Sam Sax - Kaddish lyrics

An elegy in five sonnets

(raises one finger)
And just like that, the first boy I ever kissed is dead
Dress lifted off a mannequin to reveal nothing
Man who becomes just the empty space he's left

I've arranged my pictures around the bathroom sink and shaved my face in the dark trying to make his shape appear now as he was then in my mirror
The first boy i wanted who wanted me back
Taught I was worth such a simple thought as hunger
That lust could be a word used to describe my own saturnine skin
What is dead can never rise from bread
What is owed can never be repaid, instead this debt I'm too small to shoulder
Maybe this is my hands' inheritance- to hold
My grief, a pair of gloves
I reach into space, trace the ghost waistband, hear his voice gasp from the dark

(raises two fingers)
You came in my mouth in a condom in a janitor's closet off my freshman dorm in college
After, I exalted Christ as a joke
"Christ," I said and you got small, said Jesus is your personal Lord and savior
Just my luck, the first man i had in my mouth had the Lord in him
Always a half-step from salvation, serotonin spliced with the divine, the barrier when it would have been better with none

(raises three fingers)
I could afford the flight to New York
I could afford the time off work
I could afford one night in a cheap motel
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I could meet a man on my small device there
I could ask him to bring c**aine
I could be cheap with the man there
I could call him your name and he'd bear it
I could break up a line and he'd become you
But to sit in the long pew among your family
To be judged how I'm loved in that company
No, I think not, I could not bear it

(raises four fingers)
Please-tell me-how-I'm supposed to go on-knowing-you-are-

(raises five fingers)
The official cause of d**h according to the autopsy report is an overdose
'Dose', from the Greek- diodani, to give, to give over, to give too much, to overgive
Veil in the skull lifting, flooding the brain with blood
Cocaine comes from the leaves of the c**a plant, dried brittle and beaten with lime- same alkaline stuff used to quicken the decomposition of flesh
Next, kerosene in a washing machine
Next, stepped on so much it's almost a dance
Next, stepped on so much it's almost a dance
That Pantheon of chemicals and severed hands
Of gunshot wounds and drug mules carrying plastic in their human stomachs
He took all this inside him, who wouldn't break
Him, paragon of opportunity
Him, beauty, with potential that stretched out metal, and Pentecostal
Blew rails till he was blue
As a Eucharist: tachyarrythmia, cerebral hemorrhaging, hypothermia
I wonder what they found when they cut him open
Wings, I bet, I bet they found wings

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