Life in Reverse

From 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam in Phoenix, AZ.

Life in Reverse

It would begin with a mortician
pulling us out of our coffins
and end with a doctor shoving us
feet first into our mother’s vaginas.

We’d go to school to learn
how to forget everything we know.
We’d give our expensive university diplomas
to a stranger standing on a stage wearing a long black robe.
We’d shake his hand and smile into a camera
that erases the moment forever.

Weeping brides would kiss
their soon-to-be fiancés,
put the veil over their faces
and walk slowly away from them –
up the aisle, towards the door.
As she exits the chapel
their love would begin to wane
until they no longer know each other names.

Fathers would pour gallons of themselves
into small square bottles,
carry the bottles to local liquor stores,
place them on the crude shelves.
The liquor store owners
would give the fathers their paychecks
in small but gracious increments.

Enemies would become friends
instantaneously, just because they said
a bunch of phrases to each other backwards.
My friend, MacKenzie,
would become my friend again
instantaneously as I watch as she pushes herself
into dozens upon dozens of syringes
then donates these syringes 
to dirty old moonbeam merchants.
This act of charity would leave her
looking younger, ravishing unshakeable, alive.

Meanwhile, the moonbeam merchants
would take their fistful of syringes
empty them of their contents
onto little pieces of tin foil
allow it to cool
until it becomes a fine white powder,
form it into poppy gum,
take the poppy gum
and press it into poppy blossoms,
gather armfuls of poppy blossoms
and spread them across huge fields.

It would be wonderful!
Entire countries would be covered
with MacKenzie flowers!

And oceans would throw airplanes at the sky,
and bullets would fly from people’s bodies into gun barrels,
and life-row inmates would sit strapped into chairs as death is shocked out of them,
and this would be the beginning of the poem, not the end.
It would be written by the page giving each letter back to its pen.
It wouldn’t begin until all these letters failed.
It wouldn’t end until there was complete silence.

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