In my lifetime, though you might not guess it to observe me now, I have had many friends, and many types of friends. And during my life, I have also known and loved many a cat friend, both my own and other people’s. So how does it come about only now that I finally happen across this excellent collection of “poems by cats” (sic), and am able to convey my heartfelt appreciation for such a fine and noble effort of “editing” as Francesco Marciuliano has done with the work of his feline artists? The fact of the matter is, that no one else has thought to seek out the works of cats before now (the small, conveniently gift-packaged size volume only came out in 2012). Up until now, they have been reduced to the meow, the miaow, the mew, the–but complete the list in your own favorite world language: the fact of the matter is that they have been short-changed as to their place in the world’s pantheon of poets. As the flyleaf of the book points out, “All cats are artists, as demonstrated by their abstract hairballs, expertly stripped curtains, and the precise way they arrange themselves on top of your pile of freshly cleaned clothes.” There is a pdf of the book on Scribd, and I understand from at least one link that the book started as an online venture, and then grew to a full-scale published book, and now there is a second volume out, which I have not yet had the chance to peruse.
In this book, you will find the true meaning of many a thing your cat does and says to you, little though you have previously understood it. There are even photographs of cats in the brief volume, just to prove that this effort met with their cautious approval (I say cautious, because caution is evident any time a cat chooses to try to communicate with us; he or she is clearly taking a risk with an obtuse listener, the human, who only thinks of owning him or her and doesn’t properly understand the true ownership equation).
This excerpt from the book (the title poem) is published on the Internet on the advertising site: “Her new sweater doesn’t smell of me/I could pee on that/She’s gone out for the day and left her laptop on the counter/I could pee on that/Her new boyfriend just pushed my head away/I could pee on him/She’s ignoring me ignoring her/ I could pee everywhere/She’s making up for it by putting me on her lap/I could pee on this/I could pee on this”
Or, the more action-packed poem for those who like to hover uncomfortably at the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next: “Nudge/Nudge nudge nudge/Nudge nudge nudge nudge nudge nudge/Nudge/Your glass just shattered on the floor”
Then again, perhaps a “dawn song” (a medieval form of poetry between two intimates) is more to your taste: “I lick your nose/I lick your nose again/I drag my claws down your eyelids/Oh, you’re up? Feed me”
There are other even more ingenious and humorous and heartfelt poems in the volume, but I can’t print them here because they haven’t yet been featured on a totally free site on the Internet, and I not only want to abide by copyright conventions, but also wish to pay proper tribute to this wonderful success at meeting a real need by encouraging you to buy the book, out at Amazon.com and other sites, and in fine bookstores everywhere, for only $12.95 (for all I know, Amazon.com has some used copies for even less, though you would probably not buy those for a gift, but for your own bookshelf). So, what do you say? How about a gift package for the next important occasion in a fellow cat lover’s life? A small basket, a cushion, a few tins of pricey cat food or some expensive cat treats, and this book–even if you yourself are only a cat tolerator, surely you can rise above your odd prejudices and buy this book for a friend. As the book blurb explains, “You’ll discover why cats do things like sit on your face before the sun comes up, help clean your bedside table with their tail, or confirm that there really are one thousand sheets in a toilet paper roll.” And for this voyage of knowledge and discovery, you have only to visit online or in person at a bookseller’s. Can anything be easier or more desirable than that? Look deeply into the next set of bright cat eyes you happen to meet, and realize that they are only waiting for you to meet them halfway–and then the other half. Well, what did you expect? Ancient royalty and modern artistic genius have their privileges.
2 responses to ““My trade and my art is living” (Montaigne)–or, Francesco Marciuliano’s “I Could Pee on This (And Other Poems By Cats)””
Marvellous! The author was well-tuned to the plight of his feline friends =)
Can we blame the Ancient Egyptians for breeding the superiority into these animals?
Cats have more decorum than dogs, hence my vote for them. I can only hope Scottish Terriers are brilliant dogs that drag the genus’ standing to that higher plane we all strive for =)
Yes, cats have decorum down pat (even on those rare occasions when they do something silly, like lose their often vaunted balance or skid along the floor on the rug. They always have the sense to look up at what “caused” them to fall, or to glare at and sniff the rug, as if to say “What the dickens got into this contraption, anyway?”). Dogs are more of the “don’t I look stupid, don’t I look stupid, it’s okay, you can laugh at me, I’m laughing too” frame of mind. Don’t get me wrong, I love dogs too, only there’s a time and a place for every mind set, and this morning, mine happened to be on cats. Thanks for reading, DJ.