You must


You must take it while you can—
   what’s granted by your acumen, by chance or grace
Millions upon millions of us learn
   this crafty, slight life owes us nothing
She was glamorous—
   He would want to stand straighter, taller for her
despite his ragged, basic intransigence
   Here things devolve soon enough to the primordial
and then become inert


What matters to him is her—
   not her religion, people, or where she’s from
How she thought, how she felt
   what kind of person she is— that matters
The terrors, the boredom, the meanness,
   the triumphs, planned and unplanned,
her ruthless losses and fiery gains became
   attuned, entwined within their boundaries,
their freedoms, perfections, depths and failures


I enter the room and am surprised to see
   that although we are to move the next day
nothing has been packed
   The books, cds, collectibles, family knickknacks
are all still on pale wood shelves, that proud
   family records of ourselves are still displayed
Large TVs play in the background but no one listens
   I don’t actually see anyone but instead
I feel their presence


My dead mom is there taking an inventory
   She seems unconcerned about packing
“All can be moved while still on the shelves”
   I hear her think, “but I’ll get you some boxes
if you disagree”
   My dead dad is there and I sense
that he agrees with me—“By all means, preserve the past”
   I think to ask him why he’s been away so long but
then again think, “I’ll ask him where he went later”


Oh no, it wasn’t about money
   True, he no longer had “crazy-big” money
“Divorces,” as Vincent Price once said,
   “are expensive but worth it”
and he had a few of those
   The coffers, however, were still full
And true, he thought we’re all brutal, murderous, liars
   who put on masks of civility only for civilization’s
sake, but that fact made him laugh


Believe me, that wasn’t why he had to die
   by his own hand— it was he needed to move,
to laugh, to dodge, to leap, to bounce, to escape,
   to deal with the tireless endless vicissitudes,
the shocks that penned him in, to move at all times
   He couldn’t endure the idea
of a life as a helpless paralytic—
   when it’s impossible to work, to move
“and then, I know, they won’t let me die”




-August 16, 2014-