Real All of the Sudden

Real All of the Sudden
By Beth Cortez-Neavel

(For Allison James, Austin Chaffin, Sol Richey, and Alex Red)
It was just real all of the sudden,             Alison said. I couldn’t
handle it. I
had to run upstairs and scream and cry and
slump down on the floor.
“My friend shot himself in the head.”
The sentence had just come out
of nowhere.
Jeffrey and I had been sitting on the couch and
just broke             the             silence with that fact.
He didn’t say anything back,
he didn’t even look at me, he didn’t react.
I almost thought
he hadn’t even heard me. It made it so real then.
Austin and Sol              called me
on the way to his funeral.
I just wanted to speak with you.            We’re on the way,
Sol stayed the night and we’re going…             I
invited friends so he would have some friends there.
We’re going to have a party,
It’s what he would have wanted.
Friendly                                                                         joking,
I don’t know the words,             he was older, 22                 and
he             did             seem more responsible he seemed like he
was older             than the rest of us,
but at the same time he was still –
he didn’t             act             like he was older than us –
he didn’t
treat us like we
were younger, he seemed genuine.
When he talked to people            it was like he wanted to hear
what they had to say, not just formalities
like when you meet someone
he                                                  was actually interested. He
was like that with everyone,
he would always introduce himself.
Allison said.
I remember the first time I met him,                                             I
was hanging out with jimmy and
we weren’t really doing anything and
he just showed up and said                                          Hey,
I brought over a bottle of Crown!
It was the middle of the day.
He treated everyone the same
it was like we had all been good friends.
The western world keeps death so distant, so dissociated.
People die in hospitals; we send them away to die.
It is not real for me in the daylight,    with the normal world
hustling and bustling.
Other cultures worship their dead, praise them, have picnics
on their graves and parties in their memories.
We                                                                        keep it sterile,
safe,                         distant,                         out of mind.
It’s like I could go back there,                         right now and
every thing would be the same.
But that’s not true. Everything is so different. He’s gone.
It’s not real right now,
yesterday it was real.
It was                         like                         I had to pull it together and
make it unreal again.
I don’t know.
Red hair
red hair –                                                            I remember
someone mentioning him
once before
Asking             if             I knew him
You know,
tall guy
red hair
No I don’t know him.
very red,
very distinctive.
He was cute,
he was nice                                                 he was handsome,
tall,             he was built,
he wasn’t like the skinny guys at Bard.

0 thoughts on “Real All of the Sudden

  1. I assumed that first line was said incorrectly by allison though was included intentionally by the author who is aware it was incorrect. I hope so anyway.

  2. Matt is correct.
    The poem is mostly quotations.
    As in journalism, not including a quotation mark in the beginning and at the end of a phrase means the sentence is a paraphrase of what was said. This is true, so I can see how the opening phrase could be misleading.
    But, I don’t like starting a poem with quotation marks, so I kept her words verbatim.

  3. Savagewave, your favorite savage word seems to be “sophomoric.”
    If my poems bore, don’t read.
    But thanks for what little CONSTRUCTIVE feedback you have to offer.
    I don’t mean to be rude, but if you want to complain, you need to tell me how to make it better.

  4. haha. She called me sophomoric once too. possibly in quick reaction to my excluding the possibility of a woman being the main character in a second person narrative, but also possibly because that piece wasn’t my best, so meh.

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