Catharsis

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Scott
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Catharsis

Post by Scott »

This is my newest poem. It's pretty long and not even exactly a poem as much as a collection of un-sent letters mostly to my dead grandparents and (still alive) ex-wives. I hope you like it!

You can read the text version below or watch the video version on YouTube.

I recommend the video version. :)



Catharsis
by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes


I've been told I didn't cry when I was born
The calmest baby in the entire ward
I've more than made up for it since then
Let my letters be stories
And my words be more


Granddad,
I cried so hard when you died
I don't know if it was more for you or for me
The first dead body I had ever seen
It was yours in a hospital bed
The first time I came face-first with death
The first poem I ever wrote was about you
I read it as a kid to a crowd at your funeral
My first time on a stage with a microphone
Just a child
I visited your ashes in our yard
In your death, I contemplated life
I still think about you sometimes
About us, about me
About everything


Grandma,
I still dream about you
And that's not a metaphor; that's the truth
You whisper in my ear
But I don't hear the words
I wake up with a feeling
I can't explain
I used to hate the way I let things end between us
Fading out with a lonely whimper rather than a friendly bang
Two days before John died
I told him how I felt and I don't know why
I never told anyone else, not until writing this
And he forgave me on your behalf
And it meant a lot to me then
But uncomfortably more when I watched him get buried unexpectedly just a few days later
Like a messenger between two worlds
It still hurts when I think about it
But there's so much relief in the realization
That there's so much more to this life than my mind can understand
I have just the faintest sense
Of the waves and patterns that connect us
Me, just an ant, of many,
listening to the human music
Shaking beneath our feet
Not knowing what a human or music even is


To my first wife,
We were only together for five short years
But with you I lived a full life
I saw and held it all
Like a dream made of glass
Solid and real, in my hand, in my grasp
We were just kids when we had kids
And I don't know when I let the glass slip
Maybe it was doomed from the start
I was just a childish boy with a foolish heart
I hurt you in ways
That even today
I won't bring myself to admit to
It was with you that I learned
Not to trust my own hands
Not to trust my own mind
I didn't want to destroy you
I just wanted to have you
To own you
To know I would never lose you
Leaving you was when I first knowingly tasted and felt the other worlds that neighbor our own
Even though it would be 10 more years before I wrote that poem
I remember the day I moved out
I didn't tell you what I was going to do
I moved my stuff when you were at work
You came home surprised to a half-empty house
I hugged you with tears
Standing in the metaphorical broken glass
Of a dream only I could see
Cutting me in ways
Our bodies can never show
Because metaphorical cuts don't leave visible scars
There's little sympathy for people like us
It's our souls that bleed
Hidden far behind what people can see
And I remember the words I said to you
I told you in another world
In another world it all worked out
In another world we'd still be together
But that world wasn't this one
You hated me then
And to be fair
Despite what I said
I hated you too
But I think you also loved me still
And I've also always loved you too
It's been a long time
We both got re-married
Yours worked out, mine didn't
You're one of my best friends now
So is your husband
I babysit your kids, my kids' baby siblings
You both help me so much
It turned out better than I ever could have imagined
Maybe the glass dream was never real
Maybe those other worlds don't even exist
I suppose it all worked out in the end
But then again
We haven't reached the end yet
And I still take the opportunities I can get
To atone


To my second wife,
I cried when you broke my heart
I cried when I broke yours
I cried the day you moved out
And then I wrote In Another World
About you
You gave me the words to express my pain
The wisdom and inner peace to smile through the tears
I'm sorry that I re-did so much with you
I didn't recognize my patterns as patterns
Until the second time through
It started so differently
And I was as disappointed as you
When it ended so similarly
So badly you wanted a baby
Time often turns curses into blessings
Hopeful fertility surgery turned to voluntary birth control
We never had a baby
For the best in the end
We don't talk anymore
I haven't seen you in years
You hopefully won't read this
I don't want to scratch open old wounds
Hopefully you wouldn't care anyway
Hopefully even the faintest scars are gone
Hopefully you don't think of me
And the glass future we held dear
That shattered on the floor
And hopefully the happiest moment for you
Was when you finally walked out and closed that door
Hopefully you don't look back
To a future that only exists in our past
I'm sorry for so much
But grateful for even more
I wouldn't ask for you back
For your sake as much as mine
But I love and thank you anyway
And I hope and think you've moved on


To my most recent love,
I won't use your name for privacy
But that will only go so far
Those who know us both
will know it's you
But I don't want to help but mention you
It's awkward wording but I don't want to hide behind lying can'ts
Like saying I can't help but mention you
Like saying I can't help but think of you
I can help it but I'm just not choosing to
But maybe this is true:
I can't help but love you
Still I know
I am not right for you
If it was anyone for me, it would be you
But I am the fire, I know this
The fire that let you leave
The fire that you don't need
The fire that wisely didn't make you number three
I can burn you so much worse
You have no idea
Lick your wounds and move on
I wasn't looking to fall in love
Especially not with someone so close
That's not why I was dancing on that boat
That's not why I go dancing on that floor
I use the dance to hide behind
And watch the world from the belly of the beast
Too busy moving for anyone to talk to me
Intoxicating, that's what you were to me
That's what you are
We broke our rules to be with each other
To take the dance home
To let the motion stop
I let you into my quiet
And you sat still with me
For a while
And for that I am thankful
I didn't want to hurt you by leaving
I didn't want to hurt you by staying
Sometimes there is no solution
Sometimes there is no answer
I'm sorry I chose to leave the choice to you
I didn't know what else to do
You're not the first to be burned by my blank stares
My frustrating silence
My seemingly dull moods
My inner retreats, leaving you alone
All the weird things
And maybe you wanted me to change
And maybe you wanted me to chase
But those are two things I don't do
At least not anymore
And trust me that's not a road you'd want to walk with me anyway
Leave the fire in the woods
You asked me, "you must have heard all this before"
Yes, of course
I'm out of arguments
And almost out of tears
Day by day my mouth is growing even more silent
and my eyes are drying
I wish it seemed right to be meaner
To make you hate me
To give you closure
To be your enemy
Or I wish it seemed right to be kinder
To show you how much it hurt me
And how much guilt and responsibility I felt
It would draw you in likely
But I'm not looking to be enticing
It's not your fault
You did nothing wrong
I'm the fire made to burn
alone in the cold quiet dark
Creating my own warmth and light from my vague inner spark
It only heats me and burns the rest
And that's neither bragging nor a call for pity
There's pros and cons to everything
You're a beautiful star shining bright
Like the Sun itself, made of light
You're too beautiful and sweet for one as dangerous as me
Shine on, my love
Shine on
Let us both dance on in our own way
I'm thankful for the time we spent dancing together


To my older and long re-lost brother,
Family by choice, not by blood
You were the oldest member of our crew
I never considered the weight it carried for you
As kids
You were my first roommate
Three women plus you are the only four people I've lived with since I turned eighteen
Besides my own kids, that is.
Mostly, I've been on my own
Alone
I'm not one for roommates
I'm a loner but you were there for me
You helped raise me
I wish I could have returned the favor
In some ways, I did my best
But I guess it was too late by the time I came back for you
I cried when you fought our friend at that college party
I cried when you fought our brother at my house
In fact, you and I hugged and cried together that night
You taught me how to apologize
You taught me how to eat my pride
I don't know where you are anymore
I guess maybe I don't know who you are anymore
But even through it all
when we would see each other
It's like we're kids again
It's like time rewinds
And all trauma is undone
All our shame washed away
And we just laugh and laugh
And all the world is just a game
I hope one day we get to play again
I love you always, my long re-lost friend


To my friends Mike & Nick,
To my kids Tristen & Amaya,
I wish I could write a story or poem as meaningful for you
But often there's more art in the beauty of pain than happy truth
Nonetheless
Let me say this
Every happy poem
Every thankful note
Every mention of true love
Every word of gratitude
Is really all about you
Even when I smile in the camera far, far away from you
And say cheese
It's like I'm really saying cheese to you
And for you alone it's solely happy tears
With which I smile, crying, and say,
I love you
Thank you for accepting my weird
Thank you for being there
in the unusual way that works for me
Thank you for being you





***



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Post by Loretta Morris 1 »

Hi Chris

I think your poems are beautiful. They are written from your heart and special experiences. I love the poem about your grandmother. It is probably because I have similar feelings about my grandmother. May she rest in peace.
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Post by Mia_Edwards »

Scott, YOU'RE ECKHART! WHY AM I JUST NOW PIECING THAT TOGETHER. Beautiful work Mr. Hughes. You are one talented man!
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Post by Silvia Sianto »

This is epic,I love the articulation of the poem every bit of it.
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Post by Anggit Anggraini »

Such a great poem Scot! I love the way you described your feelings about them.
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