Wednesday, January 1, 2014


On New Year's Eve,
one should never choose to be solitary--
sitting, considering old lovers,
particularly if you spoke French with her
and she told you it reminded her of home.

I have worn red shoes until it's no longer becoming.
I have swirled and spun continuously
until my body told me it was done;
until my heart riding inside my bones shouted in my ear,
saying what should have been obvious to any idiot--
Stop. She's gone. They all are.

I turned on tv, the nature channel, looking for distraction.
Perhaps some brightly colored birds,
up to their beady little eyeballs in gorgeous song.
What I got was a dust storm of dumb beef on the hoof--
a dozen cape buffalo who had a lion trapped against an embankment.
They were murdering him
despite my cries
despite my horrified tears.

Those of us who love lions
are a different breed.
In the cathedral, I spat the wafer on the floor,
wanting steak, bloody, 
and an hour in the sun.

My German-born French-raised lover
objected to the flies who constantly plague me.
She didn't like the blusher I favored
when she found out it came from the hearts of the herd;
and yet,
she climbed me as if the world were vanishing beneath her feet,
and only fucking me could bring it back.

I have resolved
never to love anyone again who works around cattle, as she did.
I keep thinking of the lion--
though it was hopeless, he was magnificent and fierce.
Though his body was being ruined, horn by horn,
he seemed, more than anything, to be insulted.

Here I am, on the floor, my cheek against the carpet.
It is New Year's Day,
the sun is coming up,
my knees ache and my right foot feels fucked
in some indeterminate, but painful, way.
All the same, you bullshit ballerinas better step aside.

Come sit by me, Ghost of the Offended Big Cat.
I'll get to my feet and hide my own injuries if you'll do the same,
and the big bright thing will have to rise across our turf and tremble
if it wants to keep its date with the sky.

for Kerry's challenge at Real Toads

if anyone knows who should be credited with the image at top, please let me know.


Marcoantonio Arellano said...

this was a nice distraction from the solitary confinement I find myself in this day just like every other day.

you tell a good story my friend

hope the stories in your head keep you company when you feel alone. many do during the man made designated 'holidays'.

Anonymous said...

And all the petty fences are just for smacking through. Talk to the paw! Thanks for a wild pour of the roar. Poetry is so much cheaper than whiskey--diviner, too.

LaTonya Baldwin said...

I love you and what you do. 2013 can kiss my pretty black ass. Hello 2014. You are naturally my first visit, love.

Robert Bourne said...

this inspired me to answer some questions that sit in the corner... we are never really alone... there are always ghosts that accompany us..they come out when we slip into hermit land...

Anonymous said...

Those ballerinas better watch out--there is a wonderful interweaving of past, present, metaphor and narrative here that is both readable, and easy to relate too, despite the particularities of the all the different experiences. Your voice always has that quality of inviting in even as it sets up a kind of barrier--defense--which is super engaging. Have a great year. k.

TexWisGirl said...

you go with your fierce self.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh, wow, this is wonderful! I love the lion looking insulted. Pup would have that look at times. I especially love those brilliant closing lines.

Susan said...

Guts, it takes GUTS to face the losses and dreams and befriend the big cat. Roar throughot the Year and beyond, touching my heart with your words.

hedgewitch said...

It's an animal planet kind of thing, that thundering stampede of days that lies by saying this one particular day, week, month, year is new. Only to the animals, newborns and fools--I love the way this twists from one level to the next, pain on every step of the spiral, yet somehow it isn't, despite all logical evidence to the contrary, going down at all, but up, way way up, where somewhere paws turn into wings and blood white feathers. (Yeah--I liked it LOTS, if you couldn't tell...)

Grace said...

Grit and gutsy talk ~ I like to hold on to the big bright things, despite the solitary and the dust storm ~

Happy new year ~

Herotomost said...

Oh my....this is sooooo sharp, first Kerry and now you, raising the bar and finding ways to express life like no others. Great writing. I have not forgot my job and will reply with something that you might like in a day or two. Just need to get my 2014 feet up under me and work. I can't wait really. Happy New Year Shay!!!

Sam Edge said...

So many layers to your poetry FB. I read this a few times and it got more interesting each time.

Have a 2014 full of fire, feline and blossoming stuff.

Lynn said...

Starting out the new year fiercely!

Sioux said...

Looking at your pain, and yet unflinchingly.


No f'ing whining allowed.

Anonymous said...

yes. all I have to say on this.

Lolamouse said...

OMG! I must resolve to never again read your poem before I write mine! Talk about getting the wind knocked out of one's sails! Geez-could you write a lousy poem just for once?!!

HermanTurnip said...

I love the way you slip between humanity and animal nature, mixing up the two until they become one unique being. Nicely done!

Munir said...

It is good to be tough. Being strong is something we need to be.
Love the cats video. I see stray cats all the time. We are not allowed to feed them though by our housing regulations.
Have a Happy New Year.

G-Man said...

Happy New Year Shaysie.....

Stormcat Poetry said...

Oh Beautiful . . .

what about those who don't choose to be?(solitary on New Years Eve that is)How can they avoid considering old lovers?

I love "brightly colored birds,up to their beady little eyeballs in gorgeous song."

Susie Clevenger said...

You paint life with such a unique pen..It is full of I wish I had written this..

Cloudia said...

I don't bother chasing mice around!

from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

Lydia said...

Roaaaaaarh! This is more-than-brilliant. The Lion thinks so too.

On to another year....

Kim Nelson said...

Loss. Determination. The building or resolve and character, too. The evolution of self. All are here, vivid.

Daryl said...

this made me feel invincible!

Mama Zen said...

Ghost of the Offended Big Cat. I love that so much I can't stand it.

Marian said...

yeah, no trifling with the Big Cat. meow! happy new year, Shay.

ed pilolla said...

a story of solidarity, brought together by the nature channel. i find myself scared to read your stuff, it's so special. all the best in 2014:)

Pealogic said...

Gosh, that was a really fierce read.

Margaret said...

I often find your poetry "raw" but yet, there is always tenderness cleverly disguised (hiding?) which invites a closer look. I'm convinced that's why I often read your poetry twice. :)

Happy New Year Shay.

Isadora Gruye said...

oh, how I want to crawl inside this poem and make a pillow fort, wherein I could sustain myself on it's richness. here you balance the story of the big cat and narrator well, always comparing subtly and birlliantly, how horn by horn we are insulted at times, but fuck it if we don't get up and bother to do something that resembles the good dance, the decent fight, an hour of blood and sun before hitting the carpet. well done, my dear

LaTonya Baldwin said...

Couldn't start BOE 2014 without you.

Kerry O'Connor said...

I so love this poem, Shay. I read it earlier in the week, and thought: Shay knows how to hit them out the park first day of the year to the last.

All the very best for 2014, my friend. May your days be filled with carnivores, gypsies and poetry that flows like rain. said...

You are a fierce cat.

Your words make my organs ache.


Anonymous said...

"he seemed, more than anything, to be insulted."

that's a cat for you. always above the fray.

Anonymous said...

forgot to say i love the video!