Wednesday, April 15, 2009

13 Ways of Looking at a Cat

Wonderful PAD prompt today!!! Take the title of a famous poem, alter it in some way, and then write your own. You don't have to follow the form of the original, but I chose to. This was actually a lot of fun, and the responses today are really good.

13 Ways of Looking at a Cat
(after Wallace Stevens' "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" with my apologies)

Throughout my entire apartment
the only moving thing
is the tan striped tail twitching.

I am of three minds,
like the cat
who can not decide which bird to chase.

The cat dances in the window at night.
She is a small part of the ballet.

A woman and a woman
are one.
A woman and a woman and a cat
are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
the beauty of accomplishment
or the beauty of anticipation,
the cat purring
or just before.

Raindrops streak the wide window
with sad saltless tears.
The shadow of the cat
crosses it, back and forth.
The desire
traced behind the blinds
an unfillable need.

O thin women of this city,
why do you imagine small dogs?
Do you not see how the cat
rubs against the legs
and nestles in the laps
of those you desire?

I know secret languages
and liquid, indescribable rhythms,
but I know too
that the cat in not involved
in what I know.

When the cat darted behind your couch
she marked the end
of one of many relationships.

At the sight of a cat
sleeping in a patch of sunlight,
even the most industrious
would wish to nap beside her.

You walked from downtown
in an old pair of flip flops.
Once, a dog followed you,
thinking the squeak
of your sandals
was the mewing of a kitten.

The curtains are moving.
The cat must be playing.

It was morning all day.
It was raining
and it was going to rain.
The cat lay curled
on top of my pillow.

And if you need a refresher on the original, it's here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hey emily,

didn't quite know how to get in touch with you. i just got into and accepted an offer to penn state for the mfa in poetry. i remembered you posting on seth's blog and figured i'd try contacting you. i've somehow avoided getting spammed thus far, so i won't put my e-mail here, but if you go to ecphrastic dot com (a website i made for work a few months ago) and click on contact us, it'll go to me and then we could e-mail like normal--if you'd like.