Thursday, May 10, 2007

A for -ism

[Poetry Request # 15]

Not quite a comic poem perhaps, but whimsical, certainly whimsical.

“Life is just suicide at a snail’s pace”,
you say.

Does this mean that snails spend their entire lives
trying to kill themselves?

I imagine a garden full of them,
all driven frantic with despair
all trying to climb high enough to jump.

Can snails jump though?
Aren’t they just stuck there?
Isn’t that why they want to die?

Come to think of it,
do snails even know what suicide is?

Maybe it’s allegorical.
Maybe it means that to be suicidal
is to carry the shell of Death on your back,
be ready to slip away at the first sign?

Maybe it’s a way of saying
that our lives are just a blind crawl
over an uncertain wall,
leaving a wake of slime?

And why snails anyway?
How many people you know have actually seen a snail?
Why not something more contemporary,
something everyone could relate to,
Like “Life is just the Fates channel surfing”
or “Life is just a case interview for Death”
or “Life is like grad school – sooner or later, you graduate”
or maybe “Life is a film with really long end credits - endless credits really - an entire heaven of people sitting in the darkness just waiting to find out who the Director is.”

Okay, so that last one is too long.

So how about something shorter,
like “Life is just suicide”.
There, that’s got a nice post-modern ring to it.
Or even better, “Life is just.”
Only, it isn’t, is it?
Maybe “Life just is?”
Too existentialist?
Too Nike?

All right, all right, have it your way.
Life is just suicide at the pace of a snail,
Death is just a cheque in the mail,
an unspilled pail,
or the birth of the body from the womb of Time.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine says we must dine
at the new French Restaurant on 38th street,
because, as he puts it,
“If you haven’t had their fresh escargots
you haven’t lived.”


km said...

"life is just a slow train crawling up a hill" - John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers

Space Bar said...

actually, according to the Polish film director Zanussi, Life is a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease:

tangled said...

"Too Nike"
Is funny

Kits said...

I liked it...whimsical certainly but u still made it lovely prose to read.:D

Fi said...

I've seen enough snails to last me a lifetime - too many. My brother and I and the neighbourhood kids used to congregate in someone's garden and watch them leave a trail of green poop behind them. Took them about half an hour to deposit a dump. It was our only source of entertainment when we were 7. As you can tell, comics didn't quite do it for us


Good prose though :D