Remember in Oliver Stone's ridiculous biopic of Jim Morrison, when Val Kilmer says, "Gimme some death!"--how you totally identified with him, if only in the hope that you wouldn't have to see the rest of the film? No? You didn't beg for some death? Well, Stephen Dunn is going to give it to you anyway, in this, the second in our series of Poems Reflecting On Some Facet Or Other Of My Life Philosophy. This is about the importance of having an acute sense of mortality.
Choosing To Think Of It
Today, ten thousand people will die
and their small replacements will bring joy
and this will make sense to someone
removed from any sense of loss.
I, too, will die a little and carry on,
doing some paperwork, driving myself
home, the sky is simply overcast,
nothing is any less than it was
yesterday or the day before. In short,
there's no reason or every reason
why I'm choosing to think of this now.
The short-lived holiness
true lovers know, making them unaccountable
except to spirit and themselves—suddenly
I want to be that insufferable and selfish,
that sharpened and tuned.
I'm going to think of what it means
to be an animal crossing a highway,
to be a human without a useful prayer
setting off on one of those journeys
we humans take. I don't expect anything
to change. I just want to be filled up
a little more with what exists,
tipped toward the laughter which understands
I'm nothing and all there is.
By evening the promised storm
will arrive. A few in small boats
will be taken by surprise.
There will be survivors, and even they will die.
PS: Don't blame me for the cheerless existential yearning here. Jen Kostecki made me do it.