Better late than never, we say, better late than never. We're writers, after all, and procrastination is our forte. We launched the fourth season of The Inner Loop in January (can you believe it? we can't!), and hot damn did we have some incredible writers to help us kick off the new year. Then in February we got to celebrate with a big event for AWP, featuring writers from our friends at District Lit, Sakura Review and The Boiler. So yes, it's now March and we have had TWO events already this season and we are tragically remiss in the delay bringing you this month's Writer of the Month. But it's worth the wait, really.
Our season IV opener was on January 24, 2017 -- so suffice it to say that we were all grateful to be gathered sharing art and community, and bearing witness to each other's words and experiences. Among the stand-out writers of the evening was poet J.G. McClure. With just a few short selections, he captured the the attention of the room in a way that felt like, while listening, we were all one pulsing eardrum with a vein leading right to our collective heart. His pieces were philosophical but grounded, ruminative yet concrete. Our favorite, "The Cat", made us actually laugh, then nervous laugh, and then finally, kind of cry a little. Read on to see why.
About J.G. McClure:
J.G McClure holds an MFA from the University of California - Irvine. His poetry and prose appears in Best New Poets, Gettysburg Review, Green Mountains Review, and Nashville Review, among others. His debut collection, "The Fire Lit & Nearing", is forthcoming (Indolent Books 2017). You can find him at jgmcclure.com.
J.G. is also the first to be a part of our new collaboration with the good people of Northern Virginia's Passenger magazine. From here on out, each month, Passenger will be interviewing our Writers of the Month about the challenges of balancing professional and creative lives. So after you read this month's selection, scoot on over to Passenger's The Writer's Life to learn more about J.G. McClure.
First she’d bring a mouse, a bird. Fur or feathers matted, eyes bulging, fang holes in the neck. Then one day a deer. The whole stag matted, bulging, fang-holed—she purred her tiny purrs. “Good cat,” we said. “Nice kitty.”
For a long time it was quiet. Then an SUV, wheels up and oil pooling. The tires twitched pitifully. She circled, rubbed, moved from leg to leg.
“We’ve got to tell someone.”
“It only means she loves us.”
We’d buried the car when she brought down the jet. Dazed passengers filed out one by one; they called us terrible names. We scratched behind her ears—what else could we do—as she batted the oxygen masks. When the army came with their tanks she ate their tanks and slinked toward the city. We heard great cries then silence.
Now she’s dragging down the sun for us. The air gets hotter every day. Eggs boil inside their shells; pigeons burn mid-flight—but she looks so happy coming near, fire shimmering in her eyes.
Weeping, doomed, we lay out her favorite treats. In the end, there’s only love.
"The Cat" is previously published online at Woven Tale Press.