(to my mother, a bit, but mostly to me)
It begins like this, this path toward normalcy, the funeral two weeks past: One less beer before bed. Dreams versus nightmares. Willingly entering the jail of work. Discovering your face is smiling. Telling jokes. Wondering why your friends can't get along--then not caring. Considering your life may continue as once it did, an insensitive, joyous expression of "Yes I'm Alive"... Undermining this carefully cultured mourning pose you've adopted. And guiltlessly saying goodbye to it.
Problems in childbirth: poem is fighting its entrance to the world. We present therefore…
We’re waiting for complete gestation of a poem which speaks to the name of this blog-thing. Meanwhile…..
“He writes poetry to maintain his sanity, and hopes to succeed some day.”As seen in the bio of James Piatt, octogenarian, on Ephemeral Elegies
This is not a poem. This is not a diatribe. This is not a manifesto. This is not much of anything at all, Except one man accepting his Legacy from another.
He carried burdensome feelings of inadequacy, imperfection, insensitivity, all of them tamped down hard, buried deeply, like a stone in his heart. He layered it with each failure, consoled himself with "At least I am providing for my family." "At least I do good work, support my co-workers with grace, with fairness." And mostly with "At least I fear God." Though whether fearing God came from his true heart or from his boyhood he never knew.
Each new layer of failure or consternation or losing control to anger resonated all of the other layers. Each new layer seemed heavier than the last. Eventually his heart-weight became too much. One failure too many. He said to himself, "I am perfect enough that never, never should that have happened." He said it again. And again. And every day again. He repeated it, haunted himself with it, layering and layering his heart until it only could beat when he didn't think-- and he only could not think by shutting out his own voice, stopping up his ears to his heart-stone: taking flight in sleep, in blessed nothingness.
Five years and five months he stayed chained to that heart. Then he died.
I saw that man yesterday. I see him more frequently these days. I recognize his ways. It seems I live with him more and more. I wish I could cradle his rounded, load-weary shoulders, caress the thin hair of his head. Tell him it's okay.
Then ask him, "Could you do the same for me?"
No, definitely not a poem. Poems rhyme, poems have meter. Poems make sense.