CatOber 2015

Mr Mead, In-the-lair-of-the-lighthouse-cat

Mr Mead

Erica Goss 

Our Lady of the Cats

Cats are always
somewhere beyond
our understanding

when they jump in your lap
demanding your love

you stroke their sleek indifferent bodies
wince as they work
their claws

smile as they purr
because soon
they’ll hear night music

vault from your arms
and leave you

for the icy moonlight
in your bedroom window

[first published in The Song of Los Gatos, 2014]

Mr Mead, Cpn-James-McWolfson

Emma Bolden 

Melancholy Between Sea and Sky

If the moon is a pale horse riding
across the mute plane of night, what
then are stars but a thousand wolf eyes.

Patience. Always is it waiting inside
the body and outside the body. The pupil
of a cat widens to catch the light off a river

like prey. And the beach we together watched
is dreaming. Under the blue dome we together
called sky it is dreaming. Under the green beaks

of waves it is dreaming. A thousand fish
in the mouths of a thousand larger fish. 
I’ve forgotten the part about waking. 

I’ve forgotten the part about walking,
which happens, and in so many directions. 
Home is a sentence that ends

with an exclamation of footprints
towards the sea and its mouth, the jagged
and pretty little waves of its teeth.

Mr Mead, a-feast-of-children

Kate Bernadette Benedict

Early Lessons: Barbarity

Rouge, the tabby who matched my mother’s hair,
had kittens in the crook beneath the stair.

Mink Max had hers on the porch, on a perch of dried
cloth. My mother didn’t let her come inside.

I was four when Rouge brought forth her litter.
I named each kitten: Sheena, Twinkle, Glitter.

I was twelve when Max grew swollen-large.
She’d purr and preen and queenly strut, garage

to snowy gutter, stoop to alley to back-
yard. And Rouge? Daddy put her kittens in a sack

and drowned them in the toilet. The sack throbbed,
the sack mewed. I held my ears and sobbed

though he said to let them die was just humane.
Max glared at me one day beyond the windowpane.

She seemed untamed, she snarled and hissed and rolled
her arching back. Her newborns: dead in the cold.

I had to see. I let one chill my palm.
I weighed the horrendous news with icy calm

and coldly cursed my mother for allowing the kittens’ fate.
Thus it was I learned terror and hate.

[from Earthly Use: New and Selected Poems (Umbrella Editions, 2015)]

Mr Mead, LadyMary-the-moon-children

Kate Bernadette Benedict

According to Kitty

Now in the eighty-seventh year of her earthly life, Kitty,
having been settled in an easy chair
and propped among cushions,
was visited by certain itinerant wise men
who wished to assess her mental acuity
for those were the days when it was called into question.
A physician from the village of Searsport
asked her to name her whereabouts
and add the number seven to the number twelve.
A counselor from the village of Castine
asked her to relate the story of her birth and early years
in Capharnaum, or was it Pelham Bay.
A high priest from distant Calais
asked her when she had last received the Holy Eucharist.
Now her answers mystified all who heard.
At last it was asked: Who is the nice lady
who sits beside you, Kitty?
And Kitty gave no answer
but her face was transfigured by a sheer white light.
Whereupon the woman who sat beside her asked:
What is the meaning, Mother, of life?
And Kitty breathed in and breathed out
and seemed to see though she was blind
and clasped her hands into purpling fists
and brought those fists to her bony chest
and smiled a smile full of agony and effort
and breathed in and breathed out
and all who saw these things were sore afraid.

[from Earthly Use: New and Selected Poems (Umbrella Editions, 2015)]

Mr Mead, Skin-deep

Jennifer Finstrom  

Naming My Imaginary Cat

My friend Clare has a Russian Blue she calls
Pushkin, named for that novelist and poet
who died young and fought in many duels.
Louise has two shelter cats, brothers—
one named Ukko for the Finnish god
of weather and thunder and the other
called Ahti for a fierce warrior from lore.

I’ve never had a cat, but I know a few things
about this animal I am creating for myself.
I take down my book of Norse mythology
from the shelf where it resides, assure
myself I am remembering correctly
that the goddess Freya, associated with

both love and beauty, war and death,
travels between the worlds in a chariot
drawn by cats. I imagine those cats,
as big as ponies, claws scraping sparkle
from the stars. The sun and moon travel
by chariot also, flee wolves, make the vast
night a long road. On the day I leave
this world, my cat will tell me its name.


More art by Mr Mead

Cat-At-Strophe (Cat Poems 2014, Part 1) 

In Cat Country (Cat Poems 2014, Part 2)

…and, speaking of Freya, here’s Freya Manfred at EIL