Remembering Someone Distant

I had a neighbor living next to us as we were growing up. He was a nice man but just smoked a little bit too much. Other than that he was nice. He was a bachelor at that time and lived alone in his apartment. Anyways, after a long time, we heard about him again but with sad news. He had passed away in a house fire. This was three years ago. This was not the house he lived in previously where we used to be neighbors. Over the years, he had moved and so had we. We did not know him that well. He was just an acquaintance. Just someone who used to live next to us. Sometimes, he would invite my father over to play cards or invite him to dinner. He was not yet a family man so it would be inappropriate or even more so, awkward, if he invited us as a family. So whenever he invited us, my father went.

We were all saddened by the news of his death. We could not believe he died in such a way. I felt saddened the most in the manner that he died. And for some reason, who knows why, I wrote a poem about it. (Oh yeah, that’s a great way to remember someone.) I have gotten a lot of mixed reactions to this poem. Most of my fellow peers at a creative writing class got my message but others had read it in a complete different way. And after I read it their way myself, I was astonished that their reasoning actually made sense. Ultimately, I learned that you could read the poem in two different ways. The second way ( the cruel ending) was not how I wanted the poem to be read. But I also did not make any changes either. Poems are poems. And it’s up to the reader to decide how he/ she will read that particular piece. Unfortunately, I do not have a title for this piece. I just could not come up with anything. It has been three years and the title is still named “Untitled”. But I did not want to force a title onto this poem either. It just would not fit.

Today is the anniversary of his death. I did not know him that well. I do not have any pictures of him. The only thing that connects me to him is this poem that I wrote the day after his death. It’s not a poem about him as a person. Honestly, I would not be able to write such a thing as I did not know him at all. This poem is not an eulogy. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. This poem is just about his death. I know, it’s blunt, but it is basically about how he died. However he died, it was a misfortunate event. He was a nice man so I will always have him in my prayers.

Untitled

Known stranger,
Death called and you went,
Leaving all else unfinished.
You fought him,
You tried to escape,
But you lost.
You weren’t thinking,
Your mind dazed
To see the ember aglow
On your bedroom wall.
Death smiled
As he engulfed you
into his darkness.
It seemed like a nightmare.
But you didn’t wake up.
You scrambled up the steps
And you thudded on the door…
But no one came.
The raging fire laughed
As it smothered you
With its ghastly breath.
It’s hard to think,
That as you were breathing your last,
I peacefully dreamed.

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