Monday, May 14, 2012


               For W.B.


            Death came hunting for him.
            Death chased him out of his bed,
            out of his room,
            out of his house,
            out of his mind,
            out into the anonymous night
            with a belly full of pills,
            and a head full of light,
            and heart full of darkness
            from a life full of pain.
            Death chased him down to ground
            and he closed his eyes and waited
            and Death laughed -
            - but an angel came.
            The angel did not hover, nor did she carol.
            She was too distraught to be beautiful.
            She fluttered and shed feathers.
            Her raucous squawks kept the whole city awake.
            She howled like a copcar in Hell.
            She zigzagged madly, and thus she found him.
            The Angel of Love cried, "Darling! Hang on!
            9-1-1 is on the way!"
            Death fled, pursued by police.
            Blessed be Love!


            Death came hunting for you.
            Death surrounded you with its armies.
            Death invaded you with its spies.
            Death attacked you with its weapons.
            Death snared you, and speared you, and bagged you.
            Death took you against your will;
            Death raped you, and it laughed -
            - but an angel came.
            She looked out of your eyes and chuckled.
            "What fools these mortals be!" she said.
            "What folly these moralities!
            Did they think they could jail a thought?
            Or silence a word already spoken?
            And who said dead men tell no tales?
            Wasn't it a dead man?
            Is a man matter or mind? Well,
            is light a particle or a wave?
            You were never all here anyhow,
            so come quantum-tunnel out with me.
            Give me a piece of your mind.
            Your gracious hosts will never believe
            that their prisoner has already escaped!"
            So declared the Angel of Clarity.
            Blessed be Clarity!


            Death came hunting for me.
            Death didn't stand on ceremony;
            It just strolled right up and kicked me in the balls.
            Yow! For one whole week my right testis ached.
            Death whispered in my ear, "Why?"
            The sudden pain and swelling subsided, and I sighed.
            But the right ball still possessed, at its lower end
            A hard lump.
            Death whispered, "Why?"
            I had no answer, and Death laughed -
            - but an angel came.
            She grabbed Death by the throat
            rattled it like a puppet, and flung it down.
            "Hands off him, you thief!
            This boy's mine now!
            Haven't I seen him through worse than this?
            Haven't I dragged him right out of Hell?
            Wasn't it me who snatched him, with his world
            safe, whole and unsinged,
            right out a nuclear war?
            Haven't I taken him to a hilltop
            shown him the city by night
            and told him maybe we'll live after all?
            Behold, O Death! Already he consults the doctors;
            already he takes the medicines
            whose success makes him believe them all the more;
            and already he is better!
            And still you ask why?
            Well, I'll tell you!
            We don't care what your tricks are!
            We don't care what the odds are!
            We don't care what you are!
            Pick a game, any game; we'll play it!
            We are fighters and lovers;
            We choose to be free.
            We live; it is our joy.
            How can we explain it?
            We are beyond belief.
            O Death, you will never understand."
            So spoke the Angel of Hope.
            Blessed be Hope!

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