Winter 2000

Doug Tanoury
Lenny DellaRocca
J Andrew Clark
Janet Buck
Bill the Cat
Lawrence Norton
Bill Koeb

George Pratt
Aidan Butler
Steve Mullett
Alex Ward
Allison Landa
Colin Campbell

· SWAG ·
Contributor Notes


C A T   P O E M   T I M E

Bill the Cat

Cat Poem Time!!!

   Bill's heart goes "pitter-patter"; it's runnin outta steam; his friends say, "What's the matter?"; he smiles like in a dream. His dad asks, "Why're ya scrawny? I send you cash for food!"; the Cat was never brawny, so the question's kinda rude. Cop cars like ta trail him like he's in their supervision; Bill lights another Salem and condemns the world's suspicion.


   Bill's body is rebellin' after decades of abuse; sometimes he hears it yellin, but he thinks up some excuse. His backbone's gettin rubbery, his blood has turned ta tar; his hair resembles shrubbery, his limbs corroded bars. His stomach has a glarin dent, his brain is slightly burned; life's a big experiment as far as Bill's concerned.


   A dozen different donut stores abound on Milpas Street; one o them had open doors, so Bill went in ta eat. He felt like he'd been cheaten when he counted out the money, and after Bill had eaten, he was feelin kinda funny. His stomach felt like molten wax, his mouth was tastin grimy; his palms were fulla little cracks, his seat was gettin slimy. His skin was flecked with bubblin sores, it looked like orange rind; yellow clouds o mushroom spores were settlin in Bill's mind.

   Starin at the ceilin, Bill knows that somethins wrong; he can't suppress the feelin he's a cat who don't belong. His brain's a tape-recorder, with heads that need degaussin; he's a Washington reporter, in a taxi-cab to Austin. He takes a final swill, then he sets off for the border; there's no room for Bill within the New World Order.

   Bill dreamt he was appointed to Clinton's Chief or Staff. The news was kinda pointed; Bill puked in his carafe. Since he awoke Bill's had the sense that he was in for trouble; perhaps he'd have an accident, and end up under rubble. Was his intuition true, or was he paranoid? Maybe he should quaff a brew and check out Sigmund Freud.

   Headin for the place with the earth that never shows, Bill makes a funny face, then he starts ta decompose. He melts into the soil, just like insects in his beer; such tasks might make you toil, but it's best ta persevere. At last he hits the wire, with limbs reduced ta rubber; he conjures up a fire from the mushy fuel of blubber.


   Bill goes out apparelled in a scrungy-lookin vest; the bottom o the barrel is the place he knows the best. He sold his stupid clothing for a taste o something kind; now he's left ta roving, like a schizophrenic mind. His pace is macaroni; his posture, trampled fern; with fingers cracked and bony, he probes each coin return.

   Slumpin on the stairs like a squishy old potato, Bill recites his prayers like a kid who's lost his Play-dough. Why can't he escape the fact he's soon ta be evicted, force his way into a crack, and dissipate as liquid? Pine trees ooze their sap at him, but there's no Belladonna; Bill collectors snap at him like schools o red piranha.


Spft. Tpft. Phbt. Ack.

   Bill hooks up the telephone ta exercise his voice; he don't like ta gripe an moan but now he's got no choice. His brittle limbs are bendin, an his spine's a knotted coil; his pains are never-endin (in a sense, that makes em loyal). His liver's fucked by whisky an his windpipe fried by crack; things are gettin risky, should he oughtta switch ta smACK!

   Feelin cramped inside his box, Bill yearns ta see the day; but somehow, when he dons his socks, he doesn't feel okay. Physically, he's sterilized (a state he don't adore); hunger leaves him paralyzed, so he can't reach the door. Bill belongs on lower State with all the homeless folk; life's a rink that's hard ta skate, especially when you're broke.


   Feelin like a sinner who's about ta meet salvation, Bill uncorks a winner: it's his daily herbal ration. The scent o burnin Catnip stick is sure ta earn applause; Bill prepares em good an thick with happy tremblin paws. Merry as the yellow slug who wriggles through your soil, Bill ingests his favorite drug until he's feelin royal.

   Bill was gettin antsy as he felt a funny breeze; curtains started dancing an he wished he had his keys. Where's he gonna wander with his limbs o fossil wood? What's he gonna ponder when his thoughts don't feel so good? His catnipped lungs are fightin like he's drownin in the sea; why does Bill get frightened when there's nothin he can see?


   Bill's a dented bucket on a shelf reserved for junk; his attitude is "fuck it" and his hopes have long since sunk. He's just like the minin pan who's never tasted gold; life has delt him out a hand that makes him wanna fold. Existence is a tire that's been punctured by a knife; death's the only buyer in this junk shop they call life.

   Bill don't have the will or drive ta raise himself from bed; he just sits there paralyzed, pretendin to be dead. He's an engine with no spark, who's soaked up all its oil; he's a tree who's shed its bark ta languish in the soil. His brain's disintegratin, an his life's a total mess; he's make a deal with Satan if he knew the guy's address.

   A victim of misfortune, Bill was panicky, distraught; his temperature was scorchin, so he poured another shot. Vodka is his favorite, cause it never makes him sick; he knows just how ta savor it: just freeze until it's thick. After six or seven, Bill's concerns begin ta melt; liquor's liquid heaven when it makes its presence felt.

   Suddenly, it dawned on Bill he's livin in a trap; the tunnels of his termite hill seem too complex ta map. His ceilin's green an spongy an his doors are fetid mud; his carpet's spawnin fungi an his walls are oozin blood. Grapplin with a cravin that no danger could dispell, Bill's hopin for a haven like a refugee from Hell.


   Lost in endless forest with a warped an ragged tent, Bill's body's at its sorest an his primal drive is spent. Rabid wolves are prowlin, sendin shivers with their cries; Bill just sits there scowlin while his only candle dies. Ears are fulla thunder while the earth is gettin damp; let their be no wonder: life is not a happy camp.

   Women hoist their babies at the Santa Barbara zoo, but Bill just carries scabies, and a minor case o' flu. The reptile room's a minor thrill; the seals were fast at play; yet everybody stared at Bill, like he was on display. The place is hardly borin, yet it's less than a delight; perhaps the lion's snorin got this Cat a bit uptight.

   Bill goes out on late-night trips when he's enjoyed some pot; once, while munchin licorice whips, he found a vacant lot. The empty space was like a life suspended in a coma; one day it might be a fief to some uncertain soma. Bill once had a field o wheat but every strand's now brittle; every thought is incomplete and life's an endless riddle.

   With whiskers plastered down, as if ta show defeat, Bill's lookin like the clown that no kid would wanna meet. Appearin pretty beaten, like an over-trampled rug, Bill yearns ta do some eatin, but his cash was food for drugs. What's he gonna eat, how's he gonna be enrichened? Bill can take the heat, but it don't come from his kitchen.

   Bill teetered on the brink; all he knew was pain. He ambled to the sink ta tell his story to the drain. His heaves were hard but dry; he couldn't be relieved; he only wished ta die until his health could be retrieved. Lackin any pill ta bring his achin body bliss, Bill had himself a swill, in hopes his flu would soon desist.

   Bill's hands resume their shakin when they haven't touched a glass; he's fried like piles o bacon in a bloody, knotted mass. His heart begins ta struggle while his blood proceeds ta clot; his brain begins ta bubble with the fat o used-up thought. When Catnip's outta reach he needs another sort o ration; Bill's agein like a Nietzsche an he's outta medication.

   Bill collapses on the bed an vainly hopes for sleep; roaches crawl inside his head while fleas begin ta leap. The darkness brings the squeakin of a thousand ugly bats; in dreams Bill's slowly eaten by a starvin mass o rats. Monstrous vermin creep around like words across a page; Bill the Cat's the keeper of this zoo that has no cage.

   Bill's an overgrowin vine of interactin cravins; Catnip, nicotine, an wine have left the Cat enslavened. Like a mom with lotsa kids who tries ta feed em squarely, all day he's acceptin bids so he can treat em fairly. Catnip's gonna be a cop, an Cigs a college teacher; Liquor's gonna reach the top an be a TV preacher.

   Stranded by his rocket on a moon unfit for rock, Bill resorts ta walkin, with the rhythm of a clock. Endless craters fill his view, while asteroids explode; strugglin like a fly in glue, the Cat seeks any road. Frightenin surprises leap at Bill from every tier; then he realizes, this whole world has lost its sphere.


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