After Thoughts
The Poetry of J. Hodges

I See Dead People

Grieving one’s own death
A chore one does reluctantly
for we have died and it is hard to accept
The denial, the anger, the bargaining
in the balance, a worthwhile
process of growth and rebirth

The mistake, the common ruse
To hang on to the completed, the finished
for we are no longer living the past
All is dead to us
as we embark on an unknown
and adventurous journey

To drag the memories and alliances
to our new and wonderous existence
To lament the time and glory
ends in prolonging the awful purgatory
the entrance to a new and better understanding
a better course, a better life than was the last

The binding chains drag the corpses
from the life now extinguished into the present
and the people lay still beneath us
no life, no movement, no use as they have died
long before our love for them stopped glowing
Such are memories and the life that bore them
the life we must abandon as we were, ourselves, long before

To loosen these chains
to break the cuffs that bind
A difficult but necessary task
as the life once lived, once loved and cherished
has withered and must be buried alongside
Alongside the others, the others let go and forgotten
Those for whom we glowed and then forgot

These chains but keep me in a bewilderment
a confusion and a discomfort not deserved
preserved in formaldehyde and rouge
a puzzlement though the puzzle has been solved
the question answered repeatedly in deafening silence and stillness

In the stillness,
the cutters forcefully break the steel
Freed are the wonders of escape
the running, the arrival, the welcoming place
where I lay down and breath
breath in new life, new experiences
the clatter of the chains behind me, still
Still deafening in my ear.