Surprise by debgrant
One of the intimate horrors
of certain callings
is to tend to those
who have in that breath or hour
been told that
the one they loved
The moment is so naked,
I have tended not
to stare but remain close.
I cannot touch their grief
I can only stand silently in it.
Once in awhile,
I have peeked
into the sudden abyss of their shock
plummeting into dark on dark
On one occasion I was surprised
by a veil of beauty.
A light beyond human ability to radiate.
An aura the color of tenderness.
A brave whisper of hope amidst
the coming calendars of hurt
The agony of loss remains.
It does not heal before our eyes.
The wounds still bleed.
The infections still breed.
But sometimes, when least expected,
Shekinah shows her face
whose light holds all the colors
while we hurt.
The darkness of sorrow remains
and yet this morning
there is also an impossible
new shade of green
to be seen.
Necropolitics by debgrant
New word for me
here's the definition
to save you a google
so you don't have
to reveal that Latin
is not your first language.
The relationship between sovereignty and power over life and death.
It's been around a long time.
I just didn't know there was a word for it.
Necropolitics is what happens
when we discover we can smoosh an ant
with our baby foot muscles.
It is what happens when we choose
to end our dog's suffering.
It is what happens on an adoption form
That includes the question:
"If your biological child and your adopted child were drowning and you could only save one, which would it be?"
It is what happens when....
fill in the blank.
you know, you know.
In the hands of sovereign rulers
or bodies of legislators,
the lines are drawn.
The labels invented.
The T-shirts printed.
The lapel-ribbon color chosen.
Wombs are territories to fight over.
Nursing homes are not.
Prisons. Didn't we already abandon that fight?
Survival of the fittest.
The one with the most power to decide over life and death
Wins what exactly?
Once there was a
Challenger to the powers that be
We asked him necropolitical questions
like "Who is my neighbor?"
to help us sort our own research data
into who lives, who dies, who gets to choose.
The Challenger's response to
"who is my neighbor?"
was "Close your fisted law books.
Stop riveting plates on your religious hearts.
Get over your racist bullshit.
Use your eyes, your clothes, your food, your money.
Invite others to use theirs.
It is a power not of
He told us that.
We still don't get it.
Less of a poem, more thinking out-loud...maybe there is not much difference.
I have been thinking about the loss of rituals because of this pandemic.
Rituals can be formal like communion or informal meeting a friend for coffee or a beer or birthday parties.
I have been thinking about the way in which we grieve. Depression is a disease that needs to be diagnosed and treated. It happens to many but not all.
Grief happens to all. We all experience loss. What we do with that grief often depends on what we have been taught.
My first great grief was the death of a cat. Dad was there to help my grief. Then I was slammed with my father's death when I was just short of 14 years old.
The protocol for grief for me included: living at a neighbor's house for a week to allow visiting relatives to use my bedroom, being separated and alone, being told not to cry and having smelling salts waved under my nose at the funeral home to stop me from crying.
Needless to say, that was a clinic on how to do some lasting damage about grieving.
I learned to cry.
I learned to shake my fist at the sky
and hock up a sound from my gut to my vocal cords that could break a glass without anyone hearing it.
This pandemic has given us all a lot to grieve:
Loss of loved ones and members of the human family across the globe
Loss of gathering places and events
Loss of a hug
Loss of family rituals, celebrations, future plans.
Loss of work and household routines.
I am been thinking lately that we need to learn how to grieve if we are ever going to heal, to have the energy to be creative with our own survival.
We don't need to be told to "stay positive." We are trying.
We don't need to be told "don't feel that way." That just adds shame to how we already feel.
We need a trash can in which to vomit the bile of loss. And a wet, cold washcloth to wipe our mouth.
Maybe it is a bonfire built of paper or wood and words written or spoken or silently burned.
Maybe it is a good long cry that ends with the cry-headache hangover.
Maybe it is howling until your neighbor's windows light up in the night.
It won't be a magical potion.
It won't mean the grief is gone for good.
It just is a way to survive
and get around to doing
something that is made of life.
Peace, my friends, peace be with you.