Grief

I cried so many tears tonight
That all the words I had relied upon
To explain how I feel
Have washed away in saltwater
And what is left
What is left
Is what I cannot say

My Father’s Beard (RIP Ronald Baggs, 1941-2014)

when I was a child
I played with my father’s beard
sitting in his lap

when he was dying
they cut off part off his beard
to mail it to me

I would cry except
all my tears are locked inside
they cannot come out

some things are too hard for tears
some things turn my face to stone
some things make me ache to cry
some things make me ache and ache
no matter what, tears don’t comeĀ 

Lament for Ronald Baggs (1941-2014)

It’s raining in Wasco today
It never rains in Wasco
But it’s raining there today
For it has lost its son
And the sky is crying

It’s raining in the Sierras today
Not snow, but rain, this time
It’s raining there today
For it has lost its son
And the sky is crying

It’s raining in Klamath Falls today
It rains there a lot, but this rain is special
It’s raining there today
For it has lost its son
And the sky is crying

It’s raining in Sunnyvale today
Never mind the name of the town
It’s raining there today
For it has lost its son
And the sky is crying

It’s raining in Palo Alto today
And we know why it’s raining
It’s raining there today
For it has lost its son
And the sky is crying

It’s raining in Redwood Terrace today
It’s a rainforest, so it rains
But today the rain is filled with sadness
It’s raining there today
For it has lost iits son
And the sky is crying

It’s raining in Campbell today
There’s a drought but it’s raining
it’s raining there today
For it has lost its son
And the sky is crying

It’s raining in San Jose today
Same drought, same unexpected rain
It’s raining there today
For it has lost its son
And the sky is crying

It’s raining in the Siskiyous today
Despite the recent forest fires
It’s raining there today
For it has lost its son
And the sky is crying

And I cry
Along with the sky
Sometimes out loud
Sometimes only in my mind
But my tears outnumber the rain that falls
For I have lost my only father
And I couldn’t know what that was like
Until it happened

Sometimes I open my mouth to cry
And no sounds come out
And the tears won’t come
But I feel the tears in my mind
Streaming down my face
Falling from the sky
Covering everything in sight
With the water
Of grief and love

Bone dry

I believe that I'm strong —
Resilient I say —
Like rubber you push me
I push back, away

I believe I can handle
What the world throws at me
But then the world throws it
Too fast at me for me to see

It hits me in the head
I fall and hit the ground
My mouth is full of mud
I cannot make a sound
I guess I overestimated
My resiliency
I'm bawling like a baby
There is no dignity

Nobody wants to see it
Everybody looks away
When they see someone
Crying in this way

It's not demure
It's not polite
It's not crocodile tears
It's not sweet
It's not cute
It's only primal

It's loss of control
It's “I want my mommy”
And “I want my daddy”
And “I want whatever gods I believe in”
And “I don't care, I want them NOW NOW NOW!” <stomp>
I told you there's no dignity here

But I can't ask for my dad to solve my problems
He has no power to stop his own death
I can't ask my mom
She's got to take care of my dad
Without dying herself

If grief is love then my heart is breaking at the seams
If grief is love then it is only echoed in bottomless screams
And fearing to cry for fear I'll never stop
And crying in the least dignified way
Wailing, screaming, bawling my eyes out

And people ask if it makes me feel better after a “good cry”
It just makes me feel weary and tired and bone, bone dry
So I try not to cry, to no avail this time
For I am going to wail until the end of time
And it won't be demure little upper-class tears
It's the screaming and shaking that plagued my childhood years

I know now it stops
I know my resilience is real
It's not just hubris or pride
I really can endure most anything

But sometimes
Like now
That's just not how it feels
And I wail till I'm bone dry
Bone dry