Go Gentle

When at last you
dive into the deep pool,
do you want to

cut the surface cleanly,
knifing into the cool
water, or do you want

to tumble, thrashing and
grasping?  Why rage against
the dying of the light?  It has

died every dusk since Genesis,
you are in a long parade of
those who have gone and those

who will go.  Go gentle, like a
burglar, like an Indian scout, as
if going to meet your secret

lover, bring all your experience and
curiosity and gratitude and love,
be a bold and peaceful explorer.

death


Another Serious Poem Shot to Hell

Death said
“Mind if I
smoke?”
I told him it was fine with me.
“These days…” the smoke
curled in his rib cage like
looping grey gauze,
“…everyone gets nervous.”
A bit nervous myself, I
chuckled.
“Sorry – it’s just that I figured you must be
used to that.”
“True enough,” he said, the
smoke wafting from his
eye sockets.
“So -” I uncapped my
pen,” what else…do you do?”
He flicked his ashes delicately.
“I jog with Taxes, sometimes I have
dinner with Glory, and I
manage the Seven Deadly Sins
bowling team.”
Seeing my confusion, he said,
“Shit yeah – you should see our
shirts.  Killer.”
Then his pager went off.
“Whoop – that’s me,” he said,
stubbing out his cigarette.
“But,” I complained, “I don’t really
have anything!”
He shrugged, the sound like
bamboo wind chimes.
“So write a poem about
something else.”

Another serious poem
shot to hell.

Another Serious Poem part II

We poets must,
sooner or later,
weigh in on Death.

What goes on in the
great blank Epilogue,
what do we have to
dread or anticipate or
ignore?

What about the great
silent black trains, or
loved ones rowing invisible
skiffs through the clouds,

what about mute observers,
restless ectoplasmic wanderers,
skeletons trying to have
sex?

Here it is:
The dead have no sense of
smell, and are incapable of
surprise.

They stay with people they
don’t know, they choose jobs
that they resent, they
socialize with people they
then gossip about,

they put their fate in
the hands of morons,
and they watch lots of TV.

Just like us.
Except they do it for
all eternity.

 

Poor Machine

 

The dying man
felt bad for
his body – he
had asked so much
of it for so long and
it had rarely let him
down: running from danger
or towards pleasure, lifting
and pushing and dragging,
fighting sickness, healing
itself when broken,
getting by with little sleep and
bad food, doing all sorts of
intricate and difficult tasks
including making another
human life – miraculous!
What else could you ask of
such an astonishing machine?

 

In the case of his loved ones and
at least one doctor the miraculous
machine was being asked to
keep going, keep pumping, keep
flexing, keep processing, keep
the lights on.

 

His body had worked hard
all its life and now it just
wanted to rest, and the dying
man couldn’t blame it
one bit.

 

Poor machine, poor beautiful
machine – it was not meant to
last forever, there are only
so many repairs that can be
made, only so many parts
that can be swapped out.

 

The man felt as if he were
trapped inside a once proud
boat whose engine had quit, and
was sinking.  He could see out the
dirty portholes where friends and
family waved encouragement.

 

No matter.  He still had one trick
up his sleeve.  As soon as his
vessel slipped below the water
he could turn himself into
fish and swim clear of the
wreck.

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