By: Thomas Jackson

The stench of vomit
And piss-soaked denim
Hasn’t left my nostrils
For days since I sipped
A bitter cobalt lullaby

He was out drinking with friends and when

Grief is not a mother
Grief is not a lover
Grief is not a friend

he could no longer function or even stand

I donated to the Crohn’s charity
It’s not a tribute to your life it hasn’t ended yet
I haven’t allowed it to be true yet it isn’t true yet
I haven’t let death’s rattling bones enter the room
In word, symbol, or cast shadow
I’ve fought him off this long he comes
When I call he does what I tell him

911 was called.

Give me four days and you’ll be back
I’ll perform this rapid miracle
Quicker than they’re taking to get me
Something for this headache and
An amendment to the bloodied IV
Mushed around while unconscious

He denies any trauma.

Grief is not a purpose
Grief isn’t a person
Isn’t science fiction
It’s the craving you get
To have the cosmic reigns
To manipulate the ultimate
To reshape language to
Create new words for pain

Patient is clinically intoxicated but easily arousable.

Grief is never something and always nothing
I measure it by the difference between the
Magnitude of the scream filling my lungs
And the expansion my rib bones can bear

Pt’s shirt was soaked with vomit on arrival.

Give me four days and your coffin will stay open
I’ll bring you back
Set the clock back to that birthday party, the one
I went out on a limb to scrounge up names for
Only few who would actually show; I knew
I knew you would I can’t proceed in the
Absence of your caring heart, Chloe please

Take my hand when I dip it in Styx rapids.

Respirations even and unlabored.

Come up to breathe.

Thomas Jackson is a queer poet from Raleigh, North Carolina living with Bipolar Disorder. He is a published TEDx Speaker, self-published author, and suicide prevention leader and sexual assult prevention advocate.

Previous | Next