Sunday, April 28, 2013

I can see

I love to write.

I also love to sing. A couple people have told me that I should not sing. Maybe my writing is the same. I don't know.

I never really understood the need for poetry. I am still not sure I do. But I figure that some people like it so maybe that is all it needs to exist. I do like Haiku. but mostly I like creating them. I don't really enjoy reading random ones. They seem to be at their best if they are inside jokes. But that is getting off topic.

One day a couple years ago I was up late watching Def Poetry Jam (I think that's the name) on HBO. It was kind of a spin off from Def Comedy Jam. I think it has the same creators. It was a show where celebrities would take the stage and tell what would most certainly be a tragic tale through poetry. They would tell their stories well. With lots of passion and dramatic pauses.

As I watched them I thought that I could do that. I was / am confident that I could get on stage and tell a story with the correct amount of passion and drama. That between my performance and the content of the story I would move the audience a satisfactory amount.

The problem is that I don't have a tragic story to tell. Sure I have had trials and troubles. I have cried and lost loved ones. But when I look at my life with some real perspective its not that tragic. And a bit boring. Then it occurred to me that maybe those authors were performing fictional pieces they wrote. I really don't think so but maybe.

So I decided to write a fictional story in the form of a poem that I could perform on that show. On and off I spent a few months thinking up and writing a poem of a very sad tale.

At the same time I tried to write leaving as many of the details unspoken as possible. Leaving it to the reader to fill in the blanks and even piece some of the story together too. Poetry lends itself to this quite a bit and it was fun.

I have decided to publish the poem here mostly for safe keeping. Remember I wrote it about 2 years ago. Please let me know what you think.


I can see
by Dwight Sullivan

I can see
The anger in my father’s stance
The rage in my father’s face
As tears ran down his cheek
Dents and holes in the drywall
All over the house

I can see
In the dark of night
Holes in the walls the size of fist

I can see
With the lights off
The relief on my little sisters teary eyed
and wincing face
Afraid one day it might not be a wall

I can see
With my eyes held shut
Her perched on the top shelf of the pantry
One of her favorite hiding places

I can see
With my face buried in my pillow
Her smiling and laughing face as she jumps
into my out-stretched arms
Pretending she can fly

I can see,
with my face buried in my pillow,
Green leafy trees going by on the long country road;
to the doctor’s office

I can still smell
The musty waiting room
as they took my sister away

I can see
with my face buried in my pillow,
The reflection of my face in the speeding car window
Leaves were now falling from the passing trees

I can hear
My father’s swear words to the nurses as we left
We took my sister back home and she was happy

I can still hear
A thump from the kitchen;
no wall this time

I can see
With my eyes held shut,
in the corner holding my knees
The shag carpet on the stairs
as I ran to stop him

I can still see
My sister’s body
Face down on the kitchen floor
Not moving
She had tried to fly again
and I wasn’t there

I can still hear
My dad sobbing, then the slam of the screen door

I can still feel
The eerie calm of the empty house

I can still smell
The rain at the cemetery
My sister was with her mom again