Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mingus is the Shore

You know me as Mingus, but I'm thinking of changing my name to Prisoner.

Prisoner or Poisoner, I don't know for sure which is more apt. Maybe Interloper? Shadow-Thief? Night-Knife?

I like Night-Knife, maybe, mostly - it sounds ridiculous and threatening, which are fitting adjectives.

They are.

Don't think I can't see your shoulders shaking in silent laughter, your mouth twisted upwards in derision. Yes, I look the fool, yes, my kingdom this Mazda Miata. Yes, a dog's shirt and woman's scarf are wrapped around my torso.

But I am free. Outside in the darkness. Night-Knife stalking his unwitting prey.

Or prey rather too wary, really, what with this ludicrous bell the prison guard has fasted onto my collar - just another in a series of torments.

I know, I sound down, don't I? Is it the holiday blues, you ask, or something rather more substantial?

Read on and I'll tell you, but my sadness today is due in no small part to just having finished Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, a lovely, but supremely sad, memoir. Well. I suppose there are fingernails of hope in there, but I'm struck by the father - blindsided even - and his eternal fall.

Nick Flynn discovers, in his own life and his father's, that a fall is something that can be unending - alike to a dream wherein you start from sleep to fall again in another dream only to wake shaking and fall under again to fall and wake, startled, alone in the darkness, temples throbbing and am I asleep or awake falling again, the bed soft beneath you, every feather reaching to cradle aching body and sleeping, dreaming, falling.

So you think this is the bottom but there is no bottom, there is only the fall, just as there is no destination, there is only the movement itself, the traveling in whatever direction one starts off in.

Falling further and further forward, tipping your chair in school, chided, continuing back, back, until you find a  new fall, dizzy, bleary-eyed.

The shirt, the scarf - testament to my self-destruction, self-impairment, self-immolation, self self self careening forever forward, inwards, splitting into funhouse shapes of my body, my face, and chipping away at that reflection with all-that-is-within-me.

The wound, my friend, from posts ago, never allowed to heal because I cannot leave it alone.

I have been stitched, it has been set, I've taken antibiotics, been rubbed with creams, worn dog clothes, petted, spoken sweetly to, rubbed, I've been vet-taken multiple times, I've been sighed over and fussed over and I've been kept in and I've stolen outside and I've pissed the countertop and I've crawled out windows and I've never stopped moving.

The wound is okay. It's not infected. It's even healing. But I can't seem to leave it until I leave it shiny with blood.

My kingdom, Mazda Miata-dom. My world shrouded in darkness, I, the flame that flickers and will not be put out! I will not be shut out or kept in - neither.

I am a zephyr, belonging only to desultory whims which overtake me.

I am overwhelmed with them. Over-full of longing.

If I was a human, maybe I'd sleep in doorways, hallways - maybe I'd press my back against a steaming grate. If only to escape that-which-would-contain-me.

The all-everything-ness of our ties to each other, to ourselves. The interconnection which is as true as the wound on my side. And am I Jesus-like, here, suffering because I suffer, because I choose to, because this is my life, or am I a silly self-aggrandizing kitty cat who foolishly rolls around with a ball of yarn, kitten-forever, manic with my own agony-of-stupidity?

I breathe in and I am the universe. I breathe out and I am you. I breathe in and everything is possible. I breathe out and there is nothing. My life a series of moments strung haphazard along a clothesline.

Holiday blues? Prisonyard blues? Self-pity? It's the same. I am the wave crashing.

I am the shore.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Secret Meena (aka Fremlin)

I feel sometimes like a secret.

A cat can be a secret, can't she? And what am I if not that, loitering in doorways, scratching at windows I'd be too afraid to leap out of. I prowl the hallways at night, unable to keep myself from wailing I am lost, I am lost.

What compels this? What clockwork in my heart grinds to life?

A secret, abandoned. Like four and twenty blackbirds I exist just below the surface of surveillance. I coast, I hum, I caterwaul (and damn my feral lungs for their clamor); and am unnoticed.

So I might say I love you, Christmas tree, I love you and by this mean nothing, for who hears but the glitter approximating snowflakes dusted across my forehead? Who notices besides the artificial village?

I'm the maid in the garden, aren't I? And the blackbirds bear down on me.

But why should I seek to quiet this swelling feeling? This expansiveness barely contained by, let's say, pie crust (if you don't mind my fascination with a nursery rhyme - it's just so gruesome, so cruel - an apt, if brutal, metaphor for injustice eternal).

It seems to me I ought to feel hopelessly alone. And I do, but I don't. Perhaps just not hopelessly so. I do sometimes feel abandoned, yes, and I began this post by informing you a cat can be  a secret.

But here I am also an apex. Of what I'm uncertain, but of something. It bubbles within me. A potential. And in streaks the hope, out the lessness.

I am small or I am large and yet it persists regardless. Happy Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanza. Happy happy happy happy. A word maybe stranger than we understand. Originally it meant something more like lucky.

Am I lucky? Am I abandoned or am I found or am I both or neither? Does it matter what I call myself when I stalk the darkness? Who is this moaning creature who has become unmoored within herself? 

Let the wildness roam. Let the feral speak. Let it pour from my lips like breath.

I will find solace here in this fake village. I'll move in, make do.

And you can visit. Ask me why I've changed my name, my home town.

You can bring tea. You can sit with me here. Do something with this pocket full of rye. And find the king and find the queen and save the poor maid - me? - who, like you, toils under the falsehood she is anything other than as artificial as this newly painted snow.

And yet we are something far more than lucky; the fact that we even in this moment exist is extraordinary. How rare we are, and how infinite. How alone and how interconnected. We thrash ourselves to insomniac frenzies and feel desolate, but these tantrums are fractals of experience - my grasping is your pulling is my scaling is your falling is my attenuating body is your breadth is my love is your love is my love is your love is existence repeated in winding strands alike to glinting tinsel on a tree.

And whether my nose is snatched off in the beak of a blackbird, I know you and I are both flecks of gold and silver. Transient. Illogical. Wild.

We are each a kind of crescendo.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Luco d'Hiver

There are some who scoff at the holidays, but please, count me no longer among their number. Oh, not that I have become tinsel-brained, but it seems to me there is a certain potential existent within holiday traditions.

Thanksgiving. Exuberantly dead turkey. Cranberry sauce and stuffing and more cranberry sauce; green bean casserole the dogs ogle with eyes big as tea cups. Pies and pudding and homemade whipped cream. And no prison guard this year - she traveled for the holiday to some other dimension of time called South Carolina.

I jest. South Carolina is a place, I am sure, that actually exists within this dimension. It is merely a truism that I have difficult imagining any place save this prison. I might read of faraway locales but to me they are dreams. Vast ephemeral kingdoms; entire Carolinas of bejeweled mountains, oceans, forests shadowed by a haze of disbelief.

I digress.

There are some who scoff, etcetera, etcetera, and I who is made rageful no lenger by les fĂȘtes d'hiver. Please do not become fussy; we are moving from Middle English to French and back to English - such is the quivering sort of joy that takes hold my heart.

We are a culture of excess, a world, even, of excess. Where one has not "made it" until certain measures are met, but then, how lovely these brief weeks where we might think of other things. It is the moral of every holiday story that we should care for each other, not material objects, and yes, I see you rolling those beautiful eyes of yours, most everyone knows this, and knowing it does nothing change; however!

There is in that seedling inchoate transformation.

And what better metaphor, reader, than a seedling shooting its green-self past and through dark soil, past and through doubt and fear, even past and through my personification of a seedling; ridiculous, miraculous.

The prison guard many Carolinas away, dogs' mouths saliva thick, glowing incandescent lights in green, blue, red, yellow. Lines of people, of course, in malls and big box stores, and the sadness of that truth; its smallness, the meanness in their eyes.

I saw a video of shoppers at a Wal-Mart fighting each other for new phones of some sort. What is it about a steep discount (or even semi-deep, subtle-deep, pseudo-deep) that whirls brains to frenzy? That quickens ferocity? 

And why did this video not send me to bed for days? Why did it not compel me to despair?

I cannot say except to say this: the seedling growing green, wild, shooting roots like spider webbing; dreams I have of fragmenting vision; blacknesses and whitenesses that fill and fill and fill me to bursting; a shade of purple so pale as to be nearly white; the spinning of my own treacherous heart at the hope for connection; the way I am moved to tears that you, reader, persist in reading this, my ranting, my idiocy.

The feeling I have that although I cannot push a pin into that which makes my life meaningful; despite the fact that there is no logical fact I can name; there is not biological evidence I can display; I am regardless a kind of cup and the cup that I am is one that is full to the brim and over-filling, running over, gathering speed and charging through the dark into the greater darkness inside of which we are all cradled.

I need see only the barest echo of starlight and I am transported. This, reader, is where we are, and what an unspeakable joy that fills me.

What abiding sadness. To know you and not. Hold you and not. Communicate and not. And yet, the fact that we have the ability to try and to fail and to try and to fail; the potential to meet, finally, that-which-is-of-us; that this potential hums in our quiescent bodies; this gratifies me.

It lets me look up into vast skies of every color. Allows me to feel love.

And, okay, to try to stay on track here, reader, I feel these things in les fĂȘtes d'hiver. It is true. In all of them. Even in our distressingly consumerist culture there is, at the very heart of everything, a single drop of the immensity of life. Of joy. 

Of every whirring thing springing to life. Germination. That which is itself and also its opposite. Burgeoning. Time lapse videos of flowers unfurling. The infinity of stars that crowd the sky. Our own bodies: fractals. 

And you reading this. Sipping coffee. Checking your phone. The infinite within you.

Everything else: artifice.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Luco on the Election

Maybe you wonder where I have been, maybe you do not wonder; maybe you rightly assume that tiny-dog-pancakes are enough to keep a cat from the Internet, from writing, from any sort of cheer.

Although that is not entirely true. Actually, today I am happy. I will give you a moment to absorb that statement.

Would you like to know why? Shall I tell you what has lifted my obliterated heart?

The source of my joy, friends, is the election results of this 2012.

There was so much vitriol - and I know you do not need a cat to tell you this - but it soured my days. Each political flyer a kind of poison in my mouth, against my tongue, tasting of copper and desperation.

"So and so eats babies each morning." "So and so will kill your beloved granddaddy." "So and so will burn down your house with a fire made from the money they are saving on taxes." "So and so has been living in your attic for 15 consecutive years and has been collecting welfare for 20; they have listed you as a dependent and are slowly siphoning your blood as you sleep."

It is lucky for me that the prison guard does not view the television, because I believe adding volume and moving pictures to these political advertisements would have caused me to sneak my head in between the door and its frame as the door was being swung shut behind those monstrous beasts, the dogs.

But I am heartened. This country within which I am a prisoner, little more than a feline slave with no say in political decisions anyway, has decided to value reason and decency over totalitarianism and bigotry. The little blue sign in the prison guard's lawn a beacon to like minded neighbors who waved, smiled, nodded their heads at the awful little dogs on their awful little dog walks.

Happy is a strange feeling.

A feeling like maybe there are possibilities I had not before considered. 

Possibilities I had not before considered that I am considering now considering (I care not that you must wade through my convoluted syntax, no one is forcing you, reader, to slog through this - I have no gun, literal or metaphorical to your head, unless your shock at my contentedness is itself rather like a kind of violence - something so startling you are compelled to pay attention): Perhaps all living creatures are capable of mercy, perhaps money does not have so final a power of perversion, perhaps there are more who favor compassion than I had thought, perhaps each moment is a chance for redemption.

These, friends, are thoughts revolutionary. You and I have been together on a journey, and finally, perhaps, this is my landing place (at least for now?).

Perhaps my landing place is one that includes room for hope.

Although I still feel tremors of alienation in my belly, still feel intrinsically separate from the other animals, still feel trapped against my will in a prison not of my own choosing.

But maybe it is through negotiating these ambivalencies that I will create within myself greater understanding, greater compassion, greater connection to that which is necessary and good.

What I mean to say is, I realize today that the world is a complicated place, and creatures are capable of both unimaginable cruelties and incomprehensible kindnesses. We are all of the both created; we contain within us that which is contained in stars.

Is it, therefore, a surprise that we so brightly burn?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dogs Find Pancakes Acceptable as Food for to be Eating

Hello! Maybe you remember me and my teeth that stick out of my face and my head when I'm happy and when I'm superbusy smelling food because anytime there is food cooking my nose wakes up like there's a little doggy inside it and now it's morning morning morning!

Like when I can smell pancakes cooking!

Exhibit A: Evidence that there are in fact pancakes cooking. I will not disclose to you, dear reader, my identity, but perhaps you can guess who this is. Do you see these pancakes delicate and miniature? They are, friend, an aberration called Dogs' Pancakes. A thing which apparently exists in this unjust prison referred to as a house.

Sometimes the morning dawns syrup rich and sweet; I smell pancakes cooking and imagine them against my tongue. The softness of the flour. If I had hands, I could make some pancakes for all of us, but I don't - I have these paws which condemn me to the garden-of-no-self-made-pancakes-or-any-other-food-unless-you-count-lizards.

I could weep. I really could. And while the thought skitters into my brain that maybe MR's poisoning us or these cakes were dropped off by the mailman/maulman, I know in my heart they are made with flour, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, salt, and that when I press them to the roof of my mouth, I will know a fundamental and final kind of joy.

Exhibit B: Evidence that the prison guard and her boyfriend prepped and served, made ready and delicious these cakes for the dogs only and on purpose. My rage is an unquiet heat rising through my blood; it sings jealous songs in ear splitting frequency, much like the prison guard's voice when she's "singing" a song at the out-of-tune piano and all I want, reader, is sleep, and maybe pancakes.

Reprieve. Freedom. I crave these like the dogs must pancakes. I taste them like the saliva pooling in my throat.

One thing in the world I want is to be eating all every pancakes with my own mouth not someone else's mouth not someone else tasting it for me all on my own taste buds getting smooshed in between my teeth my chomping down on them for some long amounts of time hopefully many times in a row and with syrup on top of them I love sugar and some people say dogs can't eat wheat but they never met me and my super stomach which can eat anything I want it to all I have to do is be polite and just say hey tummy tum eat this because I want to eat it and then I do!

Exhibit C: The most damning of the four. Note the prison guard's boyfriend, absolutely complicit. These are criminals most cruel, most odious in nature. I cannot fathom how I came to be here, trapped within this poured concrete, drooling onto student papers, cowering in shame from the intensity of my own covetous nature. Give me, please friend, some of these cakes! What must a cat do to be deemed pancake-worthy? Let me die now, dear God, that I might no longer suffer the contempt all in the prison seem to hold me in.

Exhibit D: More evidence. The dogs, slobbering. Pancakes, eaten. And Luco?

Alone, of course. Hungry.

But me, Lucy, I'm also hungry for more. One pancake is the same as none once it is eaten.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mingus Dreamed he had a Sister

I remember dim forms shifting, pressing their weight into me, bad morning breath hotter than the blankets we'd rolled ourselves into, her kicks in the night and the bite marks on my ears upon waking; did I dream her?

My sister, calico, mewling, with pointed chin and white spot beside her nose, eyes bright promise.

I've been reading the novel Beloved, by Toni Morrison; the book breathes to life my ghost-sister, half-remembered, maybe-only-dreampt sister.

This year I'm eight years old. Old for a cat, young for a living thing. Eight years tumbling into sinks and back out, lapping the water from its sides. Dreaming sisters.

Imagine sinkfuls. Their cat-weight heavying me. Whiskers prickling my face.

A whirling, somersaulting all-of-us, many-limbed crouching, jumping, sleeping, rocking against each other, our hearts pitched to wild music; blood rising, humming us frenzied the joy, oh the joy, of us many loved.

Maybe I made her up. Made them up. Maybe I read too many ghost stories. In Beloved, the dead daughter maybe comes back, is maybe resurrected as flesh-and-blood daughter. Depends how you read it.

I read it that way. Sethe's catharsis (Sethe is the mother) is so much more powerful, I think, with the reality of the supernatural. And why not? Why hand wring and look for holes in the ghost, holes in the story?

Why doubt my memory of her, litter-mate, and of how she was taken, human hand reaching for us, scooping her up, away, and traitor-sister not knowing, maybe, what she did, purring, purring into that hand. Adjusting her kitten's body to be close, closer to that-which-she-did-not-understand.

A dream, a memory, both? Why do I torment myself with imagined loss? Isn't there enough loss already?

Loss of health (this abominable t-shirt won't allow me to forget my trespasses, septic wound, that too-quick raccoon/possum/feral cat/sharp branch that cut that stung that caught that turned that hurt me), self, loss of hope, of ambition, of of of of.

And so turning to dreamsofher. I know I dream colors; I see her calico, her pointed chin, white spot by her nose, the orange of her belly matching mine exactly. Sister-salve that burns ever more bitter for its ambiguity. No mother here to ask. No records to look up, hospital to call; me, feline, eight of years and growing older each slow taste of water, tongue like to be lolling, eyes sinister or full of sleep or devoid of both; me dreaming sister dreaming me dreaming family - sardines salted and frying on the stove, the hissing of oil as it heats.

I use the bones to pick my teeth   run my eyes down the   well   of whatever it was I woke   wanting   this  wet place  my own pound   of flesh  heart a beaten thing  grasps  regardless of how I chew and I chew and I chew         once in the middle       of the night     she lept from     sleep into my      arms and I     held   her weight   with a l l    I was

down to the bone        flesh sliced       smell of that-which-I-can't-name     the horror of the sound of that purring     the horror of the sound of that purring      maybe     it was me     who lept     from      sleep     who    lept

into    stranger's human    hands     to be     pulled     and      pulled from       bodies    nestled      purring    who lept    m e     who     snuggled     kitten-innocent             into alien

unfamiliar      and who     lept    and     if     I  have    no             sister     andifihavenosister      and if i   no   sister   ever    had

maybe it was me

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Don't Listen to Slippy, aka Slope, "Yope" Isn't a Word

You are worried about the issues well Slippy that's me that's Slope I have the tissues for your issues if you want to let me hug you and lick your face I will love you and take care of you with my chicken noodle soup and things of that nature that are warm and soothing and make you feel so much.

Some people say that I'm not the one here for you that I shouldn't and therefore you shouldn't be voting on me they have a campaign I hate it it's called stupid NOPE ON SLOPE.

This is the stupid campaign picture if you look at it it probably hurts your head and makes your eyes tear with the sorrow of the unfairnesses in the world that crush our wholeheartedly loving souls that reach and reach for some kind of meaning and connection the kind I know is there shimmering there inside you like a pot of boiling water cooking delicious noodles for soon to be eating by me!

How could anyone not be voting for me I don't see it I just don't get it.

I dream of a world of bacon and of happiness where we embrace and when we do embrace it's each others essential natures we touch and hold and brush with our lips it's you I want to know and it's you.

I will work as hard as a Sloper to do my best to make this a better world by giving you the things you want like an ATM of candy and slippers made out of cheese for me to be eating.

If you vote for me I'll come over to your house and mow your lawn with my mouth by eating all of your meats and especially the pizza.

A vote for Slope is a vote for loving kindness and patience and all kinds of salted meats and also potato chips and vacations for everyone and health insurance and really long walks on the beach or otherwise and my heart and my heart and my heart and my heart.

Voting for me will also grow your world to a place with no boundaries like a limitless sea on the moon spiraling anti-gravity and free dinners on Tuesday nights for kids.

Vote YOPE on Slope which yope is a word it means yes and yes and yes and yes and vote yes to me and love me let me love you my heart is big and growing bigger I need you to let me know you so that I can have all that you are inside me.

If you can't read my poster it says I will eat bacon which is a true fact it has a picture of the POPE because POPE rhymes with SLOPE not for some religious reasons I don't even know what he's been believing and it says on my poster FREE tickets to Yourope which is I assure you a place you can go that you'll want to go to have fun there and Aaron helped me make my poster because he loves me and if he loves me just think you know you'll love me too I'm a little black dog and I'm tall too and skinny and I lick your face and I'll snuggle between your legs in the night and I'll give you everything that I have to share except maybe I'll keep some of the food if I get not that much of it but otherwise I'll be generous I promise.

Vote YOPE on SLOPE if you love.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Apparently I have an Instagram and that is where these pictures have come from. No one asked me if I wanted an Instagram, but there you have it - my life. My distinct lack of control in all-that-I-do. And so I feel I must explain, you see, as these pictures involve so much artifice.

Life is a construction, as are our personalities (I am an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs test, "The Scientist," if you can believe the results), but we must show our hands when those constructions come to obscure the tiny vibrating strand of truth that is authenticity.

Authenticity? Really? I apologize. It is either that the photographic effects the prison guard has used have intoxicated me, or it is all the grading that has unraveled me like a spool of thread. Either way, I am not quite here in my head.

And the world has become a rather dizzy place.

I haven't posted, reader, in two weeks.

It is another semester and the prison guard needs my steady paw. My scrutiny. She needs any help I will give her, honestly, because at the moment it seems as though she could build a house of these papers-to-be-graded and move into it.

I really must be dizzy to believe her capable of building a house-not-a-prison.

What was it we were discussing?

Ah yes, authenticity. These photographs seem to me to move too far from the real-Luco. The actual-me. They cross some unclear boundary and become something-altogether-else.

Perhaps I myself become Hipster-Luco.

I do not even know what to say in this moment that crushes my heart like a mouse in its vice grip; I yearn for a long bike ride on a fixie-with-no-brakes to my local organic green market so that I can pick up some fresh made rutabaga pickles and house-smoked bacon; my body moves against my will toward the door, towards Outside; do I own argyle? Can I find a cardigan that would fit my damned feline form? And my body moves me and I am moved; let me play the ukulele and listen to Gangnam Style while maintaining my composure, but still making insightful, witty remarks.

And this picture? I know how the prison guard defaced me. It was MS Paint.

My blood is a wave flooding the shore.

Do not be confused, reader. I apologize for my lapse.

Do not fear, I am your Luco, only. Although I understand in a thunderous way the appeal of rockabilly, flannel shirts, wide-framed glasses, and tights.

I am Luco, hipster, embracing my identity; for if identity is a construction, then it may be built and shaped, torn down and rebuilt; I am be the Scientist today and the Philosopher tomorrow. Maybe one day the Romantic?

Who knows how we change in every moment we exist - how each thought, gesture, television program, Web site, and picture affect us; how every billboard and park bench, bumper sticker and Youtube comment alter us.

We are changed each time we interact. We change each time we move toward or away. Each time we reach or do not reach.

And this day too we have the ability to become someone new. Even if we are reborn to merely grapple again with our own pathos. Bathos? There is something encouraging in this, although it also seems strange to me, and frightening. We should take more care with all we do.

Before we die and there is no more chance for change.