memorial day

i woke up this morning dreaming of my eulogy. it was being presented at a poetry reading. after the host announces my passing, he goes on to recount some of my accomplishments as an artist, makes mention of my impact on the poetry community, then says, “oscar leaves with only two regrets…”

i can tell this is a dream from early on, watching all this as a member of the audience. there are many people who are shocked to hear the news. i gotta say, im kinda shocked too. still, i want to see how this plays out. notice who is genuinely moved and who could care less.

i play the concerned role. put my hand to my mouth when the announcement is made. not so much in awe but more to keep from laughing and tellin the world, “hey, i’m right here. its cool. just a dream, thats all.” and then my regrets become public knowledge. this is the part where my dreams change from black and white to full color.

all of a sudden, i can see the imperfections in everything. there is no high podium and soft focus on the hosts face. its all a stark closeup. hes crying. (i really didnt expect that) his eyes are war heavy and it seems like its taking all his strength to say the words right. he is one of the finest voices i know, a hero of mine, and now he can barely say my name without collapsing.

i cant wake up. mentally, ive committed myself to this road and the next turn off is beyond the immediate horizon. the grief in the room like hot asphalt and im stuck knee deep. i can run but my only destination is escape and standing still will get me there quicker.

im contemplating giving up the ghost. reality is laid out around me like a finely catered meal. the guests have arrived and are seated, looking to head of the table for the benediction. acknowledge the sacrifice of the body and the condensation of the spirit, now resting on earthenware and chalice. my perspective has changed, i am no longer audience but minister. the benediction in my head like the first poem i ever learned, like the poem i ever really needed, like the one poem all my other poems danced around. all thats left is my sacrifice. assume that and the cycle begins again. the circle returns to where it ended and we can end the debate of the linear nature of time.

the ghost remains. stuck in my belly. all the tears ive swallowed. this is where my sadness settles. no longer in my eyes. its where i eat. what keeps me alive but eats inside of me. a familiar parasite. the hunger for the meal ive imagined reaches a new zenith and all i want to do is cry at my own funeral but ive forgotten how to.

its hard to measure time in the dreamscape. the only thing i can tell you is that it felt like the moment you wait for bad news to come at you. how you anticipate a thousand responses to a simple question and then formulate a million counter arguments. thats about how long the hunger was inside me before the alarm clock when off and i was back in a more acceptable reality.

i was still dying and the regrets were hanging over me like the twin stars i was born under. the only thing separating me from my night skin was the knowledge that every day is another step closer to a new constellation in the sky but not today. i am too weighted down with regret.

i knew, even with the tears still in my stomach, that i was not meant to die just yet.

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