Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Tiger

"Sociopaths do not feel empathy, and they do not fear risk. They are charismatic, but essentially empty. Do not fall into them."  --Delaur, 2006

Killing the fearless tiger is a cheap thing to do.
Silly men in pith helmets, 
Common as voles,
Do it in the early morning, then go home for kippers and tea.

Extinguished tigers balance on stools in the circus ring.
Petty parolees and ex-bartenders put on boots, then go cow them with frayed whips,
And commands in dialect.

It is the fearless tiger who fights. 
With Vijay's leg still in her belly, she swipes and lunges,
Showing the unmatchable constellation of her magnificent teeth.
She will be hung by her paws from a stick and carried upside-down into the village as reward for her boldness.

What I loved most about you, what I needed,
Was your certainty.
It hardly matters if you were right or not, moral or not, kind or not.
You were orange and so black.
I hid in your stripes like a dream.

Of course you lied.
Of course you deceived me.
Of course you fucked everything that held still long enough, including that half-grown swamp rat bitch you knew I hated.
I heard you call her by my secret name, and that,
That was the thing I could not forgive.

It was the others, the brown sparrows, who finally swarmed you and drove you south,
But it was me,
Your little cloud, the kitten on your shoulder,
Who called you out,
Who stopped you short, 
Who saw the disbelief in your fantastic green eyes
When I stood up to you with no weapon but my pride.

After that,
Both of us broken in different ways,
We separately disappeared to bleed ourselves weak and sick on the shadows of thick summer leaves.

That is the way to do it, I think.
I even still love you, a little, 
But I hate sparrows
And tea-weak cowards.
I would still help you kill them
Just for the hell of it,
And just to stop their silly righteous chatter.

for One Shot Wednesday


Cloudia said...

"I hid in your stripes like a dream."


Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral




hedgewitch said...

Tea weak cowards are the worst, and sometimes all we have is our pride, and that's enough. A fantastic tale in every sense of the word, a thing of fantasy and fable and still, so real. For some reason, the second stanza is really getting to me.

HermanTurnip said...

I love the rare video where the lion actually gets a chance to attack the hunters. It's funny to note when people see these videos they say "oh, that's *horrible*!", yet they don't have the same response when the lion is shot from a distance with no chance to defend itself.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go hug my cat.

janice said...

I am so moved by your poem and thank you for so brilliantly bringing out a subject and the horror of what only a psychopath could do to an animal...my son who is high functioning autistic has such profound love and admiration for animals, especially feline, it makes me relate to your poem even more...you are truly a gifted poet with the way you combine the killing of a tiger and the ending of a relationship in a remarkable analogy as it brings out the agony you are feeling, the most painful of realities to accept...

a brilliant write...


Brian Miller said...

there is a great turn about halfway through shay where this just kicks in gets personal and i like that you would still fight for them even though...and darn the use of secret names, thats cold...

Fireblossom said...

All of your comments are so cool! Thanks everyone!

ayala said...

" I hid in your stripes like a dream" I love this line and the mood of it all....

Jinksy said...

I hear your roars even in quiet Hampshire! LOL

Mama Zen said...

"Extinguished tigers balance on stools in the circus ring."

The word "extinguished." Just perfection.

Lolamouse said...

We often get such rewards for boldness, like being strung up by our legs,no? Still, I totally agree that it is better than being a coward. And using your secret name is unforgivable. Bitch.

Daryl said...

No, its you who are cool ... and this is why:

'When I stood up to you with no weapon but my pride.'

Randy Behavior said...

My favorite lines have already been pointed out.
Shay I like your style. I will have to read more of you.

Anonymous said...

Wow...From the merciless killing of an innocent, beautiful creature
to the eventual death of a relationship...This is one that will not be, should not be, forgotten. Love the analogies and creative nuances...You are truly gifted, Shay. Good job!

TALON said...

"I hid in your stripes like a dream." - that line sings, Shay.

The idea of taking pride in killing...it's a strange thing.

awitchtrying said...

I love this! Love the idea of calling someone out who deserves it! Love the senselessness of killing a tiger, like the senselessness of a cruel lover. Awesome!

Joanne said...

It's the gritty realness of desire and destruction that I like. Humans like, and yet not like, tiger, and we're just in it for the betrayal and the ride.

Sioux said...

Sickening thoughts at the beginning...WTF makes us have circuses and want ashtrays made out of gorilla's hands and clamor for ivory decorative knick-knacks?

"...with no weapon but my pride." What a line!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, Shay, all ofyour writing is brilliant and powerful and true, but this one got to me even more than usual. Between the tigers and the disloyalty of one you loved, it really hits home. My favorite line is "when I stood up to you with no weapon but my pride." Way to be! Brilliant writing.

Anonymous said...

Dig your voice in this...when you let loose, no one can hide. Strong write ~

Beachanny said...

This is what you do best - take a thing, explicate it and drive it home with the image reflecting a personal viewpoint or story. I always admire your work. Excellent.

mac said...

I don't wanna be your tiger
Cause tigers play to rough
I don't wanna be your lion,
cause lions aren't the kind you love enuff.

Really, are we much better than the beer-soaked parolee tiger trainers? Don't we try to tame the tiger in our own way?

I dunno, Shay. this poem is more powerful than my ability to reflect such. I love it :-)

Helen said...

Incredible, Shay! Awesome.

Anonymous said...

"...what I needed,
Was your certainty."

i've felt that...just tell me that you KNOW...true or false...right or wrong...just be certain for me.

this is one of my all-time favorites of your poems. brilliant, original, evocative, amazing!