Grief (draft, crit welcome.)

January 30, 2009

Grief too big to post.
Grief too big to roll.
Grief too big to fold or cut
or pack away. Grief –

like a weapon.
Like one of those
small guns you see in
bad westerns,

grief you could hide in a palm
or down of the side
of a well heeled boot.

Grief that resents the happiness of others.
Grief that hangs around outside of school gates.
Grief that walks past weddings,
when sitting down,
that places it’s bag
next to itself.

Grief that can’t work for grieving,
that can’t talk about anything else.

*************

I tried to leave our grief
behind my neighbours plants,
but they caught me at it.

I tried to leave our grief
on the 10.35 to Derby,
but it jumped.

I tried to leave our grief
on the bus.

I tried to leave our grief
in a cab.

I tried to leave our grief
in the wind and the rain and the sleet

thinking it would get bored
or go home, or die.

But it didn’t

**********

Look,
I am sorry for this grief –

but I’m sorry for it –

Look at it,
it’s like a tragic elephant.

You can always tell
when it’s in the room

it’s like the war – Gaza
at a Jewish Memorial Ceremony.

Look:

Here is my uncle,
who lost his brother
inside of Auschwitz,

Look:

Here is my uncle
who lost his father
inside of Dakar

Look:

We must not talk about the war.

Look:

Here are the slippers of my best friend
they said ‘hug me’ at her mother’s death.
The house was full and they were blue
and she, was pitiful.

Look:

Here is a mouse inside a bar,
we saw it curled beneath a glass,
the barman came to take away,
but it was clearly poisoned.

Look:

When he left,
I cried in every place we’d ever met
I eulogized with tears,
like he was dead.

But he wasn’t.

Look:

Here we are,
us and grief
k .i .s .s .i .n .g.
And she comes
the Queen
of Eskimos
come to hold our hands
like petticoats

Look.

***************

How do you explain grief to an alien?
How do you explain grief to a child?
How do you explain grief to an animal?
How do you explain grief to the recently aggrieved?

***************

Here is you.
What do you
grieve for?

How much does your heart weigh?

(IN PROGRESS)

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6 Responses to “Grief (draft, crit welcome.)”

  1. Pam said

    I acn see this working in performance. There are some things that might tighten the rhythm.Maybe take out ‘Grief too big to’ on l 3; ‘Like’in the second stanza;’Boot’s heel’ instead of ‘well-healed’?;’Grief that hates happiness/take out ‘of’ on the next line-‘don’t think you need from ‘when’ to ‘itself’.

    Next part, 1st stanza: ‘But my neighbours caught me at it’. I’d take out all of the war references-I see the connection but it’s raelly, raelly heavy and distracting. Love ‘Queen of the Eskimos’, not sure about ‘petticoats’..’come to ice our hands ??’

    ‘aggrieved’..should this be ‘grieving’?

    Good things here. Thanks for posting. xx

  2. Pam said

    I can see this working in performance. There are some things that might tighten the rhythm.Maybe take out ‘Grief too big to’ on l 3; ‘Like’in the second stanza;’Boot’s heel’ instead of ‘well-heeled’?;’Grief that hates happiness/take out ‘of’ on the next line-‘don’t think you need from ‘when’ to ‘itself’.

    Next part, 1st stanza: ‘But my neighbours caught me at it’. I’d take out all of the war references-I see the connection but it’s really, really heavy and distracting. Love ‘Queen of the Eskimos’, not sure about ‘petticoats’..’come to ice our hands ??’

    ‘aggrieved’..should this be ‘grieving’?

    Good things here. Thanks for posting. xx

  3. Pam said

    PS Sorry for posting twice and once with the typos!!

  4. Kimlorraine said

    I love this poem. I would definitely keep the war references in, it helped me access the enormity of the grief.
    Maybe lose the ‘how do you explain grief…to an alien, a child’ bit. I think this follows on better:

    Look.

    Here is you.
    What do you
    grieve for?

    x

  5. Hi,

    Pam-thanks for looking over, you’ve got such an eye for detail and I’ll change those ‘aggrieved’ type bits. Thanks also Kim, lovely meeting you the other day. Glad you liked the war bits, take both points on board and see what to do.

    Speak Soon,

    LX

  6. KW said

    Pam suggests: ‘aggrieved’..should this be ‘grieving’?

    I rather like the pulse of the piece and think ‘grieving’ alters the rhythm (sorry Pam) – I would suggest ‘in grief’ .. simply because it maintains the syllabic structure of ‘aggrieved’ and also because it suggests an immersion in a state of being, a mind state, that altered place of grieving .. however, I didn’t like the ‘alien’ reference, I think it takes the poem away from the real and distressful state of loss and pain to an fantasist version of detached and imaginary emotion ..

    Just my suggestions – I did like this heartfelt poem though .. and also appreciated your comments on writing with honesty about personal experience .. Go Girl! {;o)

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