My aunt had very aggressive cancer.
By the time she died three weeks later
she had already prepared for her aged mother,
and she had made clear her wish for no funeral,
no burial, no gravestone, no casket,
no memorial, no service, no ceremony,
not even an urn to hold her ashes.
She wished to join the fire that burned her body, and
whatever remains to swirl with the dust in a dumpster.
For three weeks she knew she was dying.
She could feel the virus spreading through
the squishy gray mass inside her skull
signaling naptime only three weeks
only two weeks
only one week
Of all the ways to die,
that’s one I don’t think I could live with.
I don’t want time to prepare.
I don’t even want to wait one second
for the inevitable fade to black.
When death arrives
I want to have my eyes closed
so I won’t know it’s coming.
I’d rather catch a stray bullet
to the cerebral cortex
while walking down the street
‘This is the end, beautiful friend…’
or get into a wreck while I sleep in the backseat,
blaring speakers speak
‘all the children are insane.’
And when I die,
don’t bury my artificially preserved corpse
in metal and fiberglass
with synthetic flowers adorning my slab.
I wanna go out Gram Parsons style
a barbecue in the desert.
Collect my ashes
put me in a jar,
and take me to City Lights.
Place me in the highest room in the tower
in the corner
on a stack of good books.
After that, I don’t care what you do.
Have a service or a wake
or even a drug-fueled orgy.
I don’t care. Mourning is for the living.
I’ll be distracted
by the words of the dead,
listening for The Doors to play
through the store’s speakers.