A Death in the Spring is in several ways a strange — almost weird — poem. For one thing, I expect it to have fewer more than around six readers, if it draws even that many.
But I did not post it to be read by the many.
I posted it because it felt like it was the right thing to do.
It seems to me almost no one will read it, but that maybe — maybe — those who do will find it of some value and use to them. I took a long-shot. I posted it on the off chance someone might find it useful.
I don’t think reading it will be pleasant. But perhaps it will prove useful.
For anyone who is curious, then, this is the background of A Death in the Spring:
The mental landscape of my life is split between two timelines. The years from birth to age 37. Then the years from 37 to the present. Between the two timelines, there is a border. A thick and black line that divides my life in two.
The be precise, the black line begins abruptly with a phone call on Christmas Eve, 1992, and ends sharply on June 4, 1993, the day I officially went out business.
Roughly speaking, six months. Let’s call them six “interesting” months. Here’s how the pace of events during those six months is described in the poem:
It was like some furiously juggling god
Had taken on myriads too many balls
And was dropping them like rain from a thundercloud.
Furiously moving balls,
Flung hard in all directions by a furiously spinning god,
And some balls inevitably colliding with each other.
But the poem goes way beyond a mere recollection of events.
I’m pretty certain a student of the ancient Greeks would describe the story told in the poem as a “Greek tragedy”. The real life events unfolded just as true to being a tragedy in the ancient Greek sense of the word as if Sophocles himself was somehow their author.
Briefly, an innocent young woman who I employed as my data entry clerk was over the course of those months slowly — and I myself believe, inevitably — murdered by her false lover.
Murdered in every which way but one. Her boyfriend left her legally alive. He should have faced life imprisonment for what he did to her personality, her character, her spirit, but he got off on a legal technicality. He didn’t legally kill her. The “life” went out of her, but he escaped justice on a mere technicality.
I deeply hope that someone — man or woman, young or old — will find in the poem a guide to avoiding abusive partners. Partners that choke, strangle, crush their lovers, and then call it “love”.
During the same six months that I witnessed her death, I myself lost nearly everything I had in life at the time.
Try imaging how you would feel if everyone you had a relationship with were to die during the same six months. If all your family and all friends died on you, left you.
By sheer unlucky coincidence, every friend I had at the time abandoned me for one reason or another within six months of each other. Mostly like passengers — not rats, but decent people; decent but frightened, horrified passengers –abandoning a sinking ship to save themselves.
Only my family stood my me. It was I myself who abandoned them. I became convinced, absolutely convinced my own death was imminent. I felt I could feel it looming in the near future. I gave myself at most 18 months to live.
By June, I was convinced I had to leave my mother and brothers so they wouldn’t need to watch me die. I didn’t want them to be witness to that. Especially not mom.
That’s why I move a thousand miles to the West, to Colorado, in the Fall of 1993.
Today, I realize that my profoundly motivating conviction I was about to die was a delusion, a by-product of trauma. Trauma, of course, from watching the young woman being murdered. I had been in love with her. I had cared deeply for her. And I had seen her slowly die in every way but one.
Those are the events A Death in the Spring is drawn from. The poem is my first sustained attempt to get to the very heart of what had happened to her. To explain her and her death to someone besides myself.
It’s a long poem. It’s a dark poem. Hopefully, it’s a valuable poem.