It is an ancient Poet
and he stoppeth me.
“Beware of poetry, my son,
She’s a gold digger.
She’ll chew you up and spit you out,
leave you penniless and lying in a gutter,
drunk on absinthe,
while the rich novelists and scriptwriters
step over you, laughing.”
“Hold off! unhand me, greybeard loon!”
Unheeding, I slunk off to my garret
to compose a villanelle,
heavily derivative of Dylan Thomas.
I only wanted to get girls,
but before I knew it
I was roaming with the Romantics,
bopping with the Beats
and cruising with the Classicists.
Popping some Pope, shooting some Stevie Smith
or hitting up Heaney,
I was hopelessly addicted.
And I never did get the girl.
Copyright Andrew M. Bell
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard Afterlife Airlines.
I’m your pilot, Captain Meta Physics.
Please fasten your sleep belts
as we are about to leave the body.
Please direct your attention to your stewardess
while she demonstrates safety procedures.
In the event of a drastic reduction in karma,
a mask will fall down from above you.
Place it on and breathe deeply of pure love.
Should those passengers who are clinically dead
find themselves returned by a surgeon’s skill,
the life raft under your seat will inflate
with a new sense of purpose.
After take off the stewardesses will serve milk and honey.
For your entertainment, the movie is
anything with Shirley Maclaine in it
or there are seven channels of chi
on the chakra-phones being dispensed soon.
For those contemplating joining the Tantric Mile High club,
please be considerate of your fellow passengers.
We’re making good time because
the breath of God is always behind us.
Below us to the right is the Ocean of Ego
and to our left some passengers may glimpse
the chain of islands: Faith, Hope and Charity.
We’ve been advised that it’s a little busy on The Other Side
so we’ve been placed in a holding pattern
on the astral plane.
Passengers are reminded to retrieve all emotional baggage
for security reasons
and please help Customs
by declaring all religious preferences.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re cleared for landing now.
On behalf of the crew, I hope you enjoyed
your transdimensional flight with Afterlife Airlines
and we hope to see you aboard again soon.
Please fasten your sleep belts,
we’re coming in for reincarnation.
Copyright Andrew M. Bell. The poet would like to acknowledge The Press (Christchurch) who published an edited version of this poem.
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