THIRTEEN BLACK CATS PERFECTLY SKINNED
Thirteen black cats perfectly skinned
like plastic, multi-layered illustrations
in a Gray’s Anatomy for cats, as if
some surgeon playing Zorro
denuded them with a scalpel,
laid them open to the cold cold sky
like packaged chicken in a butcher-shop.
Back home from a month of reading on the road,
back to my own homely sacred grove,
living space enough to perch a Boeing 767 on a branch
I recognize as my favourite place to land
and stop plunging into beercaps
of phosphorescent red algae
from thirty five thousand feet
as if Toronto were some kind of illuminated cold sore.
No more sliding across city nightscape highways
like a stone in curling
or a ouija board
as if they had no say in where anyone’s going
just one rung of being above them,
one by wheel,
and one by wing.
Thirteen haemorrhaging roses,
thirteen snow cones of cat blood
all along the walkway up to the threshold
of my eery, empty farm house still in a state of shock.
Thirteen eclipses sliced open like the false dawns
of witchy loveletters
that still leave you guessing at the end
why anyone would commit suicide in front of a mirror.
Thirteen new moons, thirteen lunar months of the year
struck from the Julian calendar.
These had swirled among my legs like smoke,
jumped into my lap when they sensed
I was sad about something,
put their paws on my eyelids,
touched my nose and my heart
with a wet dab of theirs
like a tiny valentine with cool nostrils,
reminded me how to relax with perfect alertness,
The Charlie Manson of the woods
trying to start a race war
between thirteen black cats and the snow.
I imagine the horror they must have endured
waiting every night for it to return
like Dr. Mengele to carry on with his experiment,
helpless as the amputated lullabies
of bright Jewish children in Auschwitz
longing for their dead mothers
to help them understand this.
A malevolence lurks in the air
colder than ice can burn
and what was warm and welcoming about life
has flamed out like thirteen black fire pits
in an albino zodiac of ice-floes at a seal hunt.
Not rage. Not grief. They’ll come later.
But pain bared like the fangs of crescent moons
behind an assassin’s cloak
that conceals the flesh piercing steel
I want to feel slowly penetrate a fisher’s throat
like a karmic trapline with a king cobra for bait.
Fuck my love of nature.
This part I hate.
These cliches of anti-poetry
that sink their talons into the hearts of baby lambs
just because they can.
This hour when life knocks the laurels off your head
and puts a wreath of thorns and nettles there instead.
And your blood freezes deliberately
like a sunami of glaciers in a nuclear ice age
or the red thread of a thermometer
withdrawing into itself like a syringe
to prepare a hot fix like a morphine drip
to shoot into the incredulous eyes of those
who like to descecrate lullabies
as I recite I wish I may, I wish I might
with a snakey grin on my face
as they die like snowflakes on a furnace.
Nature red in tooth and claw.
Kill the fisher. Make it suffer as these did.
How can this law
be any less natural than rabies?
All this tenderness squandered
by the bloodlust of a predatory serial killer
who came at my cats
like Robert Willie Picton on a pig farm
desecrated forty nine Vancouver junkies and prostitutes
before he got sloppy
and missed out on making it an even fifty.
Time to add him to the mix of hog swill.
Time to martyr Lucifer at his own black mass.
Shotguns, toxins, leg-hold traps.
I want to see this fisher
eat its hind legs off to get out of
the Saw movie I’m beginning to cast
like a feeding frenzy among great white sharks
or the snakepit of a mammal’s worst nightmare.
Thirteen black cats.
Thirteen bullet holes in a mail box of snow.
Thirteen black holes in my zodiac
where some astrophobic maniac
just shot the stars out of my heart.
I shall better the nature of this fisher
by turning into a wolverine
with a progressive liberal education
I just dropped out of like a stealth fighter off the grid.
I will fold the poetic octavo of my will
into a Zen edge of samurai steel
and remember everything my master said
about detaching my feelings
from any thought of winning or losing
when I tear this fisher’s lungs out
like the blood eagle of a Viking bodhisattva
who met this pathological Buddha,
this anti-muse of dark energy in the road
and killed him like an enlightened hit man
whose thoughts cast no shadows upon the earth
when the sun shines at midnight
in the nadirs of paradise.