I was chopping celery for dinner three weeks ago, when the chirpy Brit-Indian inflection of a BBC World announcer interrupted my flow:
Technology Giant Apple
the death of its cofounder
Why was Apple the subject of this sentence? As a Mac aficionado, I mourn the loss of Steve Jobs’ edgy spirit in this world, but as an Apple stockholder, I’m less concerned. “Technology Giant Apple” will survive, or not. I’m more interested in the way we speak about death, our public discourse. When did it become acceptable to frame loss of life in the syntax of a product launch? I left the half-chopped celery and walked into the next room where my husband Paul surfed Facebook. He had just learned of Steve Jobs’ death, also, but in the unscripted, human-centered messaging context of social media. Better.
My poem about letting go, and not letting go, “Explaining the Urn on the Dining Room Cabinet,” was selected by Lindsey Lewis Smithson for the current issue of The Coachella Review. In her blog, she congratulated the selected poets as having been chosen out of 1,000 entries. The issue has been up for a week now, I’ve posted on Facebook, but no response. Could it be that I’ve moved into territory we cannot acknowledge? In conversation, I’ve learned that many people have ashes of beloveds waiting in their homes. Can we talk about this?
Ten years ago, I grieved my mother’s recent death and turned my attention to the practice of writing and yoga. I still grieve, and practice. For me, this practice lights the path of letting go.