Yikes! Poetry Too?
Although best known as a songwriter and lyricist, Tom is also a poet whose work has appeared in The Fiddlehead, Descant and several other poetry magazines. This page will feature some of his poems, old and new.
“Democracy” seems like a grandiose name for this feline:
ill-favoured, half-feral, malnourished, and missing an eye.
Had he been my cat, I just hope I’d have cared for him better.
The neighbours refer to him lovingly, summon him loudly;
they say he’s their fur baby, boast of the brand of his food.
But he shows no interest in mice, and I’ve noticed him limping,
bedraggled, from under their porch, his hair matted and filthy,
a look of bewilderment blurring his lone eye like milk,
as if there is something he desperately needs to remember.
And then there’s the box. I suppose they consider it “treatment”
to lock him in there every couple of years for a day,
with some quantum gizmo that shoots out a gas, or else doesn’t,
while pundits predict and prevaricate over the outcome:
Which wave will collapse, and will this be the kill or the cure?
Nine lives and nine deaths tumble blindly like socks in a dryer.
So much seems to ride on the life or the death of this creature
that I have to think about anything other than cats
each time he is sealed in that chamber and mailed to the future.
I hum a thin tune against thinking, or try to envision
a happier, healthier, rat-catching feline’s return
to people who know how to feed him and keep him from freezing.
Update: they have opened the box and the cat is still breathing,
and I breathe a sigh of relief, though I’d say he looks frail.
“Not Fascism Yet” is the name I would stitch on his collar.
©Tom Lips, November 18, 2022
I began writing something approximating verse when I was 11 years old, and I am still learning. Poetry, good or bad, arises from observation, experience, and the sheer love of playing with language.