It Was Not a Beautiful Death

"We’ll steal your boots", we said,
over cold pizza, soda, and beer.
OK, mostly root beer.
We were nerds like that.

The boot stealing and looking for loose change
was supposed to happen in an age filled with floating cars,
not two years before hover boards should have been invented.

Every bad luck joke thrown back in our faces--
even the luckiest man on earth got to make a speech,

before nerves withered,
twisting muscles, stealing words,
like a cursed prince in a fairy tale.

It reminded me of my favorite one,
and a comic relief’s tears,
once it was remembered
sometimes fairy tales don’t end well.
At least not for everybody concerned. 

And the best you can hope for,
if you cannot wield a righteous flame,
if you do not hold a magic staff,
if you rolled poorly,

at least in our memories you are restored
to full hero’s health,
even if your death was not the stuff of bard song.

We didn’t take your boots in the end. 

Song Choice: One by Metallica

Liner Note: This post is part of Imaginary Gardens For Real Toad's September 2015 post, where we were asked to select a poem of one of the young writers Kerry teaches as inspiration for our poem and help them to complete their target of 300 poems in 30 days. I was inspired by Farewell by Nishka Ramkhelawan, using the line "It was not a beautiful death" as my inspiration. Friends and long time readers may have guessed by now it was also inspired by the death of a good friend, just about two years ago from ALS, better known as Lou Gherig's disease. 

Faerie Song

Come away dear heart.
What? You don’t trust me.
But I’ve come with you in mind.
In the foreign melody alarmingly familiar,
in the joy of your childhood,
in the beat of your woman's heart,
in the scent of possibilities born in the spring,
in the delight of summer's readiness,
I have come.

I have songs to caress your ears,
and dances to teach only to you.
Question my intentions? 
You are a smart one.
But let me ask you,
what is it you want to matter?
What is it you want for that matter?

You want music.
I have it.
You want words.
I have those too.
You want to taste every bit of beauty there is,
like a greedy child, heedless of the ache to come.
I have that too.
You want love?
Of course, but you knew the answer to that, didn't you?

I can’t promise you won’t go mad first.
But I can promise to do my best to keep the ache far away,
for as long as inhumanly possible.
And revel with you as your eyes and ears open
to the miracles hiding in plain sight.
What do you say?
Care to dance?

Les Enfants Miserables

I got very excited when I heard that the musical for one of my children's school was going to be Les Miserable. I loved it as a teen! It would be so much fun to watch the movie version with my kids, as I have done with every play they've gotten involved in. Then I remembered Fushigi Yuugi.

Let me backtrack a bit. Fushigi Yuugi is one of my favorite anime series. I like to re-watch it from time to time and a bit ago, one of the children expressed an interest in watching it along with me. Sure, why not? I should state that this was the more sensitive of the two children and while this isn't the goriest or most violent anime series by a long shot the TV trope "Anyone Can Die" fully applied to this one, as well as "Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds". But we've watched Dr. Who and most of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is certainly more gory and violent), so this shouldn't be so bad.

Yeah, not so much.

I was pretty surprised by how into it the child was, and how the above tropes and all the other attendant twists and terms of plot affected them. We actually had a version of this famous conversation watching the show. The other child noticed their sibling getting quite involved in the show (though there was No Way In Hell the first child would admit it) and asked to watch too. Now this is my not quite as sensitive child who took the sad parts of Dr. Who and Buffy in stride often going to the next activity merrily while the other one glared at them for not fully giving in to the pathos involved. The first child did not want to watch with the second at all, sure that this would be the case again.

Until it wasn't.

We now refer to Fushigi Yuugi as the series that taught the second child "the feels". Oh yeah, the Princess Bride conversation happened again. As well as the lower lip going, and tissues being grabbed.

And the first child LOVED it. After the first death, the first child insisted on being in the room to witness the other child finally learning fandom feels. And it didn't stop there. My niece and nephew also got to watch the series and while each of them had their moments of "Oh my god - they did not just die, did they?", that set of siblings also got joy knowing the other one (and my kids as well) had an attack of the feels at the exact same spots.

So, back to Les Miserables. I sat the kids down and told them they had the option of watching the movie if they wanted to. "It isn't called Les Happy Peoples", I said. "It's Les Miserables for a reason. I knew of at least one person who went through a dark night of the soul after watching it". Their eyes got wide, but then they looked at each other... and the question is no longer who dies but who will break first.


So sure, we'll probably watch it. And I've invited my niece and nephew along for the viewing (I know at least one of them really likes musicals) and while there will be sad feels, each of them will take comfort in the fact the others feel it too.

Song choice: I was kind of feeling Sad Songs (Say So Much) by Elton John, but let's face it. With those two Schadenfreude from Avenue Q is a better choice.