Death

 

Momus What Will Death Be Like

Death will be unlike the night-times when we lie awake thinking of death Death will be unlike the Spanish maracas that rattle inside your last breath Death will be unlike the Mexican festivals, skeletons wearing top hats Death will be unlike the brownstone apartments that dynamite or dereliction collapse Death will be unlike the mandolin the hangman relaxes by playing Death will be unlike the Hound of the Baskervilles, chilling the moors with its baying Death will be unlike the British museum, its bodies from peat bogs and bones Death will be unlike the curse of the mummy that turns the explorers to stone Death will be unlike the great roller coaster, a plunge from a boast to a scream Death

will be unlike mahogany coffins great pianists play in their wildest strangest dreams Death will be unlike a garden in autumn where poets can sit and compose Death will be unlike the granite memorials where memories wither in rows Death will be unlike the charge of the Light Brigade Alfred Lord Tennyson rhymed Death will be unlike the thin piece of paper that Reagan and Gorbachov sign Death will be unlike the hospital bedside with Novocain needles and cards Death will be unlike the great day of judgement when God the headmaster presents the awards Death will be unlike the marriage that bickers ’til death us do part Death will be unlike the dreams of the young man who sang ‘Love will tear us apart’ Death will be unlike TV documentaries showing us life from outside Death will be unlike the Buddhist nirvana the moth seems to seek in the light Death will be unlike the Cities of crystal they build in a few grains of smack Death will be unlike the long picture window the coffin looks through to a widow in black Death will be unlike a room full of spiders all clinging together and crying Death will be unlike the wedding guest’s story, the ship drifting lost and the dead sailors sighing Death will be unlike the din in the steeple when cholera poisons the village Death will be unlike the illumination that Tolstoy provided for poor Ivan Illych Death will be unlike the wrinkling sea children glimpse through the chinks in the boardwalk Death will be unlike the magical land of ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ Death will be unlike the treacherous virus that murders the lovers with AIDS Death will be unlike the phantoms of freedom that lead the crowd over the barricades Death will be unlike the night thoughts of ‘Late Call’ when ministers stop being cosy Death will be unlike ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ co-starring Bela Lugosi Death will be unlike the bulge of the mouse inside the boa constrictor Death will be unlike that drunkard the phoenix, so tight on the moonshine of golden elixirs Death will be unlike that violent pornography, dear to the Marquis de Sade Death will be unlike the last stitch of clothing the stripper discards as her nipples grow hard Death will be unlike the bankrupt, handing over the keys to his house Death will be unlike the last day of summer, when insects grow stupid and swallows fly south Death will be unlike the skull of a merchant that slants through the portrait by Holbein Death will be unlike that strange proposition on silence, the Tractatus of Wittgenstein Death will be unlike your holiday snaps when the camera lets in the light Death will be unlike the honest-but-cold-blooded bank clerk whose hobby is homocide Death will be unlike the hands of the clock, coming together at midnight Death will be unlike the grim amputations of medical students larking on rag night Death will be unlike the hijacker’s voice in the heads of air traffic controllers Death will be unlike the sea as it thunders on Liv Ullman vanishing under the rollers Death will be unlike the abbey the pilgrims all saw when they prayed Death will be unlike the unholy land at the end of the Children’s Crusade Death will be unlike the hell in Huis Clos Mr Sartre informs is just other people Death will be unlike the travelling salesman who woke up one morning transformed to a beetle Death will be unlike 2001, the room at the end of the ride Death will be unlike the wrath that Charles Bronson let loose on the Lower East Side Death will be unlike the House of the Shades the dog Cerberus guarded for Hades his master And death will be unlike that lesson on Infallibility, the Chernobyl disaster And death will be unlike the empty career of the temp’s vacillations gone permanent Death will be unlike the unlucky omens the clairvoyant reads in the meaningless firmament In the meaningless firmament What will death (what will death) Be like? (be like?) What will death (what will death) Be like? (be like?) Death will be like –

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