Thursday, August 19, 2010

Laying Stories Down

Here is another shaman’s dream. I wish it was that easy. Lord, I really love cherries. Thank you for thinking of me.

Laying Stories Down

I shall tell stories,
give them vivid gilded shapes,
colors beyond ken.
I shall lay them down
among the cherries you picked
off the neighbor's tree
and spread here across
your kitchen's wooden table.
I shall fit them in
precisely with no effort,
bruise not one cherry.

We will change your life.

June 29, 2009 12:24 PM


I prepared for posting the above before my day changed in a huge way.

I ran over my cat, Lynne Redgrave Cat. She was 19yrs, 3 mos. I killed her basically outright. She ran and hid behind a hedge next to the front door and died in minutes. She had taken to the bad habit of laying in the driveway, even on the sidewalk in front of the house. She was old, half blind, and significantly deaf, though she could hear better if she cared to. I was distracted and didn't think of her. She was not in an obvious place but I don't think I looked. I have been in the habit of moving her, but not this time. I am a hurtin' unit.

I couldn't keep her in the house because she quit having good bathroom habits in 2001.

I stopped everything, got my renter's attention (a long time friend who keeps two cats in the studio apt she rents from me) and we buried her in the back yard. We both cried openly. That's just how it is for me. Lynne came into my life in June of 1991 with her sister Vanessa, who died years ago. In the last year, she would partner with me when I sat here at the computer, taking over my mouse hand and accepting just about any body rub I could give her, hard around her ears, under her chin, up and down her neck (that one often got her hind leg going like a dog's). She would lay next to me in bed if I let her and next to me on the couch when I watched tv and ate my dinner. I would have loved her to have good habits so I could keep her in. She smelled bad and rarely cleaned but I could tolerate that. It is just that she shit on my rugs and peed there too as far as I know. I made a home for her in the garage, where she lived in the worst of the winter.

I think she no longer really cared, why she lay directly in the path of my car, and I am relieved that it was me instead of someone else who got her. Shit.


  1. Christopher, I LOVE this poem. Love it. And then in this perfect bowl of cherries such a bruise, the death of your cat. And yet, I think, you and I both know this is a perfect bruise. But you are human and you love and you feel deeply and so - shit. Shit shit shit. I'm so sorry. It is hard hard, but I am glad you got to cry openly. That is something.


  2. I am working it out in poetry and in disturbed sleep. I vocalize as I wander about my house. There is an implacable twist to this thing in that I have been so careful to remember her. My lapse of attention is an illustration of a small distraction that has consequences much too large, how I know there is always a spot of chaos in anything I do.

    It is neither fair to her or to me that this has happened although it may have been a blessing considering her necessary upcoming death. She was blind, deaf and ever more senile. I will not impose such a judgement though. It smacks of me ducking my own responsibility. I killed my cat. Outright. I didn't mean to do it. That hardly matters. She is just as dead as if I had meant it.

    Neither she nor I was ready for that, though I do think she stopped caring very much about being here. Come to think of it, I often don't care that much either.

  3. I'm so sorry. How heartbreaking.

    I realized last night my old cat, Tango, is more deaf than I thought.

  4. Or less deaf...

    I know with mine that her hearing was related to the pitch. She could hear the higher pitches better than the low ones. Also it seemed more like the sounds had faded for her rather than being all the way gone.

    Or perhaps in her senility she just didn't care much any more.

    They compensate too, if they can, use other senses.

    I am fairly devastated, but if my past is any signal, it will pass quickly. This however is the first of my cats I have accidentally killed. All the others were at the extreme ends of their ropes of illness or in one case, serious old age. Lynne was old but not quite that old. I was waiting, though. My experience is when the day comes it comes quickly and sometimes suddenly.

  5. Oh dear, sweetheart, that is so sad.
    And than that cherry poem, so bright, and sunshiny. It is so true and sounds so right.
    But, i do not want life to change in such ways.

  6. Of course life can and does change in these ways. While my life isn't as happy this year as last when I wrote the poem, I spent a pretty good day up until that point. There is nothing to do about that. Practice going through it with grace and dignity or else escape in some way which postpones the trouble at best and increases it otherwise, which is far more likely.

    Liking the trouble and wanting it have very little to do with the matter. :P

  7. I saw this this morning Christopher and saw myself in it to such an extent. And I thought of you, too. It is cute, yes, and yet a wise celebration, as well. It is a good way to start the day, I think. Plus, Dana is a good and powerful soul.


  8. Erin, thank you for sending me there. The post is terrific and Dana is beautiful in that way that recovery creates.

    Robert, thank you for saying so. It is not the loss so much...she actually disappeared once already for several months, getting "rescued" by a neighbor and kept just across the street. I have been ready for a long time to lose her. What is killing me is how it was me ran over her and how I just forgot to check where she was. I am not tolerating that very well.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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