Tag Archives: death

Witnessed Own Autopsy

Autopsy etc. table, wood (Kerala)
Autopsy etc. table, wood (Kerala)

On a hardwood slab I witnessed
My very own autopsy
Carved by Portuguese explorers
In the 16th century

Chipped out my draft obituary
On a petroglyph red canyon wall
Will be covered up soon enough
By flooding rivers and reservoirs

Guilt, grief, cold and sorrow
Ride in the seats beside me
Loss settles in, ticket punched
Ready for the full night ride
In which sunrise last forever
Evidence of absence of time

Roll past all the caskets
Rotting for eternity
There is “really nothing inside“
But exhume just to see

Vasco’s bones are dug up
And carried to his home
I’ll leave yours in the ground
And sit beside alone

I’ll read you endless poems
By Whitman, Baudelaire and Keats
Bring flowers black like coffee
Open like the Chinese fishing nets

Hospital Letters and Flames – Postcard #77

In hospital with sedated Grandpa, Dave reads complete “Letters from Russia” epistolary literature project with frequent interruptions from visitors, nurses and medical apparatus. The letters address issues of class, revolutions, monarchy, war, trade, and love in the context of Napoleon’s foray into Russia in 1812 through letters from a cobbler to his fiancé in Paris. Then finishes with Walt Whitman heading on the open road (which ole Gramps was so fond of doing himself).

Featured music: Mark Olson (music, guitar, vocals) and Dave Olson (lyrics, drums) “Little Flame” – recorded to 4 track cassette, circa 1996. 

Breathe easy for: Hospital Letters and Flames – Postcard #76
(82MB, 1:00:05, 192k .mp3, stereo)

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Tactility of Loss

Tactility of loss
A Pantheon of pals
Ash goes to ground
Ride on endless highways
From Timpanogos
To Olympus

Underway in the Aegean
Thoughts of Odysseus
And his compatriots
Most fond and trusted

Feeling so so alone
Along on a ship of celebrant retirees
And a smattering of newlyweds
Their future i’ll never know

A teleporter does me no good
Body buried and tears all shed
While In Aqaba pretending
To be Lawrence or Wilfred

I sit with futile cigars
And a bitter drink
And wonder
Why not me?
I can count six distinct times
In a four year stretch
Where i’ve fallen with no idea
Where i’d ever be buried
Buried and rotted without a sound

Oh Rod Howard, how grateful!
I was a man without a tribe
When i found you at the center
Of everything curious
Making bonfire look like a
Mere lighter flame

Everybody’s favorite
Never an unkind word
From or about you
Making magic
Never on time
But always worth the wait

Odysseus sailed here
According to Homer
Whose existence is debated
Escaping villains in caves
Out to scheme his way to
Kindly strangers
With flagons, actual skins,
Of undiluted wine

Your children, your joy
You had no need to run away like me
All your quests took you home
To parents who understood
Your heart, head and desire
To live
Full on

The chatter around me deafening
Who do i commiserate with when
No one knows your lofty heights
Your speed, your softness
You heard me hurt and came without hesitation
Late, but just on time

Rocky coastlines await me
In the coming hours
No helipad exit could
Provide ointment

I will arrive to sit
Perhaps a picnic
At your stone
Perhaps i’ll learn the origins
Of your middle name
Maybe you’ll join me
We’ll play X cassettes on a box covered in stickers
Tom Waits warbles and we’ll make a Jim Jarmusch film
To chronicle your days
From Sunset rock in Los Angeles
To sunset trips in desert canyons
Which still echo with your laugh

I wear a Greek fisherman’s cap
And blue woven shirt
Made as coarse as burlap
For shepherds and taxi drivers

Tear it off and scream
Why you? Why now? Why this?
But no answer impending
And frankly i’d be booted from the cafe

Not a hedonist glutton madman you
Taking corners fast because
You knew the limits of your tyres
Fine tuned for performance and attributes
No one else can define
Except those of us you wrested and cajoled
Invited next to you

These rocky headlands
Come into view
As the ship horn bellows a lament
Now as low as my sinking Mediterranean heart
The blue sea unworthy of my unholy
Reflections of me a mortal
Always running towards something you found
Right at home

I snap a photo of a saddest angler
Who never held a Rod
As sleek and strong as you
Held together glue, sounds
Cracking against the bluest sunset

##

Rod Ash 1969-2017
Big brother to us all

(Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72

(Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps

Paying poetic respects to recently deceased Grandpa in a rainforest with Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Chief Dan George and original works inspired by the globe rambling, oddly charming, big fish – while official funeral happening elsewhere. Originally recorded: May 13, 2006

Sit on a tree by the river: (Poetic Farewell to) Ole Dead Gramps – Postcard #72 (83MB stereo 192 mp3 1:00:05)

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Wildflower, for Foster (song)

Words by Dave Olson with Mikael Lewis written in Pokhara, Nepal
Music, vocals, guitars Mikael Lewis, recorded in Utah, USA

##

Wildflower (for Foster)

Foster can you tell me
where the hell you left those tapes?
I was riffing on my first guitar
you were mouthing poetry scapes

I’d go to visit your gravesite
but I’d hate to waste that precious hour
you don’t belong in flat mown lawn
when you are a wildflower

Recorded in my parent’s basement
our earnest, green, unflinching truth
unaware that three short years later
you’d be cashing in on your youth

Don’t need to pour one out for you
or leave a fat one rolled
I’ll just light the signal fires
To make sure your story is told
The tale of the wildflower

I ignored their useless platitudes
self-serving, cliched and quaint
You and I both know what the truth is
And so I share this brief lament

I visit you atop the mountain
Where freedom lives and truth is found
When morning light first hits that meadow
I’ll have proof that the wildflower lives

April 1 & 2, 2017
Words by Dave Olson and Mikael Lewis
Music by Mikael Lewis

 

Crust of Pumpernickel

Crust of pumpernickel
Reminds me of Mom
Though the reason for this
Escapes my deserted mind

Was it the flood from teenage trips
Across the soon-sprawling suburbs
To a German delicatessen
With rare meats and names too long
For my young tongue?

However, noting
Tongue is available
By t
he pound or
Even an entire kilogram

 

Preserving the Wildflower – Postcard #69

pfgb-wildflower-sm

What becomes of the seemingly ephemeral creations we leave behind? Especially in the analog-days?

Consider these in the context of missing cassette tapes made by a now departed poet/activist/scholar Foster and guitar-ing Mikael, who recorded spontaneous youthful riffs in parent’s basement in Utah. In this postcard, Mikael  Lewis sings “Wildflower (for Foster)” written by Dave in a clinic in Nepal, then adds some more verses, spiels and a poem called “Occasionally Free” – with lightning, rainstorm and crickets chiming along.

Catch lightning with Preserving the Wildflower – Postcard #69
(25MB, 14:22, mp3, stereo)

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About Being Stabbed in the Forehead (1990)

His Part:

I’m lying in bed and my wife is stabbing me in the forehead. My skull is hard and bony so she uses a rigid dagger and a mallet to chisel it through. This is a peculiar way to die but I am coming to grips with it. I figure it’s good to accept and come to grips with things, so I am focusing and channeling my energy.

I yelled at first but now I am into steps three and four, repression and denial. I don’t think I’ll make it to overt anguish, I hope not anyhow.

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Lonely Cold Water Flat – Postcard #66

postcards lonely cold water flat-sm

Life in hotels, wandering alone and often blue and then the death of friends all converge in a series of poems including a song by Mikael Lewis about waiting for love in a Victorian hotel. Then, from the streets of Rome with a cappuccino comes a series about departed Rod H. Ash, including “Time Traveller” plus poetic riffs name-checking Charles Bukowski, Audrey Hepburn, Pete Best, the Fitzgeralds, Vatican’s Swiss guard and the post office by the Sistine Chapel and desert campfires.

Walk upstairs for: Lonely Cold Water Flat – Postcard #66
(13:39, 30MB, .mp3, stereo)

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Dad’s Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65

Dad's Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65

When I was growing up, Dad often spoke of his Chevy Malibu SS – his favourite car.  So, while on his death bed, I asked him to tell the story. He speaks about acquiring the vehicle, the budget, the deal, the financing terms and oh, also about the car and how he enjoyed having a reliable and cool vehicle as a young married man creating a life, after growing up poor in Regina, Saskatchewan, then heading off to BYU in Utah. The story is interrupted by a nurse bringing lunch and news. He died 10 days later.

Indulge me by listening to: Dad’s Malibu Super Sport – Postcard #65 (78MB, 12:08, ,mp3, stereo)

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