a few poems on death

The Memento Mori poetry reading tomorrow. Going through a old notebook to find pieces to read, found two that could be salvaged to make a something:

1. I look down at you, unconscious, dying, slipping away from this life
And I don't know what to feel

I don't know who you were

Angelic bastard, why'd you have to be complicated?
Why couldn't you give me the clarity
of only loving or only hating?

I don't know if you can hear me
I hold your hand and say goodbye

I speak only of the good things
That's how I would want it if it were my time

We are all angelic bastards
Tangles of light and dark
I see the best and worst of you in me

Please remember my light and forgive my dark
And I will try to do the same for you

Grandfather
Goodbye

2. a year now since he died, my mother's father
I am standing in the shower
contemplating the universe from inside the warm waterfall
as I often do

and I am thinking about family
and I am thinking about what I have inherited, been shaped by
the twistings of thought that made me

tracing them back to him

tracing back the tangles I inherited from him
that I have struggled to untangle
and I am angry at him for this
for what he bequeathed my mother, me

I am angry
and I think of his cold anger
and I think
of
his
cold angry god...

the priest told us how you believed
you, cowered in the corner, tiny
while huge furious Jesus
judged your sins

any excuse for eternal damnation
in the twisted religion they gave you

the sins of the priests are visited upon the grandsons of the congregation
a twisted chain that I cut through a little bit more on every good day
try to save myself and others from what they did to you...

what they did to you...
oh my grandfather, what they did to you
twisted you into a faith of fear

As understanding dawns
My heart untwists in forgiveness, love

I cry hot tears into the warm waterfall

and re-working another old piece:

trembling, trembling in the wind, in the uncertainty
the contemplation of life and death
wonder and terror
shivering in the chill winds of change
shaking in fear and ecstasy

to stand on the edge and not be blown over it
to tremble but not fall down

the wind that shakes the leaves of the plant on my desk
connects with the butterfly's wings on the other side of the world
connects with the light of the sun ninety-three million miles away
connects with the voice of the barking dog across the street

and no one can explain it, not Jesus, not Buddha, not Socrates - might as well ask the dog for an explanation
but there's no rush
plenty of time for quiet contemplation after you're dead

not much else to do, then, really
and time passes slowly for the dead

no trembling, stillness only

but still connection
the wind from the burning ground, the soil of the grave
touches all

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