Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Call Me Gus

image from pinterest.com

Call Me Gus

“With cats, some say, one rule is true--don’t speak
till you are spoken to.”--T.S. Eliot

When I was an actor, 
Nixon was President,
Diana Ross left the Supremes,
Mick Jagger was fined $1,000 
for possessing cannibis
and my mentor,
the British Director 
of my training conservatory,
used to call me Gus.

I discovered that Gus
was the theater cat
from T.S. Eliot’s 1939 poetry book,
I don’t know if being dubbed Gus
was a compliment
or a spot of sarcasm.

Gus was short for Asparagus,
but actually I felt
more fruity than veggie.
Looking back, I’ve come to
realize I’m no longer a Cat. 
I liked the fact that Gus
once said, “I have played
every possible part, and I
used to know seventy speeches by heart”.

My theatrical career was more brief than long,
and I stopped before I heard the bong.
Was my Mentor prophetic
or cruel with a pithy wit?
I will never know,
but even so, one thing is clear--
I liked being a tomcat called Gus,
who sat by the actor’s entrance.
becoming mascot to many
and friend to all.

However, one thing that
Duncan Ross did not know 
was that Andrew Lloyd Weber
would produce a hit show
called CATS, based on Eliot’s poems,
and that in London it would run for 21 years,
and on Broadway it would run for 18 years,
and it would gross 3.5 billion dollars.

I never saw the show,
but a couple of actors
that I trained with were
in the show for a decade;
I’m just saying.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Piub


robkistner said...

Fascinating piece Gus! I have never seen “Cats” either. Figure I’ll wait for the movie — unless I already missed it. Oh well, it wouldn’t be a CATastrophe if I did... ;-)

Judy Dykstra-Brown said...

Glenn, you must see Cats! Surely it is playing somewhere. I'd never seen those stats, which are astounding, but I've seen Cats twice. Enjoyed your story/poem.

Dwight L. Roth said...

Gus is not such a bad name! Sounds like your efforts payed off for a couple of cats! Well done Glenn.

Jade Li said...

Great cover illustration. Interesting story, Glenn. Hey I wanted to tell you I watched, "The Missing" last week, and now agree, Ron Howard would be a good one to direct your story.

Anmol (HA) said...

Such a humourous verse — I'd love to have a cat's name too. I like how you talked about feeling more fruity and no longer being a cat. I really enjoyed this personal history/observation. :-)

brudberg said...

Oh I can just imagine you to play a role in Cats... I have never seen it either, but I do remember it... and my poem was partly inspired by the poem on how to name a cat.

Revived Writer said...

I enjoyed this. :)

Alexandra said...

Old Possum's was the first book of poems I ever read, prompted by my mother, whose favorite book it was. (Her favorite poem was Macavity, and she named all her cats that.) Thanks for a lovely ride down that memory.