The Year We Die

When I finished this poem in the early hours of Jan 2/16 I looked back at the title… and thought shoot, that sounds more morbid than  I intended… especially around New Year’s Day.
It’s not really a poem about this year or last year. It’s a poem about about North American life and how strange just going through the motions can be. It’s a poem asking what if? What if you die soon? Will anything change about your life? Will anything about you be different?

The Year We Die

The year we die
is hardly different
We still fulfill
endless dreams
and hunger for
something more
than mundanity

And the month we die
is still as cold
as December
or as hot as July
It never sinks
when everything swims
We’re still the same
– still insane –
We’re still spent dry

And the week we die
doesn’t hold us
like a song
or cradle us
in mothering arms
We go to work
We take our medication
– maybe vitamins –
and hope that
our bodies will
improve with age

And the day we die
is just a day
Maybe we see it coming
because our bones
have turned rotten
or our skin’s melted away
But it’s likely that
we don’t see it coming
at all

The hour we die
is just a rush
of getting there
and being on time
Of having that second drink
or second portion
of overrated boredom
And those sick treats
we pretend are vegetables
curdle our tongues
with salt and vinegar
They make us wonder why
we even brush our teeth

The minute we die
is just a long minute
in a long line of
adrenaline-beating minutes
that make hearts race
into our heads
We see lives
flash before our eyes
and then suddenly know
that there aren’t any
tomorrows left

Yet the second we die
is eternity
An eternity
of waiting for light
hoping that God still loves us
and that our life
maybe even
stood for something
An eternity of
wishing we could’ve died
somewhere else
– among loved ones maybe –
or for someone else
– someone who
hasn’t seen the truth yet
And the lie we all tell ourselves
is that the eternity won’t end
but that we’ll stay
and hold that second
that we’ll be surrounded
by everyone
that our last words
will be as deep as
the Mariana Trench
that we’ll see
some sort of light

and that the real corpses
somehow aren’t the people
we leave behind

Jan 2/15

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