Friday, July 13, 2012

One Final Act


Soul Consumed

Her face was like a tender rose, one fragile, soft and pink
her voice a husky whiskey I could drink
her body, lithe, a stretching cat; her claws would bring me fear
and now she's but one last regretful tear

Her love could eat my heart for lunch, could drive me to my knees
or wrap me in an Anaconda squeeze
her passion burned like wildfire, consuming all it touched
no other man on earth might grieve as much

Our paths diverged so long ago, I've seldom paused to dream
our ties were more a fantasy, her scheme
She thought to re-create desire, that love once known, extend
But I refused her song to play pretend

I stand, a shallow, ruined soul, that I'd send back her plea
I'd not the strength to straighten her debris
and now I sit in silence, pray forgiveness from my power
and hope I've not destroyed my passion flower


Cindy shot herself through the heart on August 26th 2004; five months after I’d told her never to call me again. There was a small chance, a suspicion I guess, that she might have been murdered by her “boyfriend”, but in spite of tidbits of evidence to the contrary, the local sheriffs’ department concluded it was indeed a suicide, no matter what her sister believed.

I never did write a closing Cindy story at the time. I was too stunned, too damaged. I’m less stunned now, but still damaged.

As If I Could Make a Difference

As if I could make a difference I offered sanctuary
from the cold,
from the dark,
from the beatings,
from him as it were
or a dozen hims

She accepted my shield for a time
and though she sometimes tried to ply me
I accepted no payment
I wanted nothing, but her safety
guardian
not replacement

But she returned to her ways each time
the bruises and excuses
demanding this fool be fooled just this once
and the next once, whenever that came
That I might leave well enough
alone

The months turned to years turned to decades
As if I could make a difference she called me
she pleaded
she asked too much and I pulled back
the years had not been kind to either of us
and I had nothing left

She may have killed herself
she may have been killed
either way I helped spill her ashes
she asked too much and I pulled back

and I regret

as if I could have made a difference


My friend Sparky and I attended her funeral. She’d been cremated we were told, the urn was sitting on a bier in a mortuary gathering room. After the very light service we were told otherwise. The body was still in Brainerd Minnesota under the inspecting eye of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. We’d been party to a well-intentioned ruse. It could have seemed beyond odd, but within the context of lives such as ours, it was par for the course. Everything attached to Cindy had been dramatic, obfuscated and above all eccentric.

I’ve never really gotten past the role I played in her demise, though I stopped dwelling on it long ago. They say you can’t accept any responsibility for someone else’s suicide; but of course the rules of psychobabble are made by people completely averse to negativity, folks who would remove from us all responsibility for those things that might make us feel guilty or ashamed. I’m reminded of my mother telling everyone she met that I was the greatest disk jockey that ever lived. She’d never heard me. She just wanted to believe and so she did. But that in no way changed the fact that I was just average at best. Truth is truth, and in Cindy’s case there’s no way to know really, but my brushing her off may have well been an important straw that led to her back breaking. I can’t just chuck off that concept and pretend I wasn’t involved. But I can’t believe either that I was a pivot, a focal point, the guy that flipped the switch. And so it’s just another of those lifelong dilemmas, like might my father had lived longer had I recognized his symptoms months before they killed him. I know, I think too much.

I am not one that thinks all suicide is wrong, that all lives can be saved. I have to guess that if it was suicide on her part she accomplished it in spite of being in a drunken stupor as that was her standard mode in the end, and let’s face it, one is not necessarily rational once one has imbibed to excess. But I do know the pain was real, the poverty, crushing, the abuse terrifying and her addictions debilitating, so I have absolutely no bad feelings toward her because of her actions. I only have bad feelings about my own.

I wrote a poem the day I was notified of her death. It wasn’t easy to write physically; I was doing a lot of shivering and sniveling. But the words came as if sent to me; if I’d been using a pen I’d never have lifted the point from the page.

Wept Unto Her Death

If just two names were set before the judge, one lives, one fades away
by what unholy writ was I deemed worthy of one breath
is it by grim coincidence I stand here howling verse today
as kinder, calmer innocents have wept unto their death?

If this is planned pray tell me now what other haunts you have in store
that I might warn those near and dear their lives are forfeit soon
or is this just the way of things, that reapers dance across my door
Is death your entertainment? Or is death my lifelong boon.

Was I so foolish then to think my stepping back was well advised?
You'd say it's not my purview, but my hand seems stained in blood
was not my image tainted, was I not already self despised
or did you think me floating, so a candidate for flood

If I would say this minute that I'd never walk away again
would you for just a moment think to give her one more day?
Or was it truly providence, I lived, she died, a random when;
and nothing could have stopped this, we're just puppets in this play.

What can I pledge from this day fore
that failures haven't spoken for


I don’t write this for forgiveness, for advice or even for some type of selfish catharsis. It is what it is, I am who I am, what I don’t already know about how I should think would fill a thimble. I’m simply setting it here as a reminder, as a gravestone I suppose. It’s my Rest in Peace Cindy. I wish I had something else that would honor your memory; but this is the best I can do.

1 comment:

  1. I can't imagine the pain you felt, old chum, but it's probably what she wanted.

    ReplyDelete