Monday, June 15, 2020


Reflective grief forces language to cut the losses incurred by smoldering metaphors that oftentimes confuse instead of clarify the ache of loss. It seems to be the case that in time of pouring over the memories and mementos of who was here and what they said and what they left behind after their passing creates an ache that is sometimes described as a wind whistling through a hole in your gut. In my case, it is the feeling of quite suddenly feeling that the floor beneath me had given way and that the only thing that was certain was the abyss that awaited me, something I would imagine feeling should I ever be in an elevator when the cable snapped. It is , in essence, the sharp fact that something has been removed from your life that cannot be replaced.  Ron Spalletta's poem, Blank Villianelle,  seems a perfect expression from someone attempting to put into words the combination of emotion and texture that is the grain of recollection; what comes to the tongue is the filtered essence of details that might otherwise overwhelm you . It has an articulate bluntness that desires not to be mistaken for anything other than a representation of the dull, sad ache of sadness.

Blank Villianelle
for Patricia

As long as you want
almost never is
as long as you want,

or it is much longer.
He will not live
as long as you want,

but his forgetfulness
will last as long as memory,
as long as you. Want,

at once desire and privation,
is the work of his disease.
As long as you want
him, you return to watch hours
unravel. Are they hard as yours,
as long? As you want

to let go of the ghost,
you say "but I'll stay
as long as you want,
as long as you want."

People don't live forever in our memories because those with the memories don't live forever, a knowledge that is at the core of all our grieving  and drives us to move on, to the next stage in our own journeys. Promises made, kept, betrayed, a set of agreements, pacts, shared secrets upset by intervening mortality; this is the moment one would realize that one chooses to live in the present tense because there is no other way to negotiate that hard corners of a life intended to achieve and grow, and that the regret of how we've conducted ourselves up to the fateful moment is an irony that seems inevitable. It seems a condition of living with the capacity to use language as the buffer against the panic a random universe creates. But as authors of our own fate, we realize, finally, slowly, that the story ends only when the author drops the pen . The story, of course, will be picked up by someone else who will mistake the particulars as their own,  therefor original.

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