killed by a falling bed

for Duncan

If fate, or one of them, Moirai:
the one with the scissors,
has to cut this thread,
I hope she doesn’t laugh
while she does it, my manner of death
more interesting than the way
I choose to live:
Like the man in Athens
smothered to death
under too many gifts,
or the emperor who poisoned himself,
swallowing mercury to taste eternal life.
Maybe his spirit still wheels,
mad and confused in the ether
over China;
or the poet’s death of Li Po,
who tried to kiss the moon’s reflection
in water, and instead
fell from the boat
and drowned.

I’ll not behead enemies
and leave their teeth near enough
to bite my leg, leading to fatal fevers,
or shit my intestines out, poisoned,
as I walk across the forum.  No, those deaths
are for heroes and politicians, and I am neither.
With my appetite for joy
I am more likely to drown
in a barrel of wine
or surfing a wave of molasses,
dragged into the undertow
of a riptide of beer;
or perhaps reeled pulseless,
a victim
of a dancing plague.


About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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61 Responses to killed by a falling bed

  1. I think you may have been reading too much Trent Lewin

  2. I really like the way this one rolls off the tongue if you read it aloud. Very nicely done!

  3. tinkwelborn says:

    Cool. I like it. rather, BillyCollins-esque. 🙂

  4. Beth Camp says:

    I love this poetic list of death and smiled as I appreciated every turn and twist. I think I would like to die like Li Po, trying to kiss the moon — or of a dancing plague. Beautifully done.

  5. Seems like a good way to go.. 😛

  6. yeoldefoole says:

    I wanna go
    like ‘ol Li Po,
    although I guess
    that barrel’s best! 😉

  7. heh-heh … what a way to go! 😀

  8. claudia says:

    smiles…dying while trying to kiss the moon doesn’t sound like a bad way to go..smiles

  9. brian miller says:

    the dancing plague…well if you got to go…ha…i rather like your reckless joy ways of dying…and i really hope i dont die of the shits…that is all i am saying…smiles.

    • hahaha–understood. What a publicly humiliating way to go, the shits. The wave of beer or the barrel of wine might have more appeal, or the dancing…

  10. Have you read the 100 year old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared? Reminded me a lot of Allan Karlsonn the main character hahaa well captured, and …ouch

  11. I don’t know, Susan. It seems to me you just get better and better with each poem. I didn’t know that about Li Po. If I were to choreograph my death, something a bit exotic seems like it would fit a poet’s demise.

  12. ayala says:

    A cool write.

  13. vivinfrance says:

    Strange, surprising, difficult to understand, yet with an intriguing logic about it that I enjoyed.

    • Thanks, Viv. Yes–that was exactly what made me want to write this–Duncan’s story about the RV bed falling (almost) on him while he was driving was too good to ignore the nudge of my muse to do a little digging.

  14. Reading the list of ways to die, it reminded me of reasons I want to live.

  15. myrthryn says:

    Death by dancing plague…better to burn out that to fade away.. 😉 Pleasure is a much better companion than the grim face the regards one from a random distance.

  16. Haa! Oh my goodness. Talk about a chicken with his head cut off … Funny and fierce, Susan, love it. 🙂

  17. Nice. Interesting all the way through with no lapses. Readable and enjoyable through each line. I like the change from the early observations of the strange deaths of others to personal preferences of demise of a more whimsical nature. Good stuff.

  18. I like that way of drowning in the wine ~ This reminds me of a song, the many ways to die ~

  19. Mary says:

    Ha ha, drowning in wine sounds good. Smiles.

  20. the last 9 lines are genius ! You’re the best!

  21. Rowan Taw says:

    Brilliant, and I the idea of a dancing plague is macabre amusement to me.

  22. honeyhaiku says:

    This is great. Love the nod to the past!

  23. Sabio Lantz says:

    Love the Li Po story — never heard that.
    As I commented the d’Verse Post about Federico Garcia Lorca
    where they told about facists shooting him:
    “If I am to be shot, may I be RIDDLED with bullets too.”

    But I hope, against hope,
    to drown with you in that barrel of wine
    or explode from just the right note
    hit on my electric guitar
    during an uproarious rehearsal.

    Cool poem — thanx for letting me play, Susan!

  24. I love this! Any poem that can place Li Po, surfing and beer rockets to the top of the charts in my book.
    Mark Butkus

  25. Tony Maude says:

    Brave to take on one of the greatest taboo of our times, but done with such style and artistry that you’ll manage to convince most people that it isn’t really true that we will all die of something one day.

  26. Brilliantly done, Susan 🙂

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