Viral Cat

Subtitle

2017 Issue of Viral Cat (Issue XVI)

Issue XVI is currently under construction.


Viral Cat Issue XVI

 

 

ONE IN A CROWD .................................................... John Grey

Painting to Life .......................................................... Fabrice Poussin

My Wife’s Garden ..................................................... Donal Mahoney

Lord Byron Picks Up A Cold Call ................................ Christopher Barnes

My Mother Should Have Named Me Echo .................... A.J. Huffman

Slipping Away............................................................ Calico Ray

Drought’s End (Haiku sequence) ................................. James G. Piatt

Upcoming Storm ....................................................... Fabrice Poussin

Untitled [Burn me…] .................................................. Robin Wyatt Dunn

Hex .......................................................................... Tonya Eberhand

I Am Voiceless .......................................................... A.J. Huffman

Funeral for the Last Parent ......................................... Donal Mahoney

Just Increments of Time ............................................. James G. Piatt

Skipping the 8 A.M .................................................... Tonya Eberhand

Untitled [Tear my hair…] ............................................. Robin Wyatt Dunn

Badwater Basin ......................................................... Calico Ray

The Road to Work ...................................................... Fabrice Poussin

Lord Byron Rescripts A Password ............................... Christopher Barnes

Wife After Showering .................................................. Donal Mahoney

Hearing Stars ............................................................ A.J. Huffman

AT THE CIRCUS ........................................................ John Grey

Lord Byron Smirks At A Meme .................................... Christopher Barnes



One in a Crowd | by John Grey

 

You must be visible

and at your best.

Keep fingers away

from nose and mouth.

 

In the group,

hold to your dead quiet,

no belch, no cough, no scratch,

not even the faintest squeak of chair.

Both you and your balance

must be perfect.

 

One guy starts ranting about

the Boston Red Sox.

One girl joins in.

You stay out,

your head high,

neck straight as a flagpole.

 

Another can't stop

talking about his second hand roadster.

The car nuts jump in.

You know nothing about engines.

You're calm but firm with your tongue.

 

Then a third mentions

a recent visit to the Art Institute

and your brain suddenly

takes a left turn,

your eyes turn toward

where the voice is coming from.

 

But he says something about

how this piece of crap by Picasso

is worth millions of bucks

and he wouldn't pay a red cent for it.

All of you returns to the upright.

 

Your friends reckon

you're quiet and shy.

But you're more

perpendicular and patient.

Painting to Life 

  | by Fabrice Poussin


My Wife’s Garden | by Donal Mahoney

 

 

My wife likes to garden.

She’s crazy about roses,

lilies and daisies. 

She says I should get out

in the garden and weed. 

The roses, lilies and daisies 

need more room to grow.

 

She says her garden would be 

better if I would help out.

I’m tempted to tell her I’m not 

fond of roses, lilies and daisies

but then I remember before 

I met her 50 years ago

I spent some time with

a Rose, a Lily and a Daisy,

not all at once, of course.

 

Like my wife, they were 

nice ladies and I hope they 

didn’t marry those guys 

they weeded me out for. 

Their gardens were lovely 

but none had gardens

as beautiful as my wife’s. 

On a cool summer morning

I still like to sprinkle her garden 

once she adjusts the nozzle

on this old hose.


Lord Byron Picks Up A Cold Call          | by Christopher Barnes

 

Oh could I feel                     the mersh kiping my resolve

Or weep                               mad-narky elapsings till white flags

As springs in deserts           tin-cup a lifeboat’s porousness

So midst the withere’d         el cheapo’s scrounging burr I hang


Glossary of Slang: Mersh – Commercial; Kiping – Stealing.


My Mother Should Have Named Me Echo     | by A.J. Huffman

 

 

I am your voice—

incarnate, hollow.  I linger

long after your lips have retreated.

Mindless

mimicry is my gift, vain ignorance

and your smile, my reward.

I am professional

shadow, a ghost of a body not mine.

I am dissolving,

a background you will not remember

in morning’s light.


Slipping Away     | by Calico Ray

 

Listen to Song
[Lyrics]



Drought’s End (Haiku sequence)           | by James G. Piatt

 

California’s drought

Is being relieved today

Rain is hurling down

 

On the dried up earth,

Sparrows sing with sheer delight,

In the cloudy morn

 

The misty windows

Reflect the drops of moisture

Trailing down the panes,

 

Snow in the mountains

Will give us flowing rivers

In the summer time.


Upcoming Storm  | by Fabrice Poussin



Untitled [Burn me…]     | by Robin Wyatt Dunn

 

 

burn me red buckets
blacken me black sundays
bury me under the ground

bash me over the light
stake me seven times
for a good play
and a terrible revelation

give me the gift
of your bright eyes

holy and harrowed
harrowing

burning rivulets of years


Hex     | by Tonya Eberhand

 

Underneath moon’s scorching heat 

Sting of your alcoholic breath on my neck

 

Empty wine bottle glistens treachery 

A twinkling green under the stars

Airborne, bottle throttles the air—

Smashes into a tree

Shatters like chests trampled by hooves

 

How pathetic the holes in a red sweater keep warmth

Too many curses, those heavy I love you’s 

Drunk voicemails left for a nameless god 

 

Feminine night 

Crescent bowed out and beaten 

Tide and moon, change of blood—

 

Show me how 

Fiddle bow knife of bone

Beneath the pines near

Oak that felt exploding glass—

 

Conjure it

I will speak the spells that destroy you


I Am Voiceless         | by A.J. Huffman

 

vessel of servitude,

Cinderella without the happy

ending.  I am waiting for the magical stroke

of midnight to save me from this life of walking

on broken eggshells that cut me

like glass but seem to fit

my bleeding feet as perfectly as the callused

orders of a would-be Prince Charming.


Funeral for the Last Parent         | by Donal Mahoney

 

 

They were never one

always two

yet they had five,

adults themselves now,

bowling pins today

upright in the front pew,

wondering still 

after all these years 

why the two 

were never one.

 

It's not a story

the two would tell

even if they could.

They were galaxies apart.

They had no answer

yet they still had five,

adults themselves now

who can celebrate

they're here at all,

bowling pins today

upright in the front pew.

 

No need to wonder why 

the two who loved them

were never one.

It's not a story

the two would tell

even if they could.

They're galaxies away.



Just Increments of Time   | by James G. Piatt

 

 

Before longings, before nostalgia, even before memories, shades of wistfulness existed in the fading hours of an orange tinted sunset, waiting to be discovered by melancholy lovers, who know little of right or wrong. They sensed only the feelings inside their hearts.


How I wish the slow gaits painting twilight in pomegranite colors would last forever in youthful souls before a cold gray frost tints their heated hearts and turns thoughts of love to a pale boredom, and twilight hours to just increments of time.


Skipping the 8 A.M            | by Tonya Eberhand

 

In the morning I slip Death into my coat pocket.

Will I ever need it, this smooth body covered in

blue wrapping? Its mushroomed top difficult to

open? It is glossy, like a lake, a cool mirror in

my hand. Collected, compact, Catechismal.

 

Outside, the weather pulses rain. It comes, the 

future that cannot be stopped. The clouds are a 

clock, pushing forward. On the nightstand, 

the yellow flowers in a yellow vase. 

Such brightness concerns me.

 

Earth, polluted by footsteps on the walk to the

bus stop. One hand on my schoolbooks, fingers 

brushing each fragile spine like a silent prayer. 

Books as teeth of wisdom, uprooted every 

few years from the library’s West Stacks. 

 

The other hand in my coat. The worst part is 

remembering the contours of a hand, but forgetting 

the feeling of skin against skin. The question: 

When did you start loving me? getting off the bus. 

For I have loved you all this time. 

 

Out on the green pastures, a storm swells

across the sky. A bruise under the skin, 

pulsating, trying to break the surface. 

Thundering night, scatter my body in this field:

 

Knotted oak, where is the rope hanging from 

your bough for a neck to swing on? No. 

Anxiety after anxiety chased by pill after pill. No. 

I ask oracles for a stronger heart.

 

With every breath, I feel each cell unravel. 

In lightning and rain, I see a face clear as night. 

Even when it is not there, it is everywhere. 

Water and electric heat surge from the sky. 

 

I loved like fire meeting fluid—

doomed but still willing to die for what could never be.

A hand against a hand, a word against mine.

These reflections are nothing, one glimpse in the

million constellations of time.

 

I wanted to tear my body inside out to 

show the bruises. To scream and claw at my 

flesh, uncover precious treasures of tissue. I wanted 

your largest organ, your skin, to wrap myself in. 

 

Returning home—

like a stone sinking to the bottom of a murky riverbank.

Soaking wet. My shadow is the only thing that follows me

to bed.  It creeps into my bones as I try to fall asleep on

clammy sheets. I dream too soon of paper moons.

 

The lit candle on the nightstand. Flame, a fickle 

creature tethered to a wick creates illusions. With 

closed eyes I see the lights of St. Louis and Kansas City

merge into one. But now I do not think about Missouri, 

a dry old bone even the starving dog does not want. 

 

For Death still rests in my coat hung on the back of the chair.

And the raindrops hitting the windowpane, 

the reliance on intangible things—

all a novice tragedy.


Untitled [Tear my hair…]          | by Robin Wyatt Dunn

 


tear my hair and send news

of the roar befall and ruth

over my soul
my eggs
my power as a beggar
my lure right range and foul
heal me
fire me

for the north sending sea

tear me foul my hair
shape sand and shave the hour
the eye

bear me
east
or wherever you take me
for the truth



Badwater Basin | by Calico Ray


Listen to Song


[Lyrics]




The Road to Work

| by Fabrice Poussin



Lord Byron Rescripts A Password          | by Christopher Barnes

 

None are all evil             yet oblivion-sunk when D&D

One softer feeling          izzit? The enigma isn’t blates

Oft could he sneer         when cronies fish reasoning’s pickle jar

By passions worthy       a feline’s tag is unpacked, decipherable

And even in him            metre shores a rafted hint

 

 

Glossary of Slang: D&D – Drunk & Disorderly; Izzit – Like ‘Innit’ But Doubtful;

Blates – Blatantly.


Wife After Showering         | by Donal Mahoney

 

Niagara Falls 

her silver hair

 

so long it 

bounces off 

 

the swan 

of her back 

 

and off 

her buttocks

 

as she laughs 

and waves 

 

a towel too long

saluting the sun

 

and us 

who share 

 

another 

golden morning


Hearing Stars           | by A.J. Huffman

 

echo inside endless night, their flickering

pulse calls me to sky.  I long to fly, follow

their light to somewhere

                                        better.  Instead

I settle deeper into pillow, allow

rhythmic flashing to lull me

                                              to sleep.


At The Circus        | by John Grey

 

Was there really such a thing as a flea circus?

Did those tiny biting things

jump through hoops,

form pyramids on each other's shoulders,

eat fire, swallow swords, tame lions.

 

There's vague things in my head.

They keep their distance

by never coalescing into meaning.

I know Timbuktu exists.

Or, at least, I think I do.

And the Zeitgeist.

I could look it up in the dictionary,

be doubly certain what it's all about.

But why bother?

Why not let a fuzzy attitude

toward the Zeitgeist

be the Zeitgeist.

 

And what about that silver lining.

And Sugur Rios.

And Anthony Mann movies.

Not forgetting Ignus Fatuus

and Agnes Dei.

Is my brain spelling them correctly?

 

Sometimes, I get so worked up

about what I don't know,

my skin begins to itch.

Feels like the circus is in town.


Lord Byron Smirks At A Meme   | by Christopher Barnes

 

 

Yet was not                       Blair once choirboy faked

To lead the guilty               clang into a swingeing Midas touch

His soul was changed        with rubberheaded MPs tut-tutting

Him forth to war                 butinsky, all that carnage

Warped by the world          that news crews subvert unreal

 


Glossary of Slang: Rubberhead – Idiot; Butinsky – Interfere.