Cat Writes Our Lives

Cat Writes Our Lives July 9, 2010

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By way of some work I’m doing on All In … Almost (or, “Wow, Obnoxious Much?”), I went and found this poem, which I wanted to (and will) include in the book. It was written by my wife Catherine seven months before she and I were married.

San Francisco

Once, we lived in an old summer house

and you could open the windows

and in would slowly blow

happy ghosts

wave tossed, sunburned

smiling and tired


every so often

my husband and I

while cleaning the tub in the afternoon

or sitting on the front steps

would find

still salty-damp and sandy

one of those old fashioned bathing suits.



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  • Christine

    I really like this!! You should put up more of her poetry John

  • Thank you, Christine. I know that will mean a lot to her. I totally asked her to let me put up more of her poems; she said we'd see how this one goes first. She's cautious like that. So thanks.

  • Christine

    oh man, she should totally do it!!! I really like her style. It flows beautifully and would love to read more of her stuff. She should start her own blog and rival yours hahaha

  • Okay, let's not get carried away.

  • Elizabeth

    I'm blown away. Elegant, vibrant, lovely imagery with such a light touch. I haven't liked a poem this much in years.

    Am I even saying this right? I don't know how to critique poetry. But Cat seems to have the same gift for poetry that you have in prose. You both reveal so much yet make it look effortless. You'd be crazy not to include it.

  • I'm pretty sure I've never told anyone this, but I fell in love with Cat because of her poetry. I really couldn't believe anyone could just DO stuff like that. Her stuff kills me. I have, for instance, framed and standing on my desk this of hers, which never ceases to inspire me. It's about when she used to commute to work on a train:

    the train slams by

    from my window I watch

    for the unconcerned egrets

  • erika

    i love this made me feel good.

  • Elizabeth

    It's a killer, all right. Stone cold.

  • amelia

    This reminds me so much of the CT shoreline. It's a rare and beautiful thing when two people can keep their dreams alive simultaneously. Has she ever considered sending her work to litmags, or putting a compilation together to publish? I can't even imagine the ground you must cover as a couple. Precious.

  • Karen

    I love the poem. It paints a picture beautifully of a moment in your lives. Thanks for sharing.

  • Gina Powers

    Cat's work is awesome! I'm jealous and going to bed now.

  • This poem reminded me of how much I love poetry.

  • Thank you, Amelia. Cat has never shown any real interest in publishing her poems. I used to bug her about it, but it's just not her thing. But we'll see now, right, with all you guys encouraging her? I hope she does it; I've always said she's the real writer of us. I think if she'd collect her poems and/or publish them individually, we'd get rich–which of course is the crudest way to look at it. But still. And she barely cares. Her main art form, by far, is photography. There, she IS a genius, and no two ways about it.

  • Thank you, Karen. I know this’ll mean a lot to her.

  • I’m jealous that you’re going to bed. And thank you.

  • What a beautiful thought. Thank you, Melinda.

  • I believe you!

  • If her main art form is photography, after this small sample, I want to se her photography!

  • Karen T.

    Lovely poem. I absolutely think you can fall in love with a person via their writing, Long ago, I was pen pals with an Aussie writer, Ian Taylor, who let me read the first draft of his hilarious sci-fi novel, Spindle. When I finished it, I thought, “He’s the funniest writer ever! I want to marry him!” My family thought he was too far away to pine for, but now that Ian Taylor and I have been married for 12 years and have 3 kids, they admit I was right about him. I tell people. “You can order Spindle via Amazon, but if you love it so much that you fall in love with Ian, too bad! He’s taken!” 8^D

  • Don Whitt

    Mmmmm….outer sunset.

  • patty

    Please tell Cat her poem inspires us. Personally, it's taken me to mental places where I'd like to spend more time. Cat, your lyrical gift is meant to be shared.

  • amelia

    This is so true! I fell inlove with my (now ex-) husband at college while he was cranking out short fiction. The man didn’t stop even after all the rejection letters for about 5 years. Now, looking back, I realize that wasn’t where his passion was at all. It ended up being Pro/Am Beach Volleyball (at which he has been hugely successful). God blesses us with gifts and when we use them with Him in mind, amazing things happen. 🙂

  • Elizabeth

    @Beth Luwandi: You hit the nail on the head. If poetry is the lesser of Cat’s art forms, we absolutely must see her photographs.

    Do you think John and Cat have a spare bedroom where they store the genius they aren’t using that day? If I didn’t know that talent and inspiration were infinite pools, I’d be ticked at them for hoarding it all.

  • I was wondering if anyone would say anything about catching that. You win! That part really touches me personally. Thanks for noticing it.

  • Elizabeth

    Please, please tell Cat happy birthday, I'm really glad she was born. 🙂

  • I like how she refers to you as “my husband” even though at the time, you were her fiance. She shows that she had confidence in you.

  • KarenTaylor

    Pick a poem

    As you would pick a flower

    Because the color catches your eye

    And the shape calls to mind some ancient knowledge

    Of great importance

    That you can’t quite see the edges of.

    Choose a piece of verse

    To keep in your pocket for when the sight of beauty words

    Will cause you a joy moment..

    For once we befriend a poem, it is forever ours.

    (I hope Cat reconsiders publishing her poetry. My memoir-in-verse, Mosaic Life, drops in May, and I’d love to swap books with you guys.)

    Karen Hatch-Taylor