poem

The Sum

I hope to die in the summer!

I moved into this new place, one bedroom and a kitchen, and don’t have a couch. 26 years old and don’t own a goddam couch.

Still admiring girls. Still admiring girls and not telling them.

Still putting on loud guitar songs.

Still living three years in delay.

 

This is a quiet summer. I don’t have anything going on, except for the move, except for a couple of trips back in time.

I’m starting to understand that nothing waits around. You gotta hold onto the one who loves you right. This life gets busy and doesn’t stop, and you can’t keep putting your own foot forward. You can’t keep saying no to the love knocking. You can’t keep serving yourself and pissing into the wind and watching the whole thing move away from you. You can’t keep going forward as if you could go back. You can’t do it, you’ll run out of time.

She will stop chasing you.

 

Only the good times will haunt you. The bad shit, you forget about it.

Go to a place you used to know real well, and suddenly they’ve got a crane up, and a bunch of hard hats around. A loud jackhammer splitting cement. And you’re standing on the curb where you used to stand, looking out at the landscape, and you don’t remember what it used to look like. You just know it’s different. You don’t know what they changed, you couldn’t describe what came before this skeletal conglomerate of steel beams and ruffled plastic, the industrial shit that wraps around bulk lumber and granite. It is monstrosity. Even though you’ve stood there for days. Days on end, waiting on the bus, waiting in the wind, looking out into the landscape. It’s not the same anymore, but you don’t remember how it used to be.

I hope to die in the summer. I know we’re all supposed to go, and we don’t get to choose how unless we do it ourselves, but that’s my only request.

I hope it’s sunny out, and there’s nothing going on. I hope there’s a car driving real slow over a speedbump, and in it a young girl with an ice cream cone. The young girl is peering out of the glossy window and there is chocolate ice cream all over her face. The dad is driving slow because the ice cream is soon to tumble off the cone. The dad is driving slow because he himself is caught in the moment; he cannot pull his eyes away from the back of his daughter’s curly head. She is staring into the sun, and there is ice cream all over the damn place, and he is staring into his love manifest, and he is driving real slow.

I hope the whole world hasn’t changed by the time I die in the summer. I hope I die on a couch, with the window open, with a chocolate breeze swirling over distant jackhammer screams.

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The Sound of Silence

Hello.  Good evening.  And isn’t it such a good evening?

I’m cozy at the moment. My life is still and quiet. When I wake up, I add cinnamon to a fresh cup of black coffee.  I fry two eggs, one of which is always oblong and runny, the other too chewy. I draw a picture, write a thought down into a little black journal that I’ve kept for five years, learn a couple of words, then listen to this mountain wind blow through the cracked windows. I put on a podcast. This is where I am.

Tonight, I wish to write about death again.  I once wrote about the afterlife, and the frontier of passing into the black that nobody knows. It was out of fear, but this death that lingers in my head is not spooky. I just can’t stop thinking about it, though.

I think that it has stemmed from suddenly realizing that people get old. I blinked and everyone around me got a lot older. My mother is aged. My grandfather is halfway to 90. My favorite rockstars are wrinkled and wedded, with children. I can see the years on everyone’s faces. They wear them like old scarves riddled with holes chewed from moths.

Do you know Simon & Garfunkel? I think you should know them. I’ve spent a lot of time with them recently, and I wish to share two videos of one of their most successful pieces. If you have a few minutes, I’d like you to listen to this song. I’d like you to listen to the lyrics especially, and let your mind wander as far as it will take you:

This is a video from 1981. That was 33 years ago.

In 33 years, I imagine that both of these fellows will be dead. That’s not really long at all.

I have to try to avoid the cliché here, in writing about dying. Carpe diem, seize the day, fuck while you’re young, explode or burn out, yada yada yada. They’re always telling you that time flies. It’s always fleeting. Everything is changing and running away from you, and you have to keep up. You have to keep up, or it will leave you behind. People and their lives.

I guess what I’m thinking about a lot is the reality of living. That existing is such a phenomenon. It’s so incredibly unbelievable, and yet, so overlooked. It’s just constantly overlooked and underwhelmed.

You always hear about the woman who has cancer, who has six months to live. You always hear about the bucketlists and the people who know they’re going to die. You always hear about people dying, but they’re never real to you. No death is ever real to you; not even your own.

In a sickly curious way, I wish I had an idea of my death. And lately, I’ve been a bit obsessive over it. Not in a suicidal way, or a longing to die…simply, a desire for an encounter with the end of my life. And in entertaining this idea, I’ve felt really alive. Just, really alive.

I imagine it as such:

I am well-dressed, walking down a hallway full of wooden doors. Everything is quite illuminated and the soles of my shoes glide across the linoleum beneath me. At the end of this hallway, I see a gentle old man, sitting quietly with a pen and a sheet of paper. He is tiny and well-kept, and he’s sitting in a school desk. As I approach him, his globular eyeballs peek over the rims of his glasses and his eyebrows wrinkle upwards. He is delighted to see me.

I look at him and have a seat on the floor. He nods his head and chuckles a bit, then peers down at the piece of paper. I am calm and curious, but I feel safe in his presence. Like a child I watch him from the floor below. His pen is etching and it’s the only thing I can hear. Finally, he wiggles away from the desk, walks towards me and looks me in the eyes: 

“Hello young man,” he says, grinning from ear to ear. “I am proud of you.”

I smile back, and suddenly realize that I know this man. I know this man like I know my child, like I know my favorite scent. I know this man, because he is me. He is the man that I become.

“I leave this with you now, young man,” he says, still smiling through his eyes. “Don’t read it quite yet.”

I take the folded note and place it in my suit pocket. I begin to stand, but the old man waves his hand, motioning me to rest. He then places the pen back onto the desk and turns away.

“Wait!” I yell, “I have so much to ask you!”

The man chuckles again, then turns to me. His eyes are full. His hand grabs the doorknob, and with a swift movement, he is gone. Through the doorway I see nothing.

The room is silent.

I look down at the desk and try my best to wiggle into the seat. It’s quite small, and in my effort to squeeze my knees beneath the table, the wooden legs squeak and squeal, echoing through the hall. I am uncomfortable. But I manage to sit, then pull out the paper. It reads:

Steady, now, young man. Remember the end. Steady, now.”

~

I guess I just want to say this: I feel lucky. I feel really lucky. I feel like I’m doing this right, because I know that it’s going to end one day. I suppose I’ve never been so motivated before now, before my brief meeting with the imaginary man in the desk. It has been the most enlightening experience for me this year.

I feel like one day, I’d wish to be in this exact moment. That one day, I’d give anything to be 24 again, in shape and good-looking. Healthy. A head full of hair. A mother to call. A day in the sun without medicine or crutches. I feel like I was just awakened by the advent of mortality, and because of that, I am somewhat invincible. This is invigorating.

So here I am, just ecstatic to be where I am. To be who I am, to be looking forward to a life of love. A life of misery and a life of kissing and a life of drinking to turning 30. A life of long winter nights and quick summer days and poems and sitting in movie theaters and crying. A life of running and eating spaghetti and being crushed by the weight of being, then revived by the way she says your name in bed. A life of having twins and getting in car wrecks and buying chocolate and flicking a straw wrapper across a dim-lit bar. A life of singing in the dark and wishing she was there and remembering the day you turned 13. It’s all so mystifying and relentless and loud and silent.

I guess I’m just happy to be alive, and I hope you are, too.

Here’s a video of Simon & Garfunkel, as old men, singing in 2010:

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This Is Your Life

This is your life.

Two hundred years ago, nobody would have even been able to fathom the miracle that is our every day. Planes, trains, automobiles go whizzing by your bedroom window and you but blink an eye. You’re staring at a crystal clear terminal, a portal to everything you could ever wish to access. Like lightning it communicates through airwaves to towers and satellites orbiting our planet, delivering information to you at instant speed. I’m talking about your computer. A nine pound construction of metal and glass that could easily be the capstone of humanity. And it sits in your lap.

And what do you do with it?

You gawk mindlessly at a group of people pretending to be you. They have terrible jobs that they hate, go home to terrible wives that they wish they never married and talk about their terrible problems that bog their terrible well-being. Then you chuckle when you’re told to; the producers and writers of the comedy show pay other people to pretend to laugh on queue, then synchronize the recorded audio to match punchlines and other nuances that they consider to be moments of worthy humor.

And what do you do?

You join in like a sheep with that pre-recorded group of paid laughers. The organic supercomputer, whose possibilities have never been understood, sits inactive in your skull. Is it actually funny? You don’t consider this to be a viable question, otherwise you wouldn’t watch the program in the first place. You’ve convinced yourself you enjoy it, and the laugh track enables and reaffirms this belief. It’s brainwashing 101.

This is your life.

We are bound by an unexplainable force called ‘gravity’ to a massive chunk of material spinning at a rate of 800 miles per hour while simultaneously trampling through what we call ‘space’ in a nearly perfect circle at a rate of 585 million miles per year. This object called ‘Earth’ is interacting relentlessly with another object nearly 93 million miles away called the ‘Sun’ that constantly, through pressures so intense and sweltering, fuses hydrogen atoms into helium atoms, producing light and heat as a by-product for millions of years. This process, known as nuclear fusion, is happening right now while you stare at How I Met Your Mother.

In simpler terms, you and the Sun share coexistence, and that thought alone is a fucking miracle. I don’t mean ‘miracle’ like ‘jesus curing a blind man’; rather, a ‘miracle’ like ‘there are forces that are so much bigger than you, occurring at the exact same time as you. Think about this: everyone loves their birthday because they feel special, despite the fact that everyone has one, and millions of people even share that same day with you. Once I learned about Earth, I learned to love my birthday for the sheer fact that I just travelled 585 million fucking miles without raising an eyebrow. That is a miracle.

This is your life.

You’re stuck in traffic and it’s hot outside. You just dropped your breakfast on the way to work and can’t figure out what you did to deserve such an awful start to a Friday that you expected to be perfect. You curse at the guy in front of you for not slamming the gas once the light flashed green and arrive six minutes late to a job you’ve convinced yourself to love. Your co-worker requests a day off and you, being the gentle and understanding manager that you’ve constructed yourself to be, let Jerry get a head start on the weekend. Because of this, your paperwork doubles, and you’ll have to spend an extra two hours in the building.

But wait. Did you miss everything I just said?

You are sitting in a heap of bent metal that combusts ancient organic material that was extracted from hundreds of miles into the ground. Every driver around you also operates this mechanical stroke of genius. The food that fell to the cement was prepared in six different countries and somehow converged into a bite-sized mass of organic energy. It is 100% compatible with the chemical acids and thriving community of bacteria living in the cesspool that is your stomach. That bagel egg and cheese sandwich is a provisional wonder, and you call it ‘bland’. The guy in front of you is another soul, another biochemical organism capable of every thought, every emotion, every experience and every hardship that you’ve endured, and you’ve reduced him to ‘fucking asshole’. You’re six minutes late, the most arbitrary of all your worries this morning, yet the most prioritized complex that we as a human race have agreed upon. What the fuck is the difference between 9:00am and 9:06am? Apparently everything. The conversation that you had with Jerry was a sonic marvel, an interaction with a garden of minuscule hair follicles growing within the depths of your ear canal, which your organic supercomputer (the one that you don’t need to use when watching Scrubs) instantaneously interpreted as sound waves, then converted and spat out (again, instanfuckingtaneously) as comprehensive language, allowing you to repeat this unbelievable phenomena to the other human standing six feet away from you. The infinitely complex exchange of sounds and body movements is flawless, and you didn’t even have to think about it. Once you finally get to have a seat at your desk and begin writing, millions of tiny nerves and muscle fibers cooperatively tense and relax, moving the bones in your wrist, allowing you to etch thousands of miniature and understandable letter-symbols. The device in your grip is so intricately and evenly distributing a liquid compound that, when dry, permanently stains the razor-thin slice of wood that we call ‘office paper’.

And somehow, this is not only boring, but miserable.

This is your life.

We can choose to hate our existence. I do not. I cope with my life and most of the time enjoy it, only because it is difficult, and nothing is guaranteed.

Wait, excuse me. I take that back. There are a list of things that you are guaranteed to experience during your finite stay on hotel spacerock. Lists like to work in threes, so follow along:

1) You will lose everything you’ve ever gained.

It started when we were young. We all had a toybox, but somehow, over time, all those little treasures faded away from our lives. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I got rid of all my action figures. In fact I can’t say that I was the one to throw them out. They just kind of, disappeared, and one day I didn’t really miss them.

But you will miss the other things that you will certainly lose along this course of your life.

First, you will lose your grandparents. Then you will lose your pets. And your first love, and maybe your second love. And then your parents. You will lose your favorite local restaurant to a mega-corporation and you will most likely lose at least one job that brings you safe income. You will lose your health, steadily or otherwise, and the functions of your organic supercomputer will become cluttered and laggy. All of the money you made this year will be mostly spent on other things you will lose, like hockey sticks and coffee tables and dates that didn’t turn into anything. Everything you have right now is fleeting.

Because of the nature of things, this means that happiness, after all, takes a lot of effort. It takes training and practice, and some days it will take the best of you. But it is achievable and abundant, and you must choose to feed it.

2) You will die.

I am quite okay with this concept and I want to tell you why. In my dualistic mind, there are two potential outcomes of a heart that ceases to beat:

a) The first outcome is purely nihilistic in nature, and for that reason it lacks all hope. In this reality, absolutely nothing happens when I die. My best friend said, in response to this theory, that that is entirely unfair. We are devastated by death because it creates loss in your life. So how could something so profoundly powerful end with nothing. You mean to say that nothing is causing so much grief in life? And the answer is yes. But in this theory, when you die and nothing happens, then you would not be aware that nothing happened. So effectively, it cannot lead to disappointment. It cannot produce pain. It cannot produce anything. One day, you simply are, and then you simply are not. That’s it.

b) The second outcome: something happens. A fucking miracle.

3) You are always guaranteed a choice.

You are alive right now. I want you to think about this in every way possible. I want you to understand that you cannot understand how absurd and unbelievable that simple fact is. I want you to go outside and look into the night sky. I want you to let your mind roam, like a child’s, and entertain the idea of your size in this universe. I want you to kiss the person you’ve always wanted to kiss. I want you to have sex that leaves you paralyzed, a limp hand hanging off the corner of a bed frame. I want you to smile at the fact that someone destroyed you, because it’s ultimately such a minute bump in the galactic road. I want you to take a photograph every day. I want you to turn off your fucking television and go stare at a flower, or a bee, or the paint on your wall. If you really look at anything long enough, it will turn your world upside down. Imagine a place that you’ve never thought of before, right now. Use your organic supercomputer. Use your hands. Learn things. Speak to people. Throw your drink at somebody. Draw with a red crayon. Because ultimately, everything you do is better because you did it, and because it was better than not doing it. Learn to juggle. Learn where Tanzania is. I have no fucking clue where it is, but I can.

Want things.

Take everything apart.

Take care of your body. It is the vehicle that will determine everything in your life.

Become somebody to someone.

This is your life. Can you even imagine?

Listen to the sound of the french horns. Taste candle wax.

Give your barista a high-five.

Honk your horn at midnight.

Remember: you are alive right now. Wake up.

This is your life.

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Hot Air Balloons

Before I begin, I want this piece to be a little more special than some of the others. I want to transfer the weight inside of me into something worth reading, not only for Sam Gaglio, but for you, the reader, the audience of this scene in my life. I want to tell you a story without fiction, and through that, impose onto myself a more full perspective. Because, at the heart of everything that has characterized these past four months lies a certain suffering. And inside of that, there is meaning, an even more terrifying entity.

Embrace for impact.

A typical Monday night except for one thing in particular: I decide to take the bus home from school instead of walking. Then I got pretty sentimental. But it was the kind of sadness that, at its core, is light, and blissful, and calming. I suppose that’s a bit of a paradox in itself, but I hope you can follow nonetheless.

I caught a glimpse of life in its whole. It was a sudden moment that ended just as it began. It was so quick to occur that, if I hadn’t thought twice, it would have fleeted and disappeared in an instant, like the imagery of a dream. Time, by nature, is curious, but for just a tiny, momentary pause, I fully grasped all of its mysteries. And then, the knowledge was gone.

It hit me, though, of that I am sure. Before I elaborate, I have to rewind the tape, to January.

The thought of the following four months without her left me paralyzed. To add to the stillness, the inevitable all-consumptive beast that is school had just collapsed onto me, crumbling all around. In that moment of decision, I knew that misery was inevitable. The logical brain saw the challenge ahead, something to which its always been uncontrollably attracted. “You cannot defeat me,” it said, “because I have never lost”.  The pain of future memories, however, began to take shape, preparing for their relentless haunt. I was forced to choose, not between ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Rather, between ‘one’ and ‘the other’. This forked path will continue to follow me every day. It’s funny, thinking back, that the things you’d like most to forget end up being the ones you remember best.

Fast forward to March.

My heart is impressionable, like a white sponge. In the midst of all the mayhem, it is convinced to have finally found the antidote. How quickly it was proven wrong.  I tell myself that my energies are pure and should be fed to my priorities. But certain things, I’ve learned, are in their essence out of control. What I remembered: I did everything I could. What I will constantly forget: I did everything I could.

Am I making sense, reader? Can you follow?  Fast forward to now, right now.

It is Monday night and two wicks of a white-sands candle are burning to my right. I have been swallowed and spat up again, a constant regurgitation of my person. Each week has been a struggle so deep and difficult that, now, looking back, I surprise even myself with my strength. If I were a boxer, the metaphor lies in the knockout. If I were a swimmer, I have drowned. If I were a robot, I have been unplugged.

But I am a lover, and right now, I am also unstoppable.

The reason I got so sentimental on the bus is because I was stricken by the impermanence of everything around me, and even the temperance of myself. What I mean is, even though my difficulties have outweighed my pleasures, none of this will last forever. What I mean is, after a certain amount of time, nothing that I was seeing on the bus will exist, at all. What I mean is, I fell in love with the realization that this, too, will pass.

But this magic also brought disbelief, something that has been stirring my cynicism. The question at hand: why? I don’t want to know why we’re alive; no, not at all. I want to know instead why we are so evil. I ask, why are we so cruel? Why is it that, something that seems so obvious and pure to me is so rare to occur? I want to give you an example, reader, because I want you to understand.

Lately, I’ve been holding doors open for people. I don’t know why this doesn’t happen more often. It’s really a simple act that stretches outwardly, creating a cascade of courtesy. When followed by a ‘thank you’, the event turns even brighter. Why don’t people hold doors open for each other?

Lately, I’ve been trying to love everybody more. But so many people cannot accept this love and do not know how to give it back. It has become my purpose, to simply love as much as I can, but it’s the hardest thing I can imagine to accomplish. Why is it so easy to hate everybody? Why does everybody make it so easy for me to hate them?

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of ugly people. Why do men find dark pleasure in the physical? Why have I done the same? Why do women paint their faces and follow the material? Why aren’t people themselves?

Where does the heart go when the body blooms?

What I mean is, why do I feel like, right now, I deeply understand the importance of living and feel terribly alone because of it?

So I got off the bus and walked home in the sleet. Then I sat down at my desk and lit that candle and started writing all these things. Every day for the past four months I have been forced to give my everything for some things that, in my eyes, don’t matter at all. I have never been more frustrated and defeated in my life. I have never been so perplexed by the mere lack of passion and energy and creativity and personality and general awareness of people than I do right now. Can’t anybody see that we are going to die pretty soon?

Am I the only one who wants so badly to be alive?

This is the epitome of my disappointment.

Recently, I talked with a life mentor that told me to prepare for disappointment, because it will meet me at every step. Once I see the light of May, I only wish that none of this ever happens again. That heartbreak never has a chance to get the best of me. That something as demanding as this semester never takes hold of my life and chokes it to the bone. That, in spite of everything I’ve proven so far, none of it matters if I don’t finish strong.

But I know it will. I know that this world has the power to break me, completely, and smash all the pieces. I know that I’ve chosen the hardest thing of all to stand by everything that I love. To be voluntarily and completely transparent, a vulnerable target for the arrows of my adversary. I know that I will fall again, harder each time, until nothing is left.

Yet I smirk now, reader, because I know that I will win.

“You cannot defeat me,” yells the heart, “for it is my function to bleed.”

~

It’s a couple hours since I started writing and my eyelids are falling to the floor. In my delirium, I hope some sort of cohesion emerged from the ramble. And that you can relate, at least a little bit. I felt good in writing tonight, though, so that alone is enough to make it worthwhile. To summarize: I’ve had a hell of a semester, and a lot of the fight is still left in April. But I have come to peace in that, and at the end of all of this, my endurance will be self-evident. I think I’m just a really stubborn kid built on a system of a beliefs that won’t budge. I’m restless. I care so much about things and people and life and love and I really just want everybody to do the same. I suppose the only way to attack that, then, is to keep doing me, fully. To embrace the individual, in the hope that others catch on. It reminds me of a video that I made when I was away from home in 2011. With that, I leave you. I hope you watch it, reader.

I love you.

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After Life

There has been an overwhelming feeling of something inexplicable haunting me lately. It’s a quiet, slow, heavy type of mental weight, and for some reason has been a bit of a motif in my thoughts since the beginning of this year. It has been everywhere I explore and in everything with which I interact. And on an introductory side note: since I’ve began this writing project, I have received a lot of support from people who are excited to hear my thoughts and who connect with my outlooks. So to reward those people and furthermore myself, I will work on keeping all of these posts as uncensored as possible. With that being said, it’s time again to confront myself.

For three months, I have not been able to stop thinking about death.

I also promised myself that these posts wouldn’t always be so serious and gloomy!  But here I am, talking about probably the scariest and depressing subjects of all life: the end. It’s unimaginable. It’s unappealing. It is completely unknown. So instead of bringing fear and melancholy into this short writing, let’s begin with a challenge. Let’s view death as positively as possible. Let’s treat it as a passage, sort of the inevitable adventure of ultimate surprise. I want to paint death in your mind as euphoria, like a dimension full of color and energy (and at this point I can’t help but recall Gandalf and Pippin’s moments just before the cave trolls come bursting through the doors in The Return of the King).  Call me morbid, and I would agree! That is exactly what I want to be, because it’s about damn time we start talking about the end of our lives.

This semi-dismal topic (death) set up camp in my mind a few months back. I can’t pinpoint it’s origins…all I know is that it’s been a part of the daily cycle of thoughts. But at this point in my young life I feel on the brink of another rite of passage: the confrontation of losing somebody I love. And that bothers the hell out of me. Some days I refuse the thought, other days I feel inspired to act on that ticking clock.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  Time’s a wastin’. How would you feel if you knew when you would die? Would you like to know? What would you do today, right now?  That cliché has run it’s course, so I won’t go there. Just food for the preface.

But being this young, I see no event horizon. As far as I’m concerned, I’m immortal. I’ve been consciously alive forever and my death will be the only thing capable to prove me wrong. If reality is a construct of my active imagination, then so are the deaths of others. But it’s never happened to me, so who is to say that it will? More food for prefacing.

But fuck all psychology and theory. I want to be serious.

So let’s talk serious: I will die.  You will too.  In 100 years, nobody you know will be alive. I will be gone. You will be gone. And there will never be another me or you in this world. Some argue that immortality is achieved through legacy; that Mark Twain cannot die because he will never be forgotten. But the fact is that his person is no longer a living, breathing, speaking being. And therefore he is dead.

Rewind to anthropology lecture about a month back. I was presented the topic of death and the way it exists in all its forms (and since I don’t have my notes with me, I’ll improvise.  Please excuse the casual nature of the facts that follow, I’m going off of memory). Nowadays, due to medicinal breakthroughs, people can prolong life to absurd ages, only to be forced into nursing homes dependent on machines and human work to stay ‘alive’. Senior citizens are the forgotten realm of society. And when death arrives, it isn’t always as sudden as we think. We have clinical death, which is completely dead dead dead. Nothing is working. Corpse status. Bag it and tag it. Under that, we have many types of vegetative states, the pinnacle of those being brain dead in which the body is kept alive by machines but the ‘person’ is non-existent. Knowing there is no hope for return, the decision to pull the plug is relatively easy in comparison. Then there’s a persistent vegetative state in which the patient is partially aware but has suffered severe brain damage. Their life, if maintained, will be highly dependent. Euthanasia in these cases get tricky, though: what do you do when you look into their lifeless eyes and hope screams ‘just one more day…maybe he’ll wake up tomorrow and go back to his usual self’. See the Terry Schiavo case. But after a year, these patients fall into the permanent vegetative state, which is probably the hardest in the decision making. It becomes a question of investment: time, energy, emotion. Who’s going to make that decision?

And that was the question our professor asked.  What do you do if you’re the hand that must play god? Who decides for somebody else’s life? This will happen to many of us at least once throughout our journey on this planet. As much as it is terrifying, it is necessary. And the problem with all this advancement in medicine? We can’t die! We just can’t fuckin’ die! Too many senior citizens slowly decline into dependency and begin to lose purpose in their life. What do you do at 95 except the routine? What kind of burden stalks your every day, knowing that it could be your last, forcing you away from ambition to start anything new? And when the time comes, the deathbed becomes a white, stiff mattress in a hospital room, surrounded by machines and strangers. So many people die away from home nowadays, stripped from the comfort and warmth of something familiar. And if that is my fate, then who should I trust with the decision of my life?

It’s time I make a bit of a will, sort of an outline of my ideal muerte.  We’re deconstructing death, after all.  Taking away it’s pedestal status. Bringing it down to earth. Realizing it. So here we go.

Starting at the basic level, all my material shit should be given to kids with needs. I trust my friends to figure out who gets my guitar, my car, my clothes. That stuff shouldn’t matter in the end, I’m no ancient Egyptian. As for the body, I want to be burned. Caskets are gaudy, cemeteries are a business. Besides, like my roomfriend Taylor Bauer and I discussed, we have no emotional connection to that strip of lawn anyway. Why deposit my remains there? If you want to visit me, go somewhere that meant something to us. You won’t have to compete with the tombstone next to you for spiritual condolence. If I’m mangled in a car accident, don’t bother keeping me alive. Please. I couldn’t exist in a body that isn’t my own. And my worst fear of all is losing a limb. I guess I’d be cool with losing a leg, since prosthetics are so advanced nowadays. But I’d rather be dead than lose an arm, because everything that makes my identity is channeled through my manual dexterity. And in the strange occurrence that I fall into a persistent vegetative state (as seen above), please take me home and let me die peacefully, surrounded by music and love. I don’t want to be some mechanical husk. As far as last words go, I can only think of something along these lines:

“Don’t take it all too seriously. Just be you. Don’t be a dick, just keep on loving”.

Am I missing something? I suppose the ideal age is somewhere in my 60’s: just long enough to have a fulfiling life, but not long enough to become dependent and worthless. See Tuesdays with Morrie. But hey, if I die tomorrow, I’ve loved you all more than I could express.

Sad shit over: time to get curious.  Because lately I’ve thought about death like this:

Holy fuck, we all will die. And then the biggest mystery of all mysteries will be known.

Like, holy SHIT. Are you kidding me? How is this not somewhat exciting?!

Everybody has their theories of the afterlife. I wanna share mine: a purely imagined ideal situation that I can only hope will become real upon my passing. Because according to me, if anything in this world is a complete mindfuck, it is everything that is out of this world:

Space. That neverending oblivion is by far my favorite thing to think about. So in my ideal afterlife, I will know all of the secrets of the universe. I will able to fly between galaxies, fathom the power of black holes, conceptualize and fully understand time. Like Wall-E when he leaves his evac pod. My paradise exists in ethereal freedom and infinite knowledge. I want to see the colors past our spectrum. I want to tenfold my senses. I want to be completely free. I want to become pure love.

And the only way that this could ever potentially happen is if I die.

Scratch that, when I die.

Because I’m gonna die. And I’m sick of being afraid of it. And I don’t want it to be a taboo. And I don’t want to pretend to be immortal. And I’m just too damn tired of death being exclusively sad and hopeless.

We’re nearing THE END (of this post!), and a few hundred words earlier than usual (woohoo!). I want to share a few more thoughts. I feel that my life is soon to become challenged by death, within my immediate family or otherwise. I know what it feels to lose somebody, of course, but my experiences have yet to reach the magnitude of their potential. And that ugly feeling of leaving somebody or somewhere you love is always happening. Tomorrow, I will board a flight that will take me away from Falls Church, Virginia, one of my many homes. I love it here. I love my family here. Tonight I had to say ‘see you later’ again and it’s a bummer. But it’s selfish to expect things to never change, to eternally be happy and fulfilling. Because inevitably within my future lies so much pain and sorrow that I can’t help but try to prepare myself now. I will be tested. And I will learn. After all, life is in control.

Except I don’t want death to win.

When that time comes in which I lose somebody close, I will find solace in the embark of their new journey. They have begun the trek of death, of the epitome of wonder. Again, call me sick, but I can’t help but be excited for them. And because I’ve had to leave so many people already, I’ve learned to look back with happiness. With the feeling that I’ve learned something, that I’ve loved something, that somebody has meant something to me. And that’s fulfilling. So my final challenge is this: to smile behind the tears. To grieve, but also to celebrate. Death is but another life event. And within the hour it took me to write this page, countless people have just begun their flight into the abyss.

And that’s fucking awesome.

So my lovely readers, one quick moment to thank you in the unlikely event that I’m soon struck by the scythe of G.Reaper. It’s a rewarding feeling knowing that someone can relate to you, and that somebody is genuinely interested in what you have to rant about. I’m amazed that so many people read these long entries!

So if you’re interested in exploring death some more:
-watch this really cool TedTalk!:
Peter Saul talks about the questions I raised earlier: ‘who decides our fate? what kind of death will we experience?’  http://www.ted.com/talks/peter_saul_let_s_talk_about_dying.html

-listen to this music!
An absolutely beautiful piece of music that raises the question (and furthermore, when sung, is one of my favorite two lines of lyrics): ‘why are we here, why do we die?’
http://youtu.be/MtDpHFD40eE

-read this book!
The infamous memoir Tuesdays With Morrie, a book that has had such a huge impact on my life and attempting to improve it:
http://www.amazon.com/Tuesdays-Morrie-Young-Greatest-Lesson/dp/076790592X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332992689&sr=8-1

-view my cinematic poetry!
I did this little bit when I was studying abroad last year.  While away, I realized the importance and significance of each person. Then I understood how temporary we all are.
http://vimeo.com/29559198 

And, (you know it’s coming!)
Just keep on loving.
-Sammy G

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