we could only dream about.

After watching that documentary, I’m convinced it had a profound impact
not only on me, but on Jack. Now, he leaps onto the couch every time I turn
on the television, as if he believes I have access to the animal porn channel.