Monthly Archives: August 2006

my cat is dying

my cat is dying
her head jitters something parkinsonian,
she opens her mouth on air
and tastes it, dry,
as if it tastes bad.
she walks, woozy & thin,
to ask for food
that she will not eat.
her thick black tail twitches
constantly with the impatience
of losing control
and she purrs
when i pet her
between her ears & down her back
she purrs
when i say her name
she purrs
when i look at her

wendy shaffer

And It’s Never Enough

70,000 shits a second.
70,000 shits a second,
the world is taking
70,000 shits a second.
Every week of the month,
every day of the year,
70,000 shits a second.
In bored-stiff calm
or panicked fear.
70,000 shits a second.
On every continent.
In every town and city.
Every time zone reckons
when things get shitty, with
70,000 shits a second.

On ships that steam the deepest ocean,
and Jets that thread the bluest sky,
courthouse bowels
between legal motions,
priestly bowels
between prayers on high take
70,000 shits a second.
70,000 shits a second.
shits a second.
A stadium-full each instant,
a new stadium each and every moment,
a new stadium-full
call it the Toilet Bowl,
70,000 shits a second.

and never the same shit twice.
Never the same shit twice
and that’s not counting
all the people who are shitting
at the very same time.

Four million shits a minute,
an L.A. on the crapper,
250 million shits
a U.S.A. of shit . . . an hour,
call it the United Shits of America.
And she tells me,
and she tells me,
and she told me,
“I don’t give

a shit.”
Somewhere in the world
there is a roaring river of shit,
a Niagra falls of shit,
all of which is a shit
she won’t give,
about me.

Because no matter how many,
no matter how much,
each and every bit,
each and every bit of it,
is individuated.
Each and every bit
is personal.
Private. Each and every gut
squeezes to the beat of its own different
peristaltic drummer, where the
apparent superfluity of big numbers
is vanquished by the reality in the
particulars, and nobody cares
about everybody,
and everyone cares,
One on one.
Which is why
there is always too much shit,

and it’s never enough.

Terrence Provost

love in a spoon

they have a choice
but no one told them —
they could begin by loving
a spoon,
the way it dips in perfect symmetry
to cup a mound of oatmeal
or sweet red medicine
or soil from the garden,
the handle swelling in a flatness
a stainless steel teardrop
enclosed in a fist
as you jam it into a bucket of ice —
and this love could begin to creep
into other objects —
a piece of driftwood on the beach
all the heaviness sucked out of it,
a stone that the earth has made
perfectly smooth
in all its bending
its perfect closure,
a gold tulip in the snow —
this love gets closer and closer
to the living
to the miracle of a cat’s whisker
the grip in a baby’s tiny fingers
her small cottonball face
absorbing voices and fans and moving blond hair
small hands grabbing
at nothing
and from here it’s possible to love
things that are not as easy to love —
old women complaining
about being alive
hard black shit cramming their bodies
from the black holes in their eyes
to their clenched sphincters —
this is possible
this can be done
it’s even possible
to love your dead rhythm husband
to love the thing that looks at you
from the mirror
with all its grey sagging death
its granite scars
its empty eyes
its bleeding eyes
its hopelessly neuter eyes
behind layers of mascara —
but these options aren’t publicized
and by the time a woman
is in her forties
sitting in a booth
trying to hold her face up
she’s forgotten how she loved
that first sterling silver baby spoon
the taste of gerber’s vegetables and bacon
and she doesn’t know how to love
the spoon that she uses
to thoughtlessly stir
sweet and low
into her cup of decaffeinated coffee

wendy shaffer