Oh, weep for Adonais—he's undead! And hath been, lo! these interstitial years. Yellow and black and pale and hectic red, His cockney mood consumptively careers. Upon a bubbling Hippocrene he's drunk And dreaming, standing tiptoe on the brink Of the wide world that late and soon hath sunk As space and time to nothingness do sink. An anguished autumn wind doth howl a HOWL Of abject grief that sweeps the graveyard's stones. The crescent moon observes the downy owl That eats a mouse from tail to skull and bones. Zombie Allan Poe, who's green and unseen, Is crying, "Happy Birthday Halloween!"
We all know that life can thrive in the most inhospitable of places. Plants grow from volcanic soil. Bioluminescence crawls beneath immense pressure on the ocean floor. Microbes most likely thrive below the icy, radioactive surface of Europa. We all know that life—love—perseveres. It’s nothing new.
But we don’t talk about how ******* hard that actually is. That’s what the strengths perspective is for. What resilience gives name to.
But what if I don't want to? What if, for today, I’d rather the **** not? Is that okay? Is that allowed? That today I'm the vinca vine dying on the ledge? Withered up and not drinking any more water.
Today, I am every succulent that I’ve ever accidentally killed. Today, I am excess formaldehyde. I am a brain floating in a bell jar, undulating in an existence that is an ethical quagmire. Today, I am in limbo. Purgatory. Stasis and static. Suspended upside down in a frozen wasteland, Dante style.
Tomorrow, I will thaw. Rise from the soil fist first.
write your grief prompt #25: Read this poem, and as quickly as possible, write. "Happiness grows back / Like saplings after a forest fire / Barren grief / No longer your primary / residence / That old hollowness / Carved out / Washed/ With holy tears / An old topography of loss / You will follow / Back to life"
I’m in the dream again: not the one I had while awake in the catacombs of St. Callixtus in Rome. Where the darkness was so impenetrable that it began to echo. To look like the mixture of colors that burst when you rub your eyes too hard for too long. Like the neuron rupture before death. To shape and morph and become liquid. Where the darkness cobbled itself into a physical form.
Not the dream where I kept seeing flits of my mother out of the corner of my eye. Behind every street corner. Every turn. Every tunnel. Reflected in the casts of the bodies in Pompeii. Mirrored in the waves of the Trevi Fountain.
I’m in the dream where the soil churned from the bottom to the top. where the hand outstretched from the grave. where my grandfather clawed his way out and returned to my grandmother﹘sopping wet, covered in thick mud, socks torn, skin sallow and jaundiced, spitting out the wire the embalmers put in his mouth, melting makeup, and ravenously hungry. And it’s been so long since he was hungry.
“He came back to me, Taylor,” my grandmother tells me. “He came back to me.” I don’t have the heart to tell her that he’s undead. I’m physically unable to spit out those words. And it’s a dream and it’s a dream and it’s a dream, but it just fits so perfectly. That he would come back to her. That death would not be a barrier. I can’t explain it. It just is. My grandmother is a shell without him. The body that’s missing the limb. The body that keeps score.
Mister Maxwell reads the paper Of the party that he pays for And with subtle nods agrees With each printed word he reads He knows all the phrases to say About the topics of the day And he's politically engaged (Marching in manifestations) And appropriately enraged (By violence and discrimination) To be a hero of society: A once-born self that's ceased to be, A real symptom of democracy! A truly enlightened zombie!