augury doggerel

Monday, May 10, 2004

The Towel

I read obituaries. Someone dies and people chant and play pipes and read out a CV and cover letter. And people read poems.

A man with diabetes all his life (sight, kidneys, heart wasted, both legs and an arm gone) gets eulogies, bagpipes, and a poem not named in the paper. A man dies violently ("sudden and tragic" and an appeal to let the law take its course) and gets recorded pop music and a poem written by three friends. A stock car driver who was "like Richard Petty to a lot of people" gets checkered flags and his car's number on his coffin, and the minister reads a poem written by a racing fan. A schoolteacher and her son are shot dead by her second husband and get a piano piece, a reading from the Bible, a gathering of teachers, and some poem. A pizzeria owner wrecks his car and gets an "inspirational poem" called "When Tomorrow Starts Without Me." A Victoria's Secret shop assistant and college student is murdered and gets government representatives, Victoria's Secret executives, a slide show, and a poem written by her aunt. A kajaking champion who stuck under a rock in a river gets hymns, eulogies, and a poem by her sister. A family of four blows up in a house explosion and gets a slide show and eulogies and are lowered to a reading of something called "Footprints in the Sand." A woman whose body is confused with another woman's at the undertaker's gets "Whenever you were weak, granny was strong," read by the wrong grandchild to the wrong family's granny. A woman in a town called Mousehole gets an abbreviated retirement and a poem written by four granddaughters. An unidentified baby (white, female, with a fresh umbilical) is dropped into a creek and gets something called "Dearest Baby Girl" written in pink marker on a poster.

All mean so awfully well, and, well, I am so awfully mean, but I believe I'll start work on my last poem lest (lest) a wellmeaner quotes someone else's kitchen embroidery over my remains.


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