Tag Archives: facing death

Facing the Inevitable. Alone.

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Facing the Inevitable. Alone.

Tilting at windmills or slaying dragons is too retro for my taste. I’d rather just have a man who tickles my funny bone, or at the very least one who tickles my fancy. At my age, I am between vulnerable stages. I don’t need anyone to save me financially or ego-wise. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to house and feed myself for the twenty or so years I have left and unless I have a serious decline in mental and physical power, I will always have blogging to salve my ego–a few loyal followers who still want to hear what I have to say.

Whatever I have made of my life, it is a pickle of my own choosing. I have not been jinxed or done ill to—at least recently. What I have I deserve. What I don’t have, I deserve. I don’t look forward to that day when fate will serve me a bitter dish, but that part of me that has to binge-watch *”After Life” or listen to an Audible book to get to sleep at night knows it one day will. In spite of my niggling lifelong conviction that I’ve been left on this planet by some foreign species and that I’ll be picked up soon and whisked off to a life unending, that part of me that needs constant distraction knows that I am human and therefore vulnerable.

Those with partners may think my title here sad, but there is another way of looking at it. Those of us unmatched and “unespoused” have only one inevitable death to face. We need fear no phone call when parted or unwelcome discovery when together. The only death we need fear is our own.  We have half of the dread that the happily paired must face as they approach a certain age.

With increasing regularity, when with friends my own age, after we have hurriedly (I hope) gone over the ills of today—knee replacements and hip replacements and intestinal disorders and the ilk—we eventually get around to discussing various methods of insuring the end we desire over Alzheimer’s or stroke. I have a high bridge picked out. Various friends have pill stashes. Everyone knows which friends, in spite of their obituaries, have already made this choice.

What we fear most is waiting too long and forfeiting the choice and spending the rest of our days in some repository for the walking dead—those antiseptic storehouses where they partition off residents unlucky enough to have not experienced a swift death—those cursed either with an active mind trapped in a body turned to stone or the reverse. What living hell is this, that so many of the aged are now preserved in part who in an earlier age would have been afforded a dignified death?

There is something about writing to multiple prompts that takes us into a part of our brain where otherwise we might have not gone. So it is with this seemingly pessimistic rambling into the dark side of my brain. Although nothing I say is fiction, still, perhaps the balance is wrong. Here is no discussion of the birds outside my early-morning sunlit curtains or the components of my morning smoothie that await my hand in compiling them. It does not mention friends that still stimulate and amuse, relatives that still fill my heart.

It overlooks those twenty potential years that I hope will lead up to whatever end I face. These are just words that I shed during a side trip through consciousness. Do not call me or consult with mutual friends, worrying about my state of mind. I am in no way suicidal. I am not morose. I am simply wandering through a few alleys where I think we must all wander from time to time, and as we grow older, where we wander more frequently. For in spite of my title, I don’t really think I wander here alone.

* “After Life” is a new show on Netflix, written and played by Ricky Gervais. A bit dark, but worth binge-watching if you’re in the right frame of mind. Along with the four prompt words, it is perhaps what put me in the mood to write this piece. I have a feeling it is more Ricky Gervais’s attitude than my own.  Well, maybe a wedding of the two.

 

Prompt words today are pickle, retro, dragon and jinx. Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/rdp-sunday-pickle/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/your-daily-word-prompt-dragon-march-31-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/jinx/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/03/31/fowc-with-fandango-retro/

The Wings of Hummingbirds

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The Wings of Hummingbirds

They break my heart,
these delicate wings of hummingbird
strewn on my porch
with a tiny head displaying one beak,
one eye.

Stripped of adornment,

one slight hummingbird
would hardly make a meal for a cat—
especially one recently fed at my kitchen door. 

Where was I when this travesty

was committed,
carried out by  a cat
true to its nature
and therefore bearing no sin?

I was out back,
 filling the hummingbird feeder left by guests,
though I prefer the natural sight
of hummingbirds feeding at the aloe blossoms
or thunbergia or frangipani.
 
 In the fenced backyard,
the dogs create a territory safe from cats,
but what am I to do about the obelisco plant I love so much in front—
 the one spied every day with a new bloom
as I walk past it to my car? 
What’s to be done for the royal poinciana,
seventeen years old,
spreading its shelter over street and wall and front garden alike?
A dangerous draw in a yard frequented by cats.
What’s to be done?
Defrock the area they roam in to make it hummingbird-free?

That double-pronged nature of cats—
their beauty and their savagery––
displayed so vividly in man himself of late––
 can it be anything but plan?
And to what purpose?
We love the ways of nature but turn our back on half of them,
hoping they will not be demonstrated in our lives.
Until that one last fatal claw of fate descends upon us
and we fall into that scheme, resisting,
but our efforts futile.

Why are endings necessary?
Why must our hearts be broken
 time and again
before they themselves are the breaking thing
and we pass into nature,
undivided, part of a whole both savage and tragic in its beauty. 
Here is the hummingbird whole.
 The cat whole.
Here are we, whole, observing them.
That has to be enough. 
The now. This look.
This touch. This satiation for the moment.
The hummingbird before the slaughter,
the bone before the break.

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

 

jdb photos. Click on any image to enlarge all.

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

Working my way to sandy bottom,
through murky waters growing clear.
Through all the things I daily think of,
I hone in on what I hold dear.

Swimming down to sandy bottom,
down to past truths and future fears.
The daily details float behind as
I face old matters in arrears.

If my whole life should tell a story,
how do the details all add up?
I’ve always thought time was a sieve, but
perhaps I’ll find it was a cup.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
the flotsam of my years floats near.
All the past terrors and past glories,
and future truths I’ve come to fear.

Trying to reach that sandy bottom,
no oxygen to draw my breath.
Working our ways to sandy bottom,
we spend our lives to buy our death.

All the glories and the triumphs.
All the failures and the fears.
All the trophies we’ve collected,
and all the tattered, used-up years.

Working our ways to sandy bottom,
will there be gold grains in the sands?
Too late to spend discovered riches,
they slip like lives right through our hands.

Working our ways to sandy bottom,
our lives lift up as we swim down,
As we leave the past behind us,
we find our future all around.

 

This was actually written as a song.  I had a melody in my mind as I wrote it, but it awaits a more talented composer of music than I am. The daily addiction prompt word was “hone.”

The Wall: NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29

The prompt today is to write a poem inspired by a Sylvia Plath poem.  Below the photo is the poem I wrote. The Plath poem I chose that inspired it is given below my poem.

The Wall

I put my hand against the raw stone of the wall
and I can feel it siphoning molecules.
There is a tingling sensation
as they flow out of me.

I try to send some extrasensory
particles along with them
to communicate to me
where they go
and what they encounter there,
but I know that it is futile.

I cannot follow
where these lost parts of me go––
these thoughts, wishes,
aspirations
that I surrender to the wall.

It is not by choice, you know,
that I sit here facing what 
has  been leached out of my life.

I go on living what life I can,
knowing that in time
all of me will finally
flow into the wall.

 I’ve lost so much ambition to it—
and hope and curiosity.

So much of what has kept me engaged in life
has already  gone into that gray world
where I cannot yet follow.

Now I sit here, facing it,
acknowledging my failure
as well as the wall’s exclusivity.
Only my shadow
cast against it
reminds me that
somewhere behind me
there is a sun.

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For NaPoWriMo 2018, Day 29.

 

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                              Apprehensions

                                              — by Sylvia Plath

There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself —
Infinite, green, utterly untouchable.
Angels swim in it, and the stars, in indifference also.
They are my medium.
The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights.

A grey wall now, clawed and bloody.
Is there no way out of the mind?
Steps at my back spiral into a well.
There are no trees or birds in this world,
There is only sourness.

This red wall winces continually:
A red fist, opening and closing,
Two grey, papery bags —
This is what i am made of, this, and a terror
Of being wheeled off under crosses and rain of pieties.

On a black wall, unidentifiable birds
Swivel their heads and cry.
There is no talk of immorality among these!
Cold blanks approach us:
They move in a hurry.

Heading South

Heading South

My friend put on her traveling gown
for London was her sort of town
where mouths share tales and shoulders rub
when friends or strangers meet at the pub.

My friend put on her traveling gown
for Paris was her sort of town—
gone to the boulevard to eat
where strangers she perchance would meet.

A demitasse or two, or more,
a shared baguette or petit four—
approachable down to the bone.
Better not to eat alone.

She was a traveler, born to roam
when she was not ensconced in home.
Back home, a cat upon her lap.
Away from home, a well-creased map.

On maps, the south is always down,
be it Paris or London town.
So be not sad or down at mouth.
Our friend is merely going south!

As I grow older, I like to think
one day we’ll meet there for a drink.
Well-versed, our friend will show us where
to sip our coffee in open air.

Or snuggle in for shepherd’s pie
in company fit for roving eye.
To lift a pint or raise a glass
once we have joined her there en masse.


(Word came yesterday that my friend of 49 years had passed away in a London hotel room, where she was just finishing up a month long vacation.  If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, go HERE.)

Marilyn suggested this song which my poem reminded her of.  It is one of my favorites, so I’m including it here…the link provided by okcforgottenman. In his words,  ‘It is Fort Worth Blues, written by Steve Earle in tribute to the then recent passing of Townes Van Zandt. You can see him sing it HERE- in a Townes tribute on Austin City Limits. It’s a worthy tribute to Grimmer, too, I think.’

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/south/

Sweep (On the Death of David Bowie)

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Sweep

(On the Death of David Bowie)

Our world is clearing out around us,
swept by the broom of whatever moves things on.
Like dead leaves curling in their separate corners,
we miss the sweep this time,
but in our mind’s back edge
we imagine our ends—painful or quick,
alone or crowded with the vestiges of our life:
people, things, a cat curled over our feet to warm what can’t be warmed.
That broom leaning there against the corner has plans for us.
There is a world wanting to be filled up again
that needs clearing.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/teen-age-idol/