Thursday, April 19, 2018

NaPoWriMo Day 18: Healing Ritual For Those Afraid To Love

Prompt: First, find a poem in a book or magazine (ideally one you are not familiar with). Use a piece of paper to cover over everything but the last line. Now write a line of your own that completes the thought of that single line you can see, or otherwise responds to it. Now move your piece of paper up to uncover the second-to-last line of your source poem, and write the second line of your new poem to complete/respond to this second-to-last line. Keep going, uncovering and writing, until you get to the first line of your source poem, which you will complete/respond to as the last line of your new poem. 

This prompt was a challenge in a different way - way too many poems to choose from, in the stacks of books all over my room! A few months ago though, I had the absolute privilege to be in a writing workshop led by slam poet Bill Moran, who is both a wonderful human being and a breathtakingly visceral writer and spoken-word perfomer. I picked a piece out of his debut poetry book Oh God Get Out Get Out, 'Activated Down And Out Healing Ritual'.

True to form, the piece took a left turn into some surprising territory, but one that I think Bill would approve of. It was oddly therapeutic, especially since I am still coming to terms with the chaos and bereavements that this month has been throwing at me with monotonous regularity.

As a note: Bill's poem featured sin eaters, specifically, sin eaters who ate bread placed on the chest of the recently deceased. It was believed the bread would absorb sins that soaked into it, and the act of eating the bread would, thus, help the dead loved ones go to Heaven. Explanation on Wiki is better than any I could give you, for a better overview.

So Bill, this one's for you, with mega thanks for all the explorations in craft.


I’ll always be here, no fucking change. 80. 100. The numbers don’t matter.
Death is a thing (who doesn’t want to die most days ((I guess it depends on numbers too on the
     fall of the dice and where you been where you gonna go huh huh 
     smartmouth who you gonna call (((GHOSTBUSTERS!))) even 
     Egon can’t bust my ghosts dude / dudette who’s really calling the shots 
     here)) hey hey we’re in trouble something’s come along and it’s burst our
     bubble // wait how does that go again let’s call 999)

Mouth. Big mouth. They say I have one. I’ve tried opening it wide as I can.
Yawning until you can see the black hole the spewedgutunfinished words-
     upon-words- upon-thoughts-upon-fizzled star tails that dreams break 
     down into when they go to die

Black hole black hol    h o    h
(we do our best with what we’re given)

I’ve never seen a lungfish. I think I’d like to be one. Breathing in and out of water is an art
     or is it science (whatever it is the next time I drown ((in the flood of your-
     mine inadequacies understand it isn’t personal love it’s never personal)) 
     my lungfish lungs can breathe in the saving grace the slipstream of words I 
     clutch onto for you for me // I got you I got you don’t let go now look 
     the trout are leaping downstream and you put out your hand and catch one
     and now we’re leaping waterfalls upstream

the devil is a trout not a bat  // Dante and Virgil, they got the dope (on how to get out of hell)

I’ll eat bread off your chest any day (do you have to be deceased before it can soak up all your sins
     ((the bread I mean         it absorbs sins but I wonder if it absorbs other 
     things too anxietystresslovefearhate guiltunfinisheddreams ((( lungfish
     breath         the Divine takes care of sins does that mean the Divine is a 
     lungfish)))          ok recently deceased but how recent is recent 
I don’t know man) I’ll be your sin eater

I’m the bread on your chest I eat myself for you


Anonymous said...

There is something deeply unsetteling for me about the phenomenon sin-eater, but it works very well in your poem. Good work!

Shuku said...

Thank you so much Ileea! It's an interesting and rather unsettling concept the more I come into contact with it, yes. I understand the logic of it, but...yeah.

Anonymous said...

open that mouth, you've swallowed me whole in this poem! wow!

Shuku said...

Haha thank you Erbiage! It was a bit of a write for sure, so glad you enjoyed it!