And I remember this friend of mine who always got there first…
– Terence McKenna, Spacetime Continuum, Alien Dreamtime
First of all, let me say I don’t normally like most poetry. Nor do I typically write it. This poem was coalesced from the writings of May 26 and a poem I wrote in winter 2015 after passing by the dead body of a homeless person next to the front door of my apartment building in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles on Christmas Day. Christmas morning was spent on the roof of my building looking down in horror on his lifeless body laying face up on the sidewalk and then the coroners finally covering him. When I had left my apartment the night before, I saw his unmoving shape sleeping against the wall and thought how awful to be so cold and alone on Christmas Eve. I wanted to give him some help but also didn’t want to rouse him. So I got in my car and drove away. Could my inaction have contributed to his destiny? If I had shaken him, could he have been saved? Or was he already dead at that point? I’ll never know. I later found out the homeless man was my exact age and had been a doctor. That same week, my father’s wife of 30 years passed away from a short and unexpected illness. So death was in the air.
To make anything serious, just add death.
Is death a big deal?
People do it every day.
It’s the biggest day of your life
We are jealous of the dead
For you who got there first
Unwittingly courageous and for that, enviable
You who have left
Us here; discarding your bodies
Like a clown removing its costume
You bravely went before us
With no dispatch between worlds
We are still alive, waiting in line for the high-dive
We nervously shuffle, hands in our pockets
Death defines life
It’s forever on the lips of the living
We know the space between worlds is delicate
Dangerously fragile, in fact
To traverse this space
Just stop breathing
So we could destroy ourselves to join you
It’s up to us
The planes are parallel, never intersecting
Is this place from which no one has ever returned
The container of all secrets and answers?
Every zoetic sunrise is an awakening
A miniature inititaion
So we dance in our lifetime of successive sunrises around the fire of death
Spiralling in at the end
To live is to be in sadness
Separated from our home
But isn’t it better to wake up in tears,
than to not wake up at all?