The following is a collection of excerpts from Book of Practical Pussies, published in cooperation by Krupskaya and Tender Buttons Press, with drawings by Michelle Rollman and writing by D-L Alvarez, Dodie Bellamy, Lee Ann Brown, Bob Glück, Kevin Killian, Scott MacLeod, Yedda Morrison, Camille Roy, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Designed by Wayne Smith.
"Henrietta the Slum Puss," by Yedda Morrison
"You make pee pee for me today, Harryetta? You make stinky for me, dear?"
Most Toms don't appreciate that I vacate in a blue box of fragrant sand and then mound it up, deodorized and spherical. Or that after, I tongue myself thorough, excess hairs snug tidy in my tumtum.
"Today Harryetta will not make stinky for you, Tomkins, she's making mounds."
"You're a bitch."
Puss is a concept; something you desire to be into, a goal and a means. A finely tuned nest egg with interior mechanisms, or a flippy flesh purse grafted to a vacuum. Toms know pussness to be a venue, a redemption stage with drippy curtains, warm blood theater.
Excerpt from "Blanche and Stanley" by Dodie Bellamy
Claw clippings scattered across my comforter, litter in my sheets, he kneads my tit with his paws, he pokes my tit with his snout. She nuzzles in my armpit, she nuzzles in my neck, he burrows between my legs and sleeps there, he sits between my legs with the top half of him resting on my belly, she perches on my abdomen and licks her asshole. She cries for vanilla ice cream, he cries for TV dinners. He reaches out the window and swipes at birds, he catches three of them, dead pigeon blood and feathers all over the living room. She leans against my left thigh while I watch TV, she sits on my lap during my private writing workshop, I balance student writing on her back, she cries until I swivel in my office chair and pick her up, I lean over her awkwardly and try to type on the computer, she sits on my lap when I argue, when I cry, when I talk on the phone, she sits on my lap as I eat breakfast, I drop oatmeal on her head. He lies at the bottom of the bed and I rub him with my foot, toes grazing soft fur. I roll over on my stomach, he climbs on my ass, she joins him on the small of my back and licks his face, their bodies rumbling with satisfaction. I sit on the toilet and she squats in the litter box beside me, both of us peeing. When I stroke him his whole body quivers with pleasure and he drools on my chest.
"T S Eliot" by Kevin Killian
There was murder in the flowers,
piles of pesos wet with winter rain,
and the tall towers of Babylon
dressed in widows weeds, dotted swiss
cut-outs of cats appliquéd just so.
Looking at them slouched in the armchair
I feel yet again
that those cats have pulled a number on me.
They don't howl or like that.
They're posing as skeptics
and the boys I once loved
come to me in a dream diner, like ketchup,
like chicken fried steak.
On the steam table, two cats dressed
in Maurice Sendak white aprons,
clang knives and pots in the night kitchen.
They saw murder in the flour,
eggs in the pain,
in the desert heat, where cats are regularly shaven
I had been a hog
I had been hazed and shaven
I told them to piss on my leg and I came down the block,
my pants open, a cat clinging to my secret.
I had done the thing you wanted
and what you did was fire me
Poor thing, you have the
luck of the cat
You won't make it back from Iraq.
That will be the final port of call
for a hazard,
is my guess.
I'm not dressing,
I'm lying down with the shades down.
From time to time I hear them singing,
outside the window
one of those songs
like Billie Holiday
or Lou Christie
Sarah Jane, if my cat could only talk to me
It would tell me 'bout you, baby
Excerpt from "Fuck Death" by Jocelyn Saidenberg
And then, sweet kitten, you call me your little flower and I melt, kitten, you murmur at me, calling me a tramp, turning me inside out with tenderness.
So that will, kitten, you select, willingly, you will to be willed, imploring, will-less, your eyes, the record, the sight of them delicious, solemnly creased.
You ask to burn it up, eyes asking "What do you want" hardly audibly tone.
With a vehemence that stirs your heart, you admit, on the harm ahead, you fling your oblivion, all they suggested and contained, your peculiar obligation, freely, whence, you will.
Available through Small Press Distribution: ISBN 978-1-928650-29-4