Cats

66462126_2350515345040010_1704928070336512000_n.jpg

Cats have a way of always having been there even if they’ve only just arrived. They move in their own personal time. They act as if the human world is one they just happened to have stopped off in, on their way to somewhere that is possibly a whole lot more interesting.
Terry Pratchett

Artwork by Svetlana Petrova

Don’t Let That Horse

Gabriel Pacheco.jpg

Don’t let that horse
eat that violin

cried Chagall’s mother

But he
kept right on
painting

And became famous

And kept on painting
The Horse With Violin In Mouth

And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin

And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across

And there were no strings
attached

Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Painting by Gabriel Pacheco

What is love?

 

stars.png

“What is love? I have met him in the streets, a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat was worn, the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul.”

 

Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Artwork by William Hays

Peace Piece

All that jazz by M. Sani (2).png

This man often comes to the shop. He always pauses, notices whatever music is playing. This afternoon he came in out of the rain quietly and noticed the music as usual. He raised one hand, reached towards it, nodded, didn’t say anything.

Then he went to look at books. I don’t remember what he chose, only that he liked the music. He lined his books up, stacked them without looking, said, yes, this is good. I don’t know if he meant his reading or the music or the rain; many people were delighted with the rain. He left, vaguely conducting something, not fast, just in agreement.

Artwork: All That Jazz by M. Sani

 

 

Thank you Pablo Neruda

cat (3).png

Ode to The Cat

The animals were imperfect,
long-tailed,
unfortunate in their heads.
Little by little they
put themselves together,
making themselves a landscape,
acquiring spots, grace, flight.
The cat,
only the cat
appeared complete and proud:
he was born completely finished,
walking alone and knowing what he wanted.

Man wants to be fish or fowl,
the snake would like to have wings
the dog is a disoriented lion,
the engineer would like to be a poet,
the fly studies to be a swift,
the poet tries to imitate the fly,
but the cat
only wants to be a cat
and any cat is a cat
from his whiskers to his tail,
from his hopeful vision of a rat
to the real thing,
from the night to his golden eyes.

There is no unity
like him,
the moon and the flower
do not have such context:
he is just one thing
like the sun or the topaz,
and the elastic line of his contours
is firm and subtle like
the line of a ship’s prow.
His yellow eyes
have just one
groove
to coin the gold of night time.

Oh little
emperor without a sphere of influence
conqueror without a country,
smallest living-room tiger, nuptial
sultan of the sky,
of the erotic roof-tiles,
the wind of love
in the storm
you claim
when you pass
and place
four delicate feet
on the ground,
smelling,
distrusting
all that is terrestrial,
because everything
is too unclean
for the immaculate foot of the cat.

Oh independent wild beast
of the house
arrogant
vestige of the night,
lazy, gymnastic
and alien,
very deep cat,
secret policeman
of bedrooms,
insignia
of a
disappeared velvet,
surely there is no
enigma
in your manner,
perhaps you are not a mystery,
everyone knows of you
and you belong
to the least mysterious inhabitant,
perhaps everyone believes it,
everyone believes himself the owner,
proprietor,
uncle
of a cat,
companion,
colleague,
disciple
or friend
of his cat.

Not me.
I do not subscribe.
I do not know the cat.
I know it all, life and its archipelago,
the sea and the incalculable city,
botany,
the gyneceum and its frenzies,
the plus and the minus of mathematics,
the volcanic frauds of the world,
the unreal shell of the crocodile,
the unknown kindness of the fireman,
the blue atavism of the priest,
but I cannot decipher a cat.
My reason slips on his indifference,
his eyes have golden numbers.

Pablo Neruda, 1959

Haven’t seen Robert for ages

yes.png

I haven’t seen Robert for ages; the last time he came into the shop he said that he hasn’t been able to write, that he’d had engine trouble, centrelink trouble, troubles with his pension, troubles with the neighbours and wasn’t able to concentrate (on his life’s work).

He’d also been having some trouble with some troubling chords on his troubled old piano – he’s working his way through a piece of music of his own making. He feels that music is a signal from another place. He said that when a melody cannot be spoken alone safely, the composer will call for more parts, more instruments and that each melody will work to protect another one, that one will act as bodyguard for its mate. And that that is what the mathematics of music is doing, all the time. He said that therefore, a symphony is equal to war. No necessarily fought where we can see it.
He feels as though the government is out to delete him.

Robert has been writing a book for years, it contains himself and his own agony, so regardless of who reads it or not (it is one of those delicately cut gems, sliced with precision and agony, polished every day with the whatever disappointing and colourless cloth that Robert feels is working with at that moment) it is a gift to the world.
He may not finish it.

The last time I saw him, I had a small gift, a dictionary of mythology because I knew it might be useful amongst the Egyptians tombs and sandstorms where he is always reading.
He was joy. He said: wow, thank you very much. Then he left and I haven’t seen him for ages.
I hope he comes back.

But I Can’t…

Eoghan Bridge 2 .jpg

Robert said that his books and his reading keep him so inspired and compelled to keep on with his own writing that when his friends come over and ask him what he is writing about (and then laugh when he tells them) that he just doesn’t mind.

He said that the reading gives him the third eye of salvation because this is what, say, Dante does when you read him properly, etc. Makes you see in colour, etc.

He said he makes everybody a cup of coffee and they all say: come on Robert, give it a break and he says: but I can’t

Today he is at the shop looking for a particular journal of Egyptian Archaeology….he says the world is a rich place, yielding more reading than he can ever do. And he laughs, so happy with his rich perplexing world and all the books still to read to write.

 

Sculpture by Eoghan Bridge

Little Bird

Rex Homan sculpture

There’s a little boy come into the shop with his sister, they are allowed in by themselves while their mother waits outside with their dog and all the shopping.

The little boy holds a cork with two blue straws taped to it, it has tinsel on one end and green paper on the other and he cradles it, enchanted by it, lives with it. While his sister reads he flies his bird gently along the shelves and up and over the stacks, greeting the window with a glass kiss, they both look through the window, wondering about the day, inquiring into the magic.
But then one of the plastic wings drops and falls away and he kneels down, cupping the bird, soothing its cork heart, he tenderly attaches the wing again, under the same worn tape where it holds quite well. He sees that I am watching and he holds up the bird, shows me that all is ok.

His sister is finished, she has chosen her book, she says: come on…and then all three of them are slowly leaving and flying home.

Sculpture by Rex Homan