Tonight I wield not a pen but a shovel
the grain of wood etching into my palm
the dirt gritty, clumped against the blade
as I dig a shallow grave for the past.
Tonight I carry not a pack on my back but skeletons
macabre, grisly smiles dangling
over my shoulder, my weightless burden,
bones clanking like chains against my skin
like halloween as a child, frightened by ghosts
and plastic glow-in-the-dark skulls,
dark shadows lurking in corners, laughing
at my childish fear—
tonight, all too real.
Tonight I hear no song but a fugue
in the whistle of the trees, the tremor of the creek
the hollows of my mind left absent
metal sinks into the flesh of the earth
carving a space for the dead.
This poem was originally written on a deeply depressive night, when I was sunk into memories of places and people long gone, things I wanted to be rid of, memories I wished I could unburden myself of. The night I wrote this was a bleak and hopeless night. But after watching my younger sister Elena graduate from Oberlin college this weekend, I have a different, more hopeful take. “When one door closes, another opens,” so the cliche goes, but I like to think that also, once you’ve buried your past, you open yourself up to the future. This poem is, for all its funerary language, hopeful: we dig shallow graves for our past that we might better prepare ourselves for the future.
Reblogged this on fidepoetica.
some of the best inspiration comes from dark times like that. Wonderfully done.
Thank you! Yeah, this is definitely a record of scars. But I think it came out well.
People like us are lucky that we can express that pain through our work. I feel like the rest of humanity is at such a disadvantage when they can’t. Its horrifying for me to consider not having this outlet.
Reblogged this on ronovanwrites and commented:
An offering from Author Amira Makansi I just wrote about.
This is a serious poem. Mature and stabbing one that I can read many times nd continue to see new things in
From my Android phone on T-Mobile. The first nationwide 4G network.
Heey Amira, great poem, i find it a hopefull one. It leaves me wondering though, if maybe it would be verry theraputic and good for people like us to acctually in real live dig a grave? And maybe put some things that reminds us of the past in it before we fill it back up. Ofcourse hoping there will be no police there, when we are digging. :p
Interesting thought! There’s definitely something to the physical notion of burial. I personally relish the idea of burning some old relics of mine. But I think it depends on the person. I can also write my troubles away pretty well, no burning or burying required.
i’m the last person to be inspired by poetry, but this is serious and moving. thank you.
Thank you! Why do you say you are “the last person to be inspired by poetry”?
I find a lot of poetry quite hard to relate to. I don’t know, it often seems slightly too easy to pick apart and be ironic about
That’s a fair complaint. I find a lot of modern poetry is either trying too hard to be Romantic (as in the period, a la Wordsworth or Tennyson) or trying too hard to be postmodern. In the first, poets end up with too much floral language and useless metaphors. In the second, they end up either not saying anything useful or cramming too many ideas into a single poem.
Do you ever write poetry?
you summed it up well =) i think that’s what i generally meant, not that i’m against poetry, but it’s hard to come across decent examples these days.
secretly and only in russian =) they’re more like 4-5 line verbal snapshots of the day.
Very cool, and good luck with your own poetry! Russian poetry sounds pretty interesting. I looked at your blog, and I like your quick little summations of your outfits and daily events. Very nice.
I just started, but hoping it will stick. Thank you =) all the best to you, too