Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reaper Blues

Death ought to be personal.
Am I less than a corn husk doll?
for a corn husk doll may be wept over,
and the dog who destroyed it, shunned
for an afternoon.

Even an apple
can be remembered fondly
for at least as long as its sweetness stays wet
on someone's fingertips.

Now, Death is "liked" on Facebook.
Tweet Death @fadinglite and "friend" Death on social media.
Scan this image with your phone and receive funerary discount coupons instantly.
"Follow" Death and buy fan gear.

Death's handlers issue statements and offer "spin".
Deathcorp is the leader in agri-business,
harvesting every growing thing flat,
in mere seconds,
remotely, by mechanized drone.

One's life no longer bleeds away--
it is suppressed by superPACs.
It is legislated away by party agenda,
or simply denied by one's HMO, after program-generated cost benefit analysis.

Join us--
we are the corn husk dolls,
hoarding real apples.
Get the word out,
if you can get a word in.

Ya gotta tell 'em...
this blue screen is people.
 for Izy's Out Of Standard challenge at Real Toads


hedgewitch said...

Despite the lines in this that invite a chuckle, the overall effect is one of cold dystopian fear and loathing(perfect musical track to go with it) brilliantly executed with understatement and irony. The last stanza slides in some hope through self-realization and rebellion. A terrifying gem, Shay, and most terrifying is how real it seems.

Anonymous said...

Truly a scary write! Deathcorp in agri-business~very scary.

Susie Clevenger said...

How sad that death has a fan base or that there is Deathcorp in much to think about in this. Great write!

Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

Great commentary on now!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Whoa, tweeting Death or Liking it on facebook. Brilliant! This makes me think of a documentary called Fresh which could revolutionize agriculture right back to whole and local, which we so need to do ASAP.

As always, your imagination astounds me.

Kateri said...

This is a chilling poem--and unfortunately not that far off.

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

And should we be surprised? All we've done this hundred yrs has led to this.
We've become avatars. Cartoon cut outs.
Even here, where we write, where we share, who are we?
A blog page of images except that of the author disguised by pseudonym.
Virtual fire, virtual stars, virtual people.
The corn husk doll
I can hold
The dog
At least bites.
As we live, so shall we die
Excellent write, Shay

Buddah Moskowitz said...

If I could buy shares of DeathCorp I would - it's never had a less than winning season.

Trenchant satire, and I love apples so much, and I am nothing if not husky myself.

Mosk the N-V-S

Susan said...

To think of internet as a gobbling machine! IT IS PEOPLE. I L.O.V.E. this POEM! and so would Kurt Vonnegut whose short story "The Pedestrian" says this about television in the 1950s. 'Course, I also fear it, an Orwell "1984" scenario which was also written in the 1940s and is about totalitarian states. More instances: My tenderness toward the dead who show up on the screen as if alive; My love who died of a heart attack outside a Goth bar called "The Terminator"--where they absolutely knew not how to handle real death. Death is more than a commodity, though I have one little savings account just to pay for cremation--a lay-away plan.

Susan said...

PS. Perfect song.

Sara said...

Shay -- I must admit I laughed through most of the poem, but I do confess, it was a slightly uncomfortable laugh.

I imagine most of what you said about "friending" death and sending it tweets is true. There's not much people wouldn't do today.

The Leonard Cohen song was a perfect complement to this poem. His voice is shivery and makes me think of dark things.

My favorite lines of your work were:
"Get the word out,
if you get a word in."

Very clever, as usual:~)

Daryl said...

i bet its gets lots of Pinterest re-posts too ;)

Kerry O'Connor said...

The whole idea behind this poem is brilliant, Shay. When I got to the stanza which suggest that Death can be a facebook friend I winced and cheered at the same time. So, so true, so, so close to the bone. I applaud your social conscience, and the way you have with words to be hard-hitting and unapologetic.

Anonymous said...

Stanzas 2 and 4 are my favorites. Also "You are tastier than you think you are" in the ad. I enjoyed the music video as well. But it made my throat hurt a bit; his voice is so deep!

I like your blue connection, from the title to the text color, to the closing.

I think you are playing with this expression:

And you are saying that the reaper is the computer---rather than living as real apples, we are lifeless corn-husk dolls behind the blue screen. All real people---but not actually bleeding, just suppressing. Maybe I'm way off, but that's what it means to me.

HermanTurnip said...

"Even an apple
can be remembered fondly"

Keep telling yourself that. Last apple I trusted stole my girlfriend, wrecked my car, and skipped out on the rent. Never trust a Granny Smith apple! They're rotten to the core.

Cloudia said...

Again, your first 2 lines
suggest a whole world of ideas!

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

> < } } (°>

Isadora Gruye said...

best haiku ever. Once again, you've taken a prompt and put some sass, and a lot of class, into a brilliant work. I enjoyed the last stanza the most, because I always support solidarity and the solidarity of the corn husk dolls may have just inspired a poem in me. It has already been mentioned but "get the word out, if you can get a word in" is a lovely ending for this one. Viva la

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is terrible. The bottom line triumphs as it were.
This reminds me a bit of Terry Pratchett's Reaper Man (a wonderful novel as all of Pratchett's are) where the traditional death with scythe must compete with a combine thresher etc.

Beginning and close especially strong with corn husk doll - apple (not Eve's or maybe yes.) k.

Lynn said...

Pretty insightful about facebook there, Shay.

Shadow said...

hell! you've outdone yourself. and i like to live by your first line, death IS personal.

Mama Zen said...

First, I had to laugh: a picture of me in my hospital bed!

This is seriously creepy. I love it.

Kay L. Davies said...

When death comes through the door, hit him with your bedpan!
A fantastic write, Shay, as only you can do, being funny, scary, and tongue-in-cheek all at the same time.
And Leonard Cohen. Well...he made my blood run cold.
Keep up the good work.
Luv, K

Roselie said...

Deaths should indeed be personal...Scary poem but in a good way...And Leonard Coen gave me the chills...

Herotomost said...

A hard prospect to consder while driving in the evening through the fields of a beautiful rural countryside. Makes me sad. Great write.

Margaret said...

laughing (at first) ... about a very serious subject. "LOVE Cohen's VOICE". Wow... this is a pretty young video.. he is 78 years old. Do you have a favorite album or few songs... I've got to add him to my Itunes list!!!

Margaret said...

... and I love the title "Reaper Blues"...

Mary Jane Bane said...

how I love thee. Too stalker-y? :)

*"I love this poem" seems so jr high but I do absolutely love this and the way you write-I cannot put it as beautifully as the above people, but I love your writing nonetheless.

Ella said...

So clever! I am happy you weren't an apple doll~ It is sad~

Hannah said...

Your second very good...making me crave an apple now...

The rest...I agree, Shay, death has been made to be too much of a joke I think...

Great take on this...delivering a bit of humor and your pov...always good!

Helen said...

So sign me up already!!! I wanna be a Corn Husk Doll!!