Not so many summers ago,
wading through the Jersey wetlands,
I inquire of my orange cat,
the one I call by an assumed name,
if she remembers the time in Mesopotamia
when abstracted by a bronze maiden
of mythic origin I fell into the Tigris.
More intent on scrutinizing
a great blue heron stalk a sparrow hawk,
the cat ignores me,
a slight to which I am accustomed.
had conveyed me to the ancient land of Ur
in my quest for fabled Enkidu,
the wild man created by the gods
and companion to Gilgamesh in slaying
the Bull of Heaven,
dispatched to earth by the Babylonian goddess Ishtar
to punish Gilgamesh for two-timing her.
Had it not been for the Tigris incident,
the fault of which lay in scotch quoth the cat,
I would have unearthed the wild man,
rather than limp away in ignominy to join
a nomadic caravan across the Persian sands,
stop to share a jug of wine with Omar the tentmaker,
stagger to Mongolia’s plateau and hang a right
around the Siberian Badlands to the Bering Straits,
where a band of primeval bandits seize my credit
cards, set me adrift on a balsa raft
which pursues the stars through the China Sea,
leaps the Great Barrier Reef,
outraces a Tasmanian tidal wave,
drifts north teasing the Chilean coast,
crashes near the Andean foothills.
There astride an unforgiving llama,
I learn to sing for my dinner in Quechua,
ride the beast to the Mexicali border,
slide on my belly under barbs of tangled wire,
roam aimlessly the Texas range,
watch the deer frolic with the antelope,
and the only discouraging word I hear is mine
as I pause in the sweat of el nino night
to blaspheme the uncloudy skies,
whoop, holler, squall, and caterwaul,
join the legendary StormSpinner
in an off-color rain dance around the Alamo.
Guided by the moon to a shrine near the gulf,
I read erotic poetry to a voodoo goddess
who massages my soul with a wink
from her purple peacock throne
as I kneel upon a necromantic Zen rug
in a lace garden of pink sagebrush.
In the glow of her mystic seashell,
I dog-paddle across Galveston Bay,
thumb a ride east in a dusty pickup truck
loaded with shattered dreams,
make a pit stop in the Queen City,
write on the walls.
Greeted on a warm afternoon breeze
by the scent of Jersey pine
and hint of swamp grass at low tide,
I reach my home strapped to the back
of a Harley FXD.
At nightfall I buy a gallon of aromatic balm,
two-week supply of prehistoric Scotch,
match my neighbor drink for drink
until she tucks me into bed.
As day slips in through the window blinds
I watch my orange cat snare
a chunky swamp swallow
with a bright rufus cap and rusty wings,
which she guts, stuffs, and mounts
on the red kitchen wall beneath
a personally autographed death mask
of Persian prophet Zoroaster who swears
he saw me pushed into the Tigris River
by a resurrected Sumerian in a designer tunic,
and he asks me by special request
to please call the orange cat
by her sacred name Kitty.
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