Archives for posts with tag: cats

the feel of it
by Charles Bukowski

A. Huxley died at 69,
much too early for such a
fierce talent,
and I read all his
but actually
Point Counter Point
did help a bit
in carrying me through
the factories and the
drunk tanks and the
along with Hamsun’s
they helped a
great books are
the ones we

I was astonished at
myself for liking the
Huxley book
but it did come from
such a rabid
and when I first
read P.C.P
I was living in a
hotel room
with a wild and
alcoholic woman
who once threw
Pound’s Cantos
at me
and missed,
as they did
with me.

I was working
as a packer
in a light fixture
and once
during a drinking
I told the lady,
“here, read this!”
(referring to
Point Counter

“ah, jam it up
your ass!” she
screamed at

anyway, 69 seemed
too early for Aldous
Huxley to
but I guess it’s
just as fair
as the death of a
at the same

it’s just that
with those who
help us
get on through,
all that light
dying, it works the
gut a bit —
scrubwomen, cab drivers,
cops, nurses, bank
robbers, priests,
fishermen, fry cooks,
jockeys and the

Photo: Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) with his cat muse.


That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.” 



by John Philip Johnson

She kept its bones in a glass case
next to the recliner in the living room,
and sometimes thought she heard
him mewing, like a faint background music;
but if she stopped to listen, it disappeared.
Likewise with a nuzzling around her calves,
she’d reach absent-mindedly to scratch him,
but her fingers found nothing but air.
One day, in the corner of her eye,
slinking by the sofa, there was a shadow.
She glanced over, expecting it to vanish.
But this time it remained.
She looked at it full on. She watched it move.
Low and angular, not quite as catlike
as one might suppose, but still, it was him.
She walked to the door, just like in the old days,
and opened it, and met a whoosh of winter air.
She waited. The bones in the glass case rattled.
Then the cat-shadow darted at her,
through her legs, and slipped outside.
It mingled with the shadows of bare branches,
and leapt at the shadow of a bird.
She looked at the tree, but there was no bird.
Then he blended into the shadow of a bush.
She stood in the threshold, her hands on the door,
the sharp breeze ruffling the faded flowers
of her house dress, and she could feel
her own bones rattling in her body,
her own shadow trying to slip out.

by T.S. Eliot

You’ve read of several kinds of Cat,
And my opinion now is that
You should need no interpreter
To understand their character.
You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are same and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse–
But all may be described in verse.
You’ve seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:
But how would you address a Cat?
So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say:  A CAT IS NOT A DOG.
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste–
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.
So this is this, and that is that:
And there’s how you ADDRESS A CAT.
Painting: “Blue Cat, Green Eyes” by Walasse Ting

Poem by T.S. Eliot

The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo, or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey —
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter —
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkstrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum —
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover —
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

(From Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, poems by T.S. Eliot)

Listen to T.S. Eliot read “The Naming of Cats” here

Painting: “Cats in the Garden” by Walasse Ting (1929-2010)


“…what does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.” RAY BRADBURY

Photo: “Busaba” by Ashley VincentGrand Prize Winner and Nature Winner in 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest.


quotes by Haruki Murakami

“As a novelist, you could say that I am dreaming while I am awake, and every day I can continue with yesterday’s dream. Because it is a dream, there are so many contradictions and I have to adjust them to make the story work. But, in principle, the original dream does not change.”

“I didn’t want to be a writer, but I became one. And now I have many readers, in many countries. I think that’s a miracle. So I think I have to be humble regarding this ability. I’m proud of it and I enjoy it, and it is strange to say it this way, but I respect it.”

“…if I want to express myself, I have to make up a story. Some people call it imagination. To me, it’s not imagination. It’s just a way of watching.”

“…at the time I was fond of Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and it was from them that I learned about this kind of simple, swift-paced style…”

“When I start to write, I don’t have any plan at all. I just wait for the story to come.”

“When I am writing, I do not distinguish between the natural and supernatural. Everything seems real.”

“Whenever I write a novel, music just sort of naturally slips in (much like cats do, I suppose).”

PHOTO: Novelist Haruki Murakami with a cat friend. Cats figure in many of Murakami’s novels — especially THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLE, available on

A friend sent me a link to a video of a pensive, philosophical cat, whose thoughts mirror the words of “Bluebird,” a poem by Charles Bukowski. This cat sounds a lot like Harry Dean Stanton. (Bukowski was a cat lover, so I hope he would have enjoyed this — If not, sorry, Hank.)

Poem by Charles Bukowski

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
in there.

there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
you want to blow my book sales in
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re there,
so don’t be
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
and we sleep together like
with our
secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do


“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You must simply do things.” RAY BRADBURY

PHOTO: Cuddles the cat finds the perfect place to eye the occupants of a goldfish tank at its home in Simi Valley, California. CREDIT: Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times, July 9, 1997, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

CAPTION: “But when she got there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none.” 

CREDIT: New Yorker cartoon by Mike Twohy, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at