Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Several blocks away in a shuttered cape there lives a nice plump and friendly cat who enjoys sitting on his street corner. As neighbors stroll, which some do while others hurry off to barter crescent wrench sets containing missing 10mm counterparts for moth eaten Indian Motorcycle sew-on patches, the cat watches on. Slower travelers are approached for a pet, and many who notice the lovely feline’s coat and kind demeanor decide that he would make a fine companion. Removing his collar they take him back to their dwellings, whatever that may mean. When struck by the notion the cat returns home unfazed, and no party shows any wear and tear from the process but the tattered Missing Cat signs which are repeatedly hung. When I pass the corner with that missing cat I note his absence sometimes with the same sort of attention I might pay to pinto beans on sale two for a dollar. Stroking his fur right where he belongs I still think of him as missing.


In the fashion of traditional Southern cities this one also was designed to have alleys running between the lots with houses that sail neatly pointed through manicured lawns. These back avenues offer a secondary view of the workings which power the neighborhood. There, a crying child may be explained the next morning by a new white sofa with a large chocolate milk stain on it left out for trash. Beer bottles whisper tales of unseen homeless and local teenagers, trash that mingles in a temporarily ominous way. Kitchen smells and Tungsten shadows sneak over the sandworn brick in early evening as bougainvillea toss their violet capes like matadors braving garage doors.
Diagonally against the sky a rare temperate oak stands with sturdy arm quietly braced against muted watermark pastels. And from that gesticulation comes swooping death between in-law apartments to tiny peeping birds bent toward seed and insect beside a gurgling fountain.

I arrive home from work to find my neighbor shouting into his cell phone and wonder if someone somewhere is listening to his counterpart on her patio replete with hawk and tiger cat and bougainvillea conquistadors.

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