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i will become the orange-flavored soda you were once so fond of

its in the way the tips of his toes ache
and in the way the balance of his mind
is no longer in tune with the balance of
his body - its in the way that he looks at
the rain outside and in the way his breath
fogs up the window, its in the way that his
eyes are grey and dull now and in the way
his interest in existence has dulled.
it is not the way his fingers ache as he picks
up the pins, it is not the way he allows the
cool winter breeze to kiss his skin, it is not
the way the next of kin breathes his last breath
instead of the way he wants to be an island;
it is not the way his lips are chapped against the
breeze, it is not even the way he drinks red river
in hopes to soften the inevitable blow.
at sunset he suddenly emerges with grace and
breaks the barriers between reality and fiction,
in the same way that he broke his heel over
burning coals, in the same way he broke his heart
over a searing pan, in the same way that differences
between him and god were listed by the dozens.
at sunrise he suddenly falls apart and does not
know exactly why, in the same way he does not
know the amount of times he is required to hop
on one leg to get to the grocery store, in the same
way he does not know how often he has said 'fuck'
in his life, in the same way that he does not know
why his name is abraham and not isaac.
at some point during the day, he suddenly finds
himself realizing his place in life, but it is not the
way he talks to new people in his mind, it is not
the way he finds himself lost in the reflection tittering
away in the water, it is not in the way the sun is
lost in his heartbeat: it is not in the way he dies
and dies again with every moan.
at death he is given solace in a multitude of platitudes,
and though his mind comprehends only the vibrations
and not the sounds, it is in the way hands touch his
cold skin, it is in the way the vibrations are light and
not heavy with the guilt of god, it is not in the way his
broken ankle is remembered as the sunset against an
ever darkening midnight sky

30 Apr 15

Rated 9.5 (10) by 2 users.
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Inactive (4): 9, 10, 10, 10, 10

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 — DeformedLion

over notted the second last strophe maybe
 — DeformedLion

This is fantastic. Unbelievably well written!
 — PollyReg

 — mandolyn

very well-written.  not sure the title coincides with the content but I like them both nonetheless.
 — JKWeb

thank you very much for the comments, Lion, Polly, ManD & JK! It means a lot. It's not necessarily a personal poem for me so I'm surprised it's gotten the reaction it has! :)
 — ARedLetter

Hi letter, can you give a little back story to this piece? I've red it a few times now, and while I love many images and the overall feel, I'm feeling a little befuddled, especially after you commented it was not a personal poem! so please tell me...what is it???
 — Known

Initially, I had wanted it to be about a down-on-his-luck ballerina, and you can see snippets of this in the first stanza:

"its in the way the tips of his toes ache
and in the way the balance of his mind
is no longer in tune with the balance of
his body"

But then once the second stanza rolled around, I kind of strayed away from that theme, while striving to keep the overall feel of a down-on-his-luck /something/ in the poem, which is reflected in the final two lines of the stanza. Once the third stanza rolls around, you can see remnants of the initial idea, particularly with the very first line since ballerinas are graceful in their craft.

The fourth stanza is where the ballerina imagery ultimately ceases to be a constant, though can still be referenced in L25 and L26.

But then it starts to devolve into more depressing territory: the final two lines of the fourth stanza reflects on his sudden questioning of his religious path, "why do i identify more with isaac than i do abraham and why was i named accordingly?" referencing the biblical tale of Abraham and Isaac. The fifth stanza is the darkest by far, and where the story told in the piece takes a turn for the worst: he has devolved into mental instability, driven mad by his worsening luck, and perhaps his habit of keeping himself intoxicated.

The story ends with his eventual death: sad, but necessary.

His funeral is not attended by those he cared about in life, hence the reference to platitudes, "I'm sorry for your loss." "He was a great man." "So kind." etcetera etcetera. And why he can only understand, in death, the vibrations (the literal words) and not the sounds (the feeling & meaning behind the words) of his "mourners".

The final line is probably the best one out of the entire poem, at least in my opinion, because he is not granted solace in death from the way he was graceful as a ballerina, his career eventually ending as a result of a broken ankle (hence, why earlier in the poem, he has to hop to the grocery store on one leg), but as a man who was nice, not a man who was great.

But ultimately, that's just my interpretation, and my intention behind this poem. If you interpret it a different way, that's lovely! And thank you for the question, I hope this has shed some light on the poem itself and my thought process behind it's inception. :)
 — ARedLetter

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 — unknown

love this... so very sorry that it got spammed
 — aforbing