When stars fall, we marvel at what
shakes them loose, trying to see through
the warped glass block view of our tears
long enough to discern whether or not the earth itself
is jarred loose from its setting in the skies and
tumbles down like a errant jewel. We feel
each landing, bracing ourselves for collison,
our hearts grabbing with white knuckled fists onto
ribcage bars to steady themselves — and then, we say
that we cannot handle another impact.
We call for the banishment of bathtubs to
oblivion, accusing them of claiming a riot grrrl and a
lizard king poet before. We yank the coruscating dust of vision
out of the shaman’s hands to prevent the rising of
more of the lost, the afflicted, and the addicted holding
guitars, pens, and microphones. We perform
exorcisms on glass bottles to cast out liquid spirits,
sending them to the deserts with our blame and grief
upon their backs. And now, we call for an ex-husband’s
head, hanging him in effigy from every rooftop and
We cannot understand how the angel leaves us
with broken wings. We feel a part of our past
falling to the ground, turbid with pixie dust, grieving for
the gospel choir girl with dreams and water stuffed in
her throat. We prayed for the good girl to shed her
bad girl skin and return to us, a ruddy Nubian goddess
with honey curls and an Emphyrian voice that climbs,
soars, and sails past comets, planets, and stars. And then,
we wonder: did our prayers fall to the ground, too?
Now, we wait, our breath pulled in like
stars just before supernova,
eyes stretched beyond telescope range,
watching for the chemical oracles to speak. We wait,
casting waterfalls from each left eye and
watching each other stagger with shell-shocked legs with each
right eye. And we wait, talking about
misfortune in threes and wondering if more stars
will come loose and fall to the ground. Yet while
we wait, we replay hymns of glory and respond
with antiphons of love, promising never
to forget the choir girl who sang them.
© 2012 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.
This was written as my reaction to the news of Whitney Houston’s death. Whitney, may you rest in peace and find relief and love in The Great Beyond.
A small annotative note: the “riot grrrl” refers to Kristen Pfaff, the former bassist of Hole who died at age 27 in her bathtub just a few months after Kurt Cobain died.