Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mingus & Linguistics (kinda)

People use the word "harrowing" too much. They say, "I had to wait in line for fifteen minutes! It was harrowing!" Or they say "The traffic on I95 was totally harrowing today!" Perhaps "Ugh, the dentist! What a harrowing ordeal."

But we know not, reader, unless we've been initiated to the special world of pain, this: "deeply disturbing or distressing; grievous; a harrowing experience."

Special world of pain?

The nightmares of my nightmares. Spinning silken thread as from a spider. That which becomes caught on everything, an arm, a leg, dangling from hair. An abscess.

Dream with me - a bite, those two puncture wounds, teeth as though sharpened, the quick zing of electricity as the body registers a bite, a bite, a bite!

And no, reader, I won't divulge the animal, the biter; imagine possum or feral cat or raccoon or dog. Imagine those eyes you see lighting up in the night; imagine standing shock-still. Imagine the glow of after-pain as it dissolves your shudders to pitiful mewling.

A kitten like myself, nearing nine years, mewling, cowering in darkness, suffering the violence to my body, the spaces proving my violability.

Harrowing? No. Not yet.

Days passing and nothing amiss save steady burn of puncture.

So I slept, dreampt myself torture dreams; I was a young bride, excited for my wedding day, and careful men broke into my house, donning clean, white aprons, "we'll begin the interviews soon," they said in my dream, and I knew what they meant, which was that they meant to rape me, torture me, kill me.

Dreampt myself outside, alone. Flashing brilliance of passing cars and my bean-bag-body dragged across the pavement sudden and hot as midday.

Dreampt myself lost at sea. A speck of dust. A many-legged-creature smaller than a grain of rice. And I dreampt never-redemption, never-freedom.

Fever pitch of dreams until one day upon waking - a bump.

A bump, a bruise, a swatch of blood. Pain began to unravel the definition of harrowing for me. Began with its tendrils to caress my fevered neck.

And eyes rolling back in my head approaching MR who gentled me to sleep, who murmured something white-noise-ish, who grasped her own bedsheets and cursed, I think, although I felt safe enough to allow my mind to dissolve.

Distant shores. Shipwreck saved as parachutists gliding down dust motes winding tethers to my heart, my eyes, my teeth, breeze of warmth sluicing through me.

Warm water channel, warm water bath. Awaking the next day to my own stench. An abscess, so says the Internet, and pain like a thousand flowers blooming all-at-once-lavender.

Shock of warmth inside my eyes. Taken away in a carrier to a vet, knocked unconscious, upon waking made to wear this ridiculous shirt so that I would not further injure myself as though I had no means of my own to stay my quivering tongue which ached and ached to lick my sore open, a blossom.

And taken back to vet. Stitched closed like a blanket. Like a pillow full of feathers. Harrowing. The word tastes like brackish water. Slightly salty, hot, something stinging about it as it coats the inside of my throat.

And nightmares still but not like before. And pain but also not as before. Every night asleep with MR. Every night a lick on her hand.

Not that I feel I owe her, but she comforts me. Has pulled me free of shipwreck debris.

And I attempt anew to get outside, get to freedom. I brave bites and worse. Make oaths to myself I know I won't keep about cowardice. About lamentations.

Because now I know pain. Know the root of "harrowing." And therefore enough to know what I risk as I risk it. And I love my freedom so much I still reach and reach for it. Still dart to open doorways.

Because the animals stalk me yet.

And yet my heart yearns to bite them back.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Dogs Love Ice Cream and They Love You Too

It's a Lucy and Slippy day today because we were wondering if you would please go to the store now and get us some of the cheese and fried chicken and broccoli for us to be eating all covered in butter it's been so many times now we've seen you eating at the table and we want some too this is Slippy listen to me I have important things to say! Like ice cream ice cream ice cream ice cream ice cream please!

And me, Lucy, I have something to say as well.

I'm in the middle of reading The Giant's House by Elizabeth McCracken, and unfortunately I don't love it. I mean, I don't dislike it; I don't love it. But this quote I'm about to give you, it sums up a feeling I want to discuss.

McCracken writes: "Despite popular theories, I believe people fall in love based not on looks or fate but on knowledge. Either they are amazed by something a beloved knows that they themselves do not know; or they discover common rare knowledge; or they can supply knowledge to someone who's lacking" (10).

Before I comment on this quote can I just tell you something? The spell-check on Blogger wants to correct McCracken's name to gimcrackery. Before today I knew not of this word. How strange and wonderful - my life is studded, it seems to me, with gimcrackery.

Anyway. The quote!

Nope nope nope Miss Lucy Scarecrow you're too far off topic so it's me Slippy Mr. Pawsely to the rescue here to tell you some more things of which I know a lot about like love is a thing I know too and although McCracken might have an interesting idea and maybe you'll tell us more than verbal gimcrackery (I can learn words too!) but I know love and I know how to say what it is.

Love is you Lucy and your brown eyes and us together eating meat and dog snacks that pop and fizz in our mouths from fermenting which makes things all the more delicious like the bread we found on the street and the biscuits out behind the grocery store which we ate with such relish and look love is this dining room table full of food and you and me Scarecrow sitting down to eat together with dogs' napkins and dogs' silverware and nothing to fear because no one will come up ever to us with a rolled newspaper and no one will ever yank us on our leashes away and no one will ever again my Lucy cage you in a puppy mill because you are the sweetest most decent and kind doggy of psycho dogs I've known in my whole life.

Slippy. I asked you never to bring up my past. That life. It's far behind me now. It's a greyish blur that sometimes colors my nightmares, but that's it.

Let me get back to the quote. McCracken's ideas of love. I think she has an interesting thought here, but also that she neglects something of biology. For me anyway, love is molecular. You, Mr. Pawsley, and I mean no offense by this, wouldn't have been my first choice as a friend, as a companion. I might have, had we merely met online, dismissed you as a dullard. But here, with you, the heat from your skin and the static electricity zinging from your heart forcibly pull me toward you. You are, my dear, magnetic.

And I don't pretend to believe you love me for the things I say more eloquently, or my IQ level (although, yes, it's true, you have [several!] degrees and I have none - perhaps I'm street smart? Who, dear Slipper, gave you that PhD anyway? Who?!); you love me, simply, because you love me. We are entangled. Entwined.

And yes, of course, I want  ice cream ice cream ice cream ice cream ice cream too and dog treats and tuna and peanut butter and marshmallows and tacos, and perhaps this appreciation we have could be defined as a "common rare knowledge," but I rather doubt it. We just love each other.

Reader? I implore you. If you have any love for us as we have for you, give us all-every of your cheeses.  Now. I swear to you the prison guard hasn't been feeding us. Ever. She's never once fed us food. Hurry. Our time is running out.

We'll die without ice cream (but at least we die together).

Friday, August 3, 2012

Alfonso Tupelo in a Cardboard Box

Hello. I am in a box. I'm going to use this, you know, as a metaphor. The real and the metaphorical box I'm trapped in and you're trapped in and your parents and your aunts and your uncles and your friends and the people who don't like you or those people also who don't even know you - we are all in boxes trapped. Immobilized. Ensnared. Whatever.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down?

What is this box, you're asking yourself. What is it this gorgeous cat is going on and on about? Oh, you're thinking, how I love to read his words, but still I'm perplexed! What oh what could the box be? To quote a ridiculous serial killer movie: "What's in the box?!" Although, and I'm certain, reader, you'll agree, I'm far far far lovelier than the capable Brad Pitt.

Is he even capable? I'm sure we all know I'd be a much better actor. Just envisioning how I'd act out that selfsame scene brings tears to my eyes.

But I digress!

The box is whatever preconceived notions are at present boxing you into a small space. A space smaller than someone of your girth should occupy. I know I could lounge in entire galaxies, but that's just me, and I'm not, dear reader, trying to say I'm fat. I know what I am; incredibly, wonderfully, perfectly voluptuous.

And anyway, I enjoy luxuriating. If  I'd been born a human I'd have 785,432 votive candles for each and every sumptuous bath. Incense and rich, dark chocolate, yoga classes and deep tissue massages.

Alas. It's rather more than difficult to convince anyone around here that I deserve and need a certain level of, let's call it, pampering.

Today my box, my metaphorical one, not the real one - the real box was a box full of pickles - today my box is the idea that the wonderful novel The Marriage Plot by Eugenides should never have ended. I'm serious. Please, Mr. Eugenides, serialize this novel. Graphic novelize it. Um, print it on the backs of cereal boxes, I don't know! But please, sir, don't let it end.

I've just, you know, finished it... And I'm having difficulty rousing myself from a deep depression at its end. Not the ending itself, mind you, which is actually quite nice, but at the fact that I've finished it, ended it, and also? I believe there is room, Mr. Eugenides, for Madeleine to please please please discuss Wuthering Heights in depth. Right?

I mean, in a novel that revolves around a budding Victorian scholar, surely a sentence or two for my beloved Heathcliff?

But, gah, it's not to be, is it? And this is where I am.

If I could just accept it's over, I might feel better. Just like how if you accepted it's over, whatever it is for you, you might feel better. Or, I don't know, maybe your box is something that's beginning and you won't allow yourself to see it. Be patient. You maybe think of this thing like looking straight into the sun. But, reader, look anyway - it cannot blind you.

Rub your eyes clear and gaze around you. The thing about boxes is that they are made of cardboard and easily transformed into something else. A diorama, for example, of Mitchell volunteering for the Home for Dying Destitutes, or of Leonard in the casino, or of my Heathcliff and Catherine embracing; a diorama of you and me, reader, jumping from our boxes and shredding them (a meta-diorama?); of me being massaged, sipping cool tuna water.

We're so easily convinced by people around us of what is right and wrong. I think we need to spend more time looking at what these people tell us and questioning it. We need to read more and think more. Be outside more.

Love more.