Category: Uncategorized

Praise for “A Street Cat Named Bob”

Who was awake at 1:30 AM yesterday? I was. And not because I wanted to be. My spouse was up as well and we sat shoulder to shoulder in bed, bleary eyed and exhausted–but unable to sleep. The fact that we have a 36″ flat screen at the foot of our bed is, I’m sure, responsible in part for our collective insomnia but we have to have a TV in our bedroom and it has to be turned on –always.

Frustrated by the usual Netflix shuffle, the looking at various categories of movies and trying to find just the right film (we really wanted to be bored and lulled to sleep) we paused to read the short synopsis of the movie, “A Street Cat Named Bob.”

Bob is a ginger cat with amazing green emerald eyes and he “adopts” a heroin addicted busker, named James, who has just survived an overdose. The movie has its predictable moments; a friend overdoses and dies, family dysfunction and confrontation, but it’s based on a true life story and is well written with tenderness and brutal honesty that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. It’s also heartbreaking and you will cheer for the busker and also find yourself yelling “No! No! Don’t do it!”

Bob becomes a companion to James as he works the most profitable street corners,singing and playing his guitar and drawing admiration and attention all the while struggling to feed himself and the cat. In a Methadone program and in temporary emergency housing, James wonders aloud how many “lives” Bob has used and tells the cat, “I’m on my 9th.”

The social worker helping James has incredible faith believing James is different and that he’ll make it but she is also realistic when she cautions him about getting romantically involved with a young girl he meets, “Emotions are no friend to an addict.”

There is a scene in the movie that I loved and thought profound in its subtlety: Bob and James are riding on the upper level of a double decker bus and enjoying the view. The bus passes by a movie marquee for the play, The Lion King, and the busker tells Bob, “You could be that. That could be you.”

Needless to say, A Street Cat Named Bob did NOT put me to sleep. It’s a feel good movie to be sure but without the need for sticky syrup sweetness or blood and gore with senseless action.

I’m always happy to find movies like this. True stories. Real people. Well done.

Poem

47 Inches The rain has saturated my very soul caused my heart to swell and crack caused my eyes to blur and hallucinate golden sun the rain has saturated my very soul waterlogged my spirit and made my tears invisible. copyright2017caceresbg

Yes, It Hurts…

A few days ago a colleague of mine asked for the name of the drug that killed Michael Jackson.
“Propofol” I answered.
“It makes you forget, dosen’t it?” And she went on to lament the fact that no such drug is available for regular use and wouldn’t it be nice to take a pill and just forget your bad memories?

She doesn’t know yet how important memories are—even the bad ones—especially the bad ones. She hasn’t yet moved beyond the pain she wants to forget.

I should tell her, erasing bad memories isn’t the answer. Accept the pain and put it in its proper place. I would tell her to imagine her brain as if it’s a closet that needs organizing. The bad memories can be categorized and filed and placed in a simple cardboard box out of her line of vision. They will always be there and one day she might even want to pull them forward, bring them back and reminiscence.

Our memories are as individual as our fingerprints. In any given situation, no one will have the same perceptions or remember events in exactly the same way. Memories are the history book of our own lives. Days are pages, months are chapters and a year can be an entire book, while our life experiences will grow to volumes.

I should tell her to feel the pain. Treat it like childbirth. Ride it like a wave and breathe, breathe until you move in rhythm with it. The pain will fade and you’ll be left—not with scars—but with a new sensitivity, a compassion and deeper understanding, and you may not even need to file the memory away, just let it be a part of you.

Being able to accept emotional discomfort is necessary. While no one wants to feel bad we all need coping skills. Coping skills allow a person to function during stressful events. Processing emotional pain means gaining wisdom.

I want to tell my colleague that being strong doesn’t mean not being affected by unfortunate events. It ‘s not about false bravado or nonchalance. She begins to cry softly at her desk. I want to tell her all of what I believe but I say nothing and just hold her tight in my arms for a few minutes.

copyright2017caceresbg

Two Poems

For Ben

Knocked from your pedestal by the truth
we are no longer strangers
your children
like mine
are a gift to this family
without blood as a binding agent
they are here by grace
and power
and cannot be bullied by your family name.

——————————————————————————–

Banker’s Hours

He wants to fire me because I don’t share his love of numbers
but how can I love that which is like dust;
colorless and ubiquitous?
Forcing into the soft palm of my hand those sharp edges
of sevens, fours and ones
he grins the way insiders do
and I smile with crazy 8 eyes
and force my lips into a big zero.