Thing 8: My Dead

This week I’m starting a new theme for my create-a-thing-a-day project: Poems from Bed. I’m going to try to come up with the first line of a poem before I get out of bed in the morning and finish it before the end of the day. Here’s the first one.

My Dead

Sometimes my dead
get carried away.
They wake me
(inappropriately)
in the night
and appear in
strange groupings
never seen in life.
My grandmother for
instance would have
never hung around
with the kid who
bullied me at Carson
Park who hung himself
in jail before he turned
twenty-one but there you
have it.

My dead are never
frightening. Is that
strange? I think not.
Ghosts either comfort
or sadden the living.
In spite of all the
bad press, the dead
only terrorize killers.
The dead are indelible,
parenthetical, implicit.
The dead have all the
time in the world for
you now.

My dead of course are
not alive, I don’t mean
to confuse you, they are
dead as doornails (a phrase
that has always confused
me for reasons I haven’t
time to explain). The dead
are dead as dead can be but
the past isn’t dead as you
well know by now. Your
dead are more real to you
than any of your possessions.
That’s not of course to
say that you own your dead
in fact they are a kind of
communal property that
you possess no more than
the next dreamer. True
figments demand that you
share them.

The dead are not cold,
most of the dead, in my
experience are in fact quite
warm. They smell of split
pea soup, peppermint candy,
rhubarb pie, whiskey,
marijuana, and after
shave. The dead are
mostly pleasant all in
all. Sometimes my dead
embrace me, and I hug
them back.

My dead are wagging a
finger at me now, for
I sleep too long and
they understand the
importance of the day
in ways that I cannot.
My dead remind me that
one day like the dinosaurs
I will decompose and
become fuel that others
will use for their transportation
needs and to heat
their cold living
flesh. You only get one
trip, one chance
to burn.

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One Comment

  1. I should revise the explanation. “Finished” is too strong a term. In retrospect, I think the goal of having “drafted” a poem should suffice for the day. Who knows, I might actually want to “finish” one or tow of them at a later date.

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