She-dog on She-cat Crime


Two things on my mind today:  pet wars and naked logos.

The not-so-new addition (even the picture above is over a month old), a Husky pup, who, at 4 3/4 months weighs about 35 pounds of massive paws and thick, stocky chest and haunches, loves to “play” with our penultimate addition, a mostly white Japanese bobtail stray, smallish for a full grown cat typical of the breed. 

The latter is wily and clever, eccentrically faithful to her chosen human, my daughter. She abides people amicably. The former is a doofus, aggro, boundary-testing youngster, whose only purpose in life is to play, eat, shit and destroy. She’s pretty, stunning ice-blue eyes with a thick, grey and tan wolf coat, and sweet. She’s also unrelenting.

Willow the cat is curious and heat seeking. She’s also playful. She often comes looking for Goose. She quietly stalks the puppy, who, upon spying her, full-speed gallops in a furious rush. She sniffs (tries to), bites and captures the cat with crushing will and heft. Frustrated by the rebuff–getting her nose clawed–she whimpers, turns her body around, and boom-lowers her massive girth to snuff out the feline, a horrifying domination, as if the small cat 1/8th the other’s size will be bone-crushed smothered in furry cement.

But despite the cat’s frantic struggle on her back, paws and claws air-poised to strategically strike vulnerable nose and eyes (everywhere else is futile with that thick, cushioned hide), her deep, low growl in constant grinding gear, she seems to know what she’s doing. Because despite clearly taking a beating from massive paws and jaw with beastly big teeth, she knows that at some critical pause, some crack in the feeble-minded puppy’s concentration, she can scuttle up a bar stool or leap up a high armoir to safety, wide-eyed glaring down at the dopey, tongue-flapping brute. 

I confess that I watch in both amusement and terror, anxious and hopeful for the underdog kitty’s safety.  I’m unwilling to intercede on her behalf, though, resolved that she asks for it.

The other image teasing me this morning is the picture on my website–a sort of branding logo–for onenakedpoet.com. The picture reveals a naked woman’s back, hands clasped behind her, one arm bent over her shoulder stretched down her back to link the other reaching from below to center of her back. The yoga pose twists rotocuff and bicep, which casts in relief dorsal and bicep muscles and sinew. Her ass is partially exposed, just the twinges of crack and buttocks. 

The photo is also slightly blurred, out of focus. The back is mine. A few years ago, a photographer shot my unclothed yoga practice. I used the picture on a whim to name my author’s website–one naked poet. I deemed crafty the double sense of revealing heart and skin, a doubly exposed confessional poetry. 

Clever as it may have seemed at the time, I now wince at that photo, which collapses the private and public in a way that could be perceived as both celebratory–an aging body contributed to the ongoing conversation of body “beauty” conceptions–and discomfiting. 

Not discomfiting as to nudity or aging. No, the ruffle arises over the hidden face and naked back. The unwitting exposure is the attempt–all writers, all women–to confess, reveal and expose a mind’s “truth” without holding back, but being unable to do so. 

A hidden face is in all writing: the persona or mask. 

Because you can spew words all over a mile long blog about love, ownership, family life, daily doings, heart break, possession, politics, hygiene and belief, everything that makes up a breathing machine called human, one particular human, and never show your face. You can write obscure, viny verses that suggest, tease and seduce but ultimately obfuscate and confound, leaving a reader clearing the rainforest, skin-misted without absorption, without sensing the screeching, raucous hues and pitches of a mad-scramble, raging artist’s pallet. That’s the writer’s plight.

So much color, so little connection. Blank screen. 

But this is also the plight of many. The same kind of angst in complicitly witnessing interspecies battles, I experience eyeing that branding: nakedly hiding a truth–about women, fear, prejudice, the lengths we the civilized go to oppress the marginalized, the subterfuge victims cultivate to survive, configured bodies continuously on public display–utterly exposed without identity, without face. Hiding in plain site always is her lurking predator–in dark alleys of the city and congress.

Women’s problems are just women’s, some believe. I could turn around, show my wrinkled face, my sagging breasts, my pregnancy-ravaged poof belly and crepey legs, a less “attractive” view, but in whose eyes? 

I am concerned about my or anyone’s acceptance or even tolerance for violent, insidious misogyny. I agonize over finding voice. In gendered inherited words, striving to write real from inside a body, I worry that we’re all cowards, immobile before the fray.

Judge not: Ten for Today


“I love your cute, little ass,” he always says, and every time he does, I guffaw, snort or giggle just a little. Not a tee hee, coy, embarrassed or flattered giggle either. It’s more disbelieving and cynical than that–way more.
 
Both parents at one time or another measured asses in the family. “Poor Pam. She has no ass,” I’ve heard my father say on more than one occasion. “Not like her sisters.” Nope, I’d silently always confirm the criticism because I’ve heard my mother respond to his remark with, “She has my ass, and I got my mother’s flat ass.”
 
I used to joke to people (still do) that I come from a long line of flat asses. I’d see body type illustrations, animated or real life, of the body labels “pear shape” or “spoon” in Cosmo or some other rag. Spoon, definitely spoon. Spoon has a long torso and convex posture–with a flat ass. Yep, spoon.
 
In my youth and young adulthood (the time when they could get away with that kind of crap), people would comment on my height. “Oh, she’s tall,” they’d say to my mom. “Yes, she takes after her 6’4″ father.” And the first time I met my mother in law at her suburban flat in Garches, just outside Paris, the first words she spoke upon seeing me were, “Elle est grande!” (She’s tall). France is short.
 
I’m 5’8″. I look up to meet the eyes of my 5’11” daughter. She’s tall, relative to other American women. I’m tall relative to the French. And all of this parceling of parts into categories to somehow order ourselves, well, I discouraged it raising my own children.
 
I explained to them how labeling others by body shape, color or size objectified people (in terms they could understand, of course). The brainwashing took, and now they berate my father, who habitually points to people’s fat, skinny, ugly, hairy, bow-legged, shapely, old, young, black, white, “oriental” (and more) selves.
 
More than PC, the de-labeling gives people a chance. It’s lazy and disinterested to sum people up by their parts. You can make snap judgments if you know their “type.” “Oh, she’s insecure and doesn’t date because she’s taller than most guys her age,” I’ve heard tell of my own daughter. And I still carry scars from those who–a la Trump–rated my body parts, a profiling which I swallowed as fact.
 
I know better now. The force-fed, culturally-created body ideals against which others (and I) measured myself bullshitted me for too long. My ass may be flat, cute, small, just right to onlookers. Bottom line (yep, I did that), I couldn’t s(h)it without it. Judge that.
 

Credit: spoon-silverware: pixabay

Ten Minutes: An Affirmation

I am neither my title, 

surname, 

job 

or 

thick toes. 

I am a traveler 

into the sheaves of human margins, 

turning the book inside out 

and rewriting the musical notes 

to sing the paper strings. 

I am a digger 

in ancient French tongues,

salt and euphony, 

and a forgiver of rhymes, 

slight 

and fever. 

My daily question mark half circles 

to dot the when of things, 

bring them face to my own blind eyes, 

up close like cilia sensors: 

steam, 

pallor 

and frankincense. 

Our skin aflame 

scented musk and cream,

I mean, 

as if all of us 

walked to the holy house, 

succumbed to the chewy silence, 

perched on velvet crushed cushions 

with our mouths circled 

and vibrating 

in the register 

of C(osmos).

   
Image: cosmos via Flickr 

Bro-jobs in Salon

She told us, “They stop each other from killing each other by rub rub rubbing, until they come come come. And then have a banana together or something,” adding, “I think there’s a very positive and certainly very natural aspect to this.”

Despite this slightly offputting ending paragraph about rubbing-to-coming monkeys, I appreciated Salon’s broaching a risqué rather than sensationalized topic of real human behaviors that few, if any, in our still-so-homophobic culture here in the U.S. mention.

Of course, I’m a sucker for all things relationship-exploding. Not destructive eruptions, but exploding sedimented behaviors and expectations based on normativity, wether applicable to marital or sexual definitions, the kinds that clear the path to allowing a little reality to seep through.

Salon’s The “Bro Job”: Why “straight” men have sex with each other explores in an anthropology-light sort of way, the underpinnings of self-identifying heterosexual male sex with other men, reasons–if there need be–for its natural occurrence in what is for some, even many, an unnatural social order of human intimate relationships based on heterosexual monogamy.

Pointing out the diversity of male sexual appetite for meaningless as well as meaningful sex, the author explains how men sometimes want sex that is just…well, sex, not love-making or performance, just men enjoying what men do, for fun, release, something less demanding, I suppose, a more automatic, instinctual and non-committal release.

It makes sense to me. Men–and women–suffer under the continual obligation to try and understand another; sometimes the relief lies in just being what they are without apology.

Though the author is quick to point out that sexual politics and labeling are part of the problem too: so is a man who has sex with men and women automatically bisexual? Quickly jumping to labels is what others do to others to make themselves feel comfortable. But the label does not necessarily fit the identity of the labeled.

Fuck labels.

I recommend this quick and tactful read.

 

Writing Empathy

  
Eternal seekers, humans are also time travelers. Separated by comforting (but illusory) shelters–houses and skin–they journey among others and through others. A simple word, a name called out in a crowd, suddenly connects the speaker and the unsuspecting, in-his-own-world hearer in a moment of communal recognition. This is the magic of language. 

But beyond the word, driving the journey of sentences, is the uncoded language neither spoken or written: the language of compassion. Compassion is the foundation of every act of communion, not merely writing. We ‘read’ others with a willingness to believe them if they are true, paint the real of our experiences. Moreover, we empathize in reading and writing, experiencing or anticipating an other’s suffering or success. A story character we have grown to love falters, missteps and fails, and we grieve.

“The state of reading consists in the complete elimination of the ego,” Virginia Woolf wrote, and it is true. To be in the story, we must suspend ourselves to be others for a while.

 

credit: https://betterwritingnow.files.wordpress.com