viretta park by John Grochalski

–for kurt cobain

kurt
i couldn’t write a poem
with enough sorrow back then
although i tried on the morning bus
looking out at east liberty concrete
in the new pittsburgh spring
all sad boy poet pose playing nevermind in my headphones
maybe i lacked the proper empathy
didn’t understand suicide
with a girl willing to take her clothes off for me
telling me she loved me all the time
kris and i saw allen ginsberg read poetry
the night i found out you died
and i turned twenty the day after
that girl i mentioned
well…she wanted to make the night special for me
so hopefully you can forgive me
for being just a touch distracted back then
but kurt the thing is
standing here in viretta park, seattle
twenty-three years later
in a neighborhood i could never picture you living in
looking at a bench with your name
your lyrics scrawled all over it
that ghostly house hanging in the distance
an older, gray man
at an age you could never even contemplate
i’m still not sure that i have the words
or maybe my existence since that time
has now far outstretched my empathy
and capacity for sorrow
how terrible that we missed each other in that cosmic way
i wish i could tell you something dumb
like just concentrate on the music
or that life doesn’t just become habitual
and that you’ve really got to search for the moments
after you reach a certain age
but right now, kurt
i kind of don’t want to prove you wrong or right
or even lie to myself
i just want to take a picture of this bench
hold my wife’s hand
and walk down to lake washington
watch as the sun shimmers off the water
before we head back to the city
where the young kids
are all still wearing your t-shirts
still looking for signs of life
still looking for a way through you
to escape.

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One Response to “viretta park by John Grochalski”

  1. priscampbell Says:

    I like this poem!

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