Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July, Love Alfie

It has been too long since we've spoken. I can only imagine how you must have pined for my beautiful face. And it is, isn't it? My face? I'm beautiful - Helen of Troy issue, at least figuratively (the literal in this instance would be ridiculous, friend, don't you dare think me so foolish) - but please, I haven't meant to be vain.

It's just that I try to face facts, reality. And, for really real?

I'm gorgeous. Pulchritudinous. Magnificent.

But I guess that's, as they say, neither here nor there. Except perhaps you're happier to read this because I'm writing it, haha. I wanted to say a thing to you, and Luco was gracious enough to allow me use of his platform (we other cats joke it's his walk-the-platform, as in, read Luco's blog and walk the plank, the plank of despair, you know, into a shark tank of misery, but we don't mean to be cruel. Joking about his blog allows us briefest moments of levity).

So, anyway, here it is: Happy Fourth of July, Internet.

Luco didn't want me to say that. Wouldn't have let me write this blog if he knew. But I care not! I love sparklers and lemonade and tiny little American flags. Fireworks I care not much for, although I do, as a comely creature, enjoy their beauty.

Why would he not want me to wish you this?

He is a grouch, a grinch. He'd go on about atrocities this, and unjust imprisonment that. Major corporate takeover blah blah.

Not that I'm an anti-activist, it's just I believe there is room for critique and for celebration.

Like that time I saved a litter of kittens from doom. They were huddled in a picnic basket, about to tumble down a waterfall, but I swooped through the air (I had donned my flying squirrel pants, but that's a story for another day) and caught the basket in my mouth, swinging them to freedom on the lush riverbank.

How the kittens protested when I proceeded to eat the sandwiches sandwiched next to them in their picnic basket. Their grousing didn't stop me from eating those delicious ham and cheeses and it didn't change the fact that I'd saved their mewling little selves.

A well fed hero, that's what I like to be.

How does that relate to the Fourth of July and patriotism (or perhaps Luco would grumble nationalism, but again, he's a grouch, a grouch, and if he just did something with his looks, he might find his mood improved. Speaking of, have you noticed my hair cut? Fur cut? It is utterly divine in this summer heat to be shaved thus. They call it a Lion Cut because they look into my heart and know my true nature - they know the wildness that prowls my bowels and my eyes, waiting for the chance to streak, firecracker bright, into the night sky).

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure how it relates, except for the matter of subjectivity, which is to say, life is as we understand it to be, and if a creature is unable to ever peer through something like the foreign pupils of empathy, then that creature will never approach understanding, not even to lick it lightly with barest tongue tip, and never taste the desire of another.

We must all strive to pull on the boots of others, to lace them up to our thighs and prance around in them, puss in boots of all-who-live.

Right? Or do you think me mad? I wonder sometimes when I read Wuthering Heights for the fifteenth, fiftieth, five hundredth time. Why do I so identify with this literature? Maybe I'm morbid, captivated by so much death and thwarted passion (as I imagine my passions to be thwarted?).

I can't be sure, but I love these lines which end the novel:

I sought, and soon discovered, the three headstones on the slope next the moor: on middle one grey, and half buried in the heath; Edgar Linton's only harmonized by the turf and moss creeping up its foot; Heathcliff's still bare.

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth. (251)

"Benign sky." I thrill so at each reading. I find it beautiful.

If I was a poet, I'd rewrite those final paragraphs this way:

three headstones grey half
buried harmonized by moss
creeping still
linger benign sky
watch moths fluttering heath
harebells soft breathing
grass imagine
unquiet slumbers
quiet earth

Ah, but I'm no poet, I mean, I might have been, Iowa said they were very interested in my manuscript, as did Cornell and Syracuse. And I might have attended these MFA programs, but I feel my place is here.

The flame to Luco's wick. Someone has to say to him, "Yes, Luco, it's okay to allow your belly to fill with joy at the sight of those sparklers, and look! A neighbor brought steak over to the vegetarian prison guard -she's left it out on the counter - let us eat it and rejoice, for today is the day to celebrate our freedom and our imprisonment, because who can be free but the already imprisoned?"

And we did eat the steak the well-meaning-neighbor brought over. It was delicious. I wish I had some now, but it's done, we finished it. And oh but when oh when oh when will I ever eat steak again?

True despair is to be left meatless. Without tenderest filet.

Perhaps Luco is right and I celebrate for nothing when that-which-I-celebrate is itself so fleeting, so sudden and but so immense is my joy.

No, it cannot be. My joy is boundless, my capacity for love limitless. And this is why I smile on the Fourth, and this is why I do not hide my eyes forever inside my book. It is irresponsible to see only misery; irresponsible to become drunk on anguish; irresponsible to fail to note that beauty, love, grace, charity, and compassion are bedfellows to desolation, ugliness, injustice, wretchedness, and oppression.

Irresponsible to ignore my elephantine heart.

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