Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Think's He's A Poet, I'm Dying

Two reality stories. I have been exhorted periodically to come back to reality. Those various people have a bone to pick with my way of treating the world and my place in it. There will always be "those people". I do not mind at this point. When I was a child, my parents would occasionally do this. I should be quick to point out they mainly gave me plenty of latitude and also guided me quite well in many ways. I was an excitable child and a bit obsessive in my interests. I also didn't take direction all that well. I have always been a bit different, sometimes a whole lot different. So "those people" still hover around. Because I actually interact with a reasonably large number of people in AA (people who would normally not mix) I have the opportunity to run into them and hear plainly from them in a variety of ways. I am right here because I am not all there :)

Thinks He's A Poet

I abandoned you.
It was me telling stories.
That's when it happened.
Otherwise, staying
Near my nest and still myself,
Still ordinary,
On small simple walks,
I'd not have cast my odd lot
To quest for dragons,
To seek the vale of secrets,
Or some wilder place.

Now look at this man.
Hunched over pecking the keys,
Thinks he's a poet.

January 19, 2009 10:30 AM


This next poem is not prophetic of my heart attack. It is prophetic of the fact that my mortality is close to my soul in general and on purpose. I have every intention of speaking with Death, letting Him ride on my left shoulder and whisper to me from time to time. I also occasionally ponder the possibilities of disability, walking around my house as if blind, and at work being interested in the changes when I wear my ear plugs. But primarily my practice is making friends with Death.

This is not morbid. It is realistic. I am now far more than half way to my end, seventeen years matches my Mom, and 20 my Father. It is also a spiritual practice. Because this is part of my character, I am not very impressed at my prophetic remarks concerning my small heart attack. This is especially true of this poem. My heart attack was a minor complaint, raising mortality as a distant warning and probably wouldn't have amounted to much for a while if I could have ignored the pain or it went away somehow. I am living with another vein now that is constricted but it is not serious. We hope that pharma takes care of it.

I'm Dying

I have not much left.
I watch this breath ease on out,
Think maybe the last.
Exhale to the end,
A small catch there, then nothing
For a while, then in.
I inhale once more.

Amazing focus, feeling
All my parts and joints
But too far away
From the way I used to be,
Breath eases on out,

Think maybe the last.

January 19, 2009 10:55 AM


  1. I'm there with each breath in the last. I'm there in between. It is good, your words, your breath.

    To be different is to think you're something, I guess. I never received the congenial name of poet, but some rather lesser versions, and with that I am ok.

    (And yes, you were in through the back door. I was just feeling badly you were being subjected to longer prose but if you enjoy it, by all means, I am happy.)

  2. Smiling for the Poet :)

    and dying .....sounds like a yoganidra makes me feel....forget to breath...and breath anyway

    Not too fond of the alternative translation right now...too close to home

    inhale exhale


  3. ah, yes. always one beat, more or less, from silent keys and frozen wreaths of "I knew him well"
    the irony of death perhaps, is to study the vein so diligently we don't see the bread truck with bad breaks. ~rick

  4. Pecking at the keys, haha! :)

    It's probably not how one sees oneself, but how others see one that defines a person as a poet. I could think of myself as a queen, if I wanted to. Think anyone will bow before me?

  5. Erin, Rachel made mention of it. I actually didn't think I was so different until "those people" educated me into thinking that way. It wasn't exactly pleasant education. After a bit the hard part stopped happening but my sensitivities were already formed. "Different" and "poet" and so many other names are not really decided by oneself alone.

    As for dying, I am not sure that one always does it alone. There are often witnesses. My mom made sure certain people were there.

    Michelle, how you expressed it made me think of a classic LSD anxiety, if I forget to breath, will I ever breath again?? You can spend a fair amount of time there :)

    Rikki, and so we dash off away from one town, afraid of the death threat there, only to meet Death at an opportunistic time and place elsewhere on the road. There is no justice :)

    {{{Rachel}}} My liege, my Queen. My poetess.

  6. It's very noble that you're able to be so comfortable with the notion of mortality, enough to write such thoughtful verse about it. Something to look up to. :)

  7. Thanks for your comment about nobility, but I don't feel at all noble. I feel educated by my life. When I was very young I had to fight for breath (asthma) and got to the place many times where there was no fear, only exhaustion. It was such a pain to struggle like that, I just wanted to stop. So I know the space of the poem very well. I watched closely my mother's last breath. Or actually her final inability to take it because the swelling in her brain shut her breathing off.

    I have also been on the other side, desperately fighting for life and unable to let go, tremendously angry at the lack of justice and ready to find whoever is at fault, make him pay.

    I have long known how I will instinctively fight to survive in pressing circumstances, that I don't have to sweat it because my ego will be pushed aside anyway under the threat of death. The survival instinct takes over and is much stronger in the emergency than my normal functioning. I lived that out one time in 1972.

  8. Christopher, hahaha! :) That's very kind of you.

    Since you say so, I shall be queen over my tiny dominion of slugs and snails, my small garden of delectable weeds and bee-filled wildflowers. And I shall be very happy.

  9. Lady Rachel, henceforth, my lady, in the back of my heart I shall remember I have pledged to honor you.

    This is like the Hindu greeting, Namaste.

  10. Suffered a lot of anxiety once....I am working on breath these days.

    But I was referring to a meditation...that point where you cease to exist here....just get up out of the body and leave the building, you know......the body breathes anyway.



The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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