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What the Movies Taught Me About Grief

First thing is: you’re doing it wrong,
And probably a monster. You must feel
Your feelings honestly, but never
Let them touch another person. Don’t repress
But don’t let it take over.
Grief is a tank division
Backed by bombers; grief has battalions,
Shock troops, poised:
Taking over is its only goal.
You must repel them.
Always fighting, never defeated.
Emotions are a shark,
In constant motion, lest it die. Move on.
You must move on.
The only goal is to move on.
Never pause, never rest, never honor.
Only move. Without this
Your villainy is assured.
Hurt people hurt people–God forbid
They should know a moment’s pain
In solidarity with another,
God forbid, feel a twinge
For a loss not cataloged and claimed.
What you feel is unbearable
And every path through it proscribed,
Still worse to linger. Find a man
In tweed, a woman in soft linen.
Say the right things on their couch.
Pause at the right moments: thoughtful,
Contained. At peace. Never return
To tears, still less raw anger–never rage
At an uncaring universe. If you tell
Even one sweet story, with a sad smile,
You’ve returned. Back to the world
Of bright colors, fitted clothing,
The world of before–which you must re-enter
Seamlessly, and not merely watch
As through a screen, the storylines
Assigned you in your old life.

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