Everyday Poems #15, “A Will For When I Am Dying, But Not Yet Dead”


I must’ve been thinking of my parents when they were dying when I wrote the following. My dad in a hospital room. My mom in a sad room – facility where they did some therapy but had all the trappings of a nursing home. Hospital rooms can be sad. But nursing homes are almost always so by default. At least that place where my mom was.

And every room had a TV on all the time. As if that machine was as important or more important than the ones helping them breathe and get up. We had to go get a wheelchair. But the TV was always present. And I felt like it was a poison no one else could taste any longer.

Carl Sandburg said, “Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.” I have found that poetry happens when either I do not understand or am not understood. And even when I understand but cannot get anyone else to.

A Will For When I Am Dying, But Not Yet Dead

Whatever you do,
do not
sit me in front of a television.
Banish the screens.
Kill my television
and play for me
the B Minor Mass
and the Intermezzo.
Let them only be interrupted
by the voice of Billie Holiday,
lest I die before I’m dead.

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