Guess I’m talking about this!

[uh, trigger warning for suicide in the context of it being dealt with in Vuong’s poetry.]

There’s a whole lot to feel things about in Night Sky with Exit Wounds. There’s a lot that’s so much that I won’t ever comprehend it. And even this thing that I’ve been focusing on maybe too much, where I circled every instance of it being mentioned, isn’t something I’ve gone through. I have never had a group of close friends and lovers end their lives in close succession.

But… that is the thing I keep thinking about. Because being young and gay right now doesn’t mean that precise thing occurs, but it does mean that at heart you’re scared of it happening. It does mean that if you think too long about the number of friends of yours who have been through things they shouldn’t have had to go through at all, you can’t actually not cry. Which is why both times I did a reading from this book and both times that we discussed it afterward I’ve just wanted to… sit in silence for a few hours and recalibrate.

That’s it, that’s my Dreaded Personal Connection Post. That I’m … terrified at the thought of these parts in the book, but that I’m glad he wrote about them, incredibly so. Once more, it comes down to I exist. And also, maybe, I’m still here. Even when you didn’t know you would be.

the dreaded personal connection post

3 thoughts on “the dreaded personal connection post

  • December 6, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for making the post that I (and others, I’m sure) couldn’t bring themselves to post. It’s simultaneously wonderful to know you’re not alone in the feeling and disheartening to know anyone has to share such a feeling.

  • December 8, 2019 at 3:10 am

    This is a big oof. Your words especially hit hard with “if you think too hard about the number of friends of yours who have been through things…” that they shouldn’t have had to gone through. Life is hard and messy, and this poem and your reflection do not hide from it.

  • December 9, 2019 at 2:21 am

    Katia, I really appreciate your bravery in posting this. This is the part of the book that stood out to me the most as well, because it reoccurs in many of the poems and because I too feel personal connection to it. I can’t relate to the close succession part of it, but I’ve experienced friend’s deaths. My best friend and I were recently talking about how absurd it is that people around us have experienced so much pain so young. I also know exactly the feeling you’re describing, as, like Bekah said, I’m sure many of us do. These parts of the poems hit me so hard because they are very close to home. The way he writes about it – in his notebook, trying to piece things together… it’s so true to the grieving process. I was scared to think too deeply about this and I definitely would not have had the courage to make this post to begin with. Your initial comments made me feel like I could add my experience to the conversation. Thank you for that.

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