City of Medicine

by Catthumbs

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cw: sex, blood, brief mention of self harm

These are all poems about the year we moved to North Carolina and tried to be grown ups.


released March 20, 2016

These recordings are all by Cody Burawski and Jesse Morales,
Cat Thumbs is also sometimes Mabel Silva and Maia Blenderman



all rights reserved


Catthumbs Providence, Rhode Island

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Track Name: Whole Foods
I was born in a coffee cup
Seven times this week
It is gross
It is plasticine
It is sunflowers and florescent yellow
Like pissing froyo coupons
And job applications for hands
There is a girl who sleeps in my arms some nights
And I dream we are sleeping in the produce isle
At Whole Foods and the manager is upset
When I trace my palms around her skin
My hands are GPS markers
Mapping the routes I take to try to be nowhere
And measuring the number of minutes
until I have to know what time it is again.
I never meant to move into my email address
Or cut myself for Facebook.
I told her secret name
To the guy at the supermarket bakery
In exchange for a manufactured cake
Made of acid sugar and kitchen sponge
That is slowly fusing itself
To the shelf in the refrigerator.
The intentions are good.
There are flowers here
But the flowers here have nametags
They didn't write themselves.
Track Name: Garden
May, 2015
"Hey, wait."
She pops a cherry candy in her mouth
I count to ten
She opens her lips and a ladybug is perched there like a cute tongue stud,
Waits just long enough to stop making me nervous
Before it flies away to someone's garden.

July 2015
We walk everywhere.
It's not grown up.
There's always stuff in our pockets and in summer a little halo of snow follows her around
And weighs her hair down.
We sit on the grass by the drainage ditch outside the shopping plaza eating garlic knots,
Never sure how weird it looks,
Whether the folks leaving the DMV find us embarrassing or inspirational

September 2015
We fuck like living in a house that's been abandoned since the 60s
My appliances are never wired right and
Your body is a rotary phone I don't know how to operate
I whisper in your ear
"Can you hear me now?"
And we hold still until the squirrels' nest in the attick
Quiets long enough for me to hear you answer
We're not sure there even is a circuitbreaker anymore
Most nights we just lay there in the dark
Because the pillows are the only things we know how to repair

November 2015
Next time some ivy league kid is rude to you at your restaurant job
I'm strapping the tent to my backpack
And carrying you to the Appalachians
Where the sky opens up
And we're gonna scream it out like fishercats
Hurl pianos at the sleeping construction sites
Skip the cattlespurs in our clockwork
Out into the atmosphere
Propelled out there on a jetstream of all the fucked up shit they put you through
And everything they told you not to cry about
And every time they told you to man up
Howl at the moon so loud
Every dog in North Carolina starts barking
And every person starts barking
All the way back to business majors at UNC and all the homeless folks on Franklin Street
We're gonna scream every pushed aside truth
And every crumpled up feeling
Back into the atmosphere
Filter a hundred years of carbon emissions through our trembling bodies
Shot out into space like a giant robot anime finally
Beam of pure goddamn human catharsis
Into a new star

May 2016
"Hey, wait."
She pops a cherry candy in her mouth
I count to ten
She opens her lips and a ladybug is perched there like a cute tongue stud,
Waits just long enough to stop making me nervous
Before it flies away to someone's garden.
Track Name: Brick
I make a bulletted list
Of all the ways I am different
From the bones in the bricks
But each bullet
Slips through my bare ribs
Like this is an everyday question
That doesn't need an answer

The first love I remember
Stands where the grass gets taller
Because she stands there
And she hopes when she pouts her lips
It makes a sound like dogs barking
And it does.

I trade my time for my stomach
Over coffee
With the rain everywhere
Just begging for me back
To mix with the bones in the bricks
And I curl up in the public bathroom sobbing
While someone reads the paper

My first love
Stands naked over the galaxy
In an abandoned resort casino
Drawing moss from the sweat
Of the boy who works at the gas station
This is what happened
To the kids of the twentieth century
Who wanted to be astronauts
So they could run away from home

I measure stones with my pocketwatch
Perpetually interrogating
The ground under my feet
For signs of a past I wasn't there for
Or some ghost who needs vigil
So I'll at least feel useful
It's not that it's quiet here
There are sounds I just
Don't know how to answer back

Back home where the water's words make sense
I walk along the levee barefeet in tall grass
Where the sky curls new colors out of itself
Where the bone in the soil weaves dandelions
And where the lyme bug sunk it's teeth
Into my hips
And named itself Leaving
And named itself Cody
I've called this abandoned
A sunken ship and all it's graveyards
But out across the water
Where my boots don't know the rocks yet
A lot of things
Are still growing
Track Name: Kitchen
Hollow waisted and smooth
In a softglow dream she births a fox
Wriggling from her chest
To arms
Dewey wonder she mouths words
Thought aloud into the caverns
Of kitchen floor
Of afternoon
Of gently rocking
and mewling housecats
"Say Hello"
She says
"This is the year two thousand and sixteen"