Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lonely Spinster Cat Lady Mourns



I. Insomniac Blues

This poem means sleeplessness.

You went. Where?


II. Not Even a Hint

We watched shows about the dead, you curled upon my lap.

“That will be me one day,” I said. “That will be you.”

Death and taxes, the two inevitables.


You wisely said nothing, as cats often do. Still. You could have hinted.

Any action to suggest, “True, I will die, and sooner than you.”


But you were just a cat, and could not speak, and

I, a human, should have known, knowing

What I know—my heart beats slow,

Your heart beats fast, fast like paws pounding pavement,

Fast like freedom, no room needed for air,

No air needed to speak.


III. Charlotte Is Here

Charlotte is here, under my feet.

Another long day awaits; days six, seven, eight—

Yes, and the hours too—those termites.


But do not worry.

I have not changed.

I am not going anywhere.

The same music plays, Vampire Weekend, and I

Wear the same hair, strawberry blond,

Behind the same pointed ears.

I speak with the same overbite, and stare

With the same vacant eyes and their familiar bags underneath,

The same loose skin, the same late hours, the same sickness,

The same sleeping disease.


What has changed is few. For instance, the ashtray is full.

The couch has moved. The mailman came.

The food was replaced.


But I have not changed.

I am not going anywhere.


IV. Birds

Birds chirping, rejoicing!

Predator-less, they take the kids out of hiding.

Out on the town, they go,

Milkshakes made of seeds, wet disco at the water fountain.

Chirp, splash, chirp!
“Fuck to you, and good day!” they say to the cat

Who can no longer hear them.



V. Rebirth, Why Not?

Hope nose dives, cracks the glass. Summer’s come,

Beer pong, long days, moonless stars, and

Charlotte’s never been more pleased. Her

Competitive streak has outworn its use.

Archaic cream, milk of mimosas,

Balloons fall, the networks call it. Let it begin—

The reign of the Insane, the Sleepy-eyed Wizard princess

Perched upon her puddle of pee.

Slow blink, success, sleep.

Tabby brown. Eyes, green.

Her twelfth year, age one-hundred,

She is the victor. A one-party party system

Of her own since last week.


(I cannot help but hate her.)


VI. No, No, No

Has it only been a week?

Has it been a week already?

Where did the time go?

Why does it stay?

What can’t it linger?

Why won’t it leave me alone forever?


VII. Coping

Hammer me, nail.

I have not changed. Not in the least.

Dirt buries you, work buries me. We pick our suffering,

But I slug it out. Unwind with wine and flat teeth,

Pea pods, yogurt, home tributes, the like—

Name it, sister, and I’ve tried it! Tried everything.


(But I have not changed.

I have not gone anywhere.)


Distractions, bat caves, ice cream,

Fourth of July Parades, alone or

With friends, organized or sporadic.

And God damn it but yes, much more.

I have gone lower, and failed with the worst. You name it.

Cheap gauze strips. Generic anti-germ gels,

Reality TV, blogs about surrendering,

That moldy bagel in the trashbin I put back on the plate,

And ate, until I was certain anything spoiled

Could never be ripe again.


Because, why not? If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try again. Try until you cannot take it. Try until

You almost make it, try until you can fake it, and when

That camera is flashing, smile like you don’t hate it.

When they say they’re sorry, shrug and say, resolved,

“Thank you, but she was just a cat.”


VIII. Sometimes

Sometimes I need my mother.

Other times I need a man. But mostly

I need sleep. A refrain from

My waking life. Puckered Benadryl, cylinder lips,

Blue shrapnel, a glass of water to swallow the sorrow.

Pitch blackness, please.

Slip it to me, my prescribed child,

Peace by any means—peace by postcard,

Peace by muscled hand, peace by pillowcase, flower-shaped,

Peace with an unhealthy tan,

“A dark glow to go, thanks!”


IX. Sappy

Remember how you slept by my feet? Or by my head?

You eyed Charlotte. She’s mine!

And to prove it—fur in mass exodus.

Rough on my cheek, your sandpaper tongue.

I shook my face. “Needy!” I cried, not unhappily.

And I scratched your neck.


(That may have been it. That may have been the last time.)


X. Morning

Orange unfolds. Lavender pinks.

I gather my bones, I pour mint tea,

Red-eyed I go, porch-bound, where

The warm outdoors awaits.

I eye the sky for an apology.


Hello, Murderous Month! Hello, July, hello!

You sucked my kitty up.

You hung my happiness to dry.


Oh, enough.


I sit my bones, I sip my tea,

I watch the sun, I watch the birds,

I watch their wings beat back across the sky,

Across this thimble of time, and

Across birth, across decay,

With a tune that says yes,

We’ll all die someday.


(But not soon enough.)


So here it is, another day,

And this music, the tapping—it plays.

It plays in rhythm with my heart,

My burdensome, beating heart.

—Erin Passons, 7-2014
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