Homeless Funeral

Alone in life

Alone in death

Found under the underpass

With whiskey and bloated stomach

Did the birds mourn you?

Did the river whisper tears?

Did the moon keep watch

As you laid dying?

Did God glance your way?


Your stench found you out



Until now

They scurry about your corpse like ants.

They housed you in a morgue

Washed by the staff

Examined by doctors

Finally, you received some care.

If only you could see it.


Projected stories were your life:

“Homeless drunk”

“Washed up junkie”

“Lazy bastard”

Now they give you another name

“John Doe.”


This will be a homeless funeral.

Buried in a nameless grave

Surrounded by the company of others

Who also carry your name.

The Artistry of Suicide

Pulling the skull pieces from the wall

The brain matter spread over it all.

You didn’t intend it but your last grace

Is that at least you didn’t destroy your face.


Maybe those you left behind will view

The pieces I put back together of you

But that wholeness, security you broke

Have burned and scattered in the smoke


Of that gun you put between your jaws

When you blew that hole through the laws

Of life. A life you rendered as a tithe

To the world’s darkness and Death’s scythe.


I look at your head, disfigured and displaced

And I can’t know the darkness you faced.

Perhaps the disfigurement is your artistry

Opening up to us the inside we couldn’t see.


“I see it! I see it!!! I SEE IT!!!” I yell

As I look upon the art of your hell

Behold your magnum opus is your final scene

But I will work to ruin it and make you clean


Of the blood, the cracked skull and pin

Together your broken, frayed, discolored skin

I will restore and embalm your broken head

While we all wish you back from the dead.

Drowning in the Waves of Grief

Waves crash over you, throwing body and mind

In chaotic directions of darkness and pain.

You were made for the land and so you hold your breath

As you claw your feet into the ground.

The currents pull you out deeper and deeper

Each gasp is met by another wave of details and emotions.

What do we do now?


When should we have the funeral?


Should I go back to work this week?


How can I raise the kids on my own?


Death and grief plunge you again into a foreign terrain

Where every breath is struggle.

You weren’t meant for this




You will never see them again

Except in the recesses of your mind where

Memories will be replaying

Scenes that become distorted by time and erosion.

The sleepless nights


The disingenuous platitudes


The religious cliches


The loneliness


Wave after wave.

You will not accept this.

You will never reach “acceptance”

Of the new normal that threatens the foundations of being

Foundations broken by the waves that rippled

When he/she fell into the depths of the oceans

Leaving you in the wake of the waves.

If you give yourself, you won’t be forgotten: a reflection on Alzheimer’s disease

Alois Alzheimer's patient Auguste Deter in 1902. Hers was the first described case of what became known as Alzheimer's disease. "Auguste D aus Marktbreit" by Unknown - Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia

Alois Alzheimer’s patient Auguste Deter in 1902. Hers was the first described case of what became known as Alzheimer’s disease.
“Auguste D aus Marktbreit” by Unknown – Unknown. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia

The Promethium advances of medical science

Watch from the sidelines as deteriorating minds

Are rendered to a nascent infancy where



And person

Fade backwards into nothing.


If you give something away you don’t lose it.


“Nothing can be done” your doctor sheepishly admits

“Your time is slowly fading”

Your questions like,

How long?

When will I lose my license?

Will I be violent? What will I become?

Are met with a simple, “I don’t know.”

The anticipatory grief begins.


If you give something away you can’t lose it.


Time is now a precious commodity

Time is now your worst enemy

Time will fade you

Time will take your memories

Now and only now is your best time

Now is the time to get the house in order


When you give your memories away you can’t lose them


Active management for such a passive disease

Write it down

Record it.

Share “that one time . . .”

Use that time to give, give and give.

Give yourself away.  Quickly.

Time is running out.

Because . . .


If you give yourself, you won’t be forgotten


When death is a friend


They say, “She’s at rest.”

Their bald mother lays with distorted breast.

Breasts that fed


Arms that held


Her warm smile

Her voice

Her love

Locked in the vault of the soul.

Her children’s liminality has ended.

Today, they are only parents

They can throw away the adult diapers

The myriad of pills and medical terms.

The night watch.

Both relief and grief

As they say “she’s at peace.”

Ten years she battled.




Tears and more tears mingled with fear.

Doctors, doctors and — as it spread — more doctors.

“She battled for us” they said.

“For her grandchildren and children”

The end wasn’t met with a fight

But embraced

Because death was the savior.

Death the midwife of peace and freedom

From the pains of a broken body.

“We are at peace”, they say

After a last look, they walk away.

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