iska is the name of the cat you don’t own. Who owns this cat across your path? This last birth in the garden? The last children of the last family of the garden were two bunnies, Pip & Flip, but they got busted fast for nothing much and were sent off by the cops.
      This is a cold jar.
      Kiska is the name you use to speak to the cat you don’t own. Our actors take the stage in a desert camp.      
Kids are ugly & ignorant but that’s how it begins. I used to be a kid. Just the last other day I was dunking an orange cat until it was dead when two or three bunnies came around. They let me know and then they bit me. Now I’m dead and will tell you a tale.
      January was one way. I wrote down the first of one hundred and eight emotions. This is only five or six pages which I’m giving you, I’m not your star pupil, I want to give you more but not everything. Trouble trouble.
      You said fairy tales aren’t about personal business but here I am to write about a mistaken concept I’ve worked under, failed under, and I’m still here to write this, two-time loser, love me love me.
      There are two loves and one war. Can I say anything twice about this? Can I adjust? Can I enter glee soon? Less blithe? Less loathe?
      Here, let me tell you a story about love:
      A boy is sitting in a rented room in the town at the end of the rail line because his poppa said “Kid, I’ve lost every brother and every son and they’ve all turned up in the bellies of the fish we’ve caught.”
      Poppa fisher cried a little and gave his son a dead flounder. He turned toward the harbor. He said “Kid, put on a suit and leave town. Your mother’s moved in with the tattoo inker and I’ll be sinking the boat.”
      The boy put on his black suit, which had been worn twelve times from the church to the graveyard, and packed a box with his fish.
      The town at the end of the rail line is empty during the week because everyone commutes to the other end of the rail. On the weekend, the boy stays in his rented room to avoid crying in front of strangers.
      Today is Sunday.
      The boy hides under the sheets of the sticky rental bed in his rumpled funeral suit and stares at the box on the dresser. The extra fat belly of the flounder presses against the top of the cardboard box, making it bulge. Even with the window open, the room smells like death.
      On Monday the boy gets directions to the edge of town, even though the town is a simpleton’s shithole suburbia and he could’ve walked to the edge of town blinded or delirious. He sits at the edge of town with the dead flounder under his arm, wearing his black suit, so if anyone sees him crying he can say he’s in mourning. Which he is.
      Now a cat who was skirting town came up to the boy and asked for a bite of the fish. The boy knew what a cat was like because his poppa fisher kept one on deck to catch the fish who tried to jump ship.
      The boy said “Cat, you can eat this whole damn flounder. My brother’s bones are in its belly and it’s the last fish my poppa ever caught.” And he threw the fish into the dirt and the orange cat began to eat the flounder, picking the stringy flesh away from the bones until, at the edge of town, at the end of the rail line, in a wide and well-lit alley, there was only a boy in a black suit, an orange cat, and the belly of a flounder encased in a small cage of clean bones.
      “Kid,” the cat said. “I won’t disturb the resting place of your dead brother, but thank you for your gift.”
      The fisherman’s son sits in his bare room which still stinks and he still cries, but the boy doesn’t know if he is crying for his brother or for the orange cat. He wishes there was another flounder, even one so full of the dead, but the boy decides to visit the cat and give her another treat.
      Using silverware stolen from a railroad cafeteria, he cut away the flounder bones, leaving the swollen, pearly belly intact. He put on a clean tee shirt which said “I © My Cat” and wrapped the bones in the colored pages of a newspaper advert.
      The alley at the edge of town was empty, so the boy kept walking. Eventually, at another edge of town, the smell of fish bones brought the orange cat back to him. She said “Kid, did another brother die? Did your father fish again?” The boy said “No cat, but I brought you back the bones of the flounder.”
      The orange cat just stared at the land-locked boy and his tee shirt and began to walk away. She said, with her tail bent, “Kid, the fish was great, but the bones are only a reminder that this town starves us on the dead. If you want to give me a gift, create a sanctuary for me, a place where I can eat.”
      But then, before she could walk away completely, the boy called out “Cat, what is your name?” And she said “Kid, I do not have a name, but if you want to call me something, call me Kiska.”
      “What’s your name, kid?” the cat asked.
      The boy said “Jonah.”
      Q: So, a story, alright. But what do you know about love?
      A: That there are other loves.
      I’m still a kid, but I remember nothing. It was warm, and a long time ago. I came from the land of nothing and believed I would have to walk back eventually. When I first heard a Kiska’s purr I thought of nothing again, but I still heard a purring. I decided to take this back, the first thing I would carry back to warm nothing, being itself proof of the living for the land of the dead. I tried to send the cat back ahead of me, but when I had finished and looked backwards to remember nothing with a purring, something else came up.
      Bunny 1: What can we say?
      Bunny 2: Don’t answer that yet.
      Bunny 1: But now we’ve said the first thing.
      Bunny 3: Then he’s on his way.
      Bunny 2: Hey, what’s that in your hand?
      Bunny 3: He can’t answer that yet.
      Then I heard the bunnies say “There’s no going back to nothing again, but you may as well follow a cat.”
      Let me tell you a story of the other love:
      In the morning you wake yourself up to the joy of knowing your lover will remain a maze. You ask him a question and there isn’t an answer that won’t twist off your prick and tie it up with shoe string.
      Once I knew a man who loved his girl so much she turned into fifty-two Rubick’s Cubes for an all-night solitaire session, but he went out and bought those books with the clues in them and it seemed he couldn’t get anywhere. See a cube of solid colors in one hand and the gloved one down his pants.
      My lover and I sleep in the dormitory hall of an abandoned college and we all try to get up at once, 7 o’clock, to screw around before work, just her and I. The sound of 23 alarm clocks is terrifying and some of us have beaten them with the many steel legs of the many bunks.
      I can always count on meeting at least part of our love, at least 1/32nd of a second, running between the others, the sleepwalking ones or the us that are still hung up from the week’s end.
      Like sweeping the breakfast table with a bathroom broom, I’m up there trying not to hit the ceiling light with the other end, five moments of love all staring up at me muttering Fucker can’t even wait till I’m finished with my oatmeal! Whore fucker! Where was he last night?
      I was here! I was mapping out the maze my love is for you. It’s wonderful, every time you turn the corner another amazing turn, I’ve arranged it, doesn’t it seem like there’s always two choices, you just can’t figure out how to find the center.
      “You want me to have a center, don’t you?” I ask the fucker standing on my breakfast table, and he looks down and he says “I don’t think you’ve got a minotaur in there at all.”
      “Then what are you afraid of?” I’m asking.
      And she’s back down there crying into the oats and milk.
      “I’m afraid I won’t ever get out.” she says.
      I’m cheating her, I’m trying to trick her into believing this maze will stretch across every river and dale and hill and knoll, and as long as I can run fast enough, I can.
      And since my maze is a only a tunnel of cardboard boxes it’s not so bad. I can manipulate twenty to thirty boxes at a time.
      They’re down on their knees and I’m not tired, I’m cunning, I anticipate every move, and when the bells chime and we sulk back towards the barracks, I’m full of joy.
      You asked me once “What are we made of?” Well, these are the things we’re made of. This is my mistake, this is my coat, this is a water glass. This was my drink, my lover, this was mine.
      Q: What is still here?
      A: There is the trace, which is a group of rabbits. There is still the skulk, which is the collective noun of the fox.
      Q: Who will master this love?
      This is what the bunnies told me:
      A rabbit was chased by a fox, of all the crazy shit in the world, and the fox kept up the chase, circling the globe from inside to out, until the world caught up with them standing in some downtown German metropolis, and the rabbit thinks fast, like second guessing.
      This is a story about the war between foxes & rabbits, between the trace and the skulk. The foxes are sure of victory and the rabbits know at least two things: 1) Rabbits sense doom. This is so singular in the mind of the trace that rabbits often forget the other thing they know. 2) All rabbits know the story of Pip & Flip, the bunny twins.
      There is Pip and there is Flip and there is war and Pip & Flip were being chased by a fox—the warren on fire, the ground collapsing beyond the drop sheets, the fox waiting on the other side to eat them.
      Pip touched the only other rabbit listening.
      Flip: Are you sure?
      Pip:  We’re doomed.
      Flip: How sure?
      Pip: I know where you can hide, Flip. If you can squeeze in with the fetal rabbits of my womb…
      And in the darkest calm before first noises Flip hides within the blood of Pip, twists in like it’s any other warren, nestles in soft with the other occupant, ready for the new white blood of day. When the fox sees Pip run past, he will think “Well, there’s at least one more rabbit in that warren.”
      Where does all this hope come from? Why doesn’t the fox kill everything?
      Flip stirs, Flip is blood, Flip appears wet in the world which now includes public bathrooms, piss, and teenager girls. Or at least one. And she says “Okay Flip, when I open this stall door you’ve got to go.”
      Flip: Oh Pip, but where can I go? And now you’re probably fourteen years old and you’ve got your hair in twists!
      Pip: Yeah Flip, but I got you this far so hop outta the toilet & Good Luck.
      When a rabbit meets a rabbit they take the time to tell the other of Pip & Flip. The rabbits then agree that there must be two rabbits, at least, and that in turn there is a trace. I am only repeating what I heard.
      Q: Can I ask you things?
      A: You must, or there will be things I never explain, never tell.
      Q: What is it to have heard the story of Pip & Flip?
      A: It is to sit under a murder of crows. No, it’s to talk out our place, to know the one same thing, not just doom, the end is not shared, ten bunnies buried in a sack is not what we know together. We say once there were two, the fox can only see one, but one will carry on after us, you know this and I know this, together we trace out the trail away from doom. There isn’t hope, there is a trail. I follow you.
      This is the fantasy I almost never have, after I’ve hurt myself running or turning tricks for you, for you who I called lover & love. Someday there will be two houses, a yellow one and a green, and I’ll live in them both. A dirt road with two mailboxes and random trees and I would live there, with the kitchen in one and a bedroom in the other. At night, after I leave my house, I’ll have a hallway of looking straight up to the stars. Shadows between them and some shadows will be cats or birch or beech.
      This starts at night, you’re not looking at the stars anymore, not the trees, and you’re going to bed but someone is still in the kitchen. The shadows are edges and so are the cats. Look: One house is empty, a dark which is simple, waiting for sleep. And the other which is lit, watched, the house I am watching over. One house, two house. The road goes away from here and I’m waiting for your letters and there is no horizon but a bent sky, the sea’s horizon.
      This is brief: there are two loves from one vantage point: Easy Love and Hard. Easy Love is as great as a maze you build with cardboard boxes and you trick a baby into searching nothing, a tunnel of brown paper and a dark afternoon. An animal would escape. It would run and find a real maze.
      Looking up, a branch cuts between the sky. There is a cat on the branch. The tree fills the sky between I and the stars and Kiska fills the tree, a kitten on every branch.
      Q: Who are you?
      A: We alone think on this, we walk along a street with a storefront window dressed to fashion decades past. Is it that you and I view the decayed dresses differently? Are you nervous? Do you find the shopgirl to ask her, “Please, will you take them down?” We are both reminded, we have walked this district before. Tomorrow we will be deer and step up to the filmy plateglass again.
      Once there was a deer called a stag. The stag refused to breathe when he halted, his horned herd stopped moving, the hooves in the mind remain lifted. In the forest that he covers today everything comes close, the branches slide around him just as he grew into a white breasted, a many pointed. But the stag halted in the clearing made by the moonlight dipping to the ground. A stag looks across.
      Stag watches stag and they tell no story. Two stags see the flickering space, hear what would follow this. I am not going to cross to you and you have to pass on, there is nothing to match up, to situate any closer. This is the clearing made by two stags and, moonlit, this is what we cross.
      Will you ask me what the sum is? What would you add together in this place? I cannot discern myself from the faded patterns, the fashions have aged. And if we travel the equation at similar rates, it reminds me of some tale, stay here with me to remember, it reminds me of where I was going without you.
      I cannot tell you the story of the skulk, but I can tell you how this ends. This is what the son of the Poppa fisher did:

I took the belly from the box, put it someplace safe from disrespect, and went back out looking for Kiska again. No time later, I found her. It was easy. She was asleep on a wall. When she woke up, she said “Jonah, what are you doing?”
      “It’s easy, I’ve seen people with kittens in boxes, I’m going to keep you here, in this box, in my room, and no one will mind as long as you stay inside the box.”
      And Kiska got into the box because now Jonah was yelling.
      “Well, at least it smells nice.”
      “Yes, and I’ll feed you.”
      “But I’ll die in here.”
      “Yes, and I’ll feed you,” said the boy who once ate nothing but fish until now when he ate burritos most of the time. And Kiska laid down and ended up in the rented room with the suit and the belly and bed.
      Jonah dreamt.
      A cat looked back at him, over the rim of the box. It was a dream of kittens left in a box, a sign said FREE KITTENS. He took the cat from the box and looked back, there are two kittens in the box now, Jonah. He took another, but there are three kittens in the box for the two in his arms. He takes three Kiska.
      Now look, Jonah, ten cats jump out, they’re still jumping out in the dream, they turn their eye to look at him alone. The Kiska moves in lines, they walk together. The cardboard box spills open to reveal Kiska licking itself clean & free kittens.
      The first dream ends and Jonah looks at the ceiling. Kiska sits down next to him and strokes his face. She’s wearing the black mourning suit and purring how well it fits and how he should look her up sometime.
      And she leaves him all alone.
      Q: How?
      A: How to do what?
      Q: What?
      A: To motivate the nature of Kiska, which is all of Kiska to each Kiska.
      This boy, called Jonah, sleeps naked in his rented room, in the town at the end of the line, where everything is filthy. Who painted this room grey? Who built this town?
      Jonah dreams, standing between things, seeing himself and a flounder. In his dream the fish is frozen above the water. This dream is murky.
      Q: Is Jonah alone? Is the town empty? Where are the people?
      A: Today is Tuesday. His brother speaks from the flounders mouth. “Jonah, this is the beach. This is the fish. This is sea.” A school of flying fish hover above the water, saying “Swim, now swim, now swim.” And the dream ends, a fabrication, left without extension, hinting.
      Jonah sits in bed and touches the slick pink belly on the pillow and it bubbles. The belly says “Listen, this is your brother. There is water, there is land. This is murky, this is a murkiness.”
      The bones click in a voice like memory, saying “This is loving to swim, so swim.” So, like a smart boy, Jonah gets out of the room and again goes looking for Kiska, but he gets lost in the night. Around all corners he sees a black suit and a feline movement.
      Q: Is she everywhere?
      Q: Which orange cat?
      Q: Who is lost?