Tag Archives: heaven

Sombrero

This poem is going to be a list
of things I think about often and wish
myself and others discussed more freely:
death, God, god, the absence of God, likely
scientific Heaven alternatives,
chaos/randomness, possibilities
involving life being the only real
chaotic factor in the universe,
race, immigration, not giving a fuck
about either, gays, marriage, gay marriage,
being decent to other humans, not
limiting being decent to humans,
socialism, non-capitalism,
sex, comfort, breaking norms, and poetry.

Pedometer

My idea of heaven is a dark,
empty Cineplex where I can watch my
life back with popcorn and some special guests.
The film rolls right before my birth, and with
a remote control I can slow moments,
zoom in or out, discover what all these
background players are about, the whole thing
narrated by my near constant inner
monologue. Some friends and former lovers
will watch beside me for years, judgment-free,
enlightening me as to their own thought
processes and true feelings. And when it’s
over, I will go to the next theatre
and be a special guest for another.

Space Mountain

What a beautiful place, space. Infinite
possibilities for so many good memories,
and to plunge at rocket speed
through the Vincent van Gogh night on a ride
made by a cartoon mouse creator is
as insane as it sounds. So I guess this
is the alternate universe where a
man and his drawing hand can rule the world
even after death, but speeding through this
fabricated eternity chamber
is the greatest inspiration, and not
to write, or to Live Life, but to be fine
with whatever comes later: Paradise,
darkness, full color reincarnation…

Old Maid on the Bar Stool (part 2)

Read Part 1 here


“Wow. That long, huh?”

“That long.”

Once again, his eyes traced the curves of my fat old body. “You haven’t changed a bit,” he said with that crooked smile I fell in love with all those years ago.

“That’s a lie,” I said. “But thanks for saying it.”

“Either way…I’m glad you made it. I know time’s weird around here but I…I’ve missed you,” he replied, gently placing his left hand on my knee. I placed my right hand on top of his, and we sat there for a moment, just the two of us, surrounded by Eternity.

Then I asked him: “So who’s this new girl you’re seeing?” This took him by surprise; back when we were together, I was hardly ever the jealous type.

“Wow, okay. I was gonna ask, you know, what you’ve been up to and that, but okay, we can go there. She, um, I met her in my Softball league. We’ve just gone out a few times. Nothing serious. It’s just nice to have some company when you’re waiting around eternity for the love of your life to join you. It gets kind of lonely, even here.” He looked at my hand, still holding his that rested on my knee. He stared at the ring for a moment before looking back up at me. “How about you? Who’d you marry?”

I was flustered, but tried to respond. “He…it wasn’t til later…after you’d died, it was…I needed someone, and…”

“Relax,” he said. “I’m not mad. In fact, I’m happy that you found someone to take care of you, since, well, since I couldn’t.”

“We had kids,” I told him. “They have kids.”

“Well that’s a little weird but…”

Then I showed him my other hand, where the engagement ring he’d given me still rested on my finger. “I never took it off. As hard as it was, I never could. I loved Michael, don’t get me wrong. He treated me well. He understood. We loved our children, our grandchildren. But I…you were the One, Kevin. I watched you die, right in front of me, and…and you were the One. And I couldn’t do anything to stop it.”

I didn’t mean to breakdown like that in the middle of the bar, but everything just came flooding back all at once. Kevin just held me and let me cry into his chest. He still smelled exactly as I remembered. He held my hand, and it felt like I was 26 again, and we were looking forward to a long and loving life together, and that his asthma was just some minor inconvenience when he was playing sports with his friends.

A few moments later — or maybe a lifetime — Kevin’s friend returned from the bathroom. “Hey Steve,” he said. “I want you to meet someone. This is Lisa. She was the love of my life.”

Old Maid on the Bar Stool (part 1)

I wasn’t sure what to expect the next time that I saw him. I’d only been up a few days, but I figured he at least would have come and found me by then. Then again, we hadn’t seen each other in some sixty years at that point. Maybe less. Maybe more. I still wasn’t sure quite how time worked on the Higher Planes. I was having enough trouble just finding my way around the Elysian Fields. Apparently they have an 18-hole golf course somewhere. The terrain changes every time you play, but the par remains the same.

I was down at St. Peter’s Pub enjoying a pint of the finest stout I’d ever imagined when I finally heard his voice. I spun around on my stool and there he was, looking just the same as the day he died. He didn’t recognize me, of course. I’d put on a few dozen years since the last time that we saw each other. But he still caught me staring, the old maid on the barstool.

I turned my face away to hide, trying to work up the courage to say something. He was hanging with a buddy who looked to have died somewhere between our ages. For a few minutes — or maybe just a lifetime — I sat there and listened to him talk. The sound of his voice sent me back to a time when I was young and he was still alive.

We both were still alive.

Then I overheard him tell about a girl. Some saintly slut that he’d been seeing, or sleeping with. I don’t know. I had never thought before about how that worked around here. After he had passed, I tried to move on. It took a couple years, but it was just what I had to do. It hadn’t occurred to me that people in the afterlife might do the same.

I downed my pint and flagged the barkeep for another. I bet he’d never thought I’d keep my drinking up the way I had, although sometimes I think his death’s what drove me to it.

Finally his friend made off for the head and I took my cue. I scooted down the bar until I was seated right next to him, and spoke the name I hadn’t spoke in years:

“Hey, Kevin.”

It seemed my voice had triggered some kind of recognition in him. He turned around to face me.

“…Lisa?” He held his breathe as he looked my withered frame up and down. “You’re here?”

“Of course I am. What did you think, I wouldn’t make it? Think they’d send me down below?” I didn’t mean to get so defensive so quickly. But his wasn’t the reaction I was expecting either.

“No! It’s just…It’s been a while, you know? How…how long has it been?”

“Sixty-three years,” I said.


Read part 2 here

Time In a Bottle

She kept her time in a bottle;
a mason jar with a two-piece
lid to create a vacuum,
preventing botulism. Between uses
she kept the bottle in the back
corner of the tallest cabinet, hidden
from the light
to preserve it. Time is always
better when it’s fresh,
kept spry and raw.

Unfortunately, time
is limited, and lately, she’s been
using quite a lot. She
would sprinkle it on
dinner when it wasn’t quite
cooked; add a pinch to
a project at work; pour half
a teaspoon on
an excellent book; a dash
on her own head when
the morning came too soon.
She even tried adding
some time to itself, in
the hopes of making
it last longer. But in the end,
she only had the same
amount of time.

When the bottle was empty
she sprang to the garden
and scoured the seedlings
that cracked through
the freshly thawed earth.
But time was out of season,
or so it seemed, so
she dug through the
ground with her hands
to find the roots. The
soil stained fingers, caught
under her nails, as she
made bigger the hole
around her. She kept
digging, deeper still,
until exhaustion overcame
her. She closed her eyes
and laid herself
to rest among the clay.


Thanks to Mercedes Roman-Manson for the instagram

They Said They Found You With Your Headphones On

And all I can think about is which song was playing when you took your last breath. I hope it was something that at least put a smile on your face. Why Do They Rock So Hard? was always your jam, at least when we were kids, but you and I haven’t really talked music in a while, not for at least a year now. That’s just one reason why I was so really looking forward to tomorrow. Yesterday. Sunday. The day after—Fuck. Subjective time loses meaning; time’s objective when you’re out of time, when you’ve reached your final objective.

Time. I’m told your roommate found you around 11:30pm. I don’t even know who you live with these days. I got the call at 2am and ignored it, I was sleeping. Your youngest sister found out on Facebook, where wall posts have become electronic flowers on your profile tombstone. She called your mom, but she was already outside talking to the cops. And I was still asleep.

I didn’t know what to expect on Sunday when you weren’t there. I met eyes with Fish across the room, and excused myself from the corner of awkward catch-up conversations and we hugged. It was a hello hug, how are you, but without either one of us saying a word, it was an are you okay hug, too. “Did—” he started. “Yeah,” I said. He told me that he called you last night. That night. Saturday night. Around 8pm, for a pint. Maybe Delaney’s. I wish I went there with you more often. We could have talked about the ever-changing draught list, ruminating about our life, theatre, art, sharing scripts over goblets of Delirium Tremens. Or Nocturnum, if the season fits. But I don’t live here anymore. And I guess, neither do you.

When I got to your house—when I arrived at your parents’ house—your brother was doing homework, a worksheet on The Scarlet Letter for Ms. Ligouri. We both had a crush on her when she studen-taught us 7 years ago, and judging by the worksheet, she’s still a lousy teacher. Still, I was surprised to find that Matt’s not 8 years old anymore, but time will do that to you. I was paralyzed standing in the doorway, but I finally turned towards your mom and she ran into my arms and held me closer than I ever thought she would (at this point, if you were here, you’d be half-expecting me to quip about her tits, even if I wasn’t going to, and you’d call me on it, shut me up before I had the chance).

It didn’t really hit me until I saw your father. He was in the bathroom when I arrived because he wouldn’t let us see him cry—typical Gary—but when I shook his hand, firm and string and manly like he taught us, he pulled me in for an embrace. A bear hug to hide the tears, as he thanked me for being your friend, and asked me to pass the message along to anyone else. To the guys. Please. Just, thank you. For just, for being his friend. For being your friend.

Rest in Peace, MVA
June 23, 1986 — October 3, 2009