To what lengths would we go to be heard?: Breakthrough Tip for the week of 7/17/17

“Sentenced in 1983, on her 29th birthday, to the seven-year maximum term for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda,” Ms. Ratushinskaya composed some 250 poems in prison, many drafted with burned matchsticks on bars of soap. She memorized them and smuggled them on cigarette paper through her husband to the West, where they were published, and where human rights groups indefatigably lobbied for her release.” —Sam Roberts, New York Times  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/books/irina-ratushinskaya-soviet-dissident-and-writer-dies-at-63.html?emc=eta1

Irina, a sister poet, died July 5 in Moscow from Cancer. I look at her eyes and imagine she is asking me, “How far would you go to write what is given to you to write?” Will it take prison for you to understand that without writing, you are a ghost? Can you imagine writing on soap, memorizing the gift of words and washing your hands, the same hands that dug the burnt matches into the soap?

I’ll take this challenge with you, sister and brother writers. Thirty minutes and only this beginning: I am willing to go this far…

Here is this week’s contributor writing:

Patches

Hi. What are you doing out here on my rocks? I’m Patches, by the way. My humans couldn’t think of a better name? I could have been called Hatshepsut or Nefertiti. I may not look it, but I feel Egyptian.

Me? I’m hunting. You wouldn’t believe abundance of mice and voles and grasshoppers out here. My humans and I used to live in an apartment in the city, where I had to eat Kibble instead of fresh kill and had to use a litter box. The only times I ever saw the outdoors was on trips to the vet in a kitty carrier. Or on the fire escape platform from where I could spy on the doings of Mehitable, the alley cat from Shinbone Alley who thinks she’s descended from Cleopatra. As if.

Hunting is great in the daytime, but, though I’m naturally nocturnal, it can be hazardous at night. A sneaky owl once just missed pouncing on me soon after we moved here. I didn’t even hear him until it was almost too late.

At first I was afraid of the ocean. All that foam and splash and spray. It was noisy, and it was wet! My humans actually go out in it. Me, I’m keeping my distance. It’s nice here where the sun warms these dark rocks. You’re headed up to the house? Well, nice talkin to ya. I’ll just snooze her a bit longer. —Pamela Lee
***

Nobody tells you, he thought. Nobody gives you the real skinny on this reincarnation business. His guru, Arundhati, came closest when he proclaimed that we are born to a higher form of life if we meditate daily on the godhead.
 
Who knew that cats were a higher form of life than humans? Certainly not most people who blissfully believe that they “own” their pets. Hell, he’d never really grokked the truth of it when he was a man. He’d been a practicing Hindu/Buddhist/Rastafarian and yet had still considered all animals beneath humans, worthy of care but somehow “less than.”
 
Oh sure, birds – birds were certainly lower on the spiritual plane. Except for condors – they were the Incan kings of the heavens, the hanan pacha for good reason.
 
And dogs – sheesh, don’t get him started on dogs. Indiscriminate, unconcerned about spiritual matters, ridiculously happy in a goofy sort of way. Dogs!
 
A fair number of insects were inferior as were countless other members of the animal kingdom. Kingdom, now there’s a laugh. Most of them couldn’t be king of a litter box. That’s about as kind as he could be.
 
Dragonflies – the embodiment of Maya, illusion – they were almost as high as cats. And butterflies – well, they were the pinnacle of enlightenment, messengers to and from the gods. The gods. What a shock they were! No wonder they were the ultimate mystery, the unexplainable, the ineffable but ever-present.
 
This cat business was intense enough. Peering through dimensions while his “owner” wondered why he was yet again staring into space. She’d blow her little circuits if she saw what he apprehended during those sessions.
 
Holding worlds together is tough work. He traveled while his temporal, furry self seemed to be sleeping. He repaired tears in the fragment of reality with his spirit tongue. He purred peace to places and spaces he’d never dreamed existed in his previous incarnation. Sometimes he merely observed, storing lessons that might come in handy for future healing work.
 
While he felt honored, fulfilled in his work, there were physical aspects of catting that ran the gamut from uncomfortable to WTF. Hairballs, for example. Nothing could disrupt the important work of saving parallel universes like a giant clot of hair stuck in the throat. Until he coughed one out, he was out of commission. Pretty much useless.
 
Ubersensitivity was another difficulty. While he thoroughly enjoyed being stroked and petted, sometimes each hair of his fur became a lightning rod of pain and he lashed out with his claws; an uncontrollable reflex that hurt his human and made him feel like such a…well, member of a certain human political party.
 
Physical benefits existed, it’s true. Leaping great heights, not having to shave, seeing in the dark were pluses. The self-cleaning thing was pretty great too, even though it was responsible for the noxious hairballs.
 
Nine lives were just the tip of the whiskers since he knew the exact time and manner by which he’d leave the Earth plane again. Maybe, just maybe he’d sprout wings and antenna next life. For now, he’d serve the great Mystery in the only way he knew. — Lynette Shephard

 

 

 

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