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

Alison Ross

2016 All Rights Reserved Alison Ross

Published by Feline and Nothingness Press

Clockwise Cats:

by Alison Ross

The Prequel

Cats inhabit their own time and space continuum

- that is to say, they transcend time and space as

we know them. The clockwise cat, therefore, is

“wise” to clocks - she knows they exist as an

attempt to “capture” something irritatingly

abstract and elusive. The clockwise cat, abstract

and elusive herself, and being suspicious of

clocks, can therefore live as she wishes - typically

in a counter-clockwise - i.e., timeless - fashion.

Indeed, most of us would choose to reincarnate

into feline form if offered the option; we covet

cats' ability to conquer the clock, as it were,

because our lives are so mired in these

maddening measurements of time, even as we are

fully vigilant of the concept as pure contrivance.

To that end, I present a chapbook of time-themed

verse. Each poem, in some way, whether

explicitly or implicitly, touches on time as an

enigmatic construct as opposed to an orthodox,

fixed and solid entity. Some poems seem to mock

clocks and time, whereas others are concerned

with the concept only tangentially, and yet their

aim is patent: demolish all clocks, and emancipate

us from the constraints of the insidious invention

of time.

Felines are inherently poetic with their

graceful gait and mercurial moods and

mischievous moves, and they are also innately

timeless, savvy to the clock's devious ways;

therefore, each poem is its own "clockwise cat."

This chapbook contains 24 poems, published

between 2006-2013, and acts as the “prequel” to

the venerable Fowlpox Press-published Clockwise

Cats, released in 2014, and which contained a

small selection from this larger grouping.

I want to be a surrealist painting

I want to be a surrealist painting.

I want to have flowers for fangs.

I want to exist only as the aborted shadow of your shrieking


I want to be a pop art painting.

I want to be replicated for 15 minutes

in the form of a Campbell’s Tomato Soup can

going “rat-a-tat-tat.”

I want to lick ten steins.

I want to be a Rodin sculpture.

I want to be eternally kissed

under the gates of hell.

I want to exist

as the shadow of a kiss

for the first 15 minutes

of a replicated eternity.

(Black Heart Magazine 2011)

Miro’s ennui

Miro's ennui shook the foundations of time.

It isolated lethargy in a continuum of shadows.

Miro's ennui shocked the universe sublime.

It isolated apathy in a spectrum of windows.

Miro's ennui

created a hierarchy of shadows

that shocked a spectrum of apathy

into a lethargy of windows

(Black Heart Magazine 2011)

A Brief History of the Deconstruction of Time

The devil waves his magic wand and three miniature skeletons

resting in an oversized coffin dance to life.

The skeletons leave the coffin in search of happiness. The first

skeleton climbs a ladder made of smoke. The second skeleton

jumps up a rope made of sleep. The third skeleton scales the

coffin using his bare hands.

The first skeleton wants to keep climbing to the moon. The

second skeleton desires to feel the rain on her face. The third

skeleton aspires to attain equilibrium.

The first skeleton says to the second skeleton, "If you come with

me, you can bathe in the tears from the moon."

The second skeleton says to the third skeleton, "If you come with

me, you can drink the tears from the moon."

So the three skeletons climb the ladder of smoke all the way up

to the moon. It takes them 666 hours divided by 2 with a square

root of 3.

The first skeleton lies down on the moon to rest. The moon

begins to cry quietly. The second skeleton bathes her face in the

moon's weeping. The third skeleton imbibes a goblet of the

moon's tears.

The moon, dried of her tears, dissolves into a cloud, and the

skeletons fall back to earth.

The first skeleton's bones splinter into tiny luminous globes. The

second skeleton's bones melt into mist.

The third skeleton's bones assemble themselves into a ladder

that he scales in his sleep all the way up to the sky. There he

meets the devil resting in a coffin made of clouds, waving his

smoke-filled wand, as the moon dances back to life.

(Mad Hatter’s Review 2012)

Anachronistic anarchist

The anachronistic anarchist

uses post-it notes

to remind herself

of her dinner date

with the sun.

But the sun

has a cold

and sends a rain check

that bounces

into a




The anachronistic anarchist

sends two gmails a day

to her former self

but they are flagged as spam

and the user is blocked




The anachronistic anarchist

wants to start a revolution

to protest the dictatorship

of synchronicity.

Her identical twin

outlaws coincidence

and abolishes punctuality.

So the anachronistic anarchist

shows up late

to her date

with the sun,

who is covered in post-it notes

about the revolution






(Calliope Nerve 2011)

misanthropic Buddha

misanthropic Buddha

eats black balloons for breakfast

drinks cocktails made of storms

Misanthropic buddha

gets his zen on

at 3:04 am

kicks the assess of the stars

that are not aligned

and karate chops

the moon

misanthropic buddha

makes love to Dante's corpse

peels the layers of hell off his shoe

haunts Che in his dreams

licks fascism with his tongue

The Misanthropic Buddha

gets drunk on skulls

drives a nail through Jesus' eyes

(they bleed static

and he cries)

(Word Riot 2008)

cryptic nihilistic

the cryptic nihilist

wears purple shades

that see into yer soul

and she can read your mind

with a magnifying glass

the cryptic nihilist

has been to hell and back

she said it was a nice trip

and the devil was friendly enough

but when she got home

she was so thirsty

she drank a gallon of water

and then turned into jesus

the cryptic nihilist

stays up for all hours

listening to classical music in reverse

and translating kierkegaard

into lolspeak

cuz OMG WTF: dude is deep!

the cryptic nihilist

once met buddha on the road

but before she could kill him

he burst into flames

he briefly reincarnated into

a jug of wine

so she could drink away the pain

but she laughed

and smashed a mirror instead

she considers herself a neo-cryptic nihilistic freak. she believes

in god (but only as an acronym that will self-destruct in five

minutes). she wraps herself in the confederate flag, lynches

conformity, then recites the pledge of allegiance in technicolor


the cryptic nihilist once scrawled graffiti on the white house

that read: "rearranging chaos is partly why i'm here."

(Battered Suitcase 2010)

Miro’s mirror

Miro’s mirror reflected the skeleton of chaos.

It deconstructed time and made a maze through space.

Miro’s mirror wept suns at Rimbaud’s funeral

and wrote cumming’s epitaph with the blood of commas.

Miro’s mirror gouged out Shakespeare’s eyes.

It pre-saged the death of poetry

and fought World War II in reverse.

Miro’s mirror cracked in half.

The left half reflected "Spring Song" played by Dr. Seuss.

The right half showed the Buddha in the throes of cacophony.

Miro’s mirror deconstructed chaos and made a maze through

Rimbaud’s heart.

(Disingenuous Twaddle 2011)

Buddhaliciously Blasphemous

The Buddha is big and blasphemous

he wants you to rip out yer tongue

and take a vow of silent retribution

against the winds

(of change)

The Buddha is smiling and blasphemous

he wants you to mock the Catholic priests

and take a real vow of celibacy

(but you can fondle the dharma if you wish)

The Buddha is big and delicious.

He eats ephemera for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

But he wants you to fast for the rest of your karmic lives.

(Counterexample Poetics 2011)

Negate Tyme

aka the riddles

The riddles speak to me with invisible tongues

and utter wordless verse about transparent oblivions.

The riddles speak to me in equations of rhyme

that Einstein solves while traveling back in time

The riddles speak to me in scrambled Sanskrit

foretelling the future of Latin on obsolete planets.

The riddles are riddled with holy black holes

and splattered with the rainbows of gravity

The equations speak to me in riddles of rhyme

chanting Tibetan Latin in transparent tongues

in an invisible oblivion solved by obsolete magicians.

(Eviscerator Heaven 2011)

Eternity found

My days have been infernal feasts of fire and delight; I have not

censored myself but lived loudly and boldly, blazing through

dim apathies and carving diamond paths through gruesome

nights. I have invented enigmas and flattened paradigms; I have

twisted through the labyrinth of myself and made my heart


Now as my days wane, I float through the gardens that inflame

my senses. I imagine flowers that wrap their blue arms around

me, and suffocate me with their shrouded scents.

My funeral will be an hallucination of hymns and poisons; wines

will flow and hearts will sing. Guests will celebrate the sordid

epiphanies of my life: the euphoria of my birth, the rapture of

my death.

I have offered myself to the world; I have sacrificed myself to

the sun, and laughed heartily at the moon. The gods have loved

me, and opened the heavens in my honor.

I enter; the feast has begun again.

(Wings of Icarus 2007)

Death is imminent and I'm still smiling

It's raining cats and clocks.

I drink an entire bottle of dreams (vintage 1919)

and drift down a road made of smoke.

The umbrella of my imagination

flies away

flies away.

I am in no hurry to die.

My smile blooms

like a cyst.

Further down the road

I meet the phantom of myself.

I say hello and she laughs.

I smother her with my raincoat.

She wilts like a wounded smile.

Sleep waves to me with its green hand.

I gulp down a flask of smoke,

and fall toward the clouds

erasing themselves from my memory.

I knock on the sky

and no one answers

except for the stars

except for the stars

(Wings of Icarus 2007)

Salvador Dalai Lama

Salvador Dalai Lama paints mandalas of melting clocks. The

clock hands meditate, in lotus position, on the idea of temporal

ephemerality, then burst into flames of "o mani padme om," a

chant that mimics the humming of an electric appliance.

Salvador Dalai Lama dreams he was a mustache in a previous

life. As a mustache, he abused the faces of men and accrued

negative karma, causing him to morph into an elephant with

spindly legs.

Salvador Dalai Lama always hated being an elephant, so he

shaves his head in rebellion. His head as shiny as an eternity of

funhouse mirrors that reflect reality as it truly is: a

mustachioed monk who paints melting mandalas on a landscape

of reincarnated alarm clocks that meditate on the idea of

temporal frivolity, then burst into sparks of sun that only

imagine they exist.

(Cerebral Catalyst 2007)

Silent symmetry

I crave internal symmetry.

I want to drink liquid sutras

smoke mirrors

and exhale samsara

I want to poison all clocks

and regurgitate infinity

I want to dream of monks

who shout chants shaped like birds

I want to sleep inside a scream

I want to breathe clouds filled with comas

and choke on karmas made of cats

I want to silence all hallucinations

and blind all hymns

I want to die inside symmetry of birds.

(Blue Fifth Review 2006)

A cat stalks through the voluptuous mazes of my mind.

I caress her and she purrs,

releasing gardens

teeming with karmic flowers.

I pluck the flowers and reincarnate

into a memory of water.

(Menagerie 2009)


The hours rain down

like soft sparkling skulls.

The children catch them on their tongues,

eat them like they’re stars,

and become illuminated time.

(Counterexample Poetics 2011)

Miro’s scream

Miro’s scream became a new color of crayon.

His scream unfurled across the middle of eternity,

spattering the sky

with colors the shape of centuries,

and shapes the color of oblivion.

His scream cast a shadow onto the pavement of the sun,

climbed up the staircase of the moon,

and erased every star.

Miro’s scream ripped open like a red yawn,

and lullabies fluttered out like blue bats.

Miro’s scream became locked inside itself:

Miro had swallowed the key to eternity,

and oblivion unfurled like a new color of crayon.

(Cerebral Catalyst 2006)

Invisible twilight

Dusk dreams herself into being: the sun swallows itself whole,

spits out slivers of lunatic light; an unknown hand scribbles

graffiti of sightless eyes upon a mangled mask.

The trees with their many quivering tongues speak a terror of

truth to the wind. Birds weave a maze of melody, and cats stalk

invented shadows.

Time bursts into tiny spiders who coil white shadows to snare

snatches of twilight. The spiders gulp their prey, and grow

plump with darkness.

Starved spiders shrivel, and dawn screams himself awake,

flinging blood-stained shrouds over a memory of mad moons

and impossible twilights.

(Counterexample Poetics 2011)


The clocks weep an ennui of tears.

The black hour spills

through the eyes of the house

and strokes me with sleep-poisoned fingers.

The chimera licks me with her languid tongue:

I drown in dreams.

The clocks weep a euphoria of tears.

The white hour yawns

spilling pearls onto my sleep-fingered eyes.

I do not awaken

and I do not die.

(Medulla Review 2011)

Miro’s Nightmare

Miro’s Nightmare is coming to get you.

It crawls into your mouth

to lay eggs

that hatch into dreams

of murderous blue.

Miro’s Nightmare bleeds cats onto your eyes

and whispers fangs into your ears.

Miro’s Nightmare is an upside-down clock

and an inside-out heart.

It is in love with death

the scent of blood-streaked mirrors,

and with the color yellow

when it used to be black.

Miro’s Nightmare is coming to get you.

It lays clocks inside your heart:

they hatch into cats

with upside-down eyes.

(Haggard and Halloo 2009)

The Clockwise Cat

The clockwise cat

is wise to clocks.

She knows their motive:

to tame the savage animal of time.

The clockwise cat

hisses at the clock-cages;

her fangs gnaw the numbers

and her claws rip holes

in the frayed fabric of space.

The clockwise cat

moves in counter-clockwise cadences

across the hardwood floors of infinity.

She stalks illusions of impermanence

which flit like shadows

across the paint-chipped walls in her mind.

The clockwise cat

tells time with her eyes:

they blaze like candle flames

in the dim closets of oblivion.

The clockwise cat

sleeps 16 days an hour.

She dreams about the minutes

she will devour like bugs;

she awakens to seconds

poisoned like rats.

(Cerebral Catalyst 2006)

We two

(for Franc)

We two

move backwards in time

receding towards oceans

dripping magic curses from our tongues

and spilling flowers from our mouths

We two

rearrange the alphabet

dismantling vowels into hieroglyphics of sound

speaking multi-colored syllables

and bleeding language from our eyes

We two

scatter numbers to the wind

decorating the sky with an arithmetic of stars

smashing the clouds into silent symbols

and making shapes from the wind

We two

swim in reverse seas

speak strange syllables

and subtract the stars

from the geometries of wind

(Laika Poetry Review 2006)


There once was a network of autocratic Clocks

who with their terrible ticks and terrifying tocks

tyrannized the villages of Infinity

There once was a network of guerilla Watches

who rose up in the jungles of Paradoxes

to fight the dominion of the Clock despots

But the demonic Clocks

smashed every paradox

into an infinity of diminutive watches

(Counterexample Poetics 2012)

Time tricks

There are time tricks that will make your head spin.

There was the time that time did a backflip and we landed

upside down and we had to stand on our heads for 20 days. The

blood rush made us hallucinate images of bathtubs overflowing

with melted skulls.

And there was the time that time entered thru our subconscious

and stole all of the mirrors inside and sold them for scrap.

And then there was the time that time came waltzing in to our

math class to make fun of our ineptness at calculations. That

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

then suddenly we were in a hallway filled with walking algebraic

equations, jeering at us.

Time tricks will melt yer skull, and your subconscious fear of

math will mock you in the cracked mirror at the End of Time.

(Zombie Logic Review 2013)

Toxic dyslexic

by Alison Ross

The toxic dyslexic

reads arabic with one eye closed

The toxic dyslexic

eats scrambled clocks

for a midnite snack

and regurgitates the greek alphabet

the toxic dyslexic

reads pythagoras

upside down

and dreams

of bats

in escher's house of angels

the toxic dyslexic

asphyxiates syllables

and chops them up

into fake algorithms

the disexlyc xotic

drinks hemlock through a straw

and dies of illiteracy

(Zombie Logic Review 2013)

About the Author:

Clockwise Cat publisher and editor Alison Ross has been

published here, there, elsewhere and nowhere. She

experienced rave-levels of ecstasy when she found out

she was shortlisted for the 2014 Erbacce Prize among

20 others, down from 5,000 entries. She was also

giddily bemused when was nominated for the Best of the

Net a few years back, though she lost out to savvier

scribes. Alison’s poesie will subvert your dissonant

dystopia into a euphonious utopia of Zen-Surrealist


Order Clockwise Cats from Fowlpox Press:




With language that is recognizable in the unique version of hearing

something very specific (think Miles Davis’ or Thelonious Monk’s

sounds), Alison Ross’ poems can be pulled from a lineup very

easily. Her Clockwise Cats The Prequel is a collection of poetry that

builds mirrors onto and within her language that continuously

echoes and redefines itself, simultaneously. This “time-themed”

volume is both coherent and whimsical and demonstrates Ross’

focused playfulness among her unique images. This collection is

directional toward blending relatable experience with the exclusive

creativity that shapes each poem’s deliberate goal: to alter the

reader’s understanding. Ross has created a wondrous foundation for

her readers here. – Felino Soriano

Clockwise Cats: The Prequel

Alison Ross

2016 All Rights Reserved Alison Ross

Published by Feline and Nothingness Press

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