Oh lord, the feels at my job. It’s late, it’s Wednesday, but somedays I go all day desperately trying to recognize the inspiration, and then it full on hits me smack in the face in the form of a student telling his story up on the hearth. I’ve told y’all already, about my job and the HUGE MOUNTAIN OF FEELINGS that comes along with it, but tonight was a moment I must now sit through, and feel, via a poem. I pulled said student aside tonight and asked if I could poem about him. Not about his experience, because I can’t know that, but about the feeling of listening him tell the school about his dad’s suicide when the boy was in fourth grade, and about his life since then, and about my own experience when he played this song for the school. This song that his Dad played for him and his little brother on Saturdays when they were at his house, to wake them up. It’s The Freddy Jones Band, “In a Daydream”.
“Already in a daydream”. It really couldn’t be more shattering than that. This will have to be a fast poem, because of the hour, but it deserves to be more than that. This just got bumped to Number One on the List of Future Revisions. Just have to do it.
Already in the Daydream
In the daydream, now, is all you can be. Oh, you should’ve seen him, and the bravery in the twitching hands and eyes that flashed through anger, through devastation and such pain, welling, finally, at joy at the pictures he passed ’round the hearth. Oh, you should’ve witnessed him think on you while listening to the song you played him to wake him on Saturday mornings, to sugar cereal and cartoons, followed by football in the yard, and wrestling and jumping with both little boys on the couch-bed. That’s what he called it, “the couch-bed”. Did you know about what daydreams do, when you used it to love them, or was it just a favorite song from a favorite band? Did you know about the power of the daydream? You must’ve already been it, to bestow such snapshots of sharp memory, already in the land both dulled and brightened, by the things that take away the pain but bring about the darkness. You were already in the daydream when you imagined that the end would be less painful than the result. It’s there I will find the sympathy, in that dark creature of your brain’s own conjuring, Sympathy for the nightmare is compassion, and I think your son might have it. He’s already forgiving you, for the daydream. He could be a bright light that went out for a bit. Oh, you should’ve seen him. You should’ve seen him up there.
I don’t want to exploit my students and their trauma for poems. I just couldn’t not do this one. I also don’t want to express anger or judgement at those who contemplate suicide. That’s not what this poem is about. I’ve just had lots of students who had to experience that particular loss, and it never gets easier. And ultimately, the sentiment remains. “You should’ve been there.” Wednesday, poemies. Love you.