he lived, it seemed, always poised
on the edge of his seat.
he would sadly tell me of his woes,
while nonetheless upbeat.
no one else could sympathize
or commiserate like he could.
i would ask him to understand,
and remarkably he would.
i hate myself for taking granted
all he had to give
i took and took and happily
expected him to live.
i allowed myself to let him
cheer me up and make my day
i took from him, and did i give to him
in any way?
did i even let him know how integral
he had become
to my life, my job, my new city,
and my sense of home.
he was my link, my tie, my seat,
my emtpy self-esteem,
optimistic but depressed
more complex than he seemed.
always a laugh, always a joke,
always a good complaint ...
always hope, always fear,
always feeling faint.
i closed my eyes and plunged along,
i refused to swallow
the bitter pill that there will not
always be talk to you tomorrow.
that there will not always be
the joking self-depreciation
the hallmark of humility,
the fake, the sad, elation.
people who are so good at heart
should not be let go
they are supposed to stay and last
and ripen, slowly, grow.
those who feel most pain inside
are not supposed to keep it
pent up and housed and locked and hid
and not allowed to bleed it.
i hate myself for what i let
go thought and yet unsaid
my skin is chilled down to my bone
my legs are made of lead
i hate myself for thinking that
he always would be here.
i hate the fact that i bemused
his presence with good cheer.
why couldn't i have seen this come,
what signs were then denied?
why couldn't i have said what i
never even tried.
my bitter tears, my torrid thoughts
my anger and my panic
will not make him reappear
will not bring him back.
and while i type these very words
and cry salty tears that bite.
i hate the words i words i type away
i hate this poem of trite.
but how can i express my grief,
my loss, my pain, my sorrow .
when i feel that these thoughts of mine
are empty, hollow, shallow.
no, i am not to comprehend
a world that does not end,
that takes away true selflessness,
that steals a loyal friend.
and leaves me with an aftertaste
of selfish cruel denial,
i focus on the cancelled plans;
i strike the page with bile.
i look into a candle flame
and all that i can see
is a bad joke, and in the dawn,
he will come back to be.
and no one will feel the hurt and loss
and no one will ache from pain
and no one will mark him with a spot
and no one will fear his name.
i began this sad affair with ink
and now i try to end it.
i see the knife, i feel the tear,
oh, god, i want to mend it.
but i am miserable, tragically
weak, pathetically unable
to make better, to undo
to bring him to the table.
i wish that i could say something
to make it all seem better
i wish that i could compose
a panacea letter
that would express my confusion,
my guilt, my fear, my shame.
my utter inability to speak aloud
or write, even, his name.
i hate myself for feeling numb,
i hate myself for crying,
i hate myself for being alive,
i hate the dead for dying.
i hate the part of me who knows
that while i still remain,
that everything is different now,
that nothing is the same.
but my sense of loss, this pain, this grief
must in comparison pale
in immeasurable measures to
those closest to yale.
rebecca lynn eisenberg
october 31, 1995
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Copyright 1995, 1996 Rebecca Eisenberg email@example.com