The Third I

Words and Images by Marshall Arisman

Cat Haiku

Her long, lithe body

   Stretches out eager to yield

Control for beauty

                                Dee Ito

Cat Haiku

Telling your cat lies

       About reality is

The way to stay sane

                                Dee Ito

Cat Haiku

If you ask your cat

       What to wear to work today

Expect an answer

                                Dee Ito

Cat Haiku

“Bad cat!” we shout out

        As she pees on the pillow

Our fault, we left her

                                Dee Ito

Cat Haiku

     Invented by cats

The nap is a refreshment

    For body and soul

                                Dee Ito

Cat Haiku

In a few short months

    A kitten becomes a cat

I think I missed it

                                Dee Ito

Cat Haikus

The haiku – ancient Japanese poetry form – was originally created to serve as a means of illumination in Zen Buddhism.  In these times illumination is difficult to come by.  Cats, however, serve quite nicely to enlighten us.

My wife, Dee Ito, has used the strict form of the haiku.  Seventeen syllables in three lines – 5 in the first, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third.  I did the drawings.

For the next several weeks I will post the illustrated cat haikus knowing that people passionate about cats are already on the path to enlightenment. 

The Art Wizard

When I started teaching, in the sixties, he was already a legend.  There were breakdowns and even suspected suicides among his students.  It could be argued that only the neurotic and vulnerable would tolerate his scathing crits of their artwork.  The students that stayed in his class regarded him as possessing godlike powers.  They explained that his harshness made them better artists and more importantly would make them a huge success in the future.

When, for example, he gave them the painful task of burning all of their art work they thought a benevolent deity had entered their lives.  Some, of course, refused, while others used the communal bonfire as evidence of his wizardry.

 In a faculty meeting he said, “Burning their art work showed that his students deserved to suffer.”

If You See Something Say Something

         Sitting on a bench in the Times Square subway station, I looked over at the downtown platform.  Separated by three third rails I watched a man wearing a hoody remove his backpack and lean it against the upright steel support beam.  Looking around he walked away.

            I was struggling with the question of how long I should wait before alerting the transit police and getting out of there when a bomb sniffing dog accompanied by a handler sniffed the backpack and walked away.

            The guy in the hoody returned put on the backpack and boarded the downtown train.

            Going uptown I waited for the explosion downtown.

A Side Trip

          The origin of the word mystery is rooted in a Greek noun than means “close the mouth”.  There are things that cannot be explained.

            Before Alfredo died of AIDS his healer and friend Karen took him to the other side.  Alfredo didn’t go willingly.  The journey was prompted by Alfredo saying, “I know I am getting better, but I am tired and wish to die.” 

            Frustrated and angry Karen saw two years of work on her patient going to waste.  The trip to the other side, or so Karen thought, might change his mind.

            “I rarely do that,” Karen told me, “but the ungrateful bastard pissed me off.”

            Taking Alfredo by the hand they entered the Kingdom of Heaven together.  Jesus was there to greet them.  According to Karen they had a nice talk before returning to the earth-plane.

            A week later, Alfredo died in his sleep.  He left a note.  “Dear Karen – thank you for introducing me to Jesus.  I look forward to seeing him again.”