The Book of the Dead Man (Celebrity)
Live as if you were already dead. Zen admonition 1. About the Dead Man and Celebrity The dead man registers the minutia of ego. He logs the litter and leftovers, the ashes, he counts the folds of a handkerchief. He registers the patina on the statues of generals. The celebrations of self, once episodic, run on without interstices. The arch of his shoe sloshes through the blood. The famous overflow the junk drawer in his head. Their twit selves have overstocked the Internet scrapyard. The faux reality, the life force deformed, the death rattle rage to be remarkable. He crinkles the tabloids to make an alternate story, he celebrates the cutups of Dada. He blinks at the foil of talk show guests selling penny candy. 2. More About the Dead Man and Celebrity The pixels became pokes, the pokes became detachable grams, the Big Bang became a screen shot. The dead man thinks it was more when it was less. He regrets that he straightened the typewriter letters. He does not regret covering his tracks with misdirection. If it was called for, he aligned, he amalgamated, he harmonized at a distance, but he was not one of them. He, like you, learned to pass, and did pass and kept going. He shot the stars from the firmament to become the walk of fame. His interest in the hams and grandstanders was that of a leaf in the wind. When it fell, it was trampled by the rush to residuals. The dead man sold the same poem twice to one magazine, it was that good. The Book of the Dead Man (His Papers)
Live as if you were already dead. Zen admonition 1. About the Dead Man’s Papers The dead man remembers paper. He remembers roller skate keys and fruit box scooters, typewriter ribbons and swamp coolers, and lots and lots of paper. Paper stained by words and telltale commas. He could spot talent in a writer’s commas. There were meanings, there were diagrams on the ball field that told the players where to run, there were lines in the dirt that paralyzed a chicken. There was crumpled paper holding words that would never be released. And there were blackouts in the national files so that documents attesting to the criminality of officials became graphic illustrations of barrier art. The dead man tore paper in the fashion of atomic dispersals. He burned paper in the fashion of cremation. He balled-up the good ideas that were too late and the personal confessions of friends. 2. More About the Dead Man’s Papers He took the papers of the famous, and what he knew, to his grave. The dead man blots paper of its blood and its tears. He tapes together the halves that were torn apart in anger and secretes them. He relieves the insecure. He drops a dime on the drafts of the dull, the lightweights, the minor laureates. The dead man loves the shredder and incinerator. He buries treasure but leaves no maps. Everything in dead man’s space is an X, you yourself can name it. There is a word for each X, a site specific, an open vise. Stick your neck out if you like. Cause of Death
Eric Garner, killed resisting arrest, Staten Island, NY, July 17, 2014, age 43 1. I can’t breathe, said Eric Garner, dying. His air shut off, blocked by a chokehold. One of five slammed him to the sidewalk. His hand reached out for air as they crushed him. I can’t breathe, said Eric Garner, dying. On Staten Island, in the windows of shopfronts, In the digital data of cell phones, the fact. His air shut off, blocked by a chokehold. "This has to stop," he wanted to tell them, to Whomever, among them, might have listened. I can’t breathe, said Eric Garner, dying. Eleven times he repeated his last words. Eleven times no one wanted to hear it. His air shut off, blocked by a chokehold. I can’t breathe, said Eric Garner, dying.