What if God has already died?

clinging to life
despite unquestioning faith
trying every treatment and trick
in the good book

taking medicine and praying for miracles
noting that neither appear to be working
money can only buy a little more time
a precious commodity

already borrowed more than half a fair share
and to be afraid of dying or admitting failings
unable to reason with creation’s end
sand through fingers run

I would be happy to go if I believed in something
I’ve always thought life is harder if you have no beliefs
Is God answerable to His own God?
What if God has already died?

nothing matters
we bounce along life’s potholed highway
avoiding oncoming traffic and unexpected
t-bone collisions

clinging to the wheel
we hope and love and cherish whatever we find
the best adventures are the ones in which we forget
the beginnings of poems about death

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Johnny F

on mist in the night
from a dark corner
he brought with him
a damp lonely light
a crumpled pack
of Major cigarettes
and a constant thirst
for tea and company

the chair by the door
was his alone
reserved for his visits
with unwashed hands
the Sisters of Mercy
bought black welly boots
kept him in clothes
and partially fed

he lived on his own
in his council shed
the ghost of his brother
ten years dead
the family house ruined
land gone to bracken
a few barren cows
just him and the rats

the last of the village
old bachelor boys
abandoned to rot in his
four fucking fields
growing older gets harder
like a peat bog man
sphagnum soaked
with years of rain

a chance meeting
two weeks before
his body was found
on the road out of town
he’d bought me a pint
to the locals’ surprise
Sláinte he spoke
quiet trust in his eyes

there is a saying
that some would believe
if you see in the dawn
a hare taking leave
that death has come knocking
a spirit set free
an old friend is waving
farewell to thee

johnny f

addendum

when I was born
my mother wasn’t there
the clouds parted
I tasted my first air

when I was a child
my father chose to die
the country widened
beneath an open sky

when I was a man
my love abandoned me
the birds began to sing
setting my soul free

when I was old
my heart declined to beat
the setting sun burned
consuming me in heat

when I was reborn
my life began once more
mistakes and lessons learnt
repeating like before

total release

lying limpid
dissolving into the dust
the sun failing to persuade me
back into life

I can feel the tendrils of her curls
the hot breath from her lips
she leans over my departing spirit
and whispers . . .

. . . here is where you wanted to be
the mountain eerie away from noise
in sight of angels spiralling down
to collect your soul

and all the memories you ever held
will be gathered for eternity
shared amongst the stars
to forever float free . . .

. . . this then
is the finality of my life
the pending obsolescence of flesh
total release

it’s fate that takes us in the end

i’ve locked the door
afraid the wind will find me
push autumn litter through the letter box
howling like a fox on heat at midnight
when the streetlamps highlight her red hair
and scent fills the town with trepidation

i’m afraid of stalkers
ghosts from the past who whistle down the decades
finding cracks in the plaster of my flaking memories
shaking fists and hurling furies at my windows
that i whitewash over and hide behind
like shops that have gone belly-up and bankrupt

i discourage the postman
allow the garden to overgrow
the nettles and brambles build a barricade
the rooks stand guard in their watchtowers
they warn me when the rusty gate talks to them
wrens gather in chimes

i am but a shadow
a smudge of wood ash fingerprinted on the paintwork
a rent in a moth-eaten tapestry on which
faded stags rear in the face of sudden death
the hunters’ arrows drawing blood from their necks
it’s fate that takes us in the end

 

you were talking to time

you used to think of time as nothing much at all
maybe a lifetime or two – if you were lucky

but then it started falling in decades
– in lumpy chunks of decimal tens

and before you really knew it
it was yearly slices of birthday cake

yet the years still seemed far enough apart
to not have to worry too much . . .

but when time began cropping up in months
the alarm bells rushed to ring

and not before too very long
it was the days you carefully counted

the hours came and the hours went
you spent the minutes mostly in silence

until any second now
you’ll be thinking of time in the past tense

tellurian

I have watched
as you trampled growing seeds
and poured scorn on these summer days
I have watched
as your shadow grew and cast a darkness
like a deepening sorrow over beauty
I have watched
as you laughed in the face of happiness
with a heinous grin of self-satisfaction
I have watched
as you tried to destroy all that you created
or claimed to have loved in the name of what?
I have watched
as many have cried and I am not sure why
such bitterness fills your heart
I have watched
as my wrists have bled the last vestiges
of hope and forgiveness
I have watched
but I can watch no more as the sun sets
on this last earthly hour

in turn

dead mouse on the path
your tiny soul dearly departed
but to who knows where?

to a place without predators I hope
where seeds and sunshine are plentiful
and the sound of human voices cannot be heard

there I hope to find you
when my turn comes around

this

the journey had been long and wearisome but uneventful
despite his illness
the black cab taxi ride to the airport
the flight across the unseen Atlantic above the clouds
where looking down he swore he saw angels waving

coming in to land and taking off again
transferring from one side of the continent to the other
well almost
the hire car and motels and people
the prescription drugs that kept him going

the roads narrowed and became less inhabited
the scattering of local tribal dwellings petered out
no more tarmac only dust
he drove as far as his Chevrolet Spark would take him
until the front left wheel wedged in a rut

he hiked the rest
knew where he was heading
for he had been here some years before
had recced the terrain and its possibilities
before the illness came

and there it was the cave on the hill
the gaping mouth begging for sustenance
in this dry and parched sonofabitch badland
where the desert-thorn drew blood from his passing hand
and the crows cawed, rattled and clicked

like I’m in a Western  movie he thought
stumbling into an ambush in a rocky ravine
he stopped by a silty stream and listened to the echoes
they were whispers of wind, dust, water and spirits
helloo he cried

helloo came the reply
but there was no-one there
his strength was almost spent
his race almost run
must make the cave he said outloud

must make the cave
and when finally he slumped inside its jaws
a great weight was lifted from his shoulders
no  more pills or food or worry
just memories and his fate with the birds

this was the way to meet one’s maker
wherever and with whomever that might be
the journey would be swift and serene
the sound of footsteps approaching
her hand forever holding his

this dream of death
this deathly reality
this wish
this wish
this