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Funerals

He focuses on their distortions, their greys
He sees, for now, her blurry, wine-dark space
and ventures to pass on her seedbed
of wistfulness, spitefulness and pity
His leaders evince their sacred creeds
with greenish flags and ornamented, reddish uniforms
He observes these coarse, thick, tyrants, often
bored with their crassness, often afraid

We love the lurid, the narrated, the science-like,
the grandiose, the complicated, the newsworthy
and the famous—how her sweet, serious brown eyes
shine at him from across the table
The simple eludes him sometimes
Now he’d like to rest his eyes, rest his mind
like a triumphant, slick general
or some dangerous, imperturbable mafia don

Her heart’s made of flint
Was she mean just for the sake of it, the resentment,
or, as some more generous folks agreed,
afflicted in her mind, crippled and autistic?
Every Sunday as evening approaches she’d slowly panic
because the next day was Monday’s business, he supposed
She’d become aloof, shy even, anxious, distracted—
awkwardly caught between her inner and her public face

He believes that’s how it is with her now
The thought of her continuous discomfort satisfies—
He needn’t seek revenge, he thinks,
this life alone will maim her,
cripple her and scald her nerves
The world’s a dangerous, pitiless place especially
when you think it’s most safe,
both uncomfortable in character and costume

Of course, we condemn him—
he must be condemned
But we can’t be the judge of him
We can’t go back to that awful time
and put ourselves in his place
Nature is opportunistic,
ruthless, relentless, selfish,
its ever-flow grand and inexhaustible

The evidence came too late
We can’t look at it now
We see him now with curiosity, awe and pity
We spend our weekends trying to amuse ourselves
He wanted to say something
but didn’t know what to say
The simple hides in front of us
It stares at us outright

Places don’t mean much to him
He doesn’t miss them much
We know more about the first microseconds of its burst
the grand explosion of our universe
than we know about the weather a few weeks from now
A bad meal, tepid coffee, social insults,
rudeness, embarrassment, disrespect
What about the folks that drown, do they pray?

Incoherent, slender lines separate our life and death
Funerals are no time for greys
He was perfect in his way, his loss sudden, terrible
Too young, he was too young
He was a fine husband, father,
colleague, brother, friend
He will live on in our memories and grief
Amen

 

 

 

-February 22, 2014-