Today was then.
Remember when.
Skipping numbers one through ten.
Permanence through the pen.

—Overkill, ‘E.vil N.ever D.ies’

 

Let my life be my obituary: never let it
Be said that I died peacefully after
A courageous battle with an unstoppable
Disease. Rather that I lived like the spark
From an arc-welder’s torch,
Like a grammarian’s well-placed hyphen.
Please hold a minute of noise in my honour.
Say I was content when it was over
For my death is no serf; it shall have dominion.
Today was then.

Let my life be my eulogy. Recall that
I did not pretend to be more than
My details: Saint Christopher was born
In the deformed year of 1971, a metal pig
According to the Chinese. He served
Many masters (bore his kind of burden)
Before he found his art. Recall a time
I laughed at death for my death is not
Definite; it is an effect for the stricken:
Remember when.

Let my life be my elegy. If you would,
Speak that I behaved like there was always one
More labour to complete, that I allowed myself
An arrogance that I could not retire:
I was good enough to stop the world and let it
Hang for one crystal moment, the hidden
Way opened to me, just once, that my death
Was not a product; it was a method to sidestep
The countdown to the final curtain:
Skipping numbers one through ten.

Let my life be my epitaph. Set down
That I took my stab at the tread of the gods
And failed better than most. I was marred
And served the scars faithfully. I let no Christ
Be my guide, allowed no Buddha to direct
My thoughts or hunger, was never bidden
By Muhammad to raise a mailed fist though
My death is no long sleep; it is a campaign
Of an objective blasted against shaken zen:
Permanence through the pen.