death and dying

Icarus, Blind

PBrueghelElderIcarus

I made wings from a frame of
broken promises, covered in
sticky, black glue of disappointment, and, finally,
feathers of long-extinct lovebirds.

The day approached to fly, fly
and each morning I looked into to the sun,
imagining how it would feel to be
underneath
in air not suffused with guilt
and expectation.

But I looked into the sun
one too many times.

The day arrived to fly, fly
and I —
blind —
could find my way through the sky
only by the warmth on my back.

And it felt so good
after all that cold
hard
stone
to be so warmed
that I scarcely noticed
the small splash I made.

And I sank,
blind,
knowing the touch of wind
and freedom
was enough, enough.

Stumble

running
Stumbling

bumbling

in my dream
I fumble for my keys.

Some danger is close behind,
unclear whether man or beast.

At the last second I hear the
tumblers in the lock
but of course
it’s too late.

Do I wake?

I ask my partner, did I
mumble or scream?

I know I stared
down a gun-barrel
and saw a spiraling metal beetle
fly toward my third eye.

I wake.

Stumble to the bathroom,
still fumbling for the keys.

Starchild

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Begin Life in a moment
End Life in a day
A moment in a lifetime
Where no clocks come to play

A statue in the hallway
A hallway in the door
The blood-brain barrier
’twixt now and nevermore

The room where Life is ended
Is the room where it began
Did you see yourself by looking
Or by holding out your hand?

Begin Life not with breathing
End Life with waking up
See the world you have been given
As a shattered crystal cup

Swim on waves of gravity
Through nurseries of night
Amniotic oceans
Umbilicus of light

Amniotic oceans
Umbilicus of light

Amniotic oceans
Umbilicus of light



 

This was a song written for a musical version of 2001: A Space Odyssey. A group of very creative friends stages “Musical Emergencies” based on movies, fables, and other source material a couple of times a year. This one was staged by me and my partner (mostly my partner, who saw the movie 10 times in the theater at age 11).

Imagine a slow, contemplative song, minor key, only four chord changes, played on organ as accompaniment.

brother

IMG_2298 1

I can’t imagine how puzzled
my mom must feel
to have outlived her son.

Her precious dark-haired boy,
the big one
at age 2,
meant to look after his blond
blue-eyed brother,
then curly haired
little sister,

then me, the squealing surprise package
when he
was 11.

Maybe he should have been
the baby
for a little longer,
caretaker that he was.

Never could stand
to see anyone cry, always
the one to say “It’s okay.”

I wish we’d had more time
in these years, my brother,
but I’m glad
I got to
take care of you.

shelter

A sense of place in a time of loss

Photo by Octodrone Maxilla

Shelter me

says the millipede to the leaf
as the air goes cold in springtime

Oh, shelter me

says the leaf to the twig
as the breeze lifts her fellows ‘long the climb

Oh, oh shelter me

says the twig to the branch
as the storm becomes less than benign

Shelter, oh shelter me

says the branch to the tree
as it clings to the strong wooden spine

Shelter me, oh, shelter me

says the tree to the forest
as lightning’s child razes her shrine

Shelter me shelter me

says the smoke to the air
as the last ash drifts dusty and fine.

Shelter me

says the speck to the millipede
as it settles to ground

and becomes part of time.

 

 

Evva

Dale obit

Pardon me, my dearest friend,
while I for two minutes make your death about me.

Because they didn’t tell us our friends would die.

Maybe his friend, or hers, or theirs,
Maybe my mom’s and dad’s,
then my dad
then my brother.

But our tribe, the ones we choose, the ones
we lounge about laughing at dumb teevee with,

the ones who teach us to cross-country ski,
and always get us the perfect gift
and agonize with over yet another pair of shoes

And then cry with and
move away from and
who never listen to our excellent advice
nor we theirs,

the ones whose cores are so strong
forged in the fire of abuse, loneliness, and
unspeakable sorrow,

they

you

were supposed to prevail.

Because goddamnit

It’s all about me.

To My Mother

He took me aside that night
before he washed our feet.

“You know what you must do.
It was written in our book before we
were born.”
I tried to look away, my sadness was so great.
But he would not let me.

“My brother, we are one. Know this:
You are forgiven.
We both drink of this cup.”

I leave this note, and these coins
that they thought were my reward.

My brother knows my heart.

The hatred of the ages
is as nothing.

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