Clockwise Cats: The Prequel

Clockwise Cats: The Prequel is, in fact, the prequel to the Fowlpox-published chapbook, Clockwise Cats. The Prequel contains the grouping of poems in their entirety, while the Fowlpox book contained a smaller selection of the grouping.

Clockwise Cats: The Prequel is, in fact, the prequel to the Fowlpox-published chapbook, Clockwise Cats. The Prequel contains the grouping of poems in their entirety, while the Fowlpox book contained a smaller selection of the grouping.


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<strong>Clockwise</strong> <strong>Cats</strong>: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Prequel</strong><br />

Alison Ross<br />

2016 All Rights Reserved Alison Ross<br />

Published by Feline and Nothingness Press

<strong>Clockwise</strong> <strong>Cats</strong>:<br />

by Alison Ross<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Prequel</strong><br />

<strong>Cats</strong> inhabit their own time and space continuum<br />

- that is to say, they transcend time and space as<br />

we know them. <strong>The</strong> clockwise cat, therefore, is<br />

“wise” to clocks - she knows they exist as an<br />

attempt to “capture” something irritatingly<br />

abstract and elusive. <strong>The</strong> clockwise cat, abstract<br />

and elusive herself, and being suspicious of<br />

clocks, can therefore live as she wishes - typically<br />

in a counter-clockwise - i.e., timeless - fashion.<br />

Indeed, most of us would choose to reincarnate<br />

into feline form if offered the option; we covet<br />

cats' ability to conquer the clock, as it were,<br />

because our lives are so mired in these<br />

maddening measurements of time, even as we are<br />

fully vigilant of the concept as pure contrivance.<br />

To that end, I present a chapbook of time-themed<br />

verse. Each poem, in some way, whether<br />

explicitly or implicitly, touches on time as an<br />

enigmatic construct as opposed to an orthodox,<br />

fixed and solid entity. Some poems seem to mock<br />

clocks and time, whereas others are concerned<br />

with the concept only tangentially, and yet their<br />

aim is patent: demolish all clocks, and emancipate

us from the constraints of the insidious invention<br />

of time.<br />

Felines are inherently poetic with their<br />

graceful gait and mercurial moods and<br />

mischievous moves, and they are also innately<br />

timeless, savvy to the clock's devious ways;<br />

therefore, each poem is its own "clockwise cat."<br />

This chapbook contains 24 poems, published<br />

between 2006-2013, and acts as the “prequel” to<br />

the venerable Fowlpox Press-published <strong>Clockwise</strong><br />

<strong>Cats</strong>, released in 2014, and which contained a<br />

small selection from this larger grouping.

I want to be a surrealist painting<br />

I want to be a surrealist painting.<br />

I want to have flowers for fangs.<br />

I want to exist only as the aborted shadow of your shrieking<br />

eyes.<br />

I want to be a pop art painting.<br />

I want to be replicated for 15 minutes<br />

in the form of a Campbell’s Tomato Soup can<br />

going “rat-a-tat-tat.”<br />

I want to lick ten steins.<br />

I want to be a Rodin sculpture.<br />

I want to be eternally kissed<br />

under the gates of hell.<br />

I want to exist<br />

as the shadow of a kiss<br />

for the first 15 minutes<br />

of a replicated eternity.<br />

(Black Heart Magazine 2011)

Miro’s ennui<br />

Miro's ennui shook the foundations of time.<br />

It isolated lethargy in a continuum of shadows.<br />

Miro's ennui shocked the universe sublime.<br />

It isolated apathy in a spectrum of windows.<br />

Miro's ennui<br />

created a hierarchy of shadows<br />

that shocked a spectrum of apathy<br />

into a lethargy of windows<br />

(Black Heart Magazine 2011)

A Brief History of the Deconstruction of Time<br />

<strong>The</strong> devil waves his magic wand and three miniature skeletons<br />

resting in an oversized coffin dance to life.<br />

<strong>The</strong> skeletons leave the coffin in search of happiness. <strong>The</strong> first<br />

skeleton climbs a ladder made of smoke. <strong>The</strong> second skeleton<br />

jumps up a rope made of sleep. <strong>The</strong> third skeleton scales the<br />

coffin using his bare hands.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first skeleton wants to keep climbing to the moon. <strong>The</strong><br />

second skeleton desires to feel the rain on her face. <strong>The</strong> third<br />

skeleton aspires to attain equilibrium.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first skeleton says to the second skeleton, "If you come with<br />

me, you can bathe in the tears from the moon."<br />

<strong>The</strong> second skeleton says to the third skeleton, "If you come with<br />

me, you can drink the tears from the moon."<br />

So the three skeletons climb the ladder of smoke all the way up<br />

to the moon. It takes them 666 hours divided by 2 with a square<br />

root of 3.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first skeleton lies down on the moon to rest. <strong>The</strong> moon<br />

begins to cry quietly. <strong>The</strong> second skeleton bathes her face in the<br />

moon's weeping. <strong>The</strong> third skeleton imbibes a goblet of the<br />

moon's tears.<br />

<strong>The</strong> moon, dried of her tears, dissolves into a cloud, and the<br />

skeletons fall back to earth.

<strong>The</strong> first skeleton's bones splinter into tiny luminous globes. <strong>The</strong><br />

second skeleton's bones melt into mist.<br />

<strong>The</strong> third skeleton's bones assemble themselves into a ladder<br />

that he scales in his sleep all the way up to the sky. <strong>The</strong>re he<br />

meets the devil resting in a coffin made of clouds, waving his<br />

smoke-filled wand, as the moon dances back to life.<br />

(Mad Hatter’s Review 2012)

Anachronistic anarchist<br />

<strong>The</strong> anachronistic anarchist<br />

uses post-it notes<br />

to remind herself<br />

of her dinner date<br />

with the sun.<br />

But the sun<br />

has a cold<br />

and sends a rain check<br />

that bounces<br />

into a<br />

reverse<br />

black<br />

hole.<br />

<strong>The</strong> anachronistic anarchist<br />

sends two gmails a day<br />

to her former self<br />

but they are flagged as spam<br />

and the user is blocked<br />

from<br />

the<br />

future.<br />

<strong>The</strong> anachronistic anarchist<br />

wants to start a revolution<br />

to protest the dictatorship<br />

of synchronicity.<br />

Her identical twin<br />

outlaws coincidence<br />

and abolishes punctuality.

So the anachronistic anarchist<br />

shows up late<br />

to her date<br />

with the sun,<br />

who is covered in post-it notes<br />

about the revolution<br />

against<br />

the<br />

anarchy<br />

of<br />

space.<br />

(Calliope Nerve 2011)

misanthropic Buddha<br />

misanthropic Buddha<br />

eats black balloons for breakfast<br />

drinks cocktails made of storms<br />

Misanthropic buddha<br />

gets his zen on<br />

at 3:04 am<br />

kicks the assess of the stars<br />

that are not aligned<br />

and karate chops<br />

the moon<br />

misanthropic buddha<br />

makes love to Dante's corpse<br />

peels the layers of hell off his shoe<br />

haunts Che in his dreams<br />

licks fascism with his tongue<br />

<strong>The</strong> Misanthropic Buddha<br />

gets drunk on skulls<br />

drives a nail through Jesus' eyes<br />

(they bleed static<br />

and he cries)<br />

(Word Riot 2008)

cryptic nihilistic<br />

the cryptic nihilist<br />

wears purple shades<br />

that see into yer soul<br />

and she can read your mind<br />

with a magnifying glass<br />

the cryptic nihilist<br />

has been to hell and back<br />

she said it was a nice trip<br />

and the devil was friendly enough<br />

but when she got home<br />

she was so thirsty<br />

she drank a gallon of water<br />

and then turned into jesus<br />

the cryptic nihilist<br />

stays up for all hours<br />

listening to classical music in reverse<br />

and translating kierkegaard<br />

into lolspeak<br />

cuz OMG WTF: dude is deep!<br />

the cryptic nihilist<br />

once met buddha on the road<br />

but before she could kill him<br />

he burst into flames<br />

he briefly reincarnated into<br />

a jug of wine<br />

so she could drink away the pain<br />

but she laughed<br />

and smashed a mirror instead

she considers herself a neo-cryptic nihilistic freak. she believes<br />

in god (but only as an acronym that will self-destruct in five<br />

minutes). she wraps herself in the confederate flag, lynches<br />

conformity, then recites the pledge of allegiance in technicolor<br />

tongues.<br />

the cryptic nihilist once scrawled graffiti on the white house<br />

that read: "rearranging chaos is partly why i'm here."<br />

(Battered Suitcase 2010)

Miro’s mirror<br />

Miro’s mirror reflected the skeleton of chaos.<br />

It deconstructed time and made a maze through space.<br />

Miro’s mirror wept suns at Rimbaud’s funeral<br />

and wrote cumming’s epitaph with the blood of commas.<br />

Miro’s mirror gouged out Shakespeare’s eyes.<br />

It pre-saged the death of poetry<br />

and fought World War II in reverse.<br />

Miro’s mirror cracked in half.<br />

<strong>The</strong> left half reflected "Spring Song" played by Dr. Seuss.<br />

<strong>The</strong> right half showed the Buddha in the throes of cacophony.<br />

Miro’s mirror deconstructed chaos and made a maze through<br />

Rimbaud’s heart.<br />

(Disingenuous Twaddle 2011)

Buddhaliciously Blasphemous<br />

<strong>The</strong> Buddha is big and blasphemous<br />

he wants you to rip out yer tongue<br />

and take a vow of silent retribution<br />

against the winds<br />

(of change)<br />

<strong>The</strong> Buddha is smiling and blasphemous<br />

he wants you to mock the Catholic priests<br />

and take a real vow of celibacy<br />

(but you can fondle the dharma if you wish)<br />

<strong>The</strong> Buddha is big and delicious.<br />

He eats ephemera for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.<br />

But he wants you to fast for the rest of your karmic lives.<br />

(Counterexample Poetics 2011)

Negate Tyme<br />

aka the riddles<br />

<strong>The</strong> riddles speak to me with invisible tongues<br />

and utter wordless verse about transparent oblivions.<br />

<strong>The</strong> riddles speak to me in equations of rhyme<br />

that Einstein solves while traveling back in time<br />

<strong>The</strong> riddles speak to me in scrambled Sanskrit<br />

foretelling the future of Latin on obsolete planets.<br />

<strong>The</strong> riddles are riddled with holy black holes<br />

and splattered with the rainbows of gravity<br />

<strong>The</strong> equations speak to me in riddles of rhyme<br />

chanting Tibetan Latin in transparent tongues<br />

in an invisible oblivion solved by obsolete magicians.<br />

(Eviscerator Heaven 2011)

Eternity found<br />

My days have been infernal feasts of fire and delight; I have not<br />

censored myself but lived loudly and boldly, blazing through<br />

dim apathies and carving diamond paths through gruesome<br />

nights. I have invented enigmas and flattened paradigms; I have<br />

twisted through the labyrinth of myself and made my heart<br />

invisible.<br />

Now as my days wane, I float through the gardens that inflame<br />

my senses. I imagine flowers that wrap their blue arms around<br />

me, and suffocate me with their shrouded scents.<br />

My funeral will be an hallucination of hymns and poisons; wines<br />

will flow and hearts will sing. Guests will celebrate the sordid<br />

epiphanies of my life: the euphoria of my birth, the rapture of<br />

my death.<br />

I have offered myself to the world; I have sacrificed myself to<br />

the sun, and laughed heartily at the moon. <strong>The</strong> gods have loved<br />

me, and opened the heavens in my honor.<br />

I enter; the feast has begun again.<br />

(Wings of Icarus 2007)

Death is imminent and I'm still smiling<br />

It's raining cats and clocks.<br />

I drink an entire bottle of dreams (vintage 1919)<br />

and drift down a road made of smoke.<br />

<strong>The</strong> umbrella of my imagination<br />

flies away<br />

flies away.<br />

I am in no hurry to die.<br />

My smile blooms<br />

like a cyst.<br />

Further down the road<br />

I meet the phantom of myself.<br />

I say hello and she laughs.<br />

I smother her with my raincoat.<br />

She wilts like a wounded smile.<br />

Sleep waves to me with its green hand.<br />

I gulp down a flask of smoke,<br />

and fall toward the clouds<br />

erasing themselves from my memory.<br />

I knock on the sky<br />

and no one answers<br />

except for the stars<br />

except for the stars<br />

(Wings of Icarus 2007)

Salvador Dalai Lama<br />

Salvador Dalai Lama paints mandalas of melting clocks. <strong>The</strong><br />

clock hands meditate, in lotus position, on the idea of temporal<br />

ephemerality, then burst into flames of "o mani padme om," a<br />

chant that mimics the humming of an electric appliance.<br />

Salvador Dalai Lama dreams he was a mustache in a previous<br />

life. As a mustache, he abused the faces of men and accrued<br />

negative karma, causing him to morph into an elephant with<br />

spindly legs.<br />

Salvador Dalai Lama always hated being an elephant, so he<br />

shaves his head in rebellion. His head as shiny as an eternity of<br />

funhouse mirrors that reflect reality as it truly is: a<br />

mustachioed monk who paints melting mandalas on a landscape<br />

of reincarnated alarm clocks that meditate on the idea of<br />

temporal frivolity, then burst into sparks of sun that only<br />

imagine they exist.<br />

(Cerebral Catalyst 2007)

Silent symmetry<br />

I crave internal symmetry.<br />

I want to drink liquid sutras<br />

smoke mirrors<br />

and exhale samsara<br />

I want to poison all clocks<br />

and regurgitate infinity<br />

I want to dream of monks<br />

who shout chants shaped like birds<br />

I want to sleep inside a scream<br />

I want to breathe clouds filled with comas<br />

and choke on karmas made of cats<br />

I want to silence all hallucinations<br />

and blind all hymns<br />

I want to die inside symmetry of birds.<br />

(Blue Fifth Review 2006)

A cat stalks through the voluptuous mazes of my mind.<br />

I caress her and she purrs,<br />

releasing gardens<br />

teeming with karmic flowers.<br />

I pluck the flowers and reincarnate<br />

into a memory of water.<br />

(Menagerie 2009)

Hours<br />

<strong>The</strong> hours rain down<br />

like soft sparkling skulls.<br />

<strong>The</strong> children catch them on their tongues,<br />

eat them like they’re stars,<br />

and become illuminated time.<br />

(Counterexample Poetics 2011)

Miro’s scream<br />

Miro’s scream became a new color of crayon.<br />

His scream unfurled across the middle of eternity,<br />

spattering the sky<br />

with colors the shape of centuries,<br />

and shapes the color of oblivion.<br />

His scream cast a shadow onto the pavement of the sun,<br />

climbed up the staircase of the moon,<br />

and erased every star.<br />

Miro’s scream ripped open like a red yawn,<br />

and lullabies fluttered out like blue bats.<br />

Miro’s scream became locked inside itself:<br />

Miro had swallowed the key to eternity,<br />

and oblivion unfurled like a new color of crayon.<br />

(Cerebral Catalyst 2006)

Invisible twilight<br />

Dusk dreams herself into being: the sun swallows itself whole,<br />

spits out slivers of lunatic light; an unknown hand scribbles<br />

graffiti of sightless eyes upon a mangled mask.<br />

<strong>The</strong> trees with their many quivering tongues speak a terror of<br />

truth to the wind. Birds weave a maze of melody, and cats stalk<br />

invented shadows.<br />

Time bursts into tiny spiders who coil white shadows to snare<br />

snatches of twilight. <strong>The</strong> spiders gulp their prey, and grow<br />

plump with darkness.<br />

Starved spiders shrivel, and dawn screams himself awake,<br />

flinging blood-stained shrouds over a memory of mad moons<br />

and impossible twilights.<br />

(Counterexample Poetics 2011)

Coma<br />

<strong>The</strong> clocks weep an ennui of tears.<br />

<strong>The</strong> black hour spills<br />

through the eyes of the house<br />

and strokes me with sleep-poisoned fingers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> chimera licks me with her languid tongue:<br />

I drown in dreams.<br />

<strong>The</strong> clocks weep a euphoria of tears.<br />

<strong>The</strong> white hour yawns<br />

spilling pearls onto my sleep-fingered eyes.<br />

I do not awaken<br />

and I do not die.<br />

(Medulla Review 2011)

Miro’s Nightmare<br />

Miro’s Nightmare is coming to get you.<br />

It crawls into your mouth<br />

to lay eggs<br />

that hatch into dreams<br />

of murderous blue.<br />

Miro’s Nightmare bleeds cats onto your eyes<br />

and whispers fangs into your ears.<br />

Miro’s Nightmare is an upside-down clock<br />

and an inside-out heart.<br />

It is in love with death<br />

the scent of blood-streaked mirrors,<br />

and with the color yellow<br />

when it used to be black.<br />

Miro’s Nightmare is coming to get you.<br />

It lays clocks inside your heart:<br />

they hatch into cats<br />

with upside-down eyes.<br />

(Haggard and Halloo 2009)

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Clockwise</strong> Cat<br />

<strong>The</strong> clockwise cat<br />

is wise to clocks.<br />

She knows their motive:<br />

to tame the savage animal of time.<br />

<strong>The</strong> clockwise cat<br />

hisses at the clock-cages;<br />

her fangs gnaw the numbers<br />

and her claws rip holes<br />

in the frayed fabric of space.<br />

<strong>The</strong> clockwise cat<br />

moves in counter-clockwise cadences<br />

across the hardwood floors of infinity.<br />

She stalks illusions of impermanence<br />

which flit like shadows<br />

across the paint-chipped walls in her mind.<br />

<strong>The</strong> clockwise cat<br />

tells time with her eyes:<br />

they blaze like candle flames<br />

in the dim closets of oblivion.<br />

<strong>The</strong> clockwise cat<br />

sleeps 16 days an hour.<br />

She dreams about the minutes<br />

she will devour like bugs;<br />

she awakens to seconds<br />

poisoned like rats.<br />

(Cerebral Catalyst 2006)

We two<br />

(for Franc)<br />

We two<br />

move backwards in time<br />

receding towards oceans<br />

dripping magic curses from our tongues<br />

and spilling flowers from our mouths<br />

We two<br />

rearrange the alphabet<br />

dismantling vowels into hieroglyphics of sound<br />

speaking multi-colored syllables<br />

and bleeding language from our eyes<br />

We two<br />

scatter numbers to the wind<br />

decorating the sky with an arithmetic of stars<br />

smashing the clouds into silent symbols<br />

and making shapes from the wind<br />

We two<br />

swim in reverse seas<br />

speak strange syllables<br />

and subtract the stars<br />

from the geometries of wind<br />

(Laika Poetry Review 2006)

Clocktocracy<br />

<strong>The</strong>re once was a network of autocratic Clocks<br />

who with their terrible ticks and terrifying tocks<br />

tyrannized the villages of Infinity<br />

<strong>The</strong>re once was a network of guerilla Watches<br />

who rose up in the jungles of Paradoxes<br />

to fight the dominion of the Clock despots<br />

But the demonic Clocks<br />

smashed every paradox<br />

into an infinity of diminutive watches<br />

(Counterexample Poetics 2012)

Time tricks<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are time tricks that will make your head spin.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re was the time that time did a backflip and we landed<br />

upside down and we had to stand on our heads for 20 days. <strong>The</strong><br />

blood rush made us hallucinate images of bathtubs overflowing<br />

with melted skulls.<br />

And there was the time that time entered thru our subconscious<br />

and stole all of the mirrors inside and sold them for scrap.<br />

And then there was the time that time came waltzing in to our<br />

math class to make fun of our ineptness at calculations. That<br />

was when we said, "Fuck you, time" and flung out the door. And<br />

then suddenly we were in a hallway filled with walking algebraic<br />

equations, jeering at us.<br />

Time tricks will melt yer skull, and your subconscious fear of<br />

math will mock you in the cracked mirror at the End of Time.<br />

(Zombie Logic Review 2013)

Toxic dyslexic<br />

by Alison Ross<br />

<strong>The</strong> toxic dyslexic<br />

reads arabic with one eye closed<br />

<strong>The</strong> toxic dyslexic<br />

eats scrambled clocks<br />

for a midnite snack<br />

and regurgitates the greek alphabet<br />

the toxic dyslexic<br />

reads pythagoras<br />

upside down<br />

and dreams<br />

of bats<br />

in escher's house of angels<br />

the toxic dyslexic<br />

asphyxiates syllables<br />

and chops them up<br />

into fake algorithms<br />

the disexlyc xotic<br />

drinks hemlock through a straw<br />

and dies of illiteracy<br />

(Zombie Logic Review 2013)

About the Author:<br />

<strong>Clockwise</strong> Cat publisher and editor Alison Ross has been<br />

published here, there, elsewhere and nowhere. She<br />

experienced rave-levels of ecstasy when she found out<br />

she was shortlisted for the 2014 Erbacce Prize among<br />

20 others, down from 5,000 entries. She was also<br />

giddily bemused when was nominated for the Best of the<br />

Net a few years back, though she lost out to savvier<br />

scribes. Alison’s poesie will subvert your dissonant<br />

dystopia into a euphonious utopia of Zen-Surrealist<br />


Order <strong>Clockwise</strong> <strong>Cats</strong> from Fowlpox Press:




With language that is recognizable in the unique version of hearing<br />

something very specific (think Miles Davis’ or <strong>The</strong>lonious Monk’s<br />

sounds), Alison Ross’ poems can be pulled from a lineup very<br />

easily. Her <strong>Clockwise</strong> <strong>Cats</strong> <strong>The</strong> <strong>Prequel</strong> is a collection of poetry that<br />

builds mirrors onto and within her language that continuously<br />

echoes and redefines itself, simultaneously. This “time-themed”<br />

volume is both coherent and whimsical and demonstrates Ross’<br />

focused playfulness among her unique images. This collection is<br />

directional toward blending relatable experience with the exclusive<br />

creativity that shapes each poem’s deliberate goal: to alter the<br />

reader’s understanding. Ross has created a wondrous foundation for<br />

her readers here. – Felino Soriano<br />

<strong>Clockwise</strong> <strong>Cats</strong>: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Prequel</strong><br />

Alison Ross<br />

2016 All Rights Reserved Alison Ross<br />

Published by Feline and Nothingness Press

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