If my slumlord allowed pets- Amber Atiya

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Second from right. Photo at http://amberatiya.tumblr.com

 

if my slumlord allowed pets

i’d adopt every
after hour paw
mauled in battle

trimmed with scabs
toppling trash
for fries & wing tips

fur splattered
with egg foo young

these streets
weren’t paved
for tenderness

a tabby’s pregnant belly
low-hanging
as a rain cloud

a swollen nimbus
grazing the ground

by Amber Atiya
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‪#‎BlackVoicesMatter‬
‪#‎BlackPoetsFTW‬
‪#‎GeniusBlackAmerica‬

http://www.poetshouse.org/programs-and-events/workshops-classes-residencies/emerging-poets-residency/amber-atiya

Amber Atiya, a queer poet and native Brooklynite, has performed at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Theater for the New City, Westbeth Center for the Arts, and many elsewheres. Her poems have been published in Tribes MagazineDrunken Boat, and Coloring Book, an anthology of multicultural writers. She is a member of a women’s writing group, with whom she’s been writing for ten years and counting.

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Charles Bukowski on a white cross-eyed tailless cat

The History Of One Tough Motherfucker. When poetry is just the best thing ever… The final word on cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cats. The only words probably because most people would not write about cats that have come back from the dead. I should take a look before I state that so positively of course: for all I know there is a cannon of poetry on this range of cats.

By Charles Bukowski

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
terrorized
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over

I took what was left to a vet who said,”not much
chance…give him these pills…his backbone
is crushed, but is was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he’ll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he’s been shot, look here, the pellets
are still there…also, he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off…”

I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn’t eat, he
wouldn’t touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn’t go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn’t work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat-I’d had it bad, not that
bad but bad enough

one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.
“you can make it,” I said to him.
he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn’t want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.

you know the rest: now he’s better than ever, cross-eyed
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left…
and now sometimes I’m interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,”look, look
at this!”
but they don’t understand, they say something like,”you
say you’ve been influenced by Celine?”
“no,” I hold the cat up,”by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this!”
I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he’s relaxed he knows…
it’s then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.
he too knows it’s bullshit but that somehow it all helps.