Kitty Kitty Gang Gang

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 6:39pm

Noah Tappen

Noah Tappen Buy this photo

11:52 AM

Today is one that breaks a pattern I’ve had set weekly. It’s my first time not seeing a therapist in a bit. Freedom is a slippery slope to damnation — poor, poor Jefferson. I really needed a comfort object, which would typically be my pet cat but she ain’t around U of M. Instead I’ve grabbed T.S. Eliot’s “Old POSSUM’s BOOK of Practical CATS,” a collection of poetry which is more or less verbatim the source for the musical “Cats.”

Eliot holds a unique place in my mental library. I can’t seem to separate him from Tennessee Williams. I wonder why?

I really do find this book comforting though. I think it’s because of how stupid it is.

Eliot isn’t a bad writer; his drooling “The Waste Land” has dispensed so much of my short time. Instead, this specific collection of poems is dumb because he wants to be dumb.

Little absurd interpretations upon the meaningless dances of domesticated housecats is enviable. It’s something I would be doing day in and day out if he hadn’t stolen the brilliant conceit 80 years ago (I guessed in this first draft, but it turns out the book was actually published exactly 80 years prior, so that’s a nice omen). I’m jealous of these poems. I’m jealous of how playful and serious they can be, how vague they are, how most folk can dismiss them with little weight because it’s OK to do so. Yet each poem has undeniable meaning, they can be interpreted often and heavy even though they are foolish. It’s about fucking cats dancing. It doesn’t fucking matter. So what if ‘metaphor’ exists. Drown me in the magical fantastical environment of feline fuckery. Fuck me. Let me be dumb and create art which the undamned can gleefully ignore. Let this treasure rest for only those whose wobbling minds can enjoy it. Back off and let me feel glamorous.

12:45 PM

I missed the bus; I love books that rhyme.


Ope there’s a racial slur, guess that’s why that stanza was cut from the musical.


Had lunch, put on the baseketball soundtrack, now back to reading.


The cadences in here are so great it makes everything so easily digestible. Someday I’m gonna recite these poems for my children: simple, straightforward, whimsical. The emotions of each grow as you repeat them. I’m pretty sure hair is a plant because I water when I shower and feed it sunlight whenever I go for a walk, just like grass.

Eliot is a great writer because he can write so simply, he can morph his cupid cues for the audience he blesses that day. Yet he maintains an impressionable and trustworthy voice.


Storytelling of this caliber is so underrated. Just have your ears injected with molasses as you grasp:

“Growltiger was a Bravo Cat, who travelled on a barge:

In fact he was the roughest cat that ever roamed at large.

From Gravesend up to Oxford he pursued his evil aims,

Rejoicing in his title of ‘The Terror of the Thames.’”

It rolls, it’s repeatable, it’s fun, it’s thoroughly lay. Who wouldn’t enjoy this? Picture standing on a barrel and performing for a room, any of these poems would rock the house.


Wow. T.S. Eliot really has it out for the Chinese.


Got coffee with my sister, now time to finish, maybe I should’ve wrote this all in rhyme.


What’s the point of a review? This collection helps me, it makes me feel OK, it makes it be OK to want to create. I should’ve enrolled in that poetry class. This seems so healthy and pleasant to participate in, I should try to learn how to make little end rhymes more often. Maybe seeing that “Cats” is based off poems will make other people read them. They are pleasant — not world changing, but importantly understandable. And Taylor Swift is gonna be in a movie based on this pudding next December.