There it is again,
unworthiness and loneliness,
those ever loyal friends.
There’s always the guarantee of silence;
underneath my eyelids,
hearing your sweaty palms ache for a touch,
the ongoing march of my heart,
the lies my mind conjures,
and especially when they all meet,
and truth acts like the reconciliatory scimitar,
and quells all the hurt.
There’s a heavy feeling of being hovered over.
Like an appointment is waiting and I don’t feel I’m ready for it.
There’s sadness brewing,
an overwhelming sense of helplessness,
for the first time in my life,
I’m anxious about death.
Like I’m short-changing myself, my children, my potential.
How does a three year old reconcile with losing a father when he’s ten, sixteen or thirty five?
Will his thirteen year old brother hold his hand, mend his mother’s heart, reassure his angry brother, force himself into a fortress of solitude, but a solace of rectitude?
Why should he have to endure such hardship,
why should his sister have to be given away by him and not me?
Why should he hover over his nine year old brother like a hawk, anticipating his next self loathing moment?
Why should he be forced to name his newborn after me, in memory of me, honouring a cultural tradition that prides itself on who can grieve the hardest.
As if keeping a name alive long enough demonstrates the grandest love.
What I do know is that once you lose someone to death,
they immortalise in waves of grief,
oft returning grief that crashes and dissipates,
yet washes like it was never there.
That’s why I’m addicted to the sea,
I drown in grief daily,
its salt is always on my lips,
always in my eyes.
folding for you is as easy as decomposing,
dying in winter as opposed to dying in summer,
folding linens because the last thing you want to leave
behind is more mundane work for anyone,
but a scent of you that lingers on a collar, even after
fabric softener has fought is war with the sun,
folding your hand, because you never seem to have the
right cards to win this game,
folding the last poem, the last stretch of prose you have,
fighting in a language you can’t express yourself in,
folding your arms, chasing warmth, as the breeze reminds
you and frightens you of cold that’s yet to come,
folding the earth over you,
so that we fold over you,
and they fold over you,
and all folds over you.
You’re an air of musk and liver halves ,
a stench of decompose,
mould stained etchings on epitaphs,
just thorns, with no rose.
Autumn crisp and winds snappy bite,
crows gawk and stare,
grass blades, stones and sunken sites,
they make you self aware.
Feet that echo from earth to ears,
I feel swollen with heat and regret,
flame of guilt and acid tears,
this grief just will not let.
Gnashed cheek sidewall,
chewed lip flesh sprawl,
bloodied nose freefall,
oh grief, I’m in your thrawl.
you’re an echo of abandonment,
Just when I think I have found my nest,
you’re the wind that reminds me,
nothing is permanent,
what appears full bodied and pertinent,
is just effervescent.
Ahh there goes the nest,
there goes my residence,
you take everything,
I’m allowed to grieve however I like.
I, for example grieve the living all the time.
I grieved my father before he died,
I grieved with anger,
until he died,
then I grieved with silence,
then I grieved with entitlement,
then I grieved with poetry,
I grieve whichever way I like.
Even a kilo of fat I gain makes me grieve,
or a white hair I lose.
I grieved one day,
whilst he was still alive,
that he wouldn’t leave me grief in his will,
never in the world did I know he owned so much grief,
and whilst my family gets a proportion,
I’ve inherited most of it,
the mad of it,
the stricken of it.
I grieve unborn children that lay in my loins,
I grieve fertile wombs laid to rest,
worse, the ones that give up and grieve alone.
I grieve for a plant I didn’t tend to,
a palm I could not fill with a expiation of my sin.
Grief, has always been in my belly,
it took death to keep it on my tongue.
Of all the things you’ve mastered,
all the accolades you’ve gathered,
isn’t one of them.
Grief is flawless,
like crossing eyes with someone,
across a room full of noise,
suddenly there’s the tinnitus of silence,
you hear yourself,
to your self,
the type of relationship,
that amuses poets for the rest of their lives.
Yes grief is a muse,
a patient one at that,
like a chord that plays on repeat,
so you comprehend the scale of its sorrow,
of its disharmony,
and how, so many flat notes,
bring such symphony.
Grief is the poets skin,
that knows scar tissue like it is the norm,
that doesn’t cower from emotion,
frailty, vulnerability and scorn,
lives with valour amongst prying eyes,
and flourishes between the caress of mourn.
It’s the perfection of grey,
of clouds, of light, of darkness,
the perfect storm.
Swollen hearted would be more fitting,
Heart departed, from chest cavity ripping,
perhaps from aorta and vein splitting,
ah this ballad, ever unremitting.