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“Who can be happy, when he looks at the great contenders?”

--Robert Lowell to the editors of Partisan Review, Fall 1966


Muggs licks her butterscotch paw

(the left one) to wash her face, then

pauses, lost, it seems, in thought.

A cat may look at a king unmoved

by what’s reflected. Gaze though

is a glass that looks for aught


worth its salt on Capitol Hill,

let alone the Dog Tower in Moscow,

from which Tsar Ivan Groznyi*

(it's said) hurled puppies for kicks,

or the Forbidden City. The

great contenders may contend,

but a lot of them, alas, are dicks!

Cat pictures and videos, what's more,

are pics, not cats.

And as for happiness . . .

well, you might ask, what’s that?


*Ivan the Terrible (1530-84)


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