Black Funeral

27 Oct

I hate funerals.

The wailing the tears the saddened bodies sobbing into one another’s clothes

The tears staining each other’s black taffeta.

The not knowing what to say, who to say it to and who not to confront with your emotions.

The speech you should utter, the words you should not.

The way the sermon continues until every muscle in your inner chest

is wrenched until you can no longer speak, let alone grieve.

I saw the tears today.

Witnessed the pain and tried not to be drawn into the agony of the moment.

So much sobbing I nearly forgot myself and went to turn off the TV I thought I was watching.

Wasn’t it a Hollywood masterpiece designed to make people react emotionally?

No this is life and is sadder than all the magic they deliver to you on screen.

The tears of the boy standing next to me were real.

Wasn’t he the one I used to go to school with and watch as he made a fool of himself in class?

The guy who never displayed his feelings?

Sad the way western society makes him lose himself and play the emotional idiot like a boy,

and then when he retreats back to the “real world”

he will turn into all the other emotionally detached people he imitates everyday.

A guy stood directly behind me and two people were there holding him up,

lest he fell, onto the pavement trying to drag himself under. He was a wreck.

So much blubbering I thought his body would dry up.

Arms flailing all over and people just trying to catch and calm him down.

He didn’t hear any of the service.

Did he feel the guilt? I think it must be burning through his bones,

making him hurt like being cast into the furnace over and over again.

The curtain fell, but no applause rang out,

only the deafening roar of people in pain.

Streaming grief throughout the building and even out into the sunshine.

I wrote this poem back in 2001 after attending the funeral of a kid who was the same age as me. He was killed in a motorbike accident at a party in our sleepy coastal town in WA. Re-reading this poem today it still feels as real and painful as it did back in 2001.

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One Response to “Black Funeral”

  1. Elle October 28, 2010 at 10:39 pm #

    I remembered your poem as soon as I read the first line. An excellent piece of writing.

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