Poe doesn’t know his name. What it was I’ll never know and I’m sure he has long since forgotten, if it ever existed at all. So I gave him one, because to me he is someone, even if he exists on the edges of life and is shunned and unwanted. Mysterious black stranger, wild cat, silent, consumed. I see him only briefly, only infrequently as I walk between places. He will not trust me, will not come near me. He gives me no quarter. I have been drawn to him for a long time but he is too lost, too wild now and will not relent from his turning away. But we meet sometimes and he stops and stares at me with his penetrating green eyes, but any attempt to soften him is in vain. I speak softly, I offer treats, but he glares, frozen in his stride, waiting to move away, just wanting to be left alone, relentless in his isolation. As I move he moves and scuttles off swiftly, low to the ground, into the shadows. He disappears, black into black, he has become part of the environment in an effort to go unnoticed, unaccosted. There is just too great a distance between us, he cannot comprehend my motives and his wariness is written so deep into his heart now he cannot be freed of it, he cannot cross the barrier that has been created. You could say I have become a little obsessed by Poe, of late, he pads through my mind, I think about him out there and what his life is like, how it came to be and I make up stories and tales about him, listen for his voice. His wild dark face fascinates me, his intense being, so strong and yet so vulnerable, the way you can feel his burning feral soul staring back at you, how unreachable he is, untouchable and yet somewhere, somehow he has something important to tell. Poe has a place in a story, more than one story in fact, as he lives his secret life, I give him another life also that merges into others, a large role to play that is forced on him through circumstances, but maybe will turn his life around, maybe not..?? Poe’s life has meaning even though he is out of sight and mind and this will be my way of showing his life matters, as all life matters, however much people sometimes act like these lives aren’t there, are nothing.
The Unravelling and Weaving of Poe’s Life.
The beginnings and first glimpses of one of the cats, walking the stories that unwind.
Poe was a loner. It had been engrained into him. He was born an innocent, beautiful, kitten, just like all kittens, full of life and love, but one moment, just one small moment in his young life began a change, an irrevocable alteration that moulded him into the cat he became; a sad, dark, distrustful, anxious, running, shadow dodger, clinging on to the edges of life. A survivor, alone and desperate, always wandering, always struggling. So many yellings, chasings and attacks forced him to withdraw into himself and the innocent, beautiful soul was lost, engulfed by experiences that walled him in bit by bit. From that early moment of betrayal, as his life was forced to a different path, to the present time, every act of cruelty, harshness and disregard, pushed him further and further into his hard shell. It was all he knew. He forgot there was kindness in the world, comfort, caring, something called love. The last flicker of memory he had was so long ago it was like a dream and he began to doubt it ever really happened. So Poe existed, for that was all his life amounted to. Every day, an anxious, perpetual movement; trying to find food, trying to find somewhere he could rest without being seen or getting caught, somewhere that wasn’t freezing, wet, dirty or dangerous, never staying anywhere too long in case he got discovered. It was a tough life, he never relaxed, always looking out, listening, on guard. No one else watched out for Poe, no one cared about him, or even knew of his existence for the most part, he had himself and that was all. It was a grim life but it was his and he clung to it with gritted teeth . On the whole the world did not like Poe, he could not believe otherwise, so he shut down and did not like it back. But he was here and had to live, so he tried to keep himself invisible, at least then he could live free from abuse or attack. He slunk his way through the days and nights, often hungry, cold, always alone. But it’s strange how often the more you try to run away from something the more it seems drawn to you and the world was not done with Poe yet. Something was coming and one day soon he would be able to run no more.
Poe was the blackest black there ever was, he glowed, he was black from tail to nose, just his eyes shone out from deep in the darkest face, the green eyes of an ancient soul. Poe knew how to be silent, to be stealthy, to hide and to dodge, but in his dreams he was free. On the worst days, when the grey rain poured, the freezing air bit or his belly ached so much he thought it would be easier not to wake up, his dreams let him endure. He didn’t know why, but even as he huddled and shivered, unable to get dry or warm, unable to sleep he was so hungry, feeling his bones ache in his scrawny body, even then, cursing the world, he endured.
Something was buried in Poe, deep down, a fate weaving its way towards him; he could have no idea what was in store and that was as it should be. Out in the world he had turned against so vehemently as it seemed to have turned against him, something was coming he could not expect. It was waiting for him, maybe turning the corner at this very moment. That was why he endured, even though he didn’t understand and it would have been so easy to give up, that was why he struggled his way through each long day and night when he could so easily surrender, to relinquish his grip on his troubled life, there had been many chances, but still Poe survived.
So one small cat takes big walks through my mind and ignites journeys I would not otherwise have begun, there are many more taking shape in the shadows.