Category Archives: Larenti

the ghost of you whispers

A close-up of Larenti (20080927_12938)

scarcely of the twilight in summer’s breath
you walk unmoving above nowhere

and I, hardly the old youth of your gaze,
see the sound of autumn’s valley
where you do not stand

over the brow of winter’s hill
silence brightly listens for the scent of your voice,
when your vanishes enormously sing alone
—yet only as perfection is alone

in beginnings end the blossoms of wishes
while endings writhe in withering leaves,
so blooms dying darkly rest upon lonely nights

afar off in unfelt thoughts not forgotten
toward us the ghost of you whispers

[for and of Larenti, whose absence weighs heavily on me today for reasons I cannot explain, an old wound freshly torn open]

Remembering that which is lost

Of all the rash and midnight promises made in the name of love, none is more certain to be broken than “I’ll never leave you.”  What time doesn’t steal from under our noses, circumstance will.  It’s useless to hope otherwise, useless to dream that the world somehow means us good.  Everything of value, everything we cling to for our sanity, will rot or be snatched in the long run, and the abyss will gape beneath us, and suddenly, without so much as a breath of explanation, we will be gone.  Professions of love and all…

A close-up of Larenti as he looks down on me from atop the bed (2009_02_28_011325)

I remember thunderstorms with torrential rain.  Would he be okay?

A wet cat speaking to me from outside the fence, a feline begging for shelter, for comfort, for assurance that all would be well.

I welcomed him to the patio, to protection from the tempest.

I remember chastising him for hunting rabbits, for bringing them to my doorstep as though meant as a gift.

A wild cat, a feral soul falling prey to companionship.

I let him leave the creatures so I could quickly scoop them up and rush them to safety.

I remember the first time he let me touch him, his thick fur resting warmly against my hand, his eyes watchful yet trusting, his purr sudden and powerful.

A lonely cat seeking that which we all seek: belonging and friendship.

I gave only as much as he would allow, sought to be welcoming so he could take the next step.

I remember the day he moved in, met his new roommates, explored his new home, found happiness.

A loving cat, a spirit divine yet frightened who wanted only to belong.

I let him belong, made him welcome.

I remember that night not too long ago, that fateful evening when so much emotion came crashing down under the weight of ending.

A beautiful cat, a giant who cowered before shadows and needed love as much as air.

I lamented then what was lost.

And I remember…

[introduction paraphrased from the beginning of the first chapter in Clive Barker’s Cabal]

Pains of life revisited

I wrote this in 2005 to help a friend find light in the darkness.  Now it is me who needs a candle to hold back the shadows…

There is a world that exists solely within me, in my mind, in my very being.  This must surely be true of everyone, of all beings of conscience and reason.  It is a place separate from all others, protected; belonging to no one but the dreamer, a place of safety, where we are comforted and tranquility embraces us.  We feel secure there, surrounded by beauty unspeakable, wrapped in serenity as if it were a warm blanket on a cold winter day.  It is all things glorious to the individual who exists there.

I have no concerns in my world.  They have no place there.  It is a land where my troubles lay quiet, subdued by the purity of the place.

When I dwell there, I am surrounded by those who matter most to me, each of them a light which casts its brightness onto me, washing over me in hues of brilliance.  I can feel their love, their trust.  It holds me tightly, gives me wings, and drifts with me over the sands of time — stepping lightly when our feet need touch the shore.  No one may intrude upon this place, no one may interrupt the essence within.

With me in a chorus of music are my intimates, those who journey by my side, emotional and psychological companions collaborating with me to ensure success at a game which comes with no instructions.  We survive this game, but the best players do more than merely endure.

Outside of this place, there is darkness.  Therein lies that which is contrary to my Eden.  Therein lies reality.

This place tastes different.  The colors are wrong.  Shapes distort here.  I feel it from head to toe.  This night which befalls me here has no dominion.  I escape easily, stepping into a place and time outside of what is obvious.

I cannot accurately translate this place into written word.  It cannot be thus described.  Nevertheless, it can be known.

It is like the finger of the universe being drawn slowly up your back, across your shoulders, and around your neck.  It is the light that both warms and reveals.  It dwells within us and around us, encircling us powerfully, masterfully.  In its truth, we receive that which we need most.

Its antonym presents with disheartening difference, calling us friend while sharpening the blade of betrayal.  We soar in light yet suffer the dark anguish of trust.  How can one reconcile the two?  How can one survive the battering waves of humanity which attempt to rob us of our essence, preying on that which defines us and is so personally anchored to heart and mind?  We hold our hearts forth, offering them like a gift in the hopes they are found worthy.  We attempt to harmonize our souls, one with the other, sometimes blinded by desire to the inherent disruption.  The melody clashes.  We are drawn into a hurtful symphony of lives.  The world is simply too large to prohibit this naturally.

The thousands of places we could be at this moment, the many people we could be with, we find ourselves here and now, plunging headlong into something with little evaluation or circumspection.  You have undoubtedly felt this way.  My intellect tells me this is living.  My heart assures me it must not stop.

Sometimes we must rend our own hearts to ensure we feel.  I may choose to do so with my own hands, taking some undeniable portion of my existence and distorting its memory until it cleaves my heart asunder, leaving me alone in despair and depression.  Likewise, I may choose to aggravate — manipulate — an already precarious relationship until it explodes upon me, assaulting my emotions like some horrific invasion of my personal Eden.  And that is precisely what it is.

For those who care too much, who cannot ignore the chance to connect regardless of how destructive it might be, we, people like you and I, reach out and grasp the world with our arms.  We hold it near us and wait for a reaction.

And so we tear ourselves open.  We scrape and we cut, using reality as our blade, using it to reassure ourselves with the pain that we still feel and care.  Our crime?  Only that we cared too much, needing to verify our humanity by way of another regardless of the outcome.  Perhaps we even look forward to the pain.  Is there self-confirmation there?  Is that some kind of proof that we are flesh and blood and feel pain like everyone else?

What is it that teaches us the most memorable lesson?  Is it the success we enjoy fleetingly and hungrily, or is it the failure which strikes at the very core of us, inflicting the pain needed for memorialization?  Ay, it is in fact the pain, the failure that teaches us life's lessons.  That pain we want to avoid so religiously is the touch we most need to feel.

I reach for the emotional scars of lives and loves lost, and I trace their patterns absently, my fingers bringing forth stark resolution on the lessons of life.  I may choose to dwell in Eden.  I may choose to avoid human contact.  I could equally choose to ignore the world around me and pretend I am the only being on a far off world.  Those scars, reminders of pain and agony, tell me to mind the past, that it is real, that it teaches us lessons in the way most memorable to our carnal existence.

While we fly upon wings, lay upon grassy fields, enjoy the dusk of a thousand tomorrows, and dwell in our world of eternal light, the lessons of living are not learned by the reticent.  We must live, you and I.  We must understand that strength of soul comes from living, and living brings pain, and our pain helps us learn and is part of who we are.

Let our friends, our intimates, lend us their strength.  Let us ride upon their will in our time of weakness.  Let us rely on their resolve when our own falters.  Let us learn that the scars are reminders.  Let us feel that we may know we live.

Larenti from the unseen

I had yet to migrate these photos of Larenti from my old photoblog, xenogere unseen.  Now is as appropriate a time as any.

A close-up of Larenti as he tries to rest (20080114_01315)

A home with some of the children gone.  That’s how it feels.  I keep stepping over him when he’s not there, hearing his voice when it doesn’t exist, feeling his fur under my fingers as I drift off to sleep.  Fantasies of a wounded heart.

Larenti lying in the window enjoying the fresh air (20080426_05069)

Time’s altar is a fierce place to exist.  It takes at will, sacrifices on whims we cannot understand.  It rests stained with the blood of all who have been lost.

A close-up of Larenti (20080426_05105)

He nuzzles my hand, reaches out and grabs it with his paw to let me know I’m not done petting him.  He says as much as he looks at me directly and lets me lose myself in that jeweled, peridot universe defined by his eyes.

Or at least it seems to me, but in truth that was last week.  Now only his memory remains.

Living in the past

I sit on the couch reading, Kazon in my lap with a copy of Walden resting gently on his frame, Vazra on one side of me with Kako and Grendel on the other, and Loki and al-Zill lie end-to-end on the arm nearest me.  The book does little to keep my mind from wandering to the one absent from this scene.

Eight souls count the total of these moments, eight souls in rest and comfort, yet only seven souls remain.  Again my mind wanders from the pages before me, the words blurring until they become charcoal rubbed on paper, an unreadable cloud incapable of occupying the space now empty.

Wind rattles against the walls.  A cold wind, a biting wind howls by the windows.  I hear the photinia bushes scrape their wiry fingers against the glass, their burgeoning red leaves waving back and forth in sunlight that fails to warm.

I slip a small piece of paper between the pages and close the book.  There will be no reading today, at least not of any value.  I reach over sleeping cats and turn off the lamp.

Somewhere in a faraway land a cat meows, a distant sound barely audible for the wind’s constant rage.  My eyes snap to rapt attention looking out toward the patio.

There he sits, his eyes wide and green and staring in with that amazing interest and awe that constantly defined him, and I blink at the vision of him.

It is two years ago, a memory bleeding into the present, for I see him as he once was, as he existed before his rescue, as he lived his life mostly on the patio and in my heart—increasingly invading the latter.

Even as tears begin their march down my cheeks, he meows again…and I am back in that time with him, back in that world.

He talks to me, asks for attention, requests food and water when I’ve yet to put them out.  I reach down and pet him, his thick fur soft against my hands, his colors grabbing the sun and turning it into hues only nature could create.

I feel his purr as much as I hear it.  The whole of the rumbling moves through my hand, up my arm, across my chest.  It is as much a sound as an emotion—for both of us.  I scratch his head and under his chin.  The purr grows with newfound strength.

He meows again, only this time it’s a year later.  He sits on the bed in the dark of morning.  I kneel beside him and grant him his wish.  He soaks up the petting and talking like a sponge does water, taking it in until he seems ready to burst from the essence of it.

Sunlight has yet to pour over the eastern horizon, has yet to fight through the clouds that threaten to dampen the day.  Nevertheless, a great deal of light fills the bedroom.  I see him in the inner sanctum, sure and solid and sitting with confidence that floods the room as an overflowing river might fill a town.  He glows.

His eyes meet mine, reach out and touch my spirit, and the twinkle of stars contain little of the power he exudes, little of the light that emanates from him.  I lose myself in the power of his presence.  Even the cool air and smell of rain pouring in open windows do little to squelch the mood.

Then he meows again.  It’s six months later and he stands at my feet in the bathroom as I brush my teeth.  He looks up at me, meets my eyes, proclaims his need for my affection.

One hand moving a toothbrush to and fro, I reach down with the other and scratch his neck before giving him a good under-the-chin rub.  My knuckles eventually move to his ears, something I know will elicit pure satisfaction.  His eyes roll up in his head as he absorbs the love and gives back as much as he receives.

I recognize the purr that vibrates up and down my arm, that shakes me from head to toe, that fills a moment with more adoration than can be explained by mere words.  Something in me needs that purr, needs that marvelous sound and feeling rolled into a single event.

Food and water stand at the ready just a few steps behind me, though he ignores that and focuses entirely on sharing a moment drawn with love.  I can’t deny the artistry that exists, can’t fight the need-cum-want to touch a predator spirit.

His meow tickles my ear.  It is three months later and I find myself lying on the bedroom floor as he looks down at me from atop the bed.  I hold the camera steady, aim it carefully, and lose the photo for wont of a laugh at the perplexed yet beguiled visage that stares down upon me.

Warm light fills the room from a wall of glass.  Sunset creates a preternatural glow about this creature that utterly defies explanation.  All of his fur becomes alight with a fire that exists in no other place.  And his eyes…  His eyes capture the essence of the star that lights our world, and in that essence they create a world unto themselves, a world of contrast and beauty.

The camera falls to my side as I reach up and pet him, scratch his chin and ears and neck.  He purrs that most powerful purr, that sound ushering the brightest of lights into the darkest of places.

Then another meow, only this one different from all the others.  It’s three months later—four nights ago, and our collective life has been full and rich and marvelous, a place of growing for us, for our relationship, for the buds of friendship that exist betwixt him and the others—and me.

But something about this call is foreign.  His voice is suddenly unfamiliar, alien.  All my ideas fail to explain his sudden panic, his vocal desperation.  The smell of fireplace soot drifts in through the open windows.  It smells of endings.

I leap from the couch and rush to the bedroom to find him writhing on the floor, his calls desperate and lonely, his eyes worrisome in their anguish.  I meet his gaze only to find he can no longer join me in that sacred place.  His voice trails off to a gurgling moan.

I grab the nape of his neck in a handful of flesh.  He has powerful memories of this hold, good memories that bring instant purrs and contentment.  Not this time, though.  Not this time.

Worry fills my thoughts as he continues to struggle.  But not struggle.

There is no purr this time, no eyes filled with ardor and amity, no body listless with the power of trust.  He shakes and writhes.  He flinches at my touch.  He bellows silent horror upon the darkening wind that fills our home.

Of all the love I have felt, never has it seemed so terrorizing.  One fist full of flesh and the other full of fur do little in providing respite for the tortured soul that succumbs to the attack of an unknown adversary.  My tears fall suddenly, drops of salty water seeking refuge in thick, warm, powerful hair.

When his eyes again meet mine, mystical green orbs filled with my own reflection briefly aimed at me, I stop, pause, hold my own thoughts.  Then another meow.  The same horrified call that came before, only dimmer.  And those eyes…  They are full of uncontrolled thoughts and desperation, a crippling fear.

I bundle him up in warm towels fresh from the dryer, wrap him in undeniable affection, and rush him to the doctors who might tend the wounded beast.  But it is too late.

He trembles in my arms, his body distressed to physical limits as his mind reels from the unseen blows of an attacker we cannot stop.  Voice gone, eyes hollow and distant, he seems weak.  Even his seizures have tired and look more like brief shivers.

Before I can make the request I know I must make, he calms, falls silent and still, looks at me briefly as though he has discovered a single drop of clarity.  Then he breathes his last and slumps lifeless against me.

My tears flow freely as I set the book on the table beside the couch.  Staring through sorrow’s fog does nothing to hide the vision of him on the patio one more time, looking through the window at me, asking for a bit of my time with those meows that touched me from the first day I ever heard them.

Then I see him on the couch beside me, talking rapturously as I pet him.  Then in the hallway, in the bathroom, on the bed, and finally back on the patio where we first met.

Now each time I walk outside, I look for him—and sometimes I see him, hear him, feel him.  I find him in the bathroom eating, the sound of his crunching cheering me as I realize again and again that he is safe, cared for, off the streets.  I find him next to the pillows at night resting comfortably as we coast toward slumber.  I find him lying in pools of sunshine, belly to the sky.  I find him sitting nearby when I grab the cat food, his voice joining the chorus of cats.  I find him nestled against me as I sit on the couch and read, my hand always petting him, scratching him, connecting with him.

I see him every day, still in the places we shared, still in the moments we occupied together.