poem five: april 5, 1994

He was dead, and the girl
on the tv in our classroom
was crying, and the boy
they filmed couldn’t speak
with grief, and the girl
said What will we do now?
He made my life easier, he
understood. And our teacher
laughed, her face cracked
into a smirk, she told us –
thirteen, fourteen, young
– kids don’t know a thing
about how hard life can be.
And a girl in my class spoke
up, said what if her dad’s
a drunk? What if she’s abused?
Sometimes a kid does know how
hard life can be. The teacher
rolled her eyes. I said nothing
and the girl knew nothing, but I
was grateful for her voice
and his, my silence ever louder
in my head. I would miss him too.

*

Well. It’s obvious isn’t it? Twenty years without Kurt Cobain today. I didn’t want this poem to focus on the suicide itself after yesterday’s effort, but more on how we are affected by music & culture, how teenagers are perfectly capable of understanding how hard life is, and how there’s always an adult who forgets what it was like to be one. So this poem didn’t take place on that date, but some days after. And at least one quiet, awkward girl was hiding a hell of a lot in that classroom when the teacher reeled off her shit. RIP Kurt, and thank you endlessly for (accidentally) helping us get through things, even though you weren’t able to keep going.

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