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Through Rose-Colored Glasses

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Written in 2002

The Day Death Knocked and Nobody Answered

• War

• Ecstatic Dancing


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One day death knocked and no one answered
neither the chambermaid in her outdated pinafore wiping her
hands nor the boy with the
broken arm running out from the backyard nor even
the Russian gardener coming round the hedge
nor the Norwegian pianist putting the
final touches on his étude and swaying
back on his bench

Death knocked again and not even the
cat jumping down from the ledge nor the
crazy bicyclist daring to jump over the ramp and staying
suspended in midair for the count of at least

Neither the buzzer at the door nor the
pickles in the jar neither the
ants being probed by a spaniel nor the
last butterfly to leave the hutch

For some reason no mortal could fathom
death for the
first time in its life was going unanswered

It checked the address and knocked again
three times three and nine times nine it
knocked on the old oak door but everyone
went about their way and totally
ignored it

Undeterred death looked in a window
happy to see a flower wilt brown under its
gaze but

Human faces seemed unfazed and
looked past it to a distance somewhere else
in space

A sewing needle dropped to the floor
but it took a full five minutes in
slow motion to hit the wood with an
audible ping
which startled everyone but death

Who smiled a broad but chilly
smile as it saw through a door at the
end of a long corridor a man cross his
hands over his chest and
close his tired eyes at last



Poor death all alone eternal spinster
riderless horse pebble rainfall bucket of
ash window covered over with
bad tar paper lost sheet music sick
ticket preying on the living going
where you’re not wanted
circus act fanfare and nothing happens
casting call for friends and relatives in room
1307 ICU
instant mugger on a dark street in a face stocking
nail driven sideways
unfillable shoes



Turns out he was just napping
death’s secret lover
hands crossed over chest in preparation for the
Inevitable now knocking on the door
but unanswered

Where do giraffes go or birds?
with so many birds why don’t we see millions of
dead bird bodies instead of just a
ghoulish ant-fleeced tiny matted
carcass or two usually cat-produced?
Do they simply keep flying one day past earth’s
perimeters little porous air skeletons
flapping pointy wing-bones in the dark
or turn into pure soul in mid-flight
slowing dissolving into thin air?

Death knocked again through thin air
someone tilted his face
death looked intently
the household was bathed in a blue light
the people inside moved in life’s well-placed movie lights
life’s vivid reds and greens with sound coefficients in sync or out
life’s seeming endlessness
like dozing crocodiles on a riverbank
their snouts above the mud and flowering
lotus bowls

Death dared to look away for a moment
and the household inside became white horses in stalls stomping
impatient hooves on wood planks chrysalis pods stuck to flower
gestures of vague smoke in various twist shapes moving from
room to room but carrying on
audible conversations in arcane Alsatian tongues

When it looked back again death was a
white face looking down from a
mountain peak a mixture of lunar beauty with golden inner glow
and goofy-smiling clown
eyelids heavy with contemplation

And instead of knocking it let its gaze glide
gracefully across the valley to the nestled village below

and closed its gorgeous topaz eyes
slowly over the world


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War bubbles up in the tea we’re about to drink
between the alligators who live there
and the giant dragonflies who want to

a lumpy black form pulls itself up from the murky dregs

when the war is over a white cloth will fall from the sky
whose hem will be drenched in blood

I hope no one notices the heavy breathing in the corner
where the war began

I hope no one’s fortunate enough to have won


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After an hour and a half of ecstatic dancing

After fifteen minutes of ecstatic dancing

After twenty-five and a half minutes of ecstatic dancing

After just ten minutes of ecstatic dancing

After being held for just one minute to the central cyclotron of ecstatic

After being run down by the stampeding horses of ecstatic dancing and
clutching tight to their glistening manes

After disappearing for long periods of time in the ramshackle shack flying
apart in ecstatic dancing

After one solid minute under the waterfall of ecstatic dancing

After sighting land afar off under pink clouds and
green sunlight in the brilliant golden sky of ecstatic dancing

After concluding and then deconcluding in the
heightened inconclusive argument of the self shivered down to its
essential non-existence in the super reality of ecstatic dancing

After crickets and songbirds and every howling animal on earth join
together in the untouched Paradise of ecstatic dancing

After dreaming and waking up and then waking up
in the dream of being awake forever in ecstatic dancing

After plucking the ripe fruit and digesting it completely in just one
delicious moment of ecstatic dancing

After being transformed from a butterfly into a
freight train and from a freight train into a
redwood forest and from a redwood forest into a
snowy mountain range of weeping willows in the
moonlight and from that snowy mountain range of weeping willows into
pure moonlight itself in ecstatic dancing

After one breath of Allah taken and received and given out into the
world again in just one unbated breath of ecstatic dancing

and after the endlessness of this poem that will
continue long after it’s finished in the endlessly
energized eternity of ecstatic dancing

After ecstatic dancing is done and begun again
and we enter into its core as we
were at the first and will be at the last again deathless and
breathless in ecstatic dancing

After just one second of ecstatic dancing

After God’s blessed message excites us again
to ecstatic dancing


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