Jagged, or: Tender

‘Edges and Fringes’ – a d’Verse poetics prompt

(best viewed on a horizontal screen)

Papa,
can you
visit us
from the unknowable beyond
to hearten us, for we miss
you
so
and grief’s jagged edges cut us
even as the edges of mortal life are
clear
to us
remaining, as we do, on this side
living; broken; aching
Boy,
hear me
in dreams
I call
you
every night, all night
tenderly, I watch over you
With love
glowing
and reaching out to inspire you
from beyond the very fringes
of life
to believe…

The prompt

The above poem is my take on d’Verse’s ‘Edges and Fringes’ prompt.

Our mission was to spark on one of these paths, and I primarily found my way along the 1st and 3rd paths:

  1. Write a poem using the word edge;
  2. Write a poem that keeps Millikin’s question in mind:
    • What is the word, the line, that cuts, that can show that edge?
  3. Write a poem using the word fringe;
  4. Write a poem from the fringe, however you define it.

Dreams, or: Stanzas

An emoji ‘free verse’

In a moment, 
🧗‍♂️ it would be 
over again and he'd 
🧗‍♂️ have to start over in the next... no, not this time. 
Grunting, 🤏 hand over hand, he scaled the 
🧗‍♂️ uneven face of 🤏 the dream cliff,  
fingers 🤏 aching with the weight of his body 
🧗‍♂️ as the first rays 🌄 of sunlight...
oh no ✋ no... 
no...  ...
... 🖐️

🤸‍♂️

🤸‍♂️
🤸‍♂️💦
🌊🌊🏊‍♂️🌊🌊
Far below the water's surface
he swam effortlessly, breathing
through the dream gills on 
the sides of his neck...
😮‍💨 here we 
go again... 
kicking 🦵 with
his powerful 🦵 legs,
frog style, 🦵 he propelled
himself towards 🦵 the
mouth of 🦵 the cave
ahead. Maybe... 🦵
this time 🦵 ... 
There!
Wait... 
What was
that 🕳️ dark...
no... please!
not... 🕳️
🤸‍♂️
🕳️

🤸‍♂️

        🦶💥 
     He landed 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚
  📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 🦶 📚 📚 📚 📚 
📚 barefoot 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚
📚 and 📚 tiptoed over 🦶 📚 📚 📚
the 🦶 📚 enormous 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚
📚 📚 bookstacks, 📚 👁️👁️ looking 
carefully for 📚 the... 📚 🦶 📚 📚 📚
wait... 📚 was that it? 📚 📚 📚 yes!
📚 finally! he saw it lying 🖋️ behind 
some 📚 📚 bookstacks; 📚 📚 📚 📚
📚 quickly - before this new dream
ended, he made a grab 🤜 for the
📚 Pen ✒️ of Poetry... 📚 📚 📚 📚
📚 he'd done it! ✒️ 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚
📚 📚 📚 finally... ✒️ his poems ✍
📚 📚 📚 would truly be his own! 📓 

My most disturbing dream

I’ve had a recurring dream, in which Papa somehow comes back to life some months after dying, only to die again permanently several months later. For some unclear reason, his temporary resurrection is not made public to everyone; and we are all aware and certain that it is, indeed, temporary. The details are very hazy to me, but my dream-self experiences this scenario as having been true. In other words, my dream-self perceives this as an actual memory, rather than as a fantasy.

In this dream, I try to explain to Papa and to myself why I am continuing to mourn him during that interim period between his two deaths. In other words, why did I continue reciting kaddish during the traditional Jewish year of mourning that began with his original death, and why did I continue writing every week about my mourning, while knowing that he wasn’t really dead, even though his reprieve from death was temporary?

My dream-self offers several related answers.

  1. First of all, my dream-self explains, Papa was in the USA, and I was in Israel so even though Papa magically came back to life, I never actually saw him in the flesh after his resurrection so he was still dead from my dream perspective.
  2. Secondly, since I knew that Papa’s days were numbered anyway, and since I’d already commenced with my traditional year of mourning, I had to continue going through the motions because his resurrection was supernatural anyway, and our tradition doesn’t account for such surreal circumstances.
  3. Thirdly, Papa really was dead, sort of. In my dream-memory he was somewhat ghostlike, hanging out at home all day and avoiding the outside world.
  4. Fourthly, the situation was too strange to explain to everybody who was reading about my mourning experience on a weekly basis. My dream-self reasons that it wouldn’t have made sense to my readership that Papa wasn’t dead during my year of mourning for him. My dream-self further reasons that I will tie up the loose ends later by writing an additional blog post at some point after my year of mourning has ended to explain the unusual circumstances of Papa’s supernatural resurrection and second death.
  5. Fifthly, what my dream-self doesn’t want to admit to my resurrected Papa is that my identity has become too wrapped up in my response to his death. I’d invested so much mental and emotional energy and time in writing my Skeptic’s Kaddish series that I had become the “Skeptic’s Kaddish”, and if I had publicly revealed to the world that Papa had been resurrected, it would have unraveled my entire sense of self.
  6. Lastly, my dream-self doesn’t even want to tell Papa about my Skeptic’s Kaddish series because he fears Papa’s disapproval. Papa was a very private person and probably wouldn’t have liked me writing about him, and what if he would have felt that I was just using his death to gain attention?

Whenever I wake up after having this dream, I feel that I need to write something about Papa to further expound upon my experience of losing him.

In the real world, I know that this dream is imagined, supernatural, impossible nonsense; I know that it’s nothing more than the concoction of my subconscious mind; but I’m constantly left wondering who David ben Alexander would be if Alexander had not died that day.