grief, i’ve learned, is just really love.
it’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. all that unspent love gathers up in the corner of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.
grief is just love with no place to go.
…like everybody else, i want to die someday but not anytime soon. I like dusk just as much as anyone but I think I’m becoming more keen on sunlight, waking up to the sweet & coffee in the kitchen & all those birds. there are plastic spikes on my windowsill to keep the pigeons away & I don’t know what to think about that. things like that fill my whole entire animal heart… thin heat from radiator in the library. frosty fields where I almost died & died again until I forgot what it means to die or stay alive.
it’s November again & most of us are still alive. this make me so glad except for the fact that it has to be said. I look outside & a black flock of birds erupts into something that’s never been described before.
“It’s November Again”, Talin Tahajian
Owen keeps asking what
happens to his body
when he dies, what happens
inside the body,
and I tell him
all your organs slow
down, your lungs and
heart, your liver,
and the blood in your body
around your body, until
and become quiet and
rests. he wants to know
if it’s the same thing
for birds and when birds
die what happens to their
feathers, if the feathers
stay up in the sky and what
is a wolf, he wants
to know, and can it eat us.
He says that some things
come back after they die
but we don’t want
them to. No, I say,
sometimes that’s all
we want. No matter what.
we loved to come back
no matter how terrible
or painful it might
be. His older brother,
Hamza, is alone in his room
again, lying very still
on his bed working out
the compass of being
a teenager on his
Nintendo. I want to
take both boys out
into the yard and have
them bathe their feet
in the October grass.
Pull the cold air over
them like a woolen overcoat.
But I need to get dinner
going and I need to
grab the clothes from
the dryer and fold
them. I don’t know
how I will get the house
cleaned up before it’s
time for bed. Before
I became a father my
greatest fear was dying
in a plane crash, the
plane stalling through
a cloud of birds. Now
I sit at a kitchen table
and stare and stare
at the gas bill
like looking out
the window at a car
on fire. Sometimes
I want to be a ghost
or a vampire, a zombie
slowly walking over a hill,
hungry for something
it can’t name but,
with arms outstretched,
begs for anyway.
ALL HALLOW’S EVE, Matthew Dickman
the pain i don’t say out loud builds a home inside me.
Olivia Gatwood, Life of the Party
there is a kind of loneliness that comes from being with people. the kind that is more about a recognition of the failure of communication. the gaps. like the other day this woman came over and i served her tea…
the woman told me of her career trajectory, which i have already heard in this same excruciating detail twice before. it involves a broken engagement and an incomplete PhD program. which she considers failure, having come from some ambitious North Shore whatever world. i don’t consider either thing failure at all.
still she speaks to me as if i am her judge, or confessor. i felt so lonely hearing her stories, because i know they are about her and her issues and her judges and have nothing to do with me.
i nod, sip my tea, thinking about how hard it is to really truly connect with another human being.
Suzanne Scanlon, Promising Young Women.
nothing much that happens to us
changes our disposition.
Really, you believe that?
I think so. I read this study
where they followed people
who won the lottery, and people
who had become paraplegic, right.
You’d think that…
you know, one extreme
is gonna make you…
euphoric, and the other suicidal.
But the study shows that
after about 6 months,
As soon as people got used to
their new situation,
they were more or less the same.
Like if they were basically
an optimistic, jovial person,
they’re now an optimistic,
jovial person, in a wheelchair.
If they’re a petty miserable asshole,
ok, they’re a petty miserable asshole
with a new Cadillac, a house and a boat.
So, you now be forever depressed,
no matter what great
things happen in my life?
No, come on…
Are you depressed now?
Before Sunset. (2004) Dir. Richard Linklater
You don’t love because: you love despite; not for the virtues, but despite the faults.
most days i write you
into things that disappear
sometimes i write you
there’s a small stain in the left
hand corner, it is having a hard time
and i think, it looks a lot
It’s very strange that the people you love are often the people you’re most cruel to.
it’s only september. i don’t know how many seasons i will be allowed to love you yet.
what i do know is that you have flown one thousand miles to stand in my kitchen, dropping chocolate chips into pumpkin pancakes
—like arranging freckles for the face of a perfect child.
“A Simple Love Poem”, Megan Falley
You and I moved fast and slow, twisted time to match the beat of our hearts, eyes closed to something no one dared to see. Go on, I said, you’ve made your choice but we breathed and lived for all the wrong reasons and you left for years without looking back and here you are now, bittersweet perfection, sullen and angry like a Cat 3 hurricane too far offshore to be noticed, sad and angry like the hot tears you once cried so long ago in July.
The real difference between youth and age is not physical, or even mental. It’s just the added weight of all the years piled up behind you. You can call it experience if you want, but having a considerable past doesn’t necessarily confer any wisdom. It just compresses time so that things that happened last week and things that happened in the mid-1980s sit side by side in your memory.
When you are living in a house where guilt is alive, it leaves a mark.
And when you are living in an atmosphere of daily, ever-present guilt, what does that do to children? It changes their souls.
i think a lot about your eyes
…and how painful it is to be
in a room full of people with such
empty pockets and words that are
so heavy i cannot lift them from
you are the greatest secret
if i could i would hold you between
my hands like morning.
if we are the same person before and after we loved, it means we haven’t loved enough.
“Our day-to-day life is bombarded with fortuities or, to be more precise, with the accidental meetings of people and events we call coincidences. “Co-incidence” means that two events unexpectedly happen at the same time, they meet: Tomas appears in the hotel restaurant at the same time the radio is playing Beethoven. We do not even notice the great majority of such coincidences. If the seat Tomas occupied had been occupied instead by the local butcher, Tereza never would have noticed that the radio was playing Beethoven… But her nascent love inflamed her sense of beauty, and she would never forget that music. Whenever she heard it, she would be touched. Everything going on around her at that moment would be haloed by the music and take on its beauty.
…Anna meets Vronsky in curious circumstances: they are at the railway station when someone is run over by a train. At the end of the novel, Anna throws herself under a train. This symmetrical composition—the same motif appears at the beginning and at the end—may seem quite “novelistic” to you, and I am willing to agree, but only on condition that you refrain from reading such notions as “fictive,” “fabricated,” and “untrue to life” into the word “novelistic.” Because human lives are composed in precisely such a fashion.
They are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence (Beethoven’s music, death under a train) into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life. Anna could have chosen another way to take her life. But the motif of death and the railway station, unforgettably bound to the birth of love, enticed her in her hour of despair with its dark beauty. Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress.
It is wrong, then, to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences… but it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty.”