death gets cute

and death didst come to me as in a dream
and I didst sit bolt upright in bed and scream
and my pajamas verily most heavily didst cream

Jiiiiiimmmmmmmyyyyyy he said
floating sulphurously over the bed

am I dead I said
no don’t worry he said
at least not yet

so what the hell is it
some kinda sick social visit

so…I don’t know… it was just getting boring
he said, yawning
then carefully resetting his jaw in the sling
he had to wear
round his skull instead of hair
to keep his jaw there

what d’ya mean – eternity?
I mean – you’ve got my sympathy
mate, but as far as I can see
that’s nothing to do with me
you’re having a laugh
I’ve got to get up in an hour and a half

somebody’s grumpy he said
maybe you should try going to bed
a weensy bit earlier at night
then maybe you wouldn’t be so clippy, alright?

yeah? well I heard death could be agonising
but I’d rather have that than patronising

don’t be mean, he said
sadly descending to the foot of the bed
where he smouldered with a strange intensity
that lacked discernible heat or density
which I have to admit was all pretty new to me

sorry, I said – you caught me off guard
I try to be understanding but it’s hard
especially when you’re so freakin’ charred
does that mean hell is hot
or not
is there a God?
Jesus Christ I hope not

actually no there isn’t
he sighed
carefully putting his scythe aside
crooking one bony knee over the other
idly picking fluff from my cover

you see – Jimmy – God is just a story you tell
about angels, prophets, heaven and hell
a touching way of making sense
of the fundamental questions of existence
to which the answer is oxygen and carbon
and if I’ve rocked your world I beg your pardon

okay – so – I don’t get it
Death comes to visit
and you want me to forget it?

I’m an allegory, dear
a gorgeous but hokey souvenir
a byproduct of consciousness
he said, clapping his phalanges
you mortals really are such a tease
you ask about God – well…take a look around
there are millions of deities to be found
in any place you care to look
from Weston-super-Mare to Çatalhöyük
I could talk you through the creation myths
but there’s nothing duller than shopping lists

he gaped at me
gappily
seemingly quite happily
with what I took to be affection
and I have to admit the conversation
was heading in a wholly unexpected direction

so.. how am I supposed to feel
now that I know that God’s not real?

Who knows? said Death as the clock struck twelve
you’ll just have to figure it out for yourself
and with a hopelessly boney stamp
and an inexplicable but theatrical dimming of the lamp
he flashed me a look that was scary but appealing
then shot straight up through the bedroom ceiling

I sat there wondering what I’d just seen
I mean
for someone supposedly fictional
he was pretty vocal and visual

but just as I lay back on the pillow
there was another booming billow
of fire and smoke
and the very same cloaky bloke
came floating back

Whaaaat? I said
sitting up in bed
Was that all a joke?
Were you toying with me?
Don’t be silly
he said
tip-toeing round the bed
trying to act all cool & blythe
I just came back to fetch my scythe

bible curious

cut to a priest
sitting in a truth booth
wiggling in a wet patch
scritchin’ and a-scratchin’
at a blessed box of matches
ready to inflame
the same damned candle
the fat and waxy handle
on his spiritual fruit machine
four Hail Marys and a pay out
eternal bliss and a way out
a kiss on the hand
may be quite continental
but the pope’s not sentimental
not like that
surprisingly hard despite the hat
his cardinal sin?
finding the time to fit it all in

but what’s with the god awful shout?
abruptly heeling & wheeling about
clean heels on hard stones
rich robes running
the congregation concentrating
being, becoming
drumming
humming along with the mains

IMG_1472

the proposition

when you’re dead, you’re dead / with one definitive snip of the thread / away you float / head first down eternity’s capacious throat / or / maybe death is just a door / maybe you die and you go somewhere else / your consciousness melts / and you get sucked into another realm / Valhalla, maybe, with Odin posing at the helm / or Nirvana / Jannah, Trāyastriṃśa / Aukumea / variations on the idea of the holy layer / domes & levels / supervised by countless angels & devils / where finally you might get rewarded / for all those good deeds you meticulously hoarded / or punished for those you forgot / and pitched headfirst to somewhere hot / where all the tormented entities / gargle lava & prod each other with horrible utilities / like long-handled toasting forks / (according to the most reliable reports)

fact is / no-one understands it / as Shakespeare rightly pointed out in Hamlet / death is an undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns / or blogs about their concerns / no pics on Flickr / Instagram or Twitter / or anything that might shed light on the guff / behind all that Life Ever After stuff / which is probably why these myths are so persistent / with so many contradictory versions co-existent

anyway / at the end of the day / it’ll probably just be like before I was born / people shopping and mowing the lawn / or things a little more obnoxious / with me, happily unconscious / circling the earth in a random atomic cook-up / just waiting for my mum & dad to hook-up