The Death-Trick

Why do we die?

To serve.


I chase the ghost nowhere, but for everything.

I wish childhood was the answer for every hurt-box on the page,

but the correct answer is “We All Have So Little Time Together.”

Tip for self-help toymakers: manufacture a foam bat with that engraved slogan. People will run through the streets, whacking each other on the head as reminder.

Say “We All Have So Little Time Together” out loud, on your knees, three times in the morning.

Then go to work where you must touch the smart phone to find an app that divides people by time.



Close your eyes.

I’m half-past-dead and the ghosts won’t be chased.

Questions and Answers

As a published writer, what are your tips or words of motivation for the aspiring poet?

Be of two minds.
One mind: be respectful and receive rejection with equanamity. Understand that the feedback offered, even if erroneous, was meant to be.

Another mind: yet also never believe that you are not a poet; nurse the passion inside you for beauty and permit every rejection to become, in time, a perverse encouragement. Labour against rejection in a productive way. Write despite disincentives like lack of attention, frustration with the things you have made and the reception of those made things. Instead, love the things you make until you’ve moved on to see the truth that they might not have been as lovely as you intended. And yet they were yours – and you were beautiful when you made them! Perhaps they might remind you of that promised beauty that can be refined for its forthcoming, fully realized expression in the poem you will write next.

What did you find particularly challenging in writing this poem?

This poem is part of You May Not Take, a larger sequence I’ve designed that is meant to function as a poetic archive of wisdom for my children, written from the perspective of a disabled man who has suffered much and yet who survived despite stigma. The archive situates my own unwitting complicity in ableism within the surrounding social context of ableism. I wanted to craft something my children could look at and, no matter where they were and what was happening to them, they could see that they were loved, and loved so much. My parents are dead and the memorials that remain are their remembered actions and deeds. I wanted to make a written record that could advise them, that could offer spiritual answers to difficult questions as Zee, Kaz, and Aria lived on after me. The difficult part of this poem and the others it mates with is the extreme vulnerability such performance requires, the openness and revelation. I put everything I could of my own self inside, and that is in itself a health risk for me.

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