Gerry LaFemina

*Gerry LaFemina*
Gerry LaFemina's latest book is Vanishing Horizon (Anhinga Press, 2011). His other books include The Parakeets of Brooklyn (poems, winner of the Bordighera Prize in Poetry) and Wish List (stories), among others. He directs the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University where he also teaches. He divides his time between Maryland and New York. 

The Record Store Cat

               knows more about music
than half the rock guitarists in New York &
he's mastered cool, too. Right now
he listens to Social Distortion while his tail swings
in counter rhythm as it has all morning. Last
night he mellowed out to soulful funk. Gloriously
tortoise shell, he lounges in the store's bay window
dreaming of Washington Square
pigeons chasing them the way he does
the mice downstairs among the old L.P.s.
He allowed me to pet him briefly & to scratch
beneath his chin though his eyes yellowed
with disinterest or disdain, even
as he raised his head higher. The leather
jacket contingent could learn a lot
but they choose not to notice or watch
so concerned are they with their apathy.
He's no relation to the bookstore calico
with her contempt for T.S. Eliot & for
every potential reader who calls her Old
Deuteronomy or Rum Tum Tugger;
nor is he kin to Christopher Smart's Geoffrey
though he too is of the tribe of tiger;
nor of my own cat who must, even now, pace
our apartment's rooms aggravated
with my absence. When I return
he'll ignore me except at dinner time
& when he wants motivation to purr.
Sometimes I play records & he sits
before the turntable, head cocked
like the adolescent I was, imagining whom
I'd serenade with Let's Spend the Night Together.
So fickle & self-determined,
so utterly untamed even in domesticity,
this is what it means to love sometimes.