Friday, October 9, 2015

Death Is Like a River

Originally published in Perfume River Poetry Review  Issue 3: Night Terrors, Copyright © 2015 – Tourane Poetry Press


Death is like a river, the color of burgundy wine
flowing down the mountain toward the ocean, vast and wide
so much potential

Pinewood boxes carry dead soldiers
convoys of ships going down
never to be realized, planted
fruits of their achievements

There’s a revival happening right now
in my living room, daughter singing the blues
carving pumpkins – O Death, do your worst!

Ghosts of our past haunt our present
howling rattling chains we ignore
these ghosts move through our lives unnoticed

O Death, you visit me each morning, embrace me at night
the dew on the grass soaks through my stockings, mud clings to my knees

Your boney fingers embrace my neck
tighten around my throat
this honeymoon of death
this funeral of eternity
this sleep

He comes to us when we do not expect him
this black-cloaked phantasm
he comes when we aren’t ready
and visits our loved ones

I carve your white skull
empty it of its contents
light a candle to shine
from your eyes


So much potential wasted
young men and women returning
in a pinewood boat, sailing
that burgundy river
draped with a flag

It’s getting colder these nights
I walked by two people
on the street holding a sign
on my way to the theater

You can go deeper into the unknown if you choose
turning back from what is safe and comfortable into something else

I saw Anthony Bourdain kill a goat on TV last night
suffocated under watchful eye of the tribal king
to keep in the blood

Ignore it, pretend it does not exist
Death comes when it comes
it does not know fair
it does not have principles
or ethics

You don’t have to go to Syria or Afghanistan
you can sit by a parking structure, hold a cardboard sign
meet Death there too

Death does not discriminate
that cold chill lurks, returning
into nothingness

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