A poem I wrote in response to my cancer diagnosis.
I want my friends to know
that I will die.
When is not important...2 days?
…20 years? ...63 months?
And I want to start dying
today - now in fact -
I've waited too long.
As I sit here for perhaps the final time
in the evening sunlight under this tree.
And every breath becomes almost my last.
And tonight, I’ll savour
scallops in white wine
as if it's the last time I may taste them.
And tomorrow, if I'm still alive, I will
walk to the club on College street
that always plays latin music.
And dance like there's no tomorrow.
How sad these people around me,
obsessed with only living -
careening through life.
The forward momentum they must maintain
somehow so strident, predictable.
With no idea where their mad
rush is heading.
No such craziness for me.
I'm just hanging around
like a man who loves mountains.
The long climb up thrills him -
so does skiing all the way back down.
Ah, the sweetness of being mortal,
knowing I'm more ephemeral,
than the mountains the sky, the sea,
even that old tree over there.
How peaceful I feel sitting in a bar
enjoying what could be my last whiskey.
(Pleased I asked for an eighteen-year single-malt for the occasion.)
And that woman Anne
- eight months ago -
surely I need to send flowers now
in case she’s my final lover.
And I want my friends to know
that they will die.
I want my friends to start dying too,
to join me in dying.
And we'll sit there laughing, reading poetry to each other,
for maybe the last time.
Happy with our dying
and our living.