grief

Dear You

 

Dear

 

about to start my second draft

and I need to talk to you

it’s uncharted territory

big stuff

expectations. hopes. ideas

we must discuss

what others have said, articles read

I’m scared

but weirdly prepared. Like, I can do this.

can I do this?

where are you?

think I might know

while having no fucking clue

about

something you never got to do

can that be right

feels untrue

selfish, me. Just wish you were here-

and I’m still listening to Taylor Swift. I know

it’s sad

… you preferred me as a goth boy

maybe I did too

never got to send the lyrics I speared

and I’ve been meaning to tell you

how I volunteered?

parts of my life

already different and remade

paths being erased, fazed

and where are you anyway?

I ran today

pulled out my phone

to send a g’day

you’re not there

who would check

we really need to chat

It’s just not fair

you went away

and

how is it

that I stay

 

Photo: Claire Doble

Nightbird

 

a nightbird calls outside my window

I am sick, so sick in the dark

it’s 4.24 on the morning of your funeral

life makes no sense, there is only love

 

you talk to everyone at the party

buy them gifts, exchange views

share laughs, drinks, stories

my only conversation is with you

 

grab my phone to check messages

that remain forever unread

missed your call, I miss you: indelible

a nightbird’s sick joke you’re dead

 

Photo: Sierra Narvaeth on Unsplash

 

 

Name it

 

Disbelief – it’s hard to believe this is happening. Or that it’s quite real.

Grief – immense sadness for the loss of life as we know/knew it.

Fear – I’m afraid, not really of getting sick but of the unknown. How long it will last? What will it mean for the world when we come out of this? Are the freedoms we’re giving up (grudgingly but willingly) going to be restored? How long until the fabric of society starts to unravel? What about for my kids? Their social lives, in some ways, are more tenuous, but also more resilient. What will the world look like for them at the end of this or down the track? Will it be merely a blip or a huge game-changer?

Hope – things could get better. The collective coming-together of everyone across the planet or even just everyone in my street. The environment breathing a sigh of relief with most planes grounded, much heavy industry at a halt (I presume? Are kids still mining cobalt in the Congo?), way less cars on the road etc.

Compassion – I mean, are those kids sill mining cobalt? Even if the mine has shut, would their lives be better? Fuck me. And, closer to home, so many facing financial difficulties, grappling with mental health and physical confinement. Illness. All the things.

 

How is my heart doing? – I have learnt a lot about how to cope with difficult things in the past few years. Particularly over the past 14 months or so, I have gone inward and deeper on the lifelong journey of feeling and negotiating my emotions. This is rather than numbing them out, attempting to ignore or run away from them.

I’m grateful for this ‘training’.

I’m glad I am strong, even in the midst of feeling highly vulnerable.

I’m relieved I can still exercise outside on my own. For how long, who knows?

I’m surprised to be working in one of the few ‘growth industries’ during the Covid-19 crisis, Communications.

I know my situation is better off than many, if not most, and that I am lucky. But comparison is not helpful and I must also acknowledge how I’m feeling: disbelieving, fearful, grief-stricken yet also hopeful and compassionate.

 

I will write some more poems this week. I think I need to.

Thanks for listening.

 

Photo: from this morning’s run – this gent told me (from a safe distance) to turn around and see the rainbow! I snapped a pic of him as he walked away.

Lost summer

Never been so sad to smell the blossoms of spring

and I ache as the blue-white light of morning gapes across the sky

stretching, yawning, already weary and soft-boiled eggshell cracked

thinking of long hot days to come, the fatigue of grass

that steam of green in the stalks and the buzz

the singing, ringing zing of high season and deepest cornflower blue horizons

my cheeks cool in the 7am, useless, yearning for the summer I’ll miss

a loss, pre-thought onslaught of grief, mess of relief

hard to believe those blooms will burst and shine and shrivel

music washing, bright splashes sloshing of chlorine, kids scream

not me, I won’t be here this time, my life splintering

and the perfect pale of latent April air swirls round

faint scent of airline fuel inches consciousness to stay

promise me, please – desperate bargain I’ll betray

dreams stillborn, nascent, can’t beg more time, it’s racing

sands have slipped beneath and the sun will snap and break

my heart, my heart, what depths of sorrow exist in bright never-tomorrows

shimmer perfect, absent-death preserves a chimera of not to be

 

Today’s GloPoWriMo prompt to write an elegy, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail. 

Recording: https://soundcloud.com/user-808707280/lost-summer