Tag Archives: death

Tea Cups (#333)

Facing death is like riding any
spinning ride. You are flung out from
the center toward the edge. Death is waiting
for you in that void.
Then there is the centripetal pause
when you are no longer
spinning and you can make eye contact with
people waiting in line
until you are spun back to the middle
to life as you knew it.

Some people love this.
They yell to spin faster
to go farther into the void
before returning. Always faster.
Always farther.
Me? I just throw up.

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Posted by on November 5, 2019 in new poetry


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Hospice (#312)


Pinch me
I’m alive
I’m breathing
Take my skin
Between your finger and your thumb
And squeeze
I don’t care if you bruise me
I’m alive
I’m breathing
That is enough for me

If you reach to me
I will take my hands
And smooth all of your anger into hope
Make the sky shiny again
Help you fall in love with blue
Like you were back when
Sadness mattered as much to us
As vegetables–
Things older people worried about

Connect with me
I’m alive
I’m breathing
You are alive
You are breathing
We do not have to fly into death
Nor into sorrow

Joy is still possible.

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Posted by on November 9, 2016 in new poetry


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1,000 words (#305)

When I die
You may do what you want with my body–
Bury, burn, freeze
Erect a gravestone
Dedicate a park bench
Name a scholarship for me

I only ask
That instead of a funeral or a wake
You recite
The thousand words I leave behind

Some are simple, well-known, obvious:

Others you won’t want to say:

The best will be those words
That you will have to search for
Words I have left for you alone
Left in the almost-dark
In whispers
Hidden in songs

Please find them when I die
And recite them, for me

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Posted by on February 8, 2016 in new poetry


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Me and Death                       (published in Abbey, 2003)

“I’m not afraid to die—I just don’t
want to be there when it happens.”
         –Woody Allen

I called in sick that day
Sorry, couldn’t make it
Flu, you know
Maybe food poisoning
Throwing up all morning
Let’s reschedule

Death bought my excuse
I never got back to him

We almost ran into each other
A couple of times
But I usually saw him first
And ducked into women’s bathrooms
Or hid behind buses
Or left the parties early
Sneaking out the back door
Huddled in my date’s coat

Then he started calling me at home
And leaving nasty messages on my machine
       “This is Death.
        We need to talk.”
       “Death again.
        You can’t avoid me forever.”
               or finally
       “Pick up. Pick up.”
        I know you’re there.”
               and then a lot of loud cussing
(Death has got a mouth on him)

But now he’s stalking me
I had to quit my job
So he can’t find me there
And I’m changing my phone number
And if that doesn’t work
I guess I’ll just have to move

To Buffalo or something

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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in previously published


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I can go nowhere faster                          (published, Zuzu’s Petals 1995)
          than to death.
Even my breathing knows this.
I enjoy that speed–
     the light speed of life.
I feel the air
     push out of my body
     and I wait, hoping
     it will return.
                (and sometimes not)

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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in previously published


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