I tasted death through your lips

I smoked a cigarette

it was as if my lungs were made to burn

They say, "They suck the life out of you"

but it didn’t hurt.

My life falls apart faster

than the ash can burn.

They say, "You’ll get cancer"

but nothing is worse than the unstoppable and growing monster

of your mind along with all of its hazy and deadly thoughts.

And I’ll watch you fade away

like the fire that lights the tobacco in the brisk night.

A Mourner’s Memoir

My dad was the ideal image of a grungy Seattle teenager in the ’90s.

His flannel flapping while he was coasting on cracked sidewalks on his skateboard, a cigarette was always lit and between his fingers.

Whenever a Nirvana song would spill out of the speakers, he would turn down the volume muffling the harsh strums of the guitar strings. Kurt Cobain’s grunts could be hear in the background of my dad’s story, you could hear how close he was to the microphone when he sang, his lips were always pressed close against the microphone when he performed.

For Kurt, music was his escape from realityas if he was drowning and gasping for air and music was the only way he could take a breath.

My father’s repressed memory of  April 8th, 1994 came back to him,

The day of Cobain’s suicide.

Lives end constantly, but when Cobain’s did it was a hard time for everyone. Seattle’s clouded weather accompanied the people’s outrage.

Death had changed from plural to singular in that instance. People dying happens everyday, but it wasn’t just a death anymore

It was the death.

Courtney Love was all over the television, no matter what you flipped the channel to it was the same broadcast but it would be a few moments ahead or behind. She shared the same infamous angst that Cobain was known for, she made the crowd chant, “Fuck you, Kurt,” for killing himself.

Heartbreak works as it wants to, it doesn’t have to be beautiful and sad. But of course the widow was hurt, she had lost the love of her life. 

My dad would look past the swirling cloud of cigarette smoke, granted his skateboarding days were over, but the nicotine was a habit of his grungy past that adapted into his lifestyle.

Watching his eyes, you could see his face reflect the emotion of every person on the day they learned that a life was taken willingly.

The irony of it all is that cigarettes themselves are suicide sticks, yet he used them to cope with Cobain’s self-inflicted permanent sleep. I guess that’s the thing about suicide, one can never really understand their impact on people until they are not there to experience it anymore.

No matter how many lives Cobain consciously changed, he couldn’t contain his unhappiness. He left a suicide note, a page of scribbled words that said he couldn’t handle the stardom and himself.

People have written books on his career. He had performed in

concerts, television shows, radio.

He was extraordinary, but in the end, his entire life was summed up onto a page.

You live your entire existence and at the end of it, you are only worth a half hour television special or a hundred pages in a memoir that ends up being as impersonal as the portraits published with it.

Kurt allowed himself to be known as sadness and music. But his fans knew his worth better than what he felt he was. There is a sense of guilt in listening to him while being aware of his misery, playing back his songs and hearing him release himself into the music is all that Cobain has left behind.

Until the waiting for a new idol that defies normality and stands up for those who are broken is done,

We will continue to listen to this dead man’s voice who knows more about life than most people who are alive today.