Posted by: cousinbrandon | November 13, 2014

Versus: The Poetry of Cousin Brandon

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything new. I’m not only quite busy, but extremely lazy. It’s not that I haven’t been reading poetry; rather, it’s simply a matter of getting too wrapped up in working, teaching, parenting, drinking and sleeping. Well, all but that last one, really, as I still can’t figure out how to do it correctly.

I actually taught a lesson on the poetry of war in my last class, which is always fun despite the grim subject matter. Still, there’s something rewarding about discussing poetry with a bunch of students who have zero to little interest in the medium. I always ask if any of my students read or write poetry, and there’s always a small number of hands that go up. And for those who do, in fact, claim to be interested in poetry, it’s the writing, not the reading. That is, I typically gather that they’re interested in what equates to 7th grade journal entries. But that’s fine. Any interest in poetry on their part is more than welcome and appreciated. What’s more, the lesson ties in nicely to another reading we discuss in class, which is Walker Percy’s “The Loss of the Creature.” There’s a great section in the essay in which the author proposes giving dogfish to English students and giving sonnets to medical students. He proposes that they’d get more out of that than they ever would if, say, the English student found a sonnet on his desk. It’s essentially an essay on packaging and consumerism. On reclaiming our sovereignty as individuals.

In any event, that long and boring introduction has zero to do with today’s poem. I started writing this one over a year ago, and only this week came back to it. Initially I had written two lines, which I’ve since changed drastically. I’m not sure that this is finished, but it’s here all the same. Thanks for reading.

Our Dead

In the overgrown cemetery
around the corner
from my father’s house,
we buried my grandmother who died
of grief next to my grandfather who died
one year prior, the two of them
forever committed
to one another, to the earth,
to the rain water
that swallows them up some nights
so that the two of them may float
inside their own magnificent bubble,
along their private, wave-like crescent,
weightless, held, transfixed there
below ground, bobbing
ever so gently inside the silver light
that shines, still, within them,
as we, doomed to walk
the three blocks from door
to headstones on days
we see fit, stand over them,
breathing, wondering
what must they be doing down there,
wondering why it is they went,
one after the other, into the cold,
crooked grip of Death, or why we, now,
are left here alive, wondering at all.

BD

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