Thursday, May 30, 2013

The house where everyone goes

I wrote my first poem in the toilet. Many years ago now, though not nearly as far back as some poets go, I sat on the toilet and became drawn into the square-shaped glass of the white-wood framed bathroom window. The glass was black; I had my title. All I remember of the poem otherwise is the 'haphazard hem' of my dressing gown as I sat.

The cat in our toilet
It was many years later that I started to write creatively and came across the Arab saying about the house where everyone goes. Elliot was it, or Auden? I think one or the other. The saying is of course in reference to the toilet (out house).

Our cat with the broken tail uses our bathroom too. She's uses the whole bedroom as if 'the Master' were three, one with broken tail. We've tried various 'solutions' to the cat that wants to sleep on the bed and use the en suite, especially in winter, but nothing works.

For a while we had a kitty litter tray in the corner by the sink. It was shiny black and with the white litter, prior to desecration, the tray was practically a fashion statement. Sometimes I'd be on the loo, directly opposite the litter tray, and our puss would cry like she was sad to be let in, only to rush to her tray and begin the scratch, squat and scratch routine! Sly old puss.

There we'd be, eye-balling each other during our respective ablutions, sat in opposite corners, facing each other directly. Whoever was coyest looked away first. Me, of course. Puss had that funny look in her hazel-green cat eyes that's a couple of degrees off focused contact. Like a moon not quite full. A look very close to human staring.

The house (NZ) where everyone should go

Then there's the clean-up with cat shingle flung right and left by madam, hoping to cover her tracks - fat chance of that!  If there's not enough shingle and her paw hits black plastic she'll look my way sharply and demand to know: Where's all my shingle gone? Practically before I'm buttoned up I'm letting the cat out then toilet-papering and flushing for two!

After America we got rid of the litter; it seemed timely. Now she uses a towel. More washing but no more shingle.

So the Arabs were right: the toilet is the house where everyone, including the cat, goes.


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