Perfection of the Blue Hour

IMG_33112013 was a year when the resonating experience of being with three of my loved ones as they died was, for want of  a better expression, too big for my body to contain or even to process. It was a year of those dreaded “anniversaries” – anyone who has lost a dear one knows the phenomenon all too well.

It seems fitting that the fragrance, L’Heure Bleue spoke to me on a recent basenotes meetup to Chicago. After being magnetically drawn to meditative,  incense based creations throughout the day, when I revisited the classic quietude expressed by L’Heure Bleue, I knew I had found the perfect souvenir of my fragrance pilgrimage to the Windy City. L’Heure Bleue, the fragrance, turned 100 years old in 2012, placing her solidly within my parents’ generation of aesthetics.

As the new year turns on the midnight hour, and the sky eventually brightens, here is a poem, a container, for some of that ocean of feeling that filled the year now past. Wishing everyone a peaceful and Happy 2014 filled with blessings.

His Elegant Death

Dad’s shirt smells of rosewater, musk
and a touch of sandalwood.
His scent lingers on the red flannel shirt he wore
when he died.

People wrinkle their noses
at perfumes they say reek of old lady
but I press this to my face
and think
If I could bottle this –
Essence of Old Gentleman –
You would run to buy it quick
and it would fill you right up with peace.

Basenotes of a soul on earth
for nearly a century
would waft
about your shoulders and enfold you
like a shawl of church-less Faith.

Dad fled the Japanese, escaped the Bamboo Curtain of home
and ended up on a blind date:
Chicago, 1948.
Then he married the Vixen, the American Beauty with eyes like Vivian Leigh
and nursed that Siren through the ups and downs of her
Oklahoma Demons –
staunching that terrible wound with bare hands and Valentines,
granting the thousand wishes of her heart’s delight.
A futile fight, he fought it anyway.

I wonder now –
was that the Secret of banishing his own?
Because the demons were silent as he lay dying.

Skin and Skeleton melting
before my very eyes:
the disintegrating architecture of a disappearing

He made it look easy.

One desolate day
After Death
I opened your journal only to read
“Eat the Bitter in Bitterness, then become Man above Men.”
written in your gently scrawling hand.

Was that it?
As you lay there
Dying your Elegant Death?

Asking for ice chips
with a please
and a thank you
and a radiant glow beaming out from inside of your one good eye?

A deep sigh of satisfaction.
Your naked Thank You
to Life Herself.

How could eating the bitter in bitterness
End so sweetly?


RT Folzenlogen
written on the airplane from Newark to O’Hare and back again.
Image: my own, taken at Millenium Park in October, IPhone


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About reneetamara

Writing about death, mental illness, spirituality, art and perfume. Because beauty feeds the soul, and love is beyond what we think.

7 responses to “Perfection of the Blue Hour”

  1. YAPCaB says :

    I marvel at how you can so much meaning in everyday things. I must how to slow down more so I can see some of them myself.

    The quote about bitterness really struck home. One evening over the holidays my stomach was upset I almost went to ER. Somehow I knew they couldn’t do much for me except charge a lot of money. I decided to tough it out until the next day when I hoped to see a doctor at normal hours (and rates). The pain was fairly intense and lasted 7 hours, finally allowing me to go to sleep at 5 AM. All through that time I kept telling myself this is just pain, let it flow through me and out. I’ve never done that before and made an unbearable burden tolerable. It also helped me realize I will almost certainly be able to deal with any pain in the end.

    • reneetamara says :

      Having met you on this blogosphere is one of the blessings I am grateful for. I so appreciate your candid sharing of your journey, both personal and universal. Your experience though painful, sounds empowering. Finding Dad’s quote was bittersweet to me, such power in the words, but not the soft comfort I was hoping for. Something even better, I believe. Thanks for writing, YAPCaB.

  2. nivaladiva says :

    Glad to have found your blog. I am so sorry for your loss, especially so much in one year. Very tough. The poem is quite beautiful. The asking for ice chips… so poignant and real. Keep writing, it will help.

    • reneetamara says :

      Thank you for your kind comments I’ve been following your blog for a while and have appreciated the honest way you write about your experience. I just noticed your industry notes section and I know I will enjoy exploring your writings more in the new year.

  3. nivaladiva says :

    Btw, I noticed Willie Cole is one of your contributors. He and I are friends, on FB mostly, who met at the Vermont Studio Center a year ago. Lovely fellow and brilliant artist. Funny to find him on your blog!

    • reneetamara says :

      The artists listed on my blog are friends or acquaintances whose work I admire, one of them, Tim Folzenlogen, is my husband. 🙂 I posted links to their sites, as I have posted to perfume reviews and other sites that I find inspiring to encourage others to explore their work. Until you commented, I did not realize that my list may be misleading – the artists are not official contributors to my blog. Any images are my own or I credit them accordingly. Thanks for noting that – will rename my listing to Artists I admire or some such thing…

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