Death Waits

Shining Death's claws
with our suffering
not so much suffering
more of a transfixed trembling
as we shiver in Death's embrace

You see
he was walking along
this evening path
sky darkening
his thoughts surrendering
under the weight of an unnameable despair

And there
at the moment he thought 
he'd prefer not to go on
But then
he thinks
I'll go on
Then, no
I can't go on
I guess
I'll just go on

And asking himself, 
how do YOU really feel about it all?

as if he were a stranger on a train
suddenly in the crosshairs 
of an idiot's attention
this idiot not sitting across from him
in the compartment
but uncomfortably sitting
inside of him

I don't have any opinion
about how I FEEL
one way or the other
he replies
I simply endure
Do my time
Keep my head down

He goes on
It's like I was born chained to a dead tree
in the middle of a Waste Land
Over the years
the Birds of Appetite
have gathered in bare branches above
rustle of black wing
I have endured under
the patient gaze of their hunger
always feeling just barely alive
longing for the world
beyond the limits of my chain
But I'm resigned 
resigned without resentment
to continue to endure
knowing one thing
to look just enough alive 
to keep the Birds at bay
occasionally twitch the exhausted hand
now and then open the tired eye
keep the black wings from whispering

After having heard this monologue
The Idiot asks:

Why don't you ask Death in?
Stand upon the threshold
where pain turns to stone
and kindly offer entrance?

As he think about this
it is as if a coat slides off a hanger
skin slips from bones
And Death is there before him

A statue sculpted from Nothingness
Brutal as a mountain 
slamming suddenly down 
upon the world

His terminal fear gives Death 
claws that pierce his flesh 
crucifying him upon his bones

And so here I am now
he thinks
with this Idiot Inner Self 
who somehow convinced me to 
Ask Death in
And here Death is
And while I'm not dead
I certainly wish I could just go back 
back to the good times
when it was just me 
the tree and the chain
branches full of birds 
waiting to devour me

But Death waits
and waits and waits
he amuses himself
on the cross of his bones
it's like one of those moments
in a conversation at dinner
when someone
is talking 
and then
at the critical moment of 
what you can never forget...
they take a bite of food
watching while you hang
on the hook
waiting for them to finish 
that damned sentence
Death waits like this
infecting every present moment 

And the Idiot continues his questions:

Aren't you sick of this sack of skin?
Of having to zip up the weary body over the skeleton every morning?
Of slipping the same old face over your skull?
Of going through the day exposing your broken teeth
in the tortured rictus of a smile?
Of just going through the same tired routine
Saying the same tired phrases, jokes, prayers,
And thinking the same tired thoughts

This Idiot Inner Self
cross examines like a
Grand Inquisitor:

Is it true or is it not true
that you want to step out of your skin
that you long to be a skeleton 
in a Bone filled World
your skull singing with the wind
white bones clacking cracking
burning with the blue light of the stars
dancing in the Burning Ring of Time
hourglass drum flame river flowing
following the trail of enormous bones
that mark the Path of the Fugitive Gods

Marking the Way Out of this World?

And for the first time
since he has been thinking
these same tired thoughts
he looks into the eyes of his Inquisitor

Of course,
he knows I know he knows
he has been my accomplice all along
and like a guilty thing

I nod

And Life begins again
and Death waits
and waits and waits

14 October 2016