My Own Personal Wasteland

March and November are always bad months for me. November because it’s the anniversary of my dad’s death and March because we almost shared a birthday so it’s a constant reminder that every year I am older and he is still dead. Most of my childhood birthday memories are of having my own birthday parties with my friends but always sharing family birthday with my dad. He always let me pick the cake because he honestly didn’t care as long as I was happy. This year is exceptionally hard because my relationship with my mother has deteriorated to a point that breaks my cold dead heart. My relationship with my mother has never been stellar but she is the only parent I have so I have tried hard to not repeat history. But she is apparently to old to change which I suppose means I am officially too old to put up with this shit anymore.

My dad died when I was 19 at the beginning of my sophomore year of college. I was taking some ridiculous English class with a professor who I am relatively sure was smoking way more pot than the average student. It was an intro to English lit class, which I had for the most part enjoyed, being the English lit nerd that I am. And the assignments were usually pretty bullshit. The last one of the year was to write our own version of TS Eliot’s “The Wasteland”. I will be the first to admit that I wrote my share of super angst-ridden poetry in my teens. Most of which is god-awful and should probably have never seen the light of day. This one though, this one is one that has stuck with me over the years. And year after year I dig it up and read it again. And year after year it helps. It doesn’t soothe the bone-deep ache of grief that I still feel but it seems to round out the edges. My grief becomes more of a dull ache rather than the sharp, stabbing pain of a new injury. It becomes the pain of poking the bruise as opposed to the initial slamming my knee against my desk injury that caused the bruise. I do not by any stretch of the imagination consider this to be some sort of great work of literature. But it is a thing which brings me some small comfort and in the interest of trying to be less emotionally awkward and broken it is a thing which I have finally accepted means something to me because it is one of the few times in my life I have managed to accurately capture exactly what has led me to a point in which I began to refer to my heart as a cold dead thing.

So I am going to post this thing on the internet. Which likely only seems like a good idea because I have had three glasses of wine. But let’s be honest, I am a person who is only ever able to admit to the world in general that I have feelings when I have sufficiently numbed myself with alcohol. And at 33, believe me, I realize this is no point of pride. But it is what is.

“My Own Personal Wasteland”

November is a month of lies,
False words and bullshit stories,
Of why we should all be thankful.
Thankful for the turkey,
Too bad it’s still pink in the middle.
Thankful for the mashed potatoes,
Those were dad’s favorite,
Too bad the peels clogged up the sink.
Where’s the damn plunger when you need it?
The snow that falls outside the windows,
Mirrors the frozen, silent tears that slide down
Each cheek as the drugs begin to wear off.
Thankful for the pills that get me through the day,
More thankful for the ones that get me through the night.
Thankful for sleep that is dreamless,
I have only my thoughts to contend with during
The never-ending daylight hours.

December is a swirl of exams and greed.
Funny how the birth of Christ,
Is less important than the hottest toy.
Lists of CDs, DVDs, clothes and cars
Populate the hands of parents everywhere.
I think this year I’ll just take a favor from Chronos,
Stop, rewind will you?
So I can go back and say goodbye.
Or better yet my dear old father time,
Just fast forward to the end,
So I can begin again,
Maybe as a cat this time.

January is a blur,
Except for those ever pitying looks,
And the voices they think I can’t hear.
I’m grieving you Cro-Magnon,
Not deaf and blind.

February flies by,
A plethora of fights.
I’ve never screamed so much in my life.
My friends all got roses,
But all I’ve got are these damned dead petals,
Funny what we take away from funerals.

March is here,
And I’m pretty sure it went well.
I couldn’t really tell you.
After all, I spent my 20th
(Should have been his 54th)
Drinking myself into oblivion.
Because oblivion doesn’t give a damn
How much you cry.

April brings a light blue robe,
The color of the sky on Beltane,
Wrapping him in graduate pride.
The prodigal son has finally managed
To get his damned diploma.
To bad there are only six of us,
Instead of the lucky seven that we should have been.
Pride hosts her heroic battle against despair,
It’d be nice to get through one event without
The oh so common tears.

May brings freedom from classes,
And the rapid delve into work.
Who ever thought retail could be so mindless?
People really are just like sheep,
Too bad they don’t have golden fleeces.

June and July follow fast paced
Upon one another.
Twins who just can’t seem to separate.
Between the melting heat
And the inability to stop thinking
The short nights seem
Longer than even Odysseus’
Trip back home.

August sees us back in class,
Good little pupils hiding our dunce caps
Behind sarcasm and our flexibility,
So nice of him to sit so close.

September gives us no relief
As I trudge the dusty paths of habit
And my personal solitude.
But at least my nights are quiet
When I drown my thoughts in
The scent of boy on my pillow,
And his warmth against my back.

October brings fear,
And the ever present anger.
Why am I the only one capable of making myself
Completely miserable?
Good bye my boy.
Farewell sweet momentary peace of mind.
Hello emptiness
Empty bed
Filled up head.
Bring on the liquor
And the mindless games.
Ignore the day of the dead.
They don’t listen anyhow.

November again.
Be thankful.
Survived a year.
Just 50 or 60 more to go.
Thankful for my memory.
Still hurts like yesterday.
I’ll be spinning my sorrow,
As long as Arachne keeps spinning her webs.

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