I recently attended an open mic hosted by the literary magazine of NKU. You know, Loch Norse Magazine, the journal I helped get its sea legs six years ago. Nostalgia and whining about my age aside, it was a lovely evening filled with incredibly raw emotions and writing.
Since it was the last event of the Spring 2017 semester, they had the graduating seniors read first. I kept being struck by just how fucking talented these kids are. It’s insane. I was both proud and jealous of their work and of the event itself. They have found their voices, and they’ve cultivated the community that the original staff tried to mold – the writing scene at NKU has never been stronger.
At first, I didn’t want to share any of my writing. I haven’t really been writing a whole lot of personal pieces in the past couple of years, but I have a couple. It had been so long since I had read at an open mic, and I just wasn’t feeling confident enough in whatever I had on my phone. My friend was pretty insistent, though, and I drank something called a Kentucky Mule, so I decided to go for it.
Here is one of the poems.
the day David Bowie died
a fire consumed an apartment building
one block from my bedroom window.
i try to assign meaning – i think,
maybe this is the Goblin King screaming to
the chicago sky in remorse, or in triumph.
i am not a Bowie fan
and it was not my apartment
but i can still feel the collective sigh as
the cold city consumes flames.
something was lost here, today.
something sacred and broken.
i am not the person to tell this story.
instead, i am a watcher.
i only tell the story i can vouch for – the
fire, the sirens. the news feed bloated with disbelief.
life goes on.
*Note: The photo was taken on January 11, 2016, the day after Bowie’s death, a couple streets over from the location of the fire.