Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Poetry Jam: reVerse engIneering pAradise

Moose, @ the lodge, Liberty Mountain Snowplex, Lynchburg, VA

HTAED was the name i gave my cat
in anatomy class

'How morbid,' the other students said
extracting theirs from the thick walled plastic bags
which crinkled harsh with each shift
once stacked neatly, cord wood bodies
tofu textured beneath glass faced cabinets

that first day, separating skin
with scalpel, from muscle
of Fluffy,  Percival,
Mr. Whiskers and such

fur slick on the fingers
as pulled taut, squealing
& moaning, they scrAPED
back to tail where it hung
half mast

HTAED, with his rictus grin,
& i silently shared a joke
at this backward dance
of understanding

life, in his death---wash your hands
all you want, the smell of pReservation

won't come off---

give it a name,
                   let's make it personal

but whatever you do
                    don't lick your dactyls.

written for Poetry Jam.

That really was the name I gave my cat in anatomy---and no one really understood it, but....forgive an old man for thinking back on his birthday....smiles...returning to my own days in high school.

68 comments:

Mary said...

ONE

Mary said...

Yikes, and I am reading this as I am eating breakfast. LOL. I can picture this vividly, Brian (not that I want to...LOL) We never went beyond dissecting FROGS in high school! But later on I dated a medical student who once showed me that cadaver he was working with, and HE had named him too. Nothing I care to see again either.

Happy Birthday, Brian!!! Hope you have a great day.

izzy said...

Happy B'day! and yes even cadavers have names- sometimes they just don't know who the person was-
The formaldehyde is unforgettable!
The amazing muscles and vessels and nerves, Oh My! went from 3 cadavers to the "Body" show which toured several years ago- absolutely
FASCINATING! Thanks.

Susan said...

O I didn't know about the cats. Were they old cats or young? Do you understand cats better now that you have cut into one and skinned (yuk) it? We had frogs and pigs, which was personal enough. I am grateful--and eased somewhat--by this moment:
"HTAED, with his rictus grin,
& i silently shared a joke
at this backward dance
of understanding

"life, in his death---"

Happy Birthday, and many Happy returns of the day!

the walking man said...

ha ha that's one way to skin a cat! I was much older when I got to a class where we had to dissect something or other...of course the kids let me do it. I have to admit it had been a few years and a scalpel is much sharper than a hunting knife but oh the opportunity for disgusting jokes...yeah man I was into it. BUT don't call me Ted (nugent or bundy)

the walking man said...

Oh shit is it your Birthday? I almost missed it. I'll be over after work for the party. No probably not.

But let me wish you today. May it be the best day of the year just passed and the worst day of the year ahead.

Anne said...

The picture of the moose just jumped out at me Brian! I know some people get upset at the idea of dissecting animals, but it is here, in grade school or high school, where future doctors are born.

I worked with human cadavers when teaching gross anatomy and the awe one feels when looking at the complexity of what God wrought is overwhelming. And no, you don't want to get paraformaldehyde on your dactyl, as it really does cling!

Pat Hatt said...

haha took me a second to catch on
But I get the name at your lawn
Dsylexic were you?
Or is that just your old age showing through? hahaha
Happy birthday too.
The big 4 0 is creeping up on you

DJan said...

How very sad. I've never dissected anything, the closest I ever came was cutting up a chicken when I was younger. Now I don't even eat those any more. Don't know how I might have fared in your class.

Happy birthday, Brian! Have a great day! That's an order!

JANU said...

Many More Happy Returns of the day!
Yuk...this is the reason I never took up science.

kaykuala said...

Happy Birthday, Brian! Gosh, you are having a field day in class. Not many have that privilege of interacting with so many people at different levels. Every best wishes to you!

Hank

Gloria said...

Happy birthday dear Brian and blessings!:)
Have a nice day with T and the kids!

Gloria said...

Pfffftt Pat! He is a really nice man!

Anyes said...

Happy Birthday to you, "old man" ;-)

I still remember the frog I had to dissect in grade 7...Come to think of it I never named her, I guess I could have.

Have an awesome day

PattiKen said...

Oh, yuck. And first thing in the morning, too. Always knew you were a bit twisted...

and OLDER! Happy Birthday, my friend! Have a great day!

Dave King said...

Two of us had to keep two types of animal for general science at college. We chose ants and a (very small, baby) alligator - which we disposed of to the biology dept pretty damn sharpish!

Laurie Kolp said...

Dissecting cats... ugh... I liked it back then b/c I was originally going to become a nurse, but now it makes me gag. I can still smell that formaldehyde!

AmyLK said...

Oh the memories the new job is going to bring up! At least we get to enjoy the stories along with you this time!

Goat said...

YPPAH YADHTRIB!!!!
Good poem. The smell of death does not come off. Preserving it it is the ultimate irony....

Monkey Man said...

Hppy day Miller :) I'm not sure I will look at tofu the same again after reading this...lol

Valerie said...

Happy, happy birthday, Brian. Hope it was a good, good day.

Thankfully I never had to dissect anything at school; even in adulthood I couldn't remove giblets from fowl. Mind you, I'm a wizz when it comes to treating humans...smiles.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I was the note taker on those days!

inaweblogisback said...

Happy birthday :)
Death and birth and living in between, all is poetry :)

Tara Miller said...

That sounds like something you'd do, my love! Glad we dissected the rabbit rather that a kitty cat!

Have a fantastic day at school on your birthday. BTW, when you forgot your lunch....you left your piece of surprise birthday cake that was tucked inside for a surprise. ;) You can look forward to it for dessert.

Helen said...

BIRTHDAY BOY! Make it a good one ..
Never had to dissect anything in school, former husband brought home all manner of 'specimens' during his med school days. Our boys endlessly curious and fascinated! (yes, his cadaver was given a name)

Daydreamertoo said...

Have a very, very Happy Birthday Brian!~!
Yuck on dissecting cats or anything. Double yuck in fact!

Tabor said...

I do not get it but I was almost overcome by the fumes.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Happy Birthday, my friend! I'd buy you a drink if I were there. Have a great year and thanks for the gift of that intriguing poem; loved it.

Mama Zen said...

Did someone say "birthday?" Have a good one, Brian! You're still just a young pup.

Claudia said...

smiles...we never dissected any animals in school..at least not as far as i can remember...but i would've passed out anyway..so maybe i passed out and therefore can't remember..ha...hope the kids in school sang you a little birthday song...smiles

Betsy Brock said...

Happy Birthday, my twin. Hope today is nice. Key Lime Pie for dessert, I hope! Almost exactly a month before mine! Gosh, you're getting old. lol. xo

Had a unit-mate in college that stole a cat from an anatomy lab and hid it in my roommate's bed. Oh my.

Lolamouse said...

Happy Bday Brian!

I never would have made it thru a cat! I gagged over a chicken wing and a frog! However, my husband, when training to be an MD, named his cadaver "Large Marge!"

ND Mitchell said...

Wow-that's some memory! Loved reading about it. Happy Birthday!

manicddaily said...

Yahoo! Happy Birthday first!

Not old man, second!

Better to have a birthday and even to be old than to be a cat in a lab!

Very wonderful last line, for poets esp. k.

^.^ said...

It's your B-Day? Happy Birthday, B :) Other than that ... we never dissected anything in school, besides our teacher's nerves ...

^.^ said...

O, I guess I forgt about commenting on the poem ... in a minute, dear ... let me get over the dissecting animals in school first, eh :) Love, cat.

Goofball said...

Happy Birthday Brian!


Is there something in the name HTEAD I should understand to see why it's morbid? I have the feeling I miss something.



Mom said...

I remember the HTEAD stories...yuck. Still can't believe he had you all do that. Wouldn't people have a fit now. Glad I got to talk to you twice on your birthday. Have a good evening. Glad you are my oldest:)

Alice Audrey said...

What does HTAED stand for?

adan said...

happy birthday young man, you brought me back some vivid hs memories of my senior year ;-) smells and all !!

Grace said...

Happy happy birthday Brian ~

This is one HS subject that I hate..yikes ~

Have a wonderful time and cheers ~

Daniel said...

I also named my fetal pig. I don't remember what I called him, but it gave me no end of giggles back in the day.

Brian Miller said...

HTAED is D_E_A_T_H spelled backward....

thanks for all the bday wishes...was a good day...smiles...

ipenka said...

Oh, very clever. Took me a second but that is hilarious.

Also since apparently its your birthday, hope you have a good one.

Yes, the move will bring me closer to work. Significantly (1 hour drive becomes a 10 minute bike ride!).

Annmarie Pipa said...

happy birthday. all people born in August are smart.

hedgewitch said...

Happy Birthday, bri--LTTP again, but this time, not so bad as hopefully the cat dissecting is over. I never went past frogs, thankfully. You made this scene smell like a slice of the past, (ha)not willingly revisited too often, but mitigated a bit by turning things backwards and on their heads. Or, off their heads, maybe?

Steve E said...

Did I make the cut, the birthday one, before bewitching hour, the twELFth plUS twELFth?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, you, the cool, live cat with the
cOLD
daed
HTAED

High school? Again? GET ME OUTTA HERE!
Peace, Bri-Guy!

SueAnn Lommler said...

Happy Birthday to you!!!
Have a great celebration...make it last.
As for the post...all I can say is "ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww"
Hugs
SueAnn

ladyfi said...

Happy birthday Brian!

I'm so glad I always accidentally missed Biology when we had to dissect stuff.

Lorraine said...

I so don'tneed this ,not today, not now not until she comes back,my Sammi, although you know you gotta write what you gotta write

Ravenblack said...

Belated happy birthday, Brian. Hope you had a great birthday.

I never enjoyed practical anatomy. I really hate the smell of the chemical they use. They do get into the clothes and skin. I was just like...urks... as I read this. I can never work with animals, whether dead or alive.

"backward dance of understanding life, in his death..." Cool insight there.

sonny said...

looks like i missed your birthday...and looks like you had a lovely day...still wishing you all the very best in everything brian...


awesome name---reverse engg...smiles

Magpie said...

Funny on the name...yucky on the details. :)

Sue said...

As I was reading your poem, the pungent smell of formaldehyde seemed to waft into my consciousness.

Thanks, dude.

;)

goatman said...

My cat had tapeworms.

RMP said...

quite an apt name. learning about life backwards by dissecting death backwards. nice.

we dissected worms and frogs, though the honors class did do cats and I remember how excited my teacher was at the find she shared (by digging them out from within) three close to full term kittens. seems wrong how excited she got over it.

on a more positive note...happy birthday.

ayala said...

Happy belated birthday Brian. I hope it was amazing and I wish you happiness and health always.

Margaret said...

My husband would love this... but I had a funny look on my face the entire read. My husband tells me about the pigs and dogs he dissected... I never thought to ask about cats. But... so much is learned, I know.

Happy Birthday!

Vicki Lane said...

The formaldehyde is my main memory -- I did frogs and a fetal pig -- pretty fascinating how all that stuff fits in there. I still think that when we butcher chickens.

Loredana Donovan said...

Sorry I couldn't finish reading this, as I lost my cat recently, and your poem was disturbing to me. But I wanted to know I stopped by ...

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"HTAED was the name i gave my cat
in anatomy class..."


Hi! Brian...
Tks, for sharing your memory Of an incident from your past in your poetic words.
[and the image too!]
deedee :-/

tracy said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Brian! Please don't call yourself "old" (she says out of pure selfishness)! Also, I am now thankful we only dissected frogs and starfish.

my heart's love songs said...

Belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Brian!!!

they used CATS in your biology class??? OMG! i would have been gathering them all up and running away {as i was puking, i'm sure!} we used fetal pigs which were bad enough!

this is DEFINITELY a horror genre for me!

thanks for joining in at Poetry Jam!

Zuzana said...

Happy belated birthday dear friend, hope it was a good one.;)
Did you really dissected cats in school? That seems a bit morbid (considering you were children and they are pets;), I do not think we ever dissected anything.;)
xoxo

Mary Mansfield said...

Wow...I may regret eating my spaghetti in front of the computer reading poetry, yikes! Definitely a unique topic for a poem (and yes, just a bit morbid) but you did such a wonderful job of linking it to our larger lives outside the classroom!

Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Brian!

Jessica Maybury said...

bloody brilliant, mister :) Muscular & experimental. What else do you want in poems?

Evelyn Adams said...

wow, this is vivid. first line sucks you in...

gabrielle said...

i was a conscientious objector, myself. but loved how vivid you made this experience.
Happy Birthday!