Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oh Absence & a poem by Jean Valentine

Absence in the shape of faith. I stopped trusting what looked stable, what called itself stable, and started to trust those people that owned their failings, that said those failings were inherent, that joked at the idea of their own perfection, their own completion. This tack seemed more real than anyone who said things like "I'm living the dream," or "I've been rocketed into the fourth dimension." This seemed more real than anyone who said, "this is a simple program for complicated people." The thing was - the idea of completion began to seem so entirely false that I started to let myself hang on the edge of things. The air was clearer there, because fewer people were willing to stand straddled between two lives, which was different than the illusion of balance, for this place acknowledged the continual potential a crash. The air was clearer, the sky was wider, the fields looked like I thought Texas would look - desolate, unexpected, small towns rising and disappearing as quickly into the land. Dry fields of machinery, a path of cacti and fossils, a creek bed and beetles, the living wind.

This following poem by Jean Valentine made me cry, albeit very quietly and shortly, in my poetic forms class:


I have decorated this banner to honor my brother. Our parents did not want his name used publicly. --from an unnamed child's banner in the AIDS Memorial Quilt

The boatpond, broken off, looks back at the sky.
I remember looking at you, X, this way,
taking in your red hair, your eyes' light, and I miss you
so. I know,
you are you, and real, standing there in the doorway,
whether dead or whether living, real. --Then Y
said, "Who will remember me three years after I die?
What is there for my eye
to read then?"
The lamb should not have given
his wool.
He was so small. At the end, X, you were so small.
Playing with a stone
on your bedspread at the edge of the ocean.

1 comment:

Randall said...

"Absence in the shape of faith."

...that took the wind out of me right off. Poem's lovely... can understand the tears. I'm so poetry ignorant, looks like I need some Jean Valentine.