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Last dying kiss

We must remember as we bravely parachute
to our final landing place to make the most
of all the lasts – a last meal to energize
our breaking body, last words to inspire
those not jumping though clouds, last visits
with passing specters sharing last goodbyes.

A death bed is just one last stage, one final
curtain call before an audience left wanting
more, grasping at minutes as they dissolve
between clapping fingers. Where does
the time go? Where does anything?

Winds blow in without warning
and dissipate just as quickly. Change
can revitalize whatever breezes
haven’t swept farther down the road.

Our end is an end, one of millions every
day that taste salty on pursed lips
aching under the weight of uncertainty.

I will not waste mine. With my last
dying kiss, I’ll noiselessly thank you

for a life well played.

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The church windows scream

I admit the church is beautiful,
brick exterior protecting principled
priceless treasures for eucharist
or other drinking games. The bell,
polished and proud, longs for the clouds
and clings to faith it will ascend
high enough one day.

Ornate symbols of Christ – the cross,
the cup – stainless martyrs dying
in veins running red assault the senses
and scream of deaths, endings
brought from passion and bought
for Christian decoration.

What heaven awaits the haggard,
hungry for purpose or meaning?
What hope rings in these ears,
pulsing with the prospect
of an afterlife of ashes to ashes?
What worship befalls the weary,
the hesitant and the damned?

I lack the faith to answer,
nor can I stop the questions.

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And then

A funeral, then the beach –
tastes hot in my mouth,
clinging to top of my mouth,
lingering unwanted
black heat into the void.

The sun insists on spitting
spicy splinters of light,
splashing in my eyes, children
playing on retinas, harmless
and infuriating – such indifference.

A hurricane, then back home –
feels wet on my face,
showering on a young shopping cart
creeping to the bike rack
winding eyes wide in witness.

I dare not wade into
mischievous waters, churning
in the pit of my stomach,
longing for relax, last
to reach the calming land.

read more And then

Thought on another mass shooting

With thoughts and prayers to spare
(enough, I’m told, for at least
two or three interruptions to our
regularly scheduled programming) we

pause to denounce evil, that scourge
whipping us from behind, preventing us,
powerless to stop the news, from playing more
than accompaniment to the church bells

recording another too-short story after
another, before changing the channel,
resuming play on the trivialities that
we dare not live without. While we live.

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A thought as I stare down middle age

I.

Jesus Christ is this growing old?
And what if this is it? And
at the end, is there anything
but the end?

The past gets longer every day
and all the while I look
back and
see more and less,

strange paradox
that slowly makes more sense –
overwhelming and immense
– and still nothing.

II.

Death or something gray came
in with a hint of magnolias
as I forgot why I opened the
window in the first place.

III.

My dad likes to say
in that way only he can
that birthdays come quicker
every year.

Descartes said something once
but now I think he’s dead.

And at the funeral they said
he came and died
and in between did some things that
bear mentioning.

Driving from the funeral
visions of life
(the mighty pine,
the almost-
mighty azalea) and death

(the once-raccoon
pushed to the side, territory
marked in red) just mile
markers passing too
quickly, overlapping
in the rearview mirror.

IV.

Oh my. God throws
his arms up and shuts the door
on his way out. In the beginning was the word
and the word was with God.

sometimes
a word is just a word and in the end
it’s just an end

read more A thought as I stare down middle age