ode to a Cat

Twelve years ago, one of my high school English teachers congratulated me on graduating, and gave me a thoughtful gift that I still appreciate – poems by Neruda. Now its cover is warped and pages are faded, but I’ve nearly memorized my favorite verse from the collection:  ‘Oda al Gato’ For no reason other than cats are awesome, here’s a (translated) excerpt: “your kind need not puzzle us, surely – you, the least of the mysteries abroad in the world, known to us all, the pawn of the lowliest householder – or they think so! – for each calls himself master, proprietor, playfellow, cat’s uncle, colleague, the pupils of cats or their cronies. Not I: I reckon things otherwise. I shall never unriddle the cat. I take note of the other things: life’s archipelagoes, the sea, the incalculable city, botanical matters, the pistil, the pistil’s mutations, plus-and-minus arithmetic, volcanoes that funnel the earth the …

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Renascence

by Edna St. Vincent Millay All I could see from where I stood Was three long mountains and a wood; I turned and looked another way, And saw three islands in a bay. So with my eyes I traced the line Of the horizon, thin and fine, Straight around till I was come Back to where I’d started from; And all I saw from where I stood Was three long mountains and a wood. Over these things I could not see; These were the things that bounded me; And I could touch them with my hand, Almost, I thought, from where I stand. And all at once things seemed so small My breath came short, and scarce at all. But, sure, the sky is big, I said; Miles and miles above my head; So here upon my back I’ll lie And look my fill into the sky. And so I looked, …

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six hundred yards away from the big glass buildingwhere they write and think and talk fast about things happening in kazakhstan, oklahoma, berryville, the northern reaches of canada’s melting ice i watch this man, three floors below in a reflective neon vest run his hands through weeds, mulch, and earth, as a trailer backs into the loading dock beeping

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maybe to the cat music is like weather stacked up and placed indiscriminately in his favor or not so I reverse engineer glance at the sky in a cloud find a blue note in a shadow a drumroll

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China, Final Images (A Million Hands)

Now for a bit I’m going to put away the camera. A girl is walking past with striped yellow and green socks, up to her knees, short purple shorts, and a pink sweater over a white hooded shirt. She has a brown sac over her shoulder and her hair in pigtails with a pink clip thing shaped like a flower. Now a man slightly balding with hair combed back, in grey trousers and a blue shirt, flipping his hands as he walks. Now a Blue Mercedes Benz drives by smelling like diesel. I hear the door shut after it goes around the corner. A man is playing a wooden flute instrument, and I hear the notes and know they are the same notes of music everywhere, the tones are the same but he plays a Chinese sounding song which is very nice. Earlier a girl in a yellow shirt squatted …

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