Mark Strand – Not Dying

Hundred and Seventy seven 10.13.16

After reading about L. Cohen’s preparation for death, Bob Dylan being awarded Nobel Prize in Literature, after writing a poem about my mother’s worried eyes when I left home, after talking to my sister, there’s this nonsense pouring out of my finger… I don’t know why :

After all those times I’ve lived alone, travels, shouts, laughs, whiskies, poems, lovers, fists in the air on top communist buses, cups of mint tea in Tunisia, running from police in Iran (That was so close), rock bars in Ankara..hippies in California..3AM drunk readings in New York… late night tacos in Mexico city..after all the times I have felt off of my bike to hug the asphalt in D.C.. highs and lows, shames and prides.. and miles of late night walk in streets…..after all the madness.. all the scars..Don’t worry, I still have ten thousand flames in my darkness, Ma!..Sorry if I always make you worry..You, perhaps don’t have the luxury of staying away from the poet..or loving him for his words or from distance.. I brew flames in my dark soul..and houses are burning on my dark skin..the ones who have died where I have survived are smiling..Farmers are planting the sun in the brown soil of my eyes.. .gods are smiling (remember when I told you I don’t believe in god? – and how cool you were about it)… these eyes are yours and I have my dads wrinkles around my eyes.. the wrinkles that you love so much. I have your hair ma, dark as the winter solstice…I have so much of you! And life..Kiss.. Kiss the death in the mouth.. Kiss the sun in the mouth… and look darkness in the eyes.. and cry…forgive your mother..forgive your child… burn the guilt and let the darkness cover up the ashes.. be darkness and envelop all the fires..or don’t..

Ah… I am still the same boy my mother used to kiss after all the madness said and done! It’s alright ma, I’m only singing and I’ll be home soon!

Love to all the Mamas out there!

Miss you Ma,
Your wild and weird son.

Mark Strand
Not Dying

These wrinkles are nothing.
These gray hairs are nothing.
This stomach which sags
with old food, these bruised
and swollen ankles,
my darkening brain,
they are nothing.
I am the same boy
my mother used to kiss.

The years change nothing.
On windless summer nights
I feel those kisses
slide from her dark
lips far away,
and in winter they float
over the frozen pines
and arrive covered with snow.
They keep me young.

My passion for milk
is uncontrollable still.
I am driven by innocence.
From bed to chair I crawl
and back again.
I shall not die.
The grave result
and token of birth, my body
remembers and holds fast.

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