Found Mourning: a poem and writing exercise

I just sent my Book 5 manuscript off to my focus group (yay) and was twiddling my thumbs wondering what to work on while I wait for feedback. Between large projects, I find working on smaller bits (flash fiction, poetry) a way to cleanse the literary palate.

In my previous post I wrote about how I grew creatively stagnant after the US election, how I couldn’t convince myself that what I did as an author really meant much in the scheme of things. A few days ago I was wandering about my unfinished pieces of recent work and came across a poem I forgot I had written. It was dated Nov 10, just a few days after the election.

I guess I wasn’t completely creatively stagnant after all. I probably forgot about it because I went numb for a few weeks after that. The same kind of numb I felt after my father had died. The kind of numb that happens when one is in mourning.

Writing through mourning is a great way to work through it. To sort out your thoughts and feelings and place it in the world so others can connect and feel less alone. (See one to my cat Victor here)

Jagged Morning

we are not sore losers we are in mourning
and mourning is a jagged pit that has no where
to go
what is mourning but an expression of love
what is mourning but an expression of loss

I lose every day, pieces of myself, slow loss
like glaciers
they are melting, you know, I mourn the loss of
ice of green of animals I have never seen
I cannot look at the TV for fear I will lose myself

if you have ever been bullied or pulled or pushed
or told you were not good enough or physically
less than      you are
in self mourning
I love the men in my life and they
love me back but they do not know

do not know what it is like to shut up
and play nice do not know
what it is like to have hands on your body where
there should be no hands and not say anything
and in that not saying of anything
become small

I walk among the trees breathing and stop
next to a tree barely taller than I am
I will it to grow through my mourning anger
my mourning anger feels big enough
it is surrounded by other bigger trees and I wonder
if they will allow it to grow
or if it will never be the tall thick tree I see
in a future of tall treeness

we do not know what it is like to be an earth with
hands and tools and machinery where there should
not be hands and tools and machinery imagine a monkey
in a forest and then there is no forest imagine a fish in
the water it cannot breathe
imagine neighbours fighting over your wetness
imagine neighbours burning each other’s houses down
burning you down

we mourn and rage mourn and hold each other tight
mourn and move mourn and act mourn and get up
in the morning
mourn and shine mourn and pound our fists into
the surreality of life the no this can’t be happening
but it is

the Astronaut is dying, terminal cancer, yet
still holds the light of suns
he has seen the pale blue dot from space
how small we are how fragile how we
fight over small bits of land the universe
cares nothing about

the forest is not political it has no stake in
keeping its brothers and sisters down

we mourn and rage mourn and hold each other tight
mourn and move mourn and act mourn and get up
in the evening
the stars look back at the pale blue dot
there is no sound

*   *   *

YOUR WRITING WORKOUT

As humans we are in constant mourning. Not just for people and pets, but for our health, that amazing job we couldn’t take, a TV show that was cancelled before its time (I’m looking at you, Firefly!), a pair of shoes…

Consider something you’ve lost (recently or in the distant past), a large or small thing, it doesn’t matter, it’s simply a jumping off point.

Consider this object or idea or person or pet as a part of yourself. Carry it around with you and go for a walk. Speak to the things you see, the forest, rocks, water, buildings, signs… What do they think about this loss you feel? How do they respond?

After your walk, set your timer for 10 minutes and write. It doesn’t have to be in the shape of a poem, just let the connections come, the images arise, and don’t edit anything until your timer goes off.

(and if you feel like sharing a piece of what you wrote here, that’d be great, too)

Plain_tree_image

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