Wednesday, March 26, 2008


This is not my favorite poem from Marge Piercy's The Moon is Always Female, but it's cute and I'm in love with my cats, so it seems at least nominally fitting. Plus I like the id comparison.


At the Animal Disposal League
you reached through the bars
avid to live. Discarded offspring
of Persian splendor and tuxedo
alley cat, your hunger saved
you, fuzzy and fist-sized.

Now you are sunny, opaque,
utterly beyond words, alien
as the dreams of a pine tree.
Sometimes when I look at you
you purr as if stroked.
Outside you turn your head
pretending not to see me
off on business, a rabbit
in the marshgrass, rendezvous
in the briars. In the house
you're a sponge for love,
a recirculating fountain.

Angry, you sulk way under
a bed till dragged out whining,
you permit yourself to be
captured and saved. You blink
then your goldengreen eyes
purr and collapse on your back
with paws up and your snowy
white belly exposed all curls
to the plume of your tail.
Ravish me, you say, with kisses
and tunafish because I know
how to accept pleasure. I am
your happy longhaired
id, taking the moment as I
do your finger in my mouth
without breaking its skin,
or eviscerating it instantly
like a mouse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yay, cat poems! Here's another, though this one usually makes me a little weepy:

The History Of One Tough Motherfucker - Charles Bukowski:

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over
I took what was left to a vet who said,"not much
chance...give him these pills...his backbone
is crushed, but it was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he'll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he's been shot, look here, the pellets
are still there...also, he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off..."

I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn't eat, he
wouldn't touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn't go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn't work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat-I'd had it bad, not that
bad but bad enough

one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.

"you can make it," I said to him.

he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn't want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.

you know the rest: now he's better than ever, cross-eyed
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left...

and now sometimes I'm interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,"look, look
at this!"

but they don't understand, they say something like,"you
say you've been influenced by Celine?"

"no," I hold the cat up,"by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this!"

I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he's relaxed he knows...

it's then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.

he too knows it's bullshit but that somehow it all helps.