World’s Fattest Cat Wins Prize

Good news: My poem “World’s Fattest Cat Has World’s Fattest Kittens” has just won Second Prize, plus an award for Best Rhyming Poem, in the 2007 Utmost Christian Writers poetry contest.

This Canadian website, which aims at improving the literary quality of work produced by Christians, offers thousands of dollars in prizes (over US$4,100 this year). The deadline is usually February 28. First Prize this year went to Jan Wood for “just as you are in me and i am in you“. Read all the winners here.

World’s Fattest Cat Has World’s Fattest Kittens
–tabloid headline

A man walks into a bar and that’s
how I meet my father. Thirty years’ prelude
to a first date, in the amber mood
of brass and cognac, philosophic chat
spins the barstool back and I could be my mother
making us something intimate and undefined,
making someone you would leave behind.
My job-interview smile like butter
over the Riviera snaps of your daughters,
an alternate normalcy unreeled
by their tan arms, nothing concealed
behind your soft, proud chest but beach and blue waters.
But my awkward sister, dark-eyed – can’t you find
her moon-round face in yours, and yours in mine?

Tapas and wine, and God to take his turn
building the polite fortress of conversation;
two ex-Jews still wedded to disputation
and self-pity. The theatre crowd, as unconcerned
as you with tabloid reunions, disperses
into Manhattan’s blue lure. I say Jesus ended
life for our trespasses, but you’re offended
at this old, barbarous economy of verses.
You glow with gurus, out-of-body flight
and sinless man – convenient to believe
the soul can shed the seeds the body leaves.
And I, lacking the charity not to hate your
smooth life apart from us – who am I to spite
the last lawyer who has faith in human nature?

Dumb girl, ludicrous heredity
making me hang on your kisses like a teen,
then ask, like the boy-father to the child unseen,
who is this one, this virtual life, to me?
True father, tell me now, don’t we both nurse
our entitlements like a spitting-image son,
me judging life’s gift by how it was begun,
you grasping after apples with no curse?
Atonement’s just about dousing a blaze
someone else started. Till then, the wheel and snare
of karmic alleles conspires down the years
to put our eyes in an accusing face.
Tabloids and Genesis agree on that:
fat kittens must have come from fatter cats.

One comment on “World’s Fattest Cat Wins Prize

  1. Angie says:

    Congratulations, Jendi! Wonderful poem. I like the name of your website, by the way–very clever.

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