In celebration of All Souls’ Day

November 1, 2009 at 6:50 am (Uncategorized)

Well, it sort of came together in my head while I was at Church (and I pronounce that like a devout Church-goer, without the R. ChUHHch). It was supposed to be a tribute to the dead, but it became something of an exploration of our definitions of life and death. Needs work. Comments would be great. Gracias.

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La Canción de los Muertos

Good evening, good sir,
it is the very witching hour
of night and we sing,
our collars stiff, starched,
white as ghosts,
white as the bones of
the ghosts that sing their own
funeral dirges.

There are living among the dead
and dead among the living
and we wait in fear
of being mistaken,
being left for dead
or left for alive, for that matter,
for fear of
being buried in the soft, welcoming earth
before our time is up,
for fear of
being sat at the warm, loving dinner table
long after our time has passed.

Some of us rouge our cheeks
and paint smiles on our lips
eternal expressions
to last us,
to keep the illusion
that we continue to live
when, in fact,
we have only been
embalmed, embalmed
to death in our own
attempt to stay alive.

Some of us are left with sullen faces,
and lips sown together in a frown,
eternal expressions
of decay,
that keep the menacing lie
that we are long dead
when, in fact,
we have only been
embalmed, embalmed
while our souls shake off
the paleness to never die

for life is not a heartbeat,
life is not goings-on of the brain,
nor rouged cheeks and painted smiles
and neither is death
sullen faces and sown-up frowns.
Life and death are beyond definition,
beyond the dictionaries
and thesauri, beyond
every medical encyclopedia.

Life is the soul,
boundless and eternal,
that flies through the heavens
beyond our beds as we sleep,
and when we have ceased to wake,
it has learned to fly forever.

Death is the loss of the soul,
boundless and eternal,
that flies away through the heavens
beyond the living grave we try to trap it in
and when we have ceased to love,
it has learned to never return.

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1 Comment

  1. nadine said,

    very e.e. cumming-esque, i should think. i appreciate your use of repetition.

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