The Street Is Silent

The street is silent.
I hear the walking cat.
I cannot say anything true.
I do not hear the cat.
There is no cat.

Samuel the black cat pushes
the wooden door against my back
and speaks to me. He jumps
out the window
and
looks back
from the sill.
Peter's cat Sam 1998

A psychiatrist wrote to me that
he has read The Chapel fifty times
(50 times!) and does not understand it.

Sam looks down at the cat in the street.
Ghost cat

I read The Chapel fewer than fifty times
before it and I came to an understanding
hanging against each other
like mad men embracing
in the lull between rages
amazed at our remaining strength.

The street is silent and floodlit
bright as daytime Monnickendam.
I turn the light on, to write in one
of the many rooms in Peter’s mansion.
I turn it off, to read, sitting on a towel
padding moon dust on the stone-tile floor.

From the dark side of the glory olding house
we looked at the waxing hard-gloss moon
through 12 and 20 millimetre lenses,
the telescope’s motor adjusting
for the earth’s rotation,
our continuous flight!

Samuel looks
back in,
jumps
from
the sill
into
the room.
He speaks to me, eyes large
compared to how they slit those second days,
the real days, hot days when the sun
strikes out the words night makes me write.
Half-there cat

Not all the gods of Polop have been Greek
and up the hill from Samuel and me
the stations of the cross seem empty at this hour
where what traffic persists
is hard to see and hear.

I wrote today of goats and sheep
but there were only goats
in the almond orchard
below
the balcony
from which
we mortals
and the cats
had watched the moon.

The sheep were falsely added and I failed.
Adjectives were superfluous.

I sleep better than I have for a year,
yawning from the altitude
while lying on the beach,
bursting with energy climbing
the stations of the cross
admiring the half remembered peach
of T. Eliot
and the driving sweet timbered saxophone
of A. Ellis,
the base of Dwayne Dolphin,
the drums of Brian Cox.

The wetlands round Valencia are being developed
but I wrote in sunlight about the rumoured truths
of Dade County Commissioner corruption
yet still there are no sheep here, only goats.

A breeze comes down and carries me to bed.
The sleeping hand and the beautiful arm,
they embrace me
and sleep comes down to kiss me,
pass me by.

The street and I are light,
and lighted, empty
beneath the dark-frame skies.
The street and I are empty,
full of past and future.
I see stars.

My head is full of stories
but only words come out.

Some say that Sam’s an evil cat,
the light in his eyes
not being
that of Mercy.
Evil Cat
I have said that Sam is an evil cat.
He says I am calling the kettle black.

Sam and I move to live in a bumblebee,
wanting to fly without that appearing possible.

I walk among my almond trees.
I belong to these trees and they
to the earth that claims me.

I pick up fallen twigs and sticks
— always sticks among these almond trees.
I break the sticks separately across my knee,
standing on one foot and seeing the valley.

I carry the sticks and twigs by
handfuls to a corner of the fields.
Adjectives desert me;
‘orchard’ is too grand, too closed.

‘Field’ overreaches.

I carry the sticks and twigs
to where I drop them.
I will burn them here.
There is no need for tools
and handfuls are enough.
There is much to see among
almonds, and always sticks.

The wasp cuts the bee’s body
from its head.
The wasp eats all of the bee
except
its eyes, one wing, and a knee.
Sam and I are not home
and thus unharmed.

The daytime sounds come up the hill
past the goats I abandoned for terraces.

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