I don’t have the privilege
of being able to say goodbye
to someone who is no longer there.
You, who believe we are more than
flesh and bone and awareness
(which fades to nothing when we die),
do you realise how lucky you are
in your self-deception, your
that the universe thinks you worthy
of that which the oldest stars
will ever fail to achieve?
Do you? Of course you don’t.
Indoctrination is a beautiful lie,
is it not? Ha! You want life
everlasting? Yours was taken
the moment you sacrificed
yourself on the altar of convenience.
I cannot tell a lost loved one
how much I miss them, how
I still see them in such lucid dreams.
You – you have gravestones,
candles and altars, a corpse
on a cross, or a skyward glance.
You speak to yourself
as if to gods or the listening dead
because you know, with your faith,
that such things must exist.
Oh, how blessed, how truly
fucking anointed you are
to be granted a place
in eternity’s halls, in the space
between stars, sailing the skies
with the angels, with the spirits
of long-deceased friends.
I have none of that;
when I die, I simply die,
as did all those I loved or hated,
as has every man, woman, child,
every monkey, dog and flower,
the greatest whale, the tallest tree,
the smallest cell and the briefest spark
of life that ever was or ever will be,
until the stars fade to nought
but a black dwarf ocean.
This is my truth, the universal joke,
and it’s on me but it’s also on you.
The difference – oh, and what a difference –
is that you will never know
how cruel, how truly awful
life is, while I… Ha! I must face it
each day, each gods-fucking moment
of my wonderful existence in this
glorious, brutal and empty space.
Now all is said and done,
I wonder which of us – you
or me – is truly the lucky one;
is it you with your well-intentioned,
ancient lie? Or is it me with my bravely-faced,
amazing truth? On the one hand, infinity
overclouding mortality. On the other,
an hourglass, and we all fade away.
© 2015 Scott Kaelen
Featured in DeadVerse: Poetry Volume One