Tag Archives: death

Deadline

You have reached the deadline. You are now dead.
Forget what gods you naively prayed to
in The Time Before You Died, because those
gods cannot help you realize this new
lack of future. You have been forsaken.
Perhaps there will be mercy, but don’t get
too comfortable with any one hope
in particular; you are lucky to
even retain existence, the ghostly
ability to appreciate the
dank murk of uncertainty your non-life
has become, for this is the end of the
world, this is what doesn’t come afterwards,
and somehow you have failed you yet again.

Cliff

What was yesterday? No, let me rephrase:
what was I doing 24 hours
ago that led me to today? Was it
a birthing phenomenon, a newness
brought upon by my actions to enhance
my life? Or a slow, floating sensation,
a makeshift raft lolling on the day’s waves?
Each morning is like another jump off
of a cliff towards death, and what I want to
know is whether I was pushed, I stumbled,
or I leapt. The ground is racing towards me,
the whistling sound my plummet makes getting
lower, and at some point I’ll be little
more than a cloud of impact dust. How soon?

John Kelley’s Wake

Back in the main room of the pub they were playing “Auld Triangle” on the speakers — The Pogues version, as if there were any other. It was sundown, and in the distance you could just make out a halo around the crown of the Prudential Center. Spires of frosted orange sunlight shone through the bay windows at the far end of the bar, the silhouettes of panes framing all the faces that turned out to say farewell. I wasn’t in much of a mood for talking — Irish funerals also make for massive social events — but looking out at the crowd that had gathered at the bar, it was nice to see the diversity of lives that John had touched over his however-many years.

Before the sun had set, it had been one of those beautifully grey New England days that bugged my knee, so I’d been using my da’s old shillelagh as a crutch to help me walk. A few folks tried to offer me their stools to get me off my feet but I ignored them, not wanting to deal with all the small-talk conversation that would surely come along with it. The more funerals you find yourself at, the less inclined you are to go through that same dance every time:

“What’s good, brotha?”

“Ah, ya know, hangin’ in there. How ya been?”

“Good, good, yeah. Besides, you know.”

“Yeah.”

“Fuckin’ shame, y’know?”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I think he woulda liked this though. It’s a nice way to honor him.”

And so on ’til you puke. “No, he wouldn’t fuckin’ like it,” I always wanted to say, “‘Cause he’d still be fuckin’ dead, and having the corpse of the recently deceased prance around the funeral would really do a number on his loved ones, don’t you think?”

But instead the conversation shifts to some nostalgia, as if you and who you’re talking to have any kind of bond worth catching up on, besides being spat out on the Earth by your mams in or around the same zip code. Of course, it’d be rude to say, “I don’t care where you’re living now, I haven’t seen old-so-and-so, and I don’t care that she’s fat but since you asked I think it’s pretty fuckin’ rude of you to say so won’t you kindly piss off so I can grab another drink and drown the pain.”

It would take me at least another dozen pints until I got that honest.

We Shall Meet Again In The Nightmare Machine

when our souls are stolen out from high
and our once-flesh memories run dry
we shall meet again in the nightmare machine

when the primordial ooze of life turns to waste
and our callow carbon copies crumble in haste
we shall meet again in the nightmare machine

when our weak words are ripped apart —
linguistic entrails, bleeding art —
and sounds eviscerate the start
we shall meet again in the nightmare machine

Pure Veterans

Something something profound
something poignant about war
without being arrogant, jingoistic,
flag-wavin’ Merkin, patriotic
without patronizing, proud
without pandering sentiment.
Maybe some deep symbolism,
how we’re all pure veterans
in the war against maturity,
fascism, adolescence, truth,
or whichever boycotted brand —
but again, without belittling
the ones who’ve held guns,
walked through hails of bullets,
faced unspeakable horrors
in the name of a fight for
abstract, unphysical concepts
which mean all of a world
to those who still have one.

I Carry My Grief In My Armpit

I carry my grief in my armpit
just so I can keep it warm,
and though some times the smell
escapes, at least I’m not alone.

You won’t find me in sleeveless shirts
or shaving off my hair, for
as long as she lives in my lymph
I’d like to keep her there.

Apron

I do have worldly concerns, it isn’t
all “Why are we here?” and “How much knowledge
is it possible to learn in the span
of a single lifetime? And while we’re on
the subject, why does the human object
crumble and degrade at such a rapid
pace when the tortoises and the trees seem
to get so much more time just by moving
slowly? Do they know something that we won’t
let ourselves know? Something that would implode
our tiny minds, so poorly designed for
wisdom and the ravages of pain and
decay and time?” No, sometimes I also
get pissed my waitress fucks up my order.