Nonce Song

A form that doesn’t fit a mythic bed
is driving me insane. Before you ask,
the bed is real. I know because
I lie on it like Lascaux. Animal sure. I can provide
verifying links.

Still, you might ask if one of these things
is spectral: insane or driving or me.
“You got me there.” It might be comparable
to talking about the Airedale
cat, a venerable creature
who technically is not,
except in a most minor sense.

But everything is everywhere.

(If we visit, we shall meet cats there,
in the valley (dale) of the river Aire
walking windward, stalking through the yellow hair
of English grasses, in search of rodents fair.)

Wit is polyglot. That’s what Polyphemus
did not know, and got, to his late regret.
I feel the same way about other machines with names.
These autumn words are not stumpers, not at all,
but as babies newly laid. Planked
in their own sudden significance,
they already know all the traffic stops,
like scream and want and Midas stare.

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The Cat Left Behind after the Squatters Were Chased Out

I am just an unlonely cat.
I am a loner but I am a tiger.
My family has left me this house.
It’s falling down, so I sleep on the roof.
The grass and trees are closing in,
so things will be shaded, greener soon.
Being a cat, I like that. (It’s summertime.)
The house was condemned, my family
driven out. They left me behind.
There’s some paper taped to the door
I cannot read. Sometimes I sit and look at it.
Sometimes I go through the busted window
and look for them. I cannot bring myself
to move my little Gore-Tex mouse from where
the kid last threw it. They were very poor,
so I took them in. Now they are poorer
without this house. Without me.
I am unlonely and rich.
I am a cat. The streets and the woods
are my palace, my house. They may
come back. They may not. You see,
I am a cat. I am out nothing.

The Tailed and Tailless

Who says my cat and I can’t share thoughts?
We do it all day, all night, long. Just watch us.
Together, we follow the slant of light from the windows.
We wonder at the shiftlessness of each other’s hours.
I do it with a pen and sleep. He does it
with a paw and sleep. The processes don’t seem
all that different to me. He has a tail for balance.
I’m a little jealous of that. I only have
a tongue to twirl and try to catch myself
when I make an ill-judged leap. It’s a rather
poor substitute when it comes to balance,
to pounce, as those who know me will attest.