Cutie "Booty" and Ward Wardlow XIV create a sound composition, live improv, #ninelivesmatter -- an exploration on mortality and brushes with death.

A Pretty Fences Production, City of the Arts Festival, August 1 (4-8 PM), Seattle, WA


Audio coming soon!


[ script for #ninelivesmatter ]

by Keeara Rhoades



remember when monkey’s jumped on the bed

falling off -- always cracked their head

and little bunny fufu bopped field mice on their heads too

I never understood why they had to die.


when I was seven I was hit with a bat in the head

before that, when I was five

I fell off a springy mattress –

The fall knocked me out

But I survived, more or less.


Years later I helped a Dr. stitch a man’s hand.

The separation of his skin made me faint

So I decided not to be a Dr.

I focused instead on playing drums and painting lions

The lion eyes could see inside fighting minds.


The fighting minds …

But one time I died.


I ate a cookie and drank a whisky and stood beneath the stage of a punk band

So loud I could feel the bass in my teeth

Suddenly I couldn’t breathe

The cookie didn’t make me small or big

It made me fall like a soggy towel slipping out of grip

I can remember a smell so bad I held my breath


Another time I kicked inside the undertow of a wave before drug ashore

But my first memory ever was hiding from a tornado.

Another time I ran away from one.

I was driving on the highway watching clouds converge above my head.

Cars were pulled over, people were in the ditch.

I fled, and drove as fast as I could back where I came from.


What if Dorothy died in the tornado?

Maybe she did and OZ was what’s next.

And Alice, maybe she was trapped inside a mirror –


What’s on the other side?

“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”

filled not with black and white mirror image people, but with

“modest mouse colored people” and

right handed “Mirror Milk” waves saying okay

infinity sign (on it’s side) times.

Crazy eights, forever --

Never reach nine.

Nine lives matter.


One time I took a photo of the tv screen

It was a presidential address, live.

George W Bush was making funny faces

I processed my film and looked at the negatives on a light table

The film was black and white

The only thing I could see in the negative, were the words, “evil”

my negatives were backward on the table.


That’s when I fell in love with palindromes

And Redrum

And the red room in twin peaks where people speak backward

Ah satan sees Natasha.


 When I was young I was afraid of hearing Satan on a record playing backward

“Stairway to Heaven”





I imagined that stairway as a never-ending stone tower with skulls in the walls.

So I practiced speaking backward so I would know how to talk when I got there.


I was afraid to backtalk when growing up

One slip and I’d be grounded for a month

At night I would lie in bed and think of things I could say I said if I did slip up.

I ate yogurts

Each it ask is …

Shut a pass hole

Dam hormones

Dam whore moans

Shut up!

take meow two eme kat

take me out woman cat

bla blah na na



just two days before my baby walked alone

inside his blonde downy hair a tiny white feather had grown

it might have come from the pillow

although he could be part bird or angel, yo!

He cried when we plucked it

And then slept all day uninterrupted.


I had a cat growing up

She became paralyzed when taking a ride inside or underneath a truck.

She couldn’t control her bladder so the vet removed her tail.

She laid in the window sill and she would wet there.

One day she disappeared.

So many years later I learned she was driven down to another side of town.


This is a story about nine lives

And they matter.

Nine lives matter


The story begins -- Darkness surrounds at the pyre

nine lives sit around the fire

role call: count them

one, two, three, four …

it’s not so easy when they all lookalike.




Why was six afraid of seven?

Why? Because …

Seven ate nine! 

The number sign




Or lives







space needed

connected sum