By Anthony Porco
Tony Porco--Freelance Writer
I don't know about a proper funeral-
an inhalation and exhalation, a
salutation and toast with feeding of
flesh to the underworld-
but I guess I'll find out-
I could hope for some vast public presence,
an auditorium, a clearing outside perhaps,
enough room for oversized parents and gangs of oppressive children
to debate in surly voices
issues raised by my life-
I can see my family my mother and father
losing personhood and becoming ritual icons-
I say "see" because I'm sure I'll be there-
I'll overhear my parents, my brother, my other critics, I'll hear what
my deaf friends hear for the first time.
I will be footnoted in books-
Jan will complain about my frankness of infatuation, Dave and Myles my
perpetual confusion, there will be grudging credit, confessed
all of it others' impressions becoming slow ebbing legend,
necessary information or oft-repeated annoying trivia.
I will give my games to the poor, my food to a
compost heap and its constituent squirrels.
This ritual especially will be conducted orderly precise.
But what if I plan it? The ceremony along with the will!
I would have no use for those hoary holy words!
I'd snap their hinges!
I would hire out a football stadium and send out invitations!
I would remove their life-mask and replace it with an authentic
thousand-year-old laughing Greek comic!
I would get the best sign language interpreter I know and have everyone
in attendance recite Apollinaire in unison!
Friends of mine who never met would be together there for the first
Women and men would find each other and have assignations in the
building's corners! They would conceive children, useful sexual games
and devices, solutions to vexing problems! They would write better
stories than me!
But will despair catch me before all that?
Will it be somber, tragic, elegaic, demoralizing?
Instead of abandon, will it be a loveless march through the rain and the
streets that don't even look up from business?
Will they walk behind a hearse in deference, getting wet and irritated
at me for forcing them to be there?
It may be political.
I pray it is not political. Anything but that.
I hope I live in a healthy place without martyrdom.
I hope I can be a lustful man, not a saint.
But perhaps they will sacrifice me,
use me as their hapless surrogate,
bow my head low in a huge, noxious gray temple and mutter dull prayers
to a God that deserves better. I can see all that, too--
Children will cry for the first time for someone who isn't themselves.
Adults will speak cheaply and disrespectfully of rapture, not
appreciating my wedlock and embrace of the ground--my proud rotting.
(The obvious missed, again.)
There will be cheap talk of "contribution," but no actual poetry to
taint anything, no sharp
point of prose, no passion, no hint that there was any fault in my fiber
or even any fiber.
Condemn everlasting. If they allow this to happen
I will sleep with them
under the floor and
seep in to make nightmares inside them,
everyone I ever knew.
But perhaps the riverside, the blessed floodplain,
the riverside will be the place to make it peaceful, not so damn
haunting as all that.
Peaceful without and in place of mere meager mourning. With tactful
Something like this:
Get a band to play the Quartet for the End of Time.
Discuss the values of nonviolence, the beauty of quiet art, the
proliferation of nature and faith in the most unlikely places.
Joke--but softly, about how you may be next.
Assign no blame or shame.
Design a barge to fit and carry my ponderous bulk,
then loose me to be with the winding river.
Cut the binders.
I will be able to float.
Last updated: April 16, 2000