His death, however, was a surprise to lots of us. I immediately thought "Hey, I should write a poem about this because I'm a poet." It's what I do, poetry
Mostly I tried not to cry. I was at work, after all. If I had anything poetic in me, I figured it wouldn't work itself out of me until much later when the grief wasn't as strong. But maybe not. Maybe there was nothing in there.
It was mid-afternoon and I'd lost the battle with tears a few times (my cube-mate was in another office for pretty much all of that, thank God in all of his loving graciousness), which meant tear-stained glasses and a tear-stained phone. Why a tear-stained phone you ask? Because I couldn't stop myself from looking up the details I'd missed over the weekend on my phone. (I docked myself the time...I really was useless there for a while.)
My glasses I cleaned in the bathroom. My phone I kept trying to wipe clean on my shirt. My shirt was cotton. This should have worked. Nada. I couldn't get the tear-stain -- you know, that crusted edge of salt left behind on your face when you cry? -- to come off my phone screen. I worked it off eventually, though I couldn't tell you how now, but I kept rubbing at it and rubbing at it until I did, like some reverse Lady Macbeth.
And somewhere, mid-rub, this was born.
I wasn't entirely wrong about needing to get over the worst of the grief, though. Usually poems kind of dump themselves in my brain, and only minor tweaks are need. I only finished this a little while ago.
I miss you, Ed.
6/29/15 a Dear Friend poem
Tears don't clean
as easy as it seems they do
They leave behind salty scars
They stain they mar they pull at every surface they touch
Ghosts whispering out loud
secrets crowding and shouting in your heart
Until your eyes bleed red
and your heart beats in time with your head
Tears like this don't come clean
No matter what it may seem to be
they leave behind scars
Salt marks on raw hearts
are not cured with easy words
Its a sword that pierced me
This kind is a running wound
that I'd run from if I could
But tears cried can't be undone
nor shoved under some brighter happier version of who I was
before I heard the news that he was gone
Oh Father can you hear this
Father can you see this
These tears that won't come clean
though I wipe and dry and polish and hide
they keep coming
They keep creeping
They keep seeping through my fingertips and my fears
through my laughter and my lightness
A denial to my every day self
that everything is all right
I don't want them to sympathise
I don't want to cry!
I don't want blue skies and sun
I don't want the world to turn on when he's gone
I just want--
I just want to be where You are
To hide my face in Your side
away from lying blue skies
my mask of pleasant smiles
and be grieved
of a good man