Screensaver - Poem by RIC BASTASA

My sister saw the black cat inside my monitor
Black fur and sharp eyes
Piercing like sharp claws
Whiskers like catfish
In the mud,
It was staring at her
And felt its anger,

Of course, she did not like it,
She complains
Why of all screensavers

Anthurium (oh she loves Anthurium
Red and white anthuriums)

Or four horses, white grazing horses, brown galloping horses
For some screensavers’ lucky charm,

Why the black cat
As screensaver?

It was just the head of the black cat,
Nothing else
Nothing more, popping up in the screen,
A black cat as wallpaper

(Like one that unzips automatically
The zipless type) ,

And I am afraid she may not like
The sudden popping up,
She fears it may jump in front of her
And scratch her and totally scare her off
Her years of

And easy submission,
And her tradition,
Her sense of
And piety
It is indeed a delicate

She had not seen, to my mind,
Anything yet,
The way I scratch my head
And turn it sidewise
Once or twice to say no

And inside myself, I was laughing,
She is scared
And funny
Skinny sister
Emaciated by too much
& unforgiving

I was not scared because
She cannot understand
My trauma at 2
My love at 15
My longings for all those years
Carefree days in the river bathing naked
With some brusque
Friends and their passion for
& then there were

Some sad stories about the cats in the alleys
Black and white
Those that I really love and caress &
Died and
Those I cannot really mourn
& love
In the open

What will our neighbors say?
It is always the favorite question of my sister
They would think that I am crazy
I am cheap
I am an embarrassment
I am a burden
And deserve nothing
The whole family will be hurt
& suffer incessantly

As a matter of compromise
The cat, the black cat as screensaver
Shall be changed tonight,
But frankly, I love its
Sharp black eyes
Warm long black furs
I would still touch them
In a dream
Slide its furs in my armpits
And I would giggle, giggle, giggle, and giggle
The whole night giggles, giggles, giggles and giggles
Deep and

It is the being of giggling, the giggling,
My dear sister
It is the giggling
That counts in my being
The whole being

And I am telling no one
And I can’t tell anyone

Who is really interested about
Dead black, foul cats, with black furs
For jinx?

Anyway, I’ll save
In the ‘shared pictures”
Black cat, and in nocturnal
Dreams I’ll have scratches
All over my body
Of this black cat

My decision to be unwise for once
Is now

I am laughing inside myself
(ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!)

I face her,
My skinny sister
She faces the black cat
Sharp eyes facing her,
She sees the head of the black cat
And she can even touch
My face because of that
Certain closeness,

But she will never, never,
Never know
The real name of that black cat
And the new name I call myself

(Me, a name I call myself
Fa a long long way to run)

Because, oh well, she never asked,
In the first place

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 1, 2008

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