POETRY

Orange Kitty Bleeding

By

I killed the old orange cat this evening.
After chasing him for three months, I
crawled up on the roof after him;
right between the eyes from not more than
five feet away where he had Bagheera
treed up the great live oak.
Orange Kitty fell and I blasted him four
more times as he jerked on the ground
below us.

Bagheera came down from his upper branch;
and after, I brought out Marlene, Big Tao and
Quan Yin to show them that the rein of
terror had ended.
But as he lay there with his fur blowing
gently in the oncoming storm, I had the
strongest urge to take his bloody form into
my arms, smooth his once­beautiful pelt and
tell him that it will all be all right.

I miss all my old lovers, wherever they
lay bleeding beneath the grass, I would
take them all once again in my arms and
tell them that it is not that bad, that it
will all be all right;
death after all seems so unreachable to
the living, so temporary as though it
were but a mistake, a dream that will
fade back into the reality of the
sunny morn.

But I didn’t touch the orange cat, he
was covered with blood and had been
sick, wild and unreachable as it was.
Instead, I thought of Vince Romano,
James Parcells, Steven Buker, Frank
Drummond, Jimmy Barron, Victor Lopez,
David Lopatin, Al Petersen, Peter Allen,
Bobby Consolmagno and however many
more;
warm warm hearts that had once
beat against my own, now cold lying
somewhere in the shadow of what had
been life, their fur now matted and
soiled.

The cats avenged, we came back into
the house just as the storm was blowing
in from the west.
I thought of Orange Kitty, of covering him
with newspapers or old clothes lest he
get cold and drenched where I had
left him among the periwinkle.
Instead I removed the bullets from the
remaining cartridge and set the twenty-
two across a pile of fresh­folded
linens, to be returned to the
neighbors in the morning.

The rain began spattering like
gunshot across the fiberglass back
porch roof;
my dinner was still warm.


Gavin Geoffrey Dillard has published eight collections of verse, two anthologies, and his infamous Hollywood tell-all, IN THE FLESH: Undressing for Success. Also known as “The Naked Poet,” his poems have been recorded by James Earl Jones, Don Adams, and published in anthologies and periodicals worldwide. An anthology of his life's work, THE MORTAL POEMS (the first half-century), will come out in 2014 from Sibling Rivalry Press. Dillard was schooled at both The North Carolina School of the Arts and California Institute of the Arts. He was tutored in songwriting by David Geffen, and in playwrighting by Jerome Lawrence and Tom Eyen. Deena Metzger, Ian Young, and Christopher Isherwood were also ongoing mentors. The author of dozens of songs, Gavin has written lyrics with and for such luminaries as Peter Allen, Chanticleer, Sam Harris, Jake Heggie, Glen Roven, Lowell Liebermann, Ralph Edwards and Disney Studios. His classical art songs ("Of Gods and Cats") have been featured at Lincoln Center by mezzo Jennifer Larmore.

He has written comedy with and for Dolly Parton, Joan Rivers, Peggy Lee, Vincent Price, Lily Tomlin. Gavin is the co-author of BARK!, the musical, which has played throughout North and South America, and author of OMFG!!!, an iLove Story, which premiered in 2011 in San Francisco. Spring of 2014 will see the opening of WHEN ADONIS CALLS, an opera comprised entirely of Dillard's poetry, by Clint Borzoni, with libretto conceived and constructed by John de los Santos.

I miss all my old lovers, wherever they
lay bleeding beneath the grass, I would
take them all once again in my arms and
tell them that it is not that bad, that it
will all be all right;
death after all seems so unreachable