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May 2014
Condolence Cards Poem (Spoken Word)

Congratulations: On landing your dream job!
Congratulations: On buying your first house!
Congratulations: It's a beautiful baby you brought into this world!
Congratulations: Marriage is so monumental, see you at the wedding!

Can you measure the amount of acknowledgements we forfeit,
to cheap card stock and cheesy colorful cutouts?  
Like each event in life is a round in sports,
requiring an announcer to stand on the edge of the arena,
shouting the play by play.  

We play pretend that cards can say what we feel.  
But I feel like unless if those purple, blue, vanilla,
or pink for valentine's and mother's day envelopes
can enclose an entire paperback novel,
I know that my feelings can't possibly be enclosed inside.  
As if feelings could surmount to anything less than a lifetime of experience.  

For when has then phrase, "I love you" ever conveyed the entire message intended, but without the soft gestures accompanying it, or perhaps the longing gaze of eyes and 'I Do's' entrenched in one another.  
For when has the phrase, "I miss you" offered up the subtleties of staring out your window on rainy day, listening to piano symphonies sinking into the sofa sipping away sorrows on wine?
For when has the phrase, "I am sorry for your loss" ever actually meant sorry, as if it was you who were the perpetrator of a ****** and were seeking exoneration through a sorry excuse of a phrase uttered by people who just don't quite understand the meaning of the term 'sorry.'

I stare at the Hallmark Sea in front of me and I wonder.  Are life's memorable moments so easily categorized?  Into baby showers, bar-mitzvahs, and birthdays?
What about cards just for barbecues with random neighbors?
About cards just for breaking your precious vase?
Cards just for being a ***** the other day?
Just for breakfast you made me in bed?
For binge-ing on alcohol with me and not leaving me almost dead?
What about cards just for thanking you for buying me a stupid ******* card?

Tell me where is the corporate branding on cards for being broke?
On cards for broken homes?
On cards for being homeless?
On cards for getting cancer?
On cards for cutting?
On cards for self-loathing and depreciation?
What about cards for being in the moment or sharing a cup of coffee?
Instead what we get is the catch-all, Condolence Cards.

Condolences - an expression of sympathy with a person who is suffering sorrow, misfortune, or grief.  
Condolences - an expression of sympathy with a person who is suffering sorrow, misfortune, or grief.  
Condolences - an expression of sympathy
Condolences - a person who is suffering
Condolences - sorrow, misfortune, or grief.  

I didn't realize most people's sympathy being expressed equated to blank stares like paper on paper, means nothing but thin and flimsy papers, feelings forfeited, grounded up like big beautiful trees teeming with life, chalked up into tiny pieces of toilet paper for you to wipe your crap on, leaving behind a Hallmark - Condolence Card.
Andrew Parker
Written by
Andrew Parker  U.S.
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