Charcoal sketch of Kurt Cobain's face.

Hour Twelve, A Nonet.

Charcoal sketch of Kurt Cobain's face.
Original art by Pea Flower Tomioka @peaflowertea

 

In the end, all our days are numbered.
Twenty-seven years in double
Dead just as long as you lived,
Our future vision blurred,
Wife and child moved on
with time’s passage.
Courtney loved
Cobain.
Fin.

Black and white drawing of a man split open with an autopsy y cut. There are butterflies pouring out of his chest cavity.

Hour Eleven, Five Words.

Black and white drawing of a man split open with an autopsy y cut.  There are butterflies pouring out of his chest cavity.
Original art by Pea Flower Tomioka @peaflowertea

They bagged you like your heroin and photographed your flesh
Periwinkle highlight under sunken eyes
Needles to test the drugs they condemned you for

Before cleaning your skin
Weighing your death
Measuring your imprint on history.

Y questions across breastbone
To flay flesh open for media consumption.
They will point fingers while your skin peels back.
Ribcage fillet, to pull you apart
Heartbeat still, clouding eye, weighted grief
to classify each piece of you in totality.

The final pillow a block behind your neck
To hold your skull while they slice you ear to ear, your brain
Brilliant sever and nervous titter systems stalled on record.
And you are hollow completed, as you always felt you were.

Charcoal sketch of a man with no eyes or mouth, as though they'd been erased, or forgotten entirely.

Hour Ten, Blue Note

 

Charcoal sketch of a man with no eyes or mouth, as though they'd been erased, or forgotten entirely.
Original art by Pea Flower Tomioka @peaflowertea

Do you sing with your silent mouth?
Do your sightless eyes still sketch teardrops?
Is your canvas so much blankness?
Do you know the erasure of your face
And how it is etched memory forever on an entire generation?

I remembered to draw your eyes first. They are dipped in ice
A memory of snowflakes and sex under starlight with lovers we never shared.
Blue notes amid the purple punch drunk and the pink fade to nod
Dreaming castle air quotes to dovetail to irony, two horseman charging winter onward.

Do they mourn you the way they mourned him? His name folly to foal,
Pretty ponies riding nightwind up to my hometown gravestones
His family name forever branded hero to the heroin
speedball fast pitchers
and we blink the snowflakes from our eyes
and mourn the Belushi’s for their loss and the Baldwins for their ongoing existence

as though we weren’t all frozen in the winter of someone else’s plotlines.

simple line outline of a man's face in profile on the right side of the screen.. Left aligned text reads, "I wonder/ if he knew/ that quoting Neil Young/ would lead an/ entire generation/ into believing/ he'd said it first.
sketch of a man's eyes in charcoal. Handwritten text reads, "So I wrote a book about his eyes."

Hour Eight, Book Synopsis

 

 

sketch of a man's eyes in charcoal.  Handwritten text reads, "So I wrote a book about his eyes."
original artwork by Pea Flower Tomioka @peaflowertea

 

There are so many books about his music. 
How he changed the way we hear these sounds over airways

How you still hear the grunge tangled strings decades after the reverb died.

There are so many books about his relationships.
The tabloid traumas of accusations and that rock star life
How we still argue about how death lied.

There are so many books about his wife.
How love failed and murder wasted
The endless circles of conspiracy to breed the aneurisms.

So I wrote this book about his eyes, instead.

 

 

Hour Seven, Normal

original art by Pea Flower Tomioka @peaflowertea

I came as I was to the altar of your flesh, but I know I am not who you wanted me to be.
And open bleed on songbird wings to flutter into your forgotten evenings,
Aching inches to touch your sky with my trembling fingers.

I come as I am to the axis of this transition
Maiden to mother, and motherhood ahead like a roadmap I don’t know how to follow
Chutes and ladders like the ditches my indecision will get the car stuck in
I am unable to drive you.
I have no seatbelts. I don’t know what normal feels like.

I only know that mothers are awash with the ditches we back into accidentally,
which is to say that mothers are bathed in blood.

Hour Six, Without Walking

image prompt for hour six of the poetry marathon

This pinprick sickening my skin against this lonely afternoon
Makes me feel dumb, or maybe just happy.
Because I deserve happiness. “We all deserve happiness”, my mother says,
but I know that she doesn’t mean me.
Perhaps this is how we find god.

I take parks by storm, parkour race heartbeats over benches, and elderly objections.
I am flying high, I’m not gonna crack
I am gonna touch the sky
In a summer daze of cartwheels, I found seriality, which is to say that I found heaven.
They had skateboards and hacky sacks.

I can outrun my youth, but it was much faster to escape abuse on a longboard.

Hour Five, Time Capsule

Poetry Marathon prompt image for hour five, “time capsule”

This grief is a plateau where all of my unfinished soda cans mourn together.

I opened up your heart-shaped box to find decades of silence
Tongue cut bleeding stubs in our mouths
I know the sound of your voice.

It tastes like the bubbles I lost in my youth,
Spritely fae who hunt our tastebuds with feather tipped spears
As though we understood your genius
As though we could touch the sun in bloom
As though we could milk it to meaning, biting our cheeks to better feel your pain
But my mouth is raw with an ache for your words, 
pouring into my ears again, breaking the silence through clean and silver

I am undone. Endless. nameless, before you.

Hour Four, Last Line

Hour Four prompt image from The Poetry Marathon

 

Each page I write is hollowness in slab serif.
I hear the driving beat of your fingertips against my windowpane, but I am afraid to open the drapes to see your shadows fly across my carpet.
Will my footsteps echo in socked feet?
Will my embarrassments be taken for quickening breaths?
Will you crow death’s welcome up the fireplace flue to echo neighboring mourning bells?

We all loved you so deeply.
I didn’t know how to let you go, but I never knew how to love you more, so
I will lie here forever and sing to you all the things I stopped myself from saying when you were alive.  (Hilborn)

 

 

 

References

Hilborn, N. (2015). In Our numbered days (pp. 63–63). essay, Button Poetry/Exploding Pinecone Press.

Hour Three, Three Lines Repeated

 

 

Image prompt from The Poetry Marathon

 

There are only so many photographs I can memorize.
I know the curve of his eyes when he smiles
And the shape of his mouth when he thinks he isn’t doing it just right.

I know the shade of his demons, etched in shadows behind the flash.
I know his hunger. His disease.

There are only so many songbirds I can memorize. 
How each one is a cicada caught in his beak
A buzzing chant ripped clean in the windstorm.

There are only so many pictures of him I can memorize
Only these prints spilling teardrop down from our laps and onto the carpet below
To later be swept together in arms that can’t ever reach to him again.

There are only so many ways I can remember a dead man.