They tell you, you are going to die

by Jay Sizemore

-for Brittany Maynard

and memories turn to thrift store donations
you’ll never drop off. Life becomes
that book of poems you forgot
on the hotel nightstand, a ticket stub
stuck somewhere in its middle,
reflections taking on an abstract sensation
of semi-permanence, a goose-fleshed knowledge:
this is as old as I’m ever going to look,
as I’m ever going to be.

It seems the poets lied
when they said beauty resides in truth.
It seems they knew existence is itself cliché,
best experienced as a drinking game,
leaving subtle clues in their work:
every time you hear the word moon, take a drink.
You’ll never see the leaves turn gold again.
The word leaves, take a drink.
There’s nothing painless about this choice.
Pain: drink.

Getting drunk dulls the edge of the knife
slicing time’s tomato-skinned rope,
but when you wish it most to go slow
it quickens like water
spilled across a polished black piano,
running off in all directions,
away from the empty glass,
a kind of messy big bang.

It’s cynicism, like knowing the stars don’t exist,
but admiring them anyway,
because fuck cynicism
until the moon comes back in style. Take a drink.
When they say you’ve got six months to live,
remind them they have less
to prove the poets wrong:
The stillness is the beauty,
when the beauty is gone.


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