Cat real estate

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Upon returning home from an extended business trip, Mr. Kang discovered his wife had transformed into a Grey Tabby and had started a business managing cat real estate with a Chocolate Point Siamese.

His wife informed Mr. Kang that while she still loved him, she had found her true calling as a cat real estate agent. For reasons she found difficult to explain to her husband – a non-cat – cat business was performed subterraneously.

In an attempt to win him round to the idea of her new lifestyle, she invited him underground to visit her workplace. Mr. Kang was dismayed to find it quite cramped and dark in her new office deep beneath their house… although he was pleased she had decided to work near home.

The whole place stunk of piss, but he noted that it was very well decorated. His wife introduced him to her business partner. He seemed a nice fellow – pleasant and elegant – although too preoccupied with the layout of their latest promotional brochure to talk much.

Mr. Kang felt torn – though not at all happy with the idea of spending much of his time underground with cats, he was bursting with pride at his wife’s sense of initiative. He patted her head tenderly as she looked up at him purring with encouragement.

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Return me

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Return me

to the yawns of slumbering pets
to purrs stretched endless across my neck
Now echoes only—in groans of dinner bloat
the squeaks of gasses escaping middle-age
in wheezing bedrooms, in pulmonary strain

Return me

to nights anticipated
to shapes and sounds uncovered every morning
Now known in the grinding turn of the ignition
the route to work, the blare of horns
the dread of knowing, in futures unarrived

Return me

to a father strong and sure
to a mother convinced of a child’s genius
Now wavering, now frail—peering at the edges
searching shadows at the feet of most brilliant fictions
dumbstruck by their family resemblance to fact

(Echo) Chamber Music

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You’re preaching to the choir, but

the tenor’s voice broke some time ago, in June of ‘97,
when the dihydro test came crashing in
—since then all he wants to do is find new ways to fuck.

You’re preaching to the choir, but

the soprano joined a screamo band together with the bass,
who left her for a grindcore act called desiccated face
—she felt so bad she just gave the music up.

You’re preaching to the choir, but

the two best tenors turned out queer
—they’ve been trying for an in-vitro kid all year…
and no one from the church have wished them any luck.

You’re preaching to the choir, but

the lead OD-ed on some dirty, home-bake smack
—his girl insists he’d still be OK if he’d stuck to crack.
She says it was an accident, but perhaps he’d just heard enough.

You’re preaching to the choir, but

the hymns we all once sung out loud
have been echoing round and round
—the sounds make very little sense, and the melodies all suck!

What time is wasted?

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There are no oceans on the moon—
that’s why I want to swim in them.
Listening to a dead man’s voice,
willing to believe his lies.

We are never where we think we are.
I am eight years old…
sand in my teeth…
I hear laughing.

Imaginary gravity

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on this rock
round this star
through space and time
I pretend to orbit you—
another hurtling speck

Here

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we have been down every corridor
each door we open
holds a different scene

but we have been
through it

we search for an exit
from this maze
a door to some new place

but it is endless
here

Declension of pain

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He is in love with someone’s eye.
She is in love with a prosthetic history.

He is in love with places he hasn’t visited.
She is love with feelings she hasn’t experienced.

They are in love with someone else’s loves.

I am in love with your sensibilities.
You are in love with a curator.

We are in love with something to be deleted.

Dream woman

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A woman floats through a dream.
In your dream, she dreams of you—
in hers, another floats dreaming through.

No more luck

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Another mirror in a thousand pieces—
sweep the floor clean,
leave the wall bare.

IVF

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four tiny footprints
red down white bedsheets
another child has escaped us

Another river

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The moon does not cast our shadows
into the water. The pebbles do not watch
our shadows drift over as we leave them.
That river has been dry for years.

Sometimes I’m still scared

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I might go blind
if I look at you too long.
It’s like I’m holding audience
with the most holy thing
my godless brain can invent:
you emit this religious kind of light
that touches me in the same way
the sun touches plants.

If Jesus himself busted in on this poem,
in an explosion of sunbeams,
rainbows, and neon angels,
I’d probably just glance over
at that whole dull scene,
put on some dark sunglasses,
apply some SPF 50,
and then turn straight back to you.

Taupiri’s warning

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The light abandons us
to another night.
Tree tips become membranes:
Sky and Earth share skin.
Ink mists gather:
blue blood bleeding
into black horizons.
We fold senseless
into it all:
a boundless origami
of forest and river,
their creatures and their filth.
Hills and mountains rise:
Igneous whales
from lava oceans beneath.
Up turns down,
and inside, out.
Another cataclsym:
the void reclaims us.
Do what you can now:
The light will not return.

A babe in the woods

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wandering down Ponsonby
in a brand new tracksuit
purchased by Lord knows who
parents long gone
not looking competent enough
to have ever bred
looking 75+
rolled into 60 years
of hard living and
with 10 more lost
to the lithium and
clozapine

he passes us by
sipping on our flat whites

I tell Heaven he looks naked
with his arms clutched
to his chest
like a bird yet to grow feathers
fallen from its nest—
with that wide-eyed,
glazed-over gaze lolling
back, twisted over his shoulder–

a babe in the woods

Heaven says he grins cheekily
at her sometimes
like he remembers
being young for a second
like she’s someone
he was competent with once…
and then he’s lost again

he’s lost a lot of weight
Heaven says he’s looking good,
well, as good as he’s ever looked
in a long while, and
I want to believe
something’s changed for the better
but all things considered
it’s probably cancer…
all he can do is wander

he wanders across the road
looking back twisted,
over his shoulder—
the wrong way—
and a truck swerves
he tugs at his pants
so loose now,
he tugs at all the lost weight

no matter how hard
we work at it
how competent we grow
no matter how many friends we win
how many people we influence
it breaks my heart
to see him every time

he reminds me of us

we all enter
and leave this world
naked
helpless as birds
yet to grow feathers