you know – i am not one to meow meow meow
and my even having to preface it now, you can fully
expect a little hissing, but more, i implore you:
tragic darling dears, get out of your beds,
off your couches, your haunches, your
hands and knees and for fuck’s sake PLEASE
point the camera out the bathroom, the window,
outdoors, out of self-respect, his, hers, mine
the worried cat and dog and yours
take into consideration that we’ve no need
to bear witness to your public bleeding
i have seen every configuration of stocking
stunt-cocking, macro of labial fold
(god DAMN that shit gets OLD . . .)
and your face pulled down into mask of despair
mascara, wings, and blood everywhere
and more tits than i could ever use.
Now, mind you, i like my dark days too,
and these things can be done in 32 flavors
and then some, but it won’t make me come
find you in your self-absorbed hip-o-drome
it’s just more i have to scroll past –
to find actual, breathing, human
i believe you – you are real and so are
the rest of the enhanced blanched
oversaturated things you possibly feel
but i’d like to see more of your real life
pooled at your feet, than a pair of your
panties, your bathtub, the Xs & Os the
utter lack of prose and pause and thought
given to the extended forearm-as-tripod
still in the shot and those webcam eyes
so tenderly wrought.
i am not asking you to find/define your depths
i am not trying to damage your emotional
intelligence – i see the dress pattern you
are after, but i’m afraid you’ve dropped a stitch.
i will allow you the feline quality of female
i will ask you, however, to remove your ears
and that silly tail. There is NO pair of
breasts or handcuffs or shoes that will fix
what your expression
and your camera
will never do
She bends into the pool of water with softer expectations.
She has come here to know what the others must see. She wishes to throw off her feathers and know grace. She wants to leave the rippling wake of the Swan. It is not what she sees, but what she feels when she sees it. She drinks deep of herself, pulling down the stones that hold the water back, untying those ribbons that make her simply, “girl,” and she understands these things for the first time:
the shape of her hands as instruments, not locks,
the curve of her mouth as sugar, not starch,
the lilt of her speech as power, not prattle,
the set in her gaze as intention, not ignorance,
and movement of her body as purpose, not presence.
She leans inward, she takes inventory, unearths the wreckage, and blossoms. They will see her differently, now. They must. For she has come to reclaim what she had before not recognized.
I am She.
. . . And i have always been.
I realized my own life force — my own powers.
There was far more in the reflection than a creature with dimples and delectable features. i was no longer a map of fine shapes to plunder. No circles. No Triangles. No lines. No jutties. i was more than a giggle and a hair toss. More than a Mistress and a Maiden. i was something with wings. i was fire and water and magic and truth, and it came from me in waves: out of my fingers, out of the breaths i spoke, out of the voice i lilted and thrust into song, and from the burning tendrils of silken-red hair when i turned to listen.
When the change occurred, they stood watching. Some came to embrace. Some came to crush. Some came to borrow and to bathe. And still some others came to steal. Always, there are those that want to get close for their own intentions. Both come into your night, both come into your Garden to feed on things that grow and fuss, blink and bluster. But some come on white-dusted looms to leave only glitter on your finger when you touch their wings, and some come elusive but gorgeous, with their own space and light, vanquishing dark, green and etherly. But most important the change delivered my sight, my strength to recognize dark moths from fireflies.
I wasted my time kissing villains.
i knew what a lover was but i did not love. i saw it in black and white and red. What i knew of love taught me how to leave one slowly and to tear flesh as i went. i did this only to fill the open mouths, the holes, the digs in my own flesh that were missing. When dark angels move in, you cannot see that under their cloaks are wings and within their wings are pinions and any one feather, small and sable, can be fashioned into a fine dagger or an ink well to scribble their name from head to hip in long red letters the length of your paper white canvas. But wings can be bound, as hands. Or cut. And wounds as words can be sewn and stifled. i allowed few wings to brush my cheek and fewer still, the hands that cut through my skin and left weeping scars.
She leaves the water to the wild.
Silver fish with golden eyes. They must know something about breathing from a mutable element that she does not. How can you drink what can tear down the shore? How can you bathe a sharpened something in a fluid that will tumble a stone, a shard of glass, until it is safely smooth and delicate? What did Narcissus see but an Echo? And what does an echo teach but to love only the song of yourself, though the body shrivels and the bones become stone. A flower is nothing that cannot wither while the eye inside denies this death.
She wishes . . .
to be blind as Tiresias, as the twin thoughts of a soft, penetrable creature; worry and pleasure slither over each other as cool as snakes. And when those mouths open to swallow, to draw breath and blood, when all of love repeats, a tongue can trick. To taste is to suffer, and the resounding “yes i will i can i do i am” doubles back. She swims away into the depths of the next breath, and she leaves a rippling wake. Her feet do not touch the bottom stones and she draws the water, a nectar for nymphs. Her eyes light in golden flame, two suns on the lake, and her skin smoothes out silver, her hands web to fins. She will not crawl wild-eyed, with her fingers in dirt, she will wait underwater for her hands to break and her wings to grow back, and then —
i’m just as proud as a new mommy
and quick with draw of the camera too . . .
forgive me if i innundate you with photos of Odin.
Right now, he is snuggling my butt, i am sitting on the front edge of my office chair and he is parked behind me. i don’t know what will happen when he becomes too big for this practice. My right hand is a bit shredded and full of miniscule scratches and bites. Odin thinks i am his litter mate and this is the hand i use to taunt him with. He also likes to pounce on my face in the morning, and push his paw into my eye to see if i am ready to rouse. Wicked little thing . . .
Pixel, my other Bengal spent the last week looking out the front door, waiting for Miles to return, howling a little sad song he reserves for the departing of one of us – Brooks or i on the way out for the day. Pixel still comes to bed quite late, but he is adjusting.
Odin has tried to nurse Pixel (who is a BOY cat) and Pixel has tried to drag Odin around by the scruff as if it were his own. It’s really great to see the cats getting along, and i love waking up with them all piled together and sleeping on me.
speaking of – i am sleeping better, dreaming more, and finally eating.
the sky looks strange today . . . it has been warm the last week, unseasonable for November. but today has the look of winter: lemon yellow & pale grey skies. i bought an overabundance of soup, bread, butter and tea at the grocery store yesterday.
i think i will start hibernating . . . i have plenty of furry snuggle buddies.
Miles, my beloved cat, was struck and killed by a car on a warm Friday evening. He was a snow-spotted Bengal, a mix of an Asian Leopard and domestic short-haired Egyptian Mau. Miles was an incredibly soft, most beautiful and unusual cat who insisted on going outside – there was no keeping him in . . . or lots of howling would ensue. He was most happy frolicking through the woods and returning home to sleep next to my belly, nap on my desk as i worked in the day time, and generally, bring me great joy and laughter with his wonderful personality and affection. He always came when I called him; he even said his own name. “Miles!” i would call, high-pitched so it sounded like “mile” and he would call back “reee-err ” in a tone that sounded precisely the way i did. He kept calling all the way up as he trotted closer to home.
Miles was named for a character (Miles Naismith Vorkosigan) a character from science-fiction writer, Lois McMaster Bujold. Like the character, my Miles was smallish but hyperactive and brilliant. A funny, feisty, handsome little hellraiser.
Miles was my 2002 New Year’s Day Present to myself. i made a lot of money the night before and it was going towards this new little friend i desperately needed, as i lived mostly alone and missed my other cat, Pixel. I had picked Miles out from a litter of all females who were gold-spotted before he was old enough to be separated from his mother. Miles was the only white kitten in the litter and he seemed shy at first, a little skittish and ghostly. When i brought him home with me on the 20th of January, he hid under the bed for a few days and eventually came around. Once he did, he had a magnificent personality, became very social and very sweet.
Miles traveled extremely well. He was a fantastic co-pilot, sleeping in my lap when we went for car rides or on the passenger seat when he became too large for my lap. People would smile and wave at him when he looked out the window and drive-thru service was always entertained by the calm cat in the seat where a person should be.
When *OmarcyMe and i lived together, her cat Azul and Miles were fast friends. They played together, ate together, slept together and grew very close. Once i took Miles to see Brooks and Pixel for the week and Azul was so distraught and angry he peed all over my mattress. As soon as Miles returned – the urination problem stopped. Miles went through his heat cycle before he got fixed while we lived there and you wouldn’t believe the racket such a small cat could make. He was always incredibly vocal.
Miles always made the funniest noises as a kitten. He had a terrific vocabulary and you often knew what he was doing or what he wanted when he said things. He would eat his food and be so pleased he would talk with his mouth full. Rowr rowr rowr! Mew mew rowr! Once i picked him up when he was eating and he made this growling sound and so I whispered “growl growl growl” in his ear. From then on when anyone picked him up and asked him to growl or if he was actually content, he would make that noise. He meant nothing mean by it at all. Once i accidentally stepped on him, and instead of hissing or yelping, he made this little spitting, explosive sound that sounded part stunted meow, part like someone throwing a water balloon against the wall. SPRAK! Sprak, (pronounced ‘rack’ with an ‘sp’) became the word for Miles’ irritation. As in: “Where’s Miles?” “Oh – he’s out in the living room spraking around.”
Miles was a very tactile kitty and we had many names for all the games we played. He liked to be held like a baby and have the top of his head scratched in such a way that my fingers were like a little rake against his head. We called it “brain tickle.” We played a game where i’d point at him and he’d come up and rub his nose against my finger. This was called “noser noser noser.” When he’d rub against me i’d call him Mr. Nice and say “mmmmmmm.” * OmarcyMe taught him to crawl under the covers and get warm and snuggle in. Miles still nudged me in the morning, even after *OmarcyMe and i no longer lived together. i would lift the blankets up like a tent, tell him to “get into the cave” and he would crawl in and turn around, becoming a “purr-monster.”
Miles went by a few names of endearment: Mile, Mr. Miles, Tiny, Tiny Stench, Mr. Stink, Baby Kitty, Kittyhead, and he answered to all of them. i am deeply saddened that i will not be able to call out any of those names and have my dear cat answer.
When Brooks and i settled in for the night, Pixel always lay at his feet and Miles at mine. i will miss that little bit of habit and synchronicity, as i will miss seeing Miles’ little head show up late at night meowing silently at me from the outside of our front door glass, waiting to be let in. i will miss my little study buddy perched atop my office desk at home on a little grey blanket, covered in shimmery white fur; a place i had to create, moving two printers apart so he had somewhere to sleep and be near me. This was called “the spot,” and when Miles sat directly in front of the monitor, i would tell him, “get in your spot, Miles,” and he would jump up and lay down there, his tail hanging over the side sometimes. He would crawl up the wooden staircase to our loft and sit on the door ledge just over my closet, nearest to my side of the bed, looking over me as i fell asleep or was just waking up, high up surveying the area and me looking at his little silhouette. i will miss that small, pale silhouette.
i am thankful that Brooks’ brother, Jesse found Miles. He was just up the road from our mailbox, looking like he was heading to run out into the field to play. It would break my heart to NOT know where my cat was; hurt, stolen, suffering, lost, never to be recovered and having to bear that uncertain pain every day. Miles didn’t even look scathed: nothing broken, nothing inside turned outside, just his mouth, a little blood. Smaller, colder, heavier somehow. He must’ve been dashed, almost missed, hit his head and suffered little, which i can also be grateful for.
i spent some time holding Miles, smelling the top of his sweet head, stroking his small, golden nose and pink ears before i chose a place for him. Miles was gently wrapped in silver velveteen, shimmering and soft as he was, and as a final labor of love, we dug a large deep place for him near the house where i can look over the deck and see where he is. i chose a medium size triangular stone – heart-shaped, like his face as a grave marker.
The loss of a pet is so immediate and sharp. i wanted Miles to grow old and silly and crotchety with me some, but it seems our time was deemed so very short, cut off really, nearly three years. Was that time purposeful? Was this some horrible accident that could’ve been avoided? Could i have kept him in and not let him slide out the door past me with my arms full, stop and collect him, put him back inside? Would he have missed that passing car? Would time and fate have allowed him to come home again? This is where we are now in the awful, hurtful, surreal, unfair real, and i cannot torture myself with the what-ifs and could’ve beens and all the alternate endings. He was taken from me by some terrible, stupid accident that i could not have foreseen or prevented. At first i thought the world has something to punish me with, what have i done, what lesson am i supposed to be learning? But i know the world doesn’t quite work that way. i was just as blindsided by his death as i’m certain he was.
Miles followed me, trusted me, loved me, and i would’ve done anything to protect, love and endear myself to that darling animal. He was adored and cared for, more than some other creatures who get destroyed will ever know and i must take those thoughts to my heart as solace. This kind of loss serves to remind us all how important it is to love all the people and creatures close to us. To keep your anger, fear and argument to a minimum so that you can appreciate the joy that is brought by caring for some small thing unconditionally who returns your love in its own measure.
i have been wrecked for days now. My eyes swollen, my body tense and aching. Sleeping in excess and eating in small amounts. Writing this has made me think on things that were/are beautiful about coming to know such a unique creature. i feel the absolute need to reflect, to acknowledge all those memories and to share them in pictures and words so i can remember Miles in the best way i know how. As family, as companion, and as best friend.
i appreciate those of you who take the time to read this, who have pets that are dear to you, who know and understand through my photos how very deeply i feel for all things small and sentient and who take these reflections to your own place and remember above all – it is vitally important to love and be loved in return, at all costs.
For even as i am cleaved open, with this deep wound, i become ready to receive and to love again.