An elegy in metaphor, or some such construct of modern poetic license. Anyway, this morning I was feeling all dog-honoring. Therefore, to all the dogs.
The man with the tank bigger than mine paid with a hundred for “Twenty-five on number two”. The guy behind the bulletproof glass held the hundred up to the light to see if it was real. When the change came back, the man held a twenty up to the light to see if IT was real… then smiled.
I had a conversation with a friend the other day. For as long as I’ve known them, we’ve had these conversations, like if you were talking with someone over the same perpetually hot, never empty coffee for weeks at a time.
The kind of conversation with no beginning or end.
And at some point, each of us talked about emptiness. About the feeling of having nothing left inside ourselves to give to others, because we have nothing left inside ourselves for us.
The friend told me about the times I was there for them but, for whatever reason, had forgotten.
Then the friend told me this…
“Bill, you are not empty.”
I wanted to argue, but I’m smarter than that. Barely. So I wrote this note to myself, instead.
And now, I share it with you.
“You are not empty.”
A spontaneous game of hide and seek between an alley and a vacant lot. In a bold moment of childlike faith, two kids hid themselves in plain sight, behind a weather-worn For Lease sign.
In case you wondered, at the end of the game, they weren’t “it”.
NaBloPoMo 2018 will be (for me) a combination of Instagram-friendly posts… of short poems and square photos… in anticipation of an entirely new direction for 2019. This month, I will also be giving details on my very soon forthcoming third book, Mourning Person, and any other really nifty information on what’s new with our publishing house, Silver Star Laboratory.
I’m glad you’re here. See you tomorrow.
I lost a child. You lost a parent. She lost a spouse. He lost a limb. We lose what we lose, and when it’s lost, it is gone. Not misplaced.
Not missing like car keys to be found five minutes later next to the half-and-half in the fridge.
But missing like one minute you’re saying “Good morning”, “Goodnight”, “See you soon”, and the next, you’re never saying it again, except to a ghost.
This is grief, unless it’s not your child, your parent, your spouse, or your limb. Then, it’s an excuse, a personal problem, a character flaw. And it isn’t even that your grief doesn’t belong to you, it’s that you don’t belong to your grief.
You are disenfranchised.
From your pain. From your love. From your god-granted human experience. From all of it.
You are disenfranchised.
She lost a best friend? Get over it. He lost a girlfriend? Get over it. They lost a reason to get out of bed in the morning? Get the fuck over it.
When our right to grieve is denied us, except within the boxes others say must be checked. When all love is love, but not all grief is grief. When pain and mourning require blood kin for legitimacy. And when the dignity to recover, as we are, is questioned, we are disenfranchised.
And if you wonder why this story has no end, it is because, like an end to grief, there isn’t one. Because like you, like me, like he, like she, it, and we, remain disenfranchised.
© Copyright 2018 William S. Friday