The following is a guest post from Rara, sent to me a few weeks ago. If you haven’t yet, head over to Stories and read the 6 part series of poems sent in to us by her.
One of my husband’s favorite poems was “Sunbeam” by Charles Bukowski. It intros:
Sometimes, when you are in hell
And it is continuous, you get a bit giddy
And then when you are tired beyond being tired,
Sometimes a crazy feeling gets ahold of you.
The poem chronicles Bukowski’s job at a packing plant called Sunbeam, and how on an especially hellish day, he randomly shouted, “Sunbeam!” It caught on, others joined in the shouting and laughter, and magic was made. But, Bukowski lived an unrealistically-real life — not one of episodic Lucy-like shenanigans — so the manager came in and made them stop.
I’ve never had a job shred my hands to nubs, but I understand continuous hell.
I am in prison, and my husband died. I am locked in a room smaller than our first kitchen, and he is in a box smaller than a breadbasket. In our decade together, though we were always very different, we absorbed bits of each other. In the Venn Diagram of Us, we frolicked in the style that became our trademark nature. A sort of morbid whimsicality.
I suppose all this is to justify why — when I was absolutely sure the prison was not in error, when I was positive I had just lost my soul companion — I didn’t cry. I went back to my cell, locked myself away, and shouted SUNBEAM.
You see, sometimes, when you’re going through hell, and it is continuous, you get a bit giddy.
And you find a way to release that energy.
You force yourself to keep going until you hit something different because, deep down, we all know that nothing lasts.
Not the good times, true —
But, also, not even the bad.