Downsizing the Dead

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Posts: 1381
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Downsizing the Dead

#1 Post by Kenneth2816 » 07 Sep 2019, 22:04

is a balance between sacrilege
and release that begins with closing
the bedroom off, opening a window
so the spirit can vacate with some
measure of dignity and NOT get
stuck like a foil balloon in
the updraft of a ceiling fan.

For about the first week, you don't
go in, but compulsively check
just in case it really is a dream,
half expecting to see her lying
curled up with a book, smoking.

Then you designate the piles;
clothes and shoes to the women's
shelter, books and nick nacks
to Habitat, another "go through"
pile of letters, yearbooks,and
personal effects. You sit in the
floor holding each item like a medium
hoping to divine some personal
history which might have eluded
you while she was still alive.

It's hard to watch the cats, confused,
yeowling, scratching at her door.
Then the downstairs neighbor calls
all like "I really hate to bother you-
but-swear-to- God- I've-felt-her-presence-
things -have-been-moved-can-you-
please-come-down?". You don't
know whether to be offended, but
It's Shellie Mae, and well she was
her friend afterall.

Later you could kick yourself for
being so vulnerable you didn't notice
how vulnerable you were, and
Shellie Mae crying now
lights a smudge stick,
and you both trade favorite stories
between glasses of wine and
you fucked up bad, and will they
now call you a ghost- cheater?

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Joined: 03 Jun 2016, 21:03

Re: Downsizing the Dead

#2 Post by BobBradshaw » 08 Sep 2019, 00:05

The 2nd stanza is a stunner...really good. The 3rd and 4th stanzas are good as well... I enjoyed the conversational deftness .
I am uncertain how I feel about the 1st stanza... it is clever but not the same tone as the following stanzas. I might cut it.

The ghost-cheater ending doesn’t carry the kind of emotional impact I was expecting. Maybe consider combining a personal angst image with those wonderful yeowling cats?

Posts: 1381
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Re: Downsizing the Dead

#3 Post by Kenneth2816 » 08 Sep 2019, 00:47

Thanks Bob. I've done other angst poems on this subject. I tried to not overload this. I'm not arguing your crit or defending the poem, but S1.....there is a quaint belief from Medieval time that when someone dies, you open the window for awhile for reasons stayed in the poem.

Where I live , the Sisters of Mercy run a terminal care facility. Their advertisements feature the open window and highlight the superstition. Weird, I know.

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Joined: 23 Mar 2014, 11:27

Re: Downsizing the Dead

#4 Post by meenas17 » 08 Sep 2019, 12:10

Reading through I could feel the presence of the spirit.
The cats scratching the door, the downstairs neighbour talking about her presence adds more fear.
The last stanza is traumatic.

Well written, Subject is not my choice.

Posts: 1381
Joined: 01 Jun 2008, 09:17

Re: Downsizing the Dead

#5 Post by Kenneth2816 » 08 Sep 2019, 12:26

Not mine either Meenas. Some poems have to be written, regardless.

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