Life in Reverse

I wonder what it would be like
if we lived our lives in reverse
and watch
as all the events play out backwards.
everything becoming simple, easy, and perfect.

If we lived our lives in reverse
it would begin with a mortician
pulling us out of our coffins
and it would end with a doctor trying to shove 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 while looking into a camera
that erases the moment forever.

If we lived our lives in reverse
weeping brides would kiss
their soon-to-be fiancés
only to 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, then take the bottles
to local liquor stores
then place them on the crude shelves.
the liquor store owners
would give the fathers their paychecks
in small, but gracious increments.

If we lived our lives in reverse
enemies would become friends
instantaneously, just because they said
a bunch of shit to each other backwards.

And my friend, MacKenzie,
She’d become my friend again
instantaneously.  She’d become my friend again
as I watch as she pushes herself
into dozens upon dozens of syringes
then donates these syringes
to the 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
allowing it to cool
until it became a fine white powder
then take the powder
and form it into poppy gum,
then they would take the poppy gum
and put it into poppy blossoms,
then they would gather armfuls of poppy blossoms
and spread them across huge fields.
It would be wonderful!
Entire countries would be covered
with MacKenzie flowers!

If we lived our lives in reverse,
oceans would throw airplanes at the sky,
thousands of people would jump from their stomachs to the tops of tall buildings,
and life-row inmates would sit strapped into chairs as death is shocked
out of them,

(performance ending)
and this poem.
This would be the beginning of the poem
and not the end it
and it wouldn’t be written by me,
it would be written by you,
the audience,
it would be written by your ears
while I stood on this stage
and listened with my dumb mouth wide open
as every single word is pressed into it.

It wouldn’t begin until you gave an applause,
and it would end until there was complete
and profound silence.

(page ending)
every poem written would be perfect, even this one,
written by your eyes running right to left along the page,
while I sit, still, as the page pushes ink into pen.
It would begin with the period at the end of this sentence,
and it wouldn’t end until the page
was blank and complete-
ly empty.

*This piece was featured on Button Poetry

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