Oh Those Snow Monkeys…

So, I really hate monkeys—chimps in particular—to a point that it’s a well known phobia amongst family and close friends. I really can’t pin-point when it started, but it may have been on a trip to the Milwaukee Zoo when I was a small child. My sister wanted to see the “cute” monkeys—I preferred the elephant exhibit, but I had been staring long enough and it was time to move on. As we neared the monkey enclosure they started to get all emotive in their creepy-hyper-intensive way. Some people think it’s cute; personally not a fan especially when they started whipping their poop at us. Apparently I found this all highly disturbing. Watching the Wizard of Oz not long after seemed to have cemented my abhorrence of monkeys and I’ve never gotten over it. Apes are fine, but from Chimps on down? Forget it.

Anyway, when we moved to Japan, I kept hearing about the Snow Monkey Park (a.k.a Japanese Macaques) that live in the Nagano (Nah-GAH-no) Prefecture located in the Yokoyu (Yo-KOH-you) River valley, which flows down from the Shiga Kogen (She-gah Koh-gen) Ski Resort. The park is located at an elevation of 2,700 feet, so our four hour bus ride from Fussa City (Foo-sah) morphed into a 45 minute trek up a winding mountain ledge (not more than 5 feet wide with no guard rails or safety measures included—you fall it’s straight down to the bottom baby), taking us through Jigokudani (Gee-go-KOO-dah-nee) or, Hell’s Valley, so called due to the steep cliffs and hot water streaming from the natural hot springs. It’s quite something to hike.

As I said, not a fan of monkeys, but I wanted to overcome this irrational fear and decided what better way to do this than to visit the park. So, I put my trepidation aside and set out to face my fears. And aside from the Macaques penchant to stalk you all over the mountain for the contents of your backpack, or their ability to snatch a bag from your hand and take off for parts unknown, it was a truly fascinating experience!



photo and movie credits: Kevin F Campbell


Colors of Fall

Font Door View
copyright D F Romagnoli
copyright D F Romagnoli
cropped-forest (1)
copyright D F Romagnoli

Trick or Treat?

witchy poo cartooned

I spy a bowl of candy,

It lures me up the stairs,

     I feel the goosebumps dot my skin,

                   as I near the witches’ lair.

What secrets do they harbor?

What evil brews inside?

Should I grab the candy,

or should I run and hide?

My arms feel like cannon balls,

my feet feel like lead,

If I take the candy,

will I end up dead?

I take a step backwards,

the door opens wide,

and a gnarled, claw-like hand

beckons me inside!

Before I know what’s happening,

I’m running down the street,

‘Cuz, the last thing I plan to be,

 is the witch’s treat!

copyright 2017 Deanie Roman
Witchy-Poo Ceramics by Anita S. Romagnoli




The Gnome


gnome~ ~Faster Kitty faster,

run to your master,

nasty boys chopped off your tail!

~ ~Yet, who is to blame?

Who meows her disdain?

Who hisses and spits on each male?


~ ~Scurry through the vines,

the boys close behind,

meows echo your anguish and pain.

~ ~Faster Kitty faster,

run to your master,

to the hut at the end of the lane.

~ ~Arms raised high,

shouting down the sky,

Master summons a name.

~ ~Fearing the gnome,

the boys race home,

their guts twisting in dread.

shadow person (1)~ ~At length, they sleep,

then, in shadow’s creep,

snatching each boy from their beds.

~~Never again are they seen,

Apart from Halloween,

where they wander the streets without heads.

copyright 2017 Deanie Roman


The Attic

attic-1 (1)

It kneels by a bedside,

It kills without remorse,

and in a pool of moonlight, feasts upon a corpse.

Its coiled tongue scoops up blood into

Its open maw,

Tendons slide off the bone,

Its talons rip and claw.

Once the carcass is plucked clean,

It bundles up the rest,

and creeps up the hidden

ladder to Its attic nest.

copyright Oct 2017 Deanie Roman

Beware the Witch


The harvest moon obscures the night, when All Hallow’s Eve is Nigh.

Beware the witch as she takes flight, a shadow in the sky.

She seeks the souls of the young, currying favor with her Master.

The promise of fear, blood and tears propels her gnarled broom faster.

Bar the door!

Draw the shades!

Gather your children near!

Or, be the one to bear witness, when the witch appears.

copyright 2017 Deanie Roman

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