After we are dead

Throw out the papers

And spend all the cash.

The memories

are ours,

not yours;

They ended

with the lapse,

of that final,

pulsing synapse,

Shredded and torn,

blasted and shorn,

Leaves that faded

and fell

and decayed

Like all before

From Nebuchadnezzar,

to Christian Dior.

 

So throw out the papers

And spend all the cash

Our memories

are now

naught but trash.

 

A book of rhymes,

You can save,

a doll

or a toy,

That letter you scribbled

on notebook paper

in deepest regret

For ripping the curtains off the wall

and tossing your mattress on the floor,

Til your progeny

Shall throw out your papers

And spend all your cash.

 

But wait!

Along the way

Raise a glass or two

to me

and you,

And have a fillet

with a nice

Beaujolais.

For a joy it was

to be,

to hear,

to see,

Have been,

lived free,

Breathed, walked,

and run,

And all that censored fun.

Depressions,

we savored

and wallowed in,

And despair,

Could not compare

to what is not,

Or pain endured,

for when it passes,

And fear,

for when it’s fled

once we are dead.

 

Life was good,

and after ain’t bad;

It was the dying we hated,

But when done,

was done.

 

So throw out the papers

And junk all the cars,

Rip up the photographs

and sell the manse,

All that is there

is done,

the memories but dust.

And us?

We’re nothing now,

That shall not fade

and pass,

along with tears

and sorrows

and gas.

 

So celebrate

and procreate

What is, was, will be,

for evermore:

An unseen adventure,

an open door,

The drawing of straws,

the roll of the dice

by relict gods

uncaring of odds.

 

And whatever you do

Before you’re dead

Tell ’em all

to throw out your papers

And spend all the cash

For there’s

nothing here

that lasts.

 

James Garrison

 

A graduate of the University of North Carolina and Duke Law School, James Garrison practiced law until returning to his first loves: writing and reading good literature. His novel, QL 4 (TouchPoint Press 2017), set in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War, has won awards for literary and military fiction, and it was a finalist for the 2018 Montaigne Medal. His most recent novel, The Safecracker, a tongue-in-cheek legal thriller, was released in Ebook and paperback by TouchPoint Press on September 27, 2019. His creative nonfiction works and poems have appeared in online magazines and anthologies. Sheila-Na-Gig nominated ‘Lost: On the Staten Island Ferry’ for a 2018 Pushcart prize. jamesgarrison-author.com

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