Love and Loss of Two Great Friends

Yesterday, April 17 2012, we finally had to let go of our 17 year old cat Itty Pity. She took care of me for 13 years–practically my whole adult life. She moved up to NYC from Florida with me back in 2000 and has been the one consistent thing through years of trying to “figure it out” in Brooklyn. I will greatly miss being poked in the face in the middle of the night, meowed at from the top of the refrigerator in the morning, and having to share my popsicle’s with her (she had odd tastes). Though she’s mentioned a lot in Dogs of Brooklyn her poem was edited out. Sometimes its hardest to write well about those closest to us.

Itty

The Ballad of Itty Pity

You found me splayed out on top of the garage waiting

for Debbie-gut punched by first love’s fist. My scorecard

read “World-1, Susie-0.” You sniffed then paw poked me,

claws scraping my sweaty Florida arm waking.

You’d had enough of your 5 cats, 3 dogs, and 2 lovebirds

predicament at the old Tallahassee house on the hill—Precious,

who they thought was a she soon they discovered a he under

all that white fluff fur, now he’s going by Mr. P.

Harley’s biker cat matted mange, Merlin’s 17-year-old

tongue hanging out, Phoebe’s cantankerous mews

of the news of the day. Enough of dodging the dogs

out back’s barks and bounds—Busho, Kota Bear,

and Honey the red (not hot) dog. Your green eyes plead

as you nuzzled my shoulder rattling my sobs with your purr.

The 2 lovebirds, Debbie and Dan, walked up laughing,

told me to take you. Itty Pity goes to the City

in my final escape from the liquid air of Southern states.

You howled the whole way up in the U-Haul as I changed

radio stations every few minutes much to my Dad’s dismay.

We moved into our first apartment alone, an illegal

underground bunker in the middle of Park Slope. We prayed

there’d be no fires, and you didn’t see the sun for two years

like some prisoner. At 22 it was the best I could do, you forgave

me for your own bowl of kibble and a warm bed.

Then we moved on up into that sunshine St. Marks apartment

above the dogs across from the lumberyard sawing drunks.

You stared out the window at the trees and birds for hours

while I broke my heart over and over. Debbie called,

said the 2 lovebirds broke up and started drinking again.

You just sat by me cajoling cuddles, snuggling sickness out—

it took years. Finally after ten years you molded me into less

of a mess, though the latest apartment has sporadic heat

and I come home smelling of other animals. This city—a bunch

of boxes and bodies stacked up on top of each other all waiting

for their turn in the spotlight, at love, at peace in all the noise

and distraction. You just want me to come home.

_____________________________________________

Yesterday also marked the loss of one of my oldest clients. Ginger who I took care of for about 12 years. She taught me it was ok to not want to be lonely, with her sad pleading eyes every time I had to leave her. She was one of the fastest dogs at Prospect Park in her day and would run circles around everyone. Here’s her poem from Dogs of Brooklyn.

CASTLE QUEEN
Olive sleeps squished up in a fruit bowl on the kitchen
counter, her striped and spotted tail swishing over its
ceramic side, taunting. After hours, she wakes to case

the clank of the front fence gate. No hurry, she stretches
long and yawns, slowly making her way. Ginger’s ears
perk at the stir and thunk of kitten kitchen table pranks.

Ten years castle queen then along this coy cat came,
sauntering around like she owns the place. Ginger’s
toenails click on the wooden floor as she investigates.

From nowhere a white paw socks her muzzle gray.
She jumps back barking and looks up to find Olive’s
tiny frame towering over her dog, mocking. Quick,

to the window chase! Distracted, retaliation will have
to wait while they contemplate all of the people out on
the sidewalk marching in time trying to keep pace.

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8 Comments

Filed under Brooklyn, Dogs, Poetry

8 responses to “Love and Loss of Two Great Friends

  1. Very sad. My condolences. 😦

  2. Reblogged this on newenglandpetguide and commented:
    So sorry for your loss 😦

  3. Really sorry about Itty Pity…and a well done poem…both are in fact….we lost our 20 year old Alaska Cat a few years ago…I won’t get another cat.

    Again, sorry you lost you buddy, but I’m glad I found you site.

    Regards,

    Doug

  4. Terry C

    So very sorry for both your losses. Guess Itty Pity’s poem was meant to be her eulogy, a perfect tribute.
    Loved Ginger’s story in the book, too.
    They’ll be with you always, as those who help mold us live on in & through us. Hugs from Jacksonville. Terry C

  5. TPS

    Shit, Susie! Ginger was the first dog I formed a bit of a bond with. You turned me on to dogs, no one before you had. Thank you and thank you Ginger. I am sorry for your loss. And for Pity’s departure as well.

  6. sad, but your writing is awesome….

  7. Rexine Fernandez

    So very sorry, I am still mourning for my Baby, a 20 lb boy kitty with FIV pos I have had for 10 years. He passed away suddenly last month, I still look for him when I get home, think I hear him at night or find a crumpled teeth maked Christmas bow somwhere. With tears & Love Rexine

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. I know that even if the pet wasn’t ours, we still make a connection and feel their loss. Make sure you’re there for the family too, you were a big part of Ginger’s life.

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