Self-Portrait as Kurt Cobain’s Childhood Wound

By Elizabeth Knapp

If I were Kurt’s childhood wound, what would I look like? The speaker stares off into the middle distance and tries to imagine Aberdeen, mid-seventies, a flaxen-haired kid who would become the next rock legend, and not the gaping hole of his left eye socket or the brain matter scattered like jewels across the floor. (Bless thy sweet eyes, they bleed.) The thing is, I think Kurt’s fatal wound and his childhood wound were one and the same, just as the new generation carries the wounds of the old generation like prison tattoos to its grave. The speaker isn’t satisfied with this comparison, as “prison tattoos” does not convey the depth of Cobain’s wounding, or the world’s, or even her own. There is, however, the nice slant rhyme of “same/grave,” which is far less Whitmanian and far more genocidal than may at first seem. What grows there grows everywhere. The wound is a hole covered by weeds.
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About Elizabeth Knapp

Elizabeth Knapp is the author of The Spite House (C&R Press), winner of the 2010 De Novo Prize for Poetry. Recipient of the 2007 Discovered Voices Award from Iron Horse Literary Review, she has published poems in Best New Poets 2007, The Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, Barrow Street, and many other journals. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and a PhD from Western Michigan University. She is currently Associate Professor of English at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.

One Comment

  1. Lucie
    Posted January 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    I say, this post has inspired me. I’m not sure in what way, but i do feel something in me has awakened from reading it. And i’m grateful for that. I’ve been asleep for what feels like an eternity.
    Congratulations on your poetry award.

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