“The Next One Who Dies Had Better Be Living” by John Grey

Kill the funeral please.
Mow down the mourners.
Assassinate the coffin.

Hey. pallbearers,
hands up. don’t move.
And preacher man…
none of your phony speeches…
heaven’s what I say it is.

Don’t you know how much
I hate these cruel dictates
of the unreal…
the black suits.
the somber looks,
the face of the corpse
so tightly wrapped
you’d swear that skin was cellophane.

If I could blow up all wakes, I would.
I’d take a flame to any and every
of the passionless places.
Burn the tears off faces.
Grab the lips by the throat
and jerk them upward
towards God.

Quick, run the red light,
knock the hearse off its rails.
Smash, bang, boom.
The body will pop its lid.
an appropriate response
under life’s circumstances.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in
Transcend, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline,
Hawaii Pacific Review and Clade Song.

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