From The Vaults: What To Do When The World Has Ended

(I wrote this exactly two years ago today: January 23rd 2014. Well, technically, I wrote it on January 24th, and I expect the tributes will start to flow tomorrow, given that I’m strictly speaking a day ahead, but the date in question (and doesn’t everything, when it all boils down, just come down to dates and words and the stories we choose to tell? But I digress) is the 23rd. It’s the date people remember, anyway, and here’s why:

For a period of about, oh, three years? I was involved in the Channel Awesome fan community. Don’t worry; it’s not overly-important. But one of the video producers for CA for a while was someone called Justin Carmichael, or Jewwario, and this poem was written on the day it was announced he had committed suicide.

I was never a huge fan, but I knew people who were, and watching the outcry prompted me to write this. It’s less about dealing with your own grief and more about dealing with other people’s. It is not, I feel, a very good poem, but it is how I was feeling at the time.

My own personal feelings on JW are…complicated for a variety of reasons. But that is a post for another time, when I’m braver and stronger and less afraid.)

(A Poem For Those Left Behind)

1.On The Day

Wake up.

 

See,

That your body,

Your heart,

Your soul,

Like so many others,

Has been shattered,

Like a fragile vase,

Thrown

To the floor.

 

Do not go

To your friends.

 

Learn

The art

Of

Kintsukuroi.

 

That an object

Broken

In haste,

Fury,

Sadness

Or wrath,

May be put back together

With gold

Or silver,

And so

May be more beautiful

For it’s breaking.

 

Slowly,

Pick up your pieces,

Your fragile,

Porcelain pieces,

Of your heart,

Body,

And soul.

 

Use gold,

If you like.

Or if that is too gaudy,

Use silver.

 

Put yourself

Back together.

 

Mend yourself.

 

When the world is a broken

Harsh,

Tumbled

Wreck of something

That was once beautiful,

You must tend to yourself first.

 

Kintsukuroi.

 

Paint your cracks,

Paint your wounds,

Paint your scars,

With gold,

With silver,

With jewels,

So that when you walk out,

Into the ruined

Destruction of the future,

You shine.

 

2. The Day After

Make tea.

 

It does not matter

If you have wept.

 

It does not matter

If the gold has not yet fully sealed

Your heart and soul.

 

Boil the ash,

The charcoal,

The white ghosts

Out of the water,

And make tea.

 

Pour water from the well

Until there is no more whiteness

In it,

And wash the white ghosts from

The skin of your friends.

 

Hand them tea

In cups that barely qualify

As ‘clean’.

 

Help them to drink

As sobs wrack their bodies,

Or watch,

quietly,

as they completely forget

that they are holding tea

in their haste to tell you

(They will tell you everything)

all of the sadness that now

buries them.

 

Offer them gold and silver,

 

Kintsukuroi.

 

Do not be greedy.

 

Be open.

 

Be generous.

 

Let your silence encompass the world,

So that they may fill it with their pain.

 

Then help them paint their cracks.

 

And help them

drink their tea.

 

3. Some Time After

Rebuild the houses.

Rebuild the homes.

Rebuild the memories.

 

Make the world anew.

 

Make the world safe.

 

Make the world good.

 

Eventually, your skin will grow,

And close over the gold and silver

Of the kintsukuroi,

 

and soon,

even you,

will forget.

 

(Somewhere,

deep inside,

you will never forget.)

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