Death and I        
                   
                                                 
I don’t know what life is
Perhaps
A hollow tomorrow of today
As today is of the day before  
But death is a decaying reminiscence
That leaves a lasting impression on you.

“Live as if you’ll die tomorrow”
This advice I took to heart all along
Precariously I lived
Erratic indeed, whimsical in thoughts
Unpredictable, capricious I was
And every single day I wondered
Which tomorrow I would die?

Years passed, I grew older
My back curved a little, hearing loss
Reading glasses every corner of the house
Trickles in middle of the night
Oh God! I thought,
The golden years arrived.
The conditional clause “If” in the phrase
“Live as if you’ll die tomorrow.”
Was on the verge of redaction
From the last chapter of life
Losing relevance to the text it once revived

Divine retribution, final revenge
The fang of death clawed on my thoughts
Haunted I was by a rasping instinct
That soon I would not be alive.

The horror of oblivion, dread of nothingness
Morphed into an eerie allure,
Peculiar temptation to explore   
With death, my nemesis.
The ominous bird of imagination  
Soared in the dark of reverie
To touch the void,
Forbidden to see
I wrote the abyss, mocked its shadow
Praised the mystery, scorned its malice   
A yearn of intuition, a magic to follow.

One night, as I delved into the trance,
Death appeared to me.
Then it was everywhere
To keep me company.
I shared with death many anecdotes
And it revealed to me so many more.
Tales of the other side
I found grim and horrific yet,
Fascinating to hear, so captivated I was.  

Oh! Death knows a lot
It has seen it all.
Death is resourceful, crafty and shrewd
At times so merciless too.
But in all fairness,
Not as awful as I thought.
It does have a sense of humor
That I don’t care for at all
Once it said and I quote:
“Life is perhaps, death is not.”
The wisdom I praised,
The tone and the morbid smirk turned me off.

Death has its own quirks,
And a softer side
One needs to realize.
As ironic as it is
Death appreciates art
Although it knows well
One by the virtue of creation will never die.

Based on our shared instinct for survival
Death and I reached an agreement,
A sordid affair, tacit accord    

I don’t vilify death in my poetry and prose
In any way, shape or form.
No cheap innuendo, cliché symbolism,
No excessive whining or alamode noir.
No darkness on canvas,
Gloomy birds fly in the dark.
I pledged to show more respect
To destiny, to death, that’s coming about
Bottom line, I play along.
And in lieu of this courtesy
Death would let me live,
So long as I create art.
Contract was binding on one principle alone
To live forever through art or I simply die!

We also agreed as follows:
The makeup of life, the essence of living
Pleasure and pain; sorrow and delight
Despair, wishes and desire
Are only mine to decide.

I confess
And as peculiar as it is to say
Death is bliss, an inspiration,
Since it gives a true sense
Meaning and direction
To my very life.