Saturday, March 25, 2017

On Death

Part I

I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind--and that of the minds who suffer the bereavement.
Dr Peabody--As I Lay Dying

eldest son

Son, she's dying..
Mom's dying.
I knew,
somehow.
The Stillness:
cold, quiet;
There is nothing,
and I felt it.
Moments before,
it was clear.
(The pounding, crashing sound
rips me from it…)
I knew,
somehow.

father

We're going to beat this thing.
I don't fail.
I cannot fail.
I'm not going to lose;
I can fix this thing.
You gotta be smarter than the…the…
renal cell carcinoma.


eldest son

Months before
Weeks before
Days before
moments before
I knew.

youngest son

Mom's sick,
in bed
sick
smells funny
(I don't like her smell)
Does it hurt, Mom?
No, sweetie, I'm just tired.
Go to sleep, Mom.

eldest son

I fall to the ground;
my legs do not bend.
I crash;
my head
slams me down;
I cannot move.
Weeping, weeping, weeping:
no tears will fall.
I can't talk.
How long?
(The voice; sound
stabs me).
Six months…maybe less.
I'll drive down.
I'll see her.
I will stay with her.

Part II

It's because I'm alone. If I could just feel it, it would be different, because I would not be alone.
Dewey Dell--As I Lay Dying

middle son

I hate you!
I fucking HATE you!
How can you do this to me?
You've always hated me;
now you’re dying?
Fuck no!
Hell no!
I don't need you,
just go,
leave me alone.
Stupid bitch!
Goddamn you!
Goddamn it!
You never loved me,
liked me.
Just leave;
I don't need you.

father

You don't know; you fucking doctors
don't know crap…how to fix this!
We're going to beat this thing,
Toni.
Don't leave me
with these kids…
are my life.
This house is yours.
These kids are yours.
renal cell carcinoma
yours.
Mom's gonna be just fine.
Don't worry,
we're going to beat this thing.
Don't you damn doctors know
how to beat this thing?!
Worse?

youngest son

mom's breathing
breathing
the tubes are breathing
looks funny
(mom looks scary)
Mom, can I go to play?
Sure you can.

eldest son

How's she doing?
Ok…not good.
How long?
A month…maybe less.

middle son

I can't do it
not going
hate hospitals
NO GODDAMN IT!
not going
can't

father

I can't do it
anymore.
It's a poison:
toxic.
I can't do it
anymore.


eldest son

I got class:
school.
I can drive away,
cross the line
into
no death
no cancer
no.
I got class:
homework
a test
finals
I'll drive down this weekend.

youngest son

her hands are cold:
white
like bones
Mom, cover up with a blanket.
Mom is wet,
her forehead is wet.
Here's a towel, Mom.

eldest son

I'm tired,
waiting.
The painful lights
strike me down,
strike down my skin:
numb.
I'm tired,
numb,
waiting.
I've got school tomorrow.
This must be hard,
difficult
for Ellen.
I'm sorry, honey.
Sorry.
I love you, Mom.
Love you.

mother

I'm so ugly
feel sick.
I'm tired
of being
not ready.
Ed, be a good father:
be around.
Stop working so much
and be a father.
I'll take care of it;
my family is my life.
I'm sorry.
Eddie, you be a good boy
for your father, and
listen to your brothers,
especially Adrian.
Be a good boy
good boy,
Son.
I love you:
take care of my sons.
I love you,
you're my number one son.
Be a good son, Tyson,
for your father.
Don't cause trouble
Be a good son,
good son.
Tyson,
I love you.
I love you, too, Mom.
(I hate you)
I love you, Tyson.

eldest son

The stillness
remains behind
after we have left,
she's left
us.
There is nothing.
I notice the badly-decorated walls,
ugly,
so ugly.

father

I'm not ready yet, guys.
I can't do it.
I just feel close to her.
I can't.
It's only been a year,
give me more time.
I can't do it.
I'll take care of it.

middle son

Dear Mom,
I didn't want to
hate you.
Didn't want.
I miss you.
I love you,
always;
no matter
what was said,
you said.
I will love you.
I will miss you.


father

I just don't feel anything
for women.
nothing.
I'm just so depressed.
depression, depressed, depression.
sadness.
I'm just so down.
I can't imagine myself
with another woman.

Part III

I heard my mother is dead. I wish I had time to let her die. I wish I had time to wish I had. It is because the wild and outraged earth too soon too soon too soon. It's not that I wouldn't and will not it's that it is too soon too soon too soon.
Dewey Dell--As I Lay Dying

middle son

I'm just so depressed.
I'm just so down.
I wanted to be close
to know
you liked me.
I never felt, knew
before.
I know now.
I will love you.
I will miss you.


father

I miss your mother…so much.
depression
I'll take care of it.

eldest son

I knew,
somehow.
I knew there would be
nothing
within these walls,
this room:
cold, quiet.
I feel it
again…
moments before,
forever after.

1 comment:

Adrian Neibauer, EdD said...

This is by far my longest poem. I am trying to emulate Faulkner's As I Lay Dying stream of consciousness technique, as well as using multiple perspectives and varying stanza lengths. I am not sure if this works as an epic narrative poem, but I wanted to tell a story using this form. What do you all think? Is this successful?