I’m sorry for your loss
And I’m trying hard not to sound sarcastic
Because I get it
That rock star legend really meant a lot to you
That was the first album you got stoned with
– those songs understood you like no one you could touch
Because they scraped and licked clean
the cake batter bowl of who you wanted to be
and eased the sting of your sealed-lip fears.
And that I can see how that movie star changed your life.
How many times did you watch that film?
And when she put her life back together after that tragedy
and then spoke out about that cause,
it must have been a relief to have a role model.They don’t make them like that any more.
Go ahead and cry. No one is judging.
It’s just I’ve lost so many people who are still alive
that there aren’t enough tears left to mourn those I’ve never known.
So many times we never got to say goodbye;
Life pushing and pulling so hard so fast we didn’t know it might be the last time.
Waking up on a wet pillow, feeling like there’s no one else on earth,
I’m pretty sure I don’t want to sleep alone for the rest of my life
All curled up in an empty nest.
But ever since they took my ovaries out along with the cancer
I toss and sweat and turn and fart all night,
So maybe it’s better this way …
I’ve already started over so many times
because we had to leave California
And mom got a better job
And I did what I had to do to get out of that hick town
Then all of the sudden one day college was over
And I wanted to have the baby someplace warm
And they went back to England
And we crossed the country again
And brain drain is a very real threat –
So many moving on in search of … everything we couldn’t give them.
Tell me my girls aren’t next.
And their dad took off because he couldn’t get clean
And those friends traveled South because jobs
And that one moved to Connecticut because work
And even now I’ll be walking down the street thinking
What the hell am I doing in Scranton?
And when the distance is all in your head
Or all in her heart
does the mourning ever end?
We drifted apart
because she found God and I hadn’t yet
and she couldn’t be friends with someone who was going to hell.
Because he got married
And she had a kid
And when they split up, you didn’t mean to choose,
but you never really had that much in common.
Because when you stop going to the bar, you cease to exist.
Forgive me because I cannot sacrifice my spirit
To blackouts, hangovers, totaled cars and strange bedfellows.
There is divine in me. Namaste.
You let go finally because your hands got tired
When you realize you’ve had your fingers clenched up in a fist.
Because I couldn’t believe a word he said.
Because he loved alcohol more than me.
Because he loved me too much and I couldn’t breathe.
Because he wouldn’t let himself love anyone.
Because I couldn’t be what he wanted,
And I didn’t know that I love you meant only so long as we are having sex.
And I must have done something to offend you, to hurt you
Or else you just didn’t need me anymore.
It will always haunt me that I don’t know what …
Or why …
because you never said
and I don’t have the guts to ask
And I am ashamed for holding you closer than you held me.
Maybe if I could speak instead of having to write it down …
you would tell me not to give up,
that there’s just a lot of slack in the threads that connect us
And they haven’t broken so much as unraveled to these fatal limits.
There are more of you the older I get
So many now, we couldn’t possibly all love each other at the same time.
This stage isn’t big enough for all of us.
This room can’t hold all of you who still live in my heart.
-ag, Jan 2016