Here and Hereafter

Here and Hereafter
Poetry by Renee Y. Brown

photo by Brian Jones

Ode to Beachy Head
by Renee Y. Brown

On England’s south coast
Is a cliff so high
Suicidal folks boast
It’s a great place to die
Much worth the trip
If you’ve got the mind
To take a slip
And smash to grinds.

The aspiring dead
They fall, they fall,
From Beachy Head
And that’s not all
They jump, they fly
And then, they die
Oh, if I could
Then so would I!

I hear the call
Of Beachy Head
So far, so tall
So spirited!
That highest cliff
Of the English coast
There is no “if”
Or faint approach
To that terminal height
And final dive
Descending in flight
Splat! I’ll arrive
My ghost to haunt
This foreign shore
No pain no want
Never here, never more.

The chosen fate
Of gourmet suicides
Like the Golden Gate
It’s known worldwide
So come one, come all
To a suicide’s ball
We’ll drink, we’ll dance
Then take the fall
Into endless romance,
Metaphysical.

My sister lives near Beachy Head
And so
I will go
To join the dance of the dead
Oh sister dear
Don’t cry, don’t fear
Death comes, death comes
To everyone —
Whether we embrace it
Or run
Whether we face it
Or shun —
You can try to outrace it
But it won’t be outrun.

I choose
My own
Longevity
The time, the place, the way
Of meeting with eternity
So I can have my say
Over fate, biology, and God —
Since I care for life less
Than I love my dead dog.


King of White Roses
by Renee Y. Brown

Will I see you again,
                         golden, golden —
On the field of my final homecoming,
                         there shining —
You, heart of a lion
Unconquered —
                         golden, golden
And mine.

You, heart of a dove;
                         infinite, unbroken,
                         faultless and loyal
Facets of a diamond
Hard as courage, never unknown;
White light of compassion
Never unshown.

I dream a field
Of pure white roses;
I see you,
Splendid gold amidst a galaxy of whiteness,
The only star in a vitreous sky.
You walk…then run to me;
Even the roses sigh
                         when you pass by —
They part and bow their blossomed heads
Genuflecting in your honor.
They fill my arms to overflowing with the fragrances of white:
                         Sweet innocence —
                         Essence of honor —
                         Freshness of
                                                  Immaculate love —

But the roses fly everywhere
When you jump into my arms!
Petals flutter as they fall
Anointing you in celebration —
The return of the son
And the only true love
As one, to the other
Never parting;
The promise kept.
My long waiting in the measurement of time is over —
And at last,
                         The Gate opens wide for us.

My eyes will weep with joy
When we reunite, my
                         Golden One;
I will shout
Hosanna!
                         And even the palms shall lay down for you
                         In the field of final homecoming,
My King of White Roses —
                         golden, golden.


art by Tara Lee Grady

If
by Renee Y. Brown

If there exists
In quantum stride
Between, betwixt
This shore, this tide
A different field
Of infinite scope
I’ll gladly yield
To highest hope —
With consciousness
And wiser eye,
This sorry flesh
In which I lie.


The End of the Line
by Renee Y. Brown

It’s a mighty short road to the end of the line
Seems like you just get here then you’re out of time
You can walk, you can run, you can crawl, you can fly —
Still your whole life’s over in the blink of an eye.

It don’t seem right,
It sure ain’t fair;
But the end of the line
Will always be there.

The end of the line ain’t a place or a time
There ain’t no money, and nothing is “mine.”
Got no hunger, no fear, no want or pain
No need for shelter ‘cause there ain’t no rain.

All are equal at the end of the line
Bag-lady and billionaire stand side-by-side
Judgment ain’t easy, but there’s one thing you’ll know;
You get what you’ve earned, be it ‘up’ or ‘below.’

Got a few rules judgment tends to go by
Decent human values and ethics apply —
If you know ‘em and shown ‘em you’ll be just fine,
But a sociopath will break down and cry!

If you’re thinkin’ the judges are random and cruel
Remember this one inescapable rule:
When you’re ‘called on the carpet’ for the final and true —
Look at yourself ‘cause the ‘judges’ are YOU.

So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last;
Some go up easy, some go down fast
There’s no ‘do-over’s’ so don’t bother to whine —
Too late for self-pity at the end of the line.

We’re all on our way to the end of the line
Some take it quick, some take their time
Some stand in the middle, can’t make up their minds —
But there’s no going back, so why look behind?

There are times when I wish I could get there right now
Because I’m so weary, so beaten, so hurtin’, so down…
But sometimes I feel like I’m doing just fine —
That’s when I hope
It’s a long, long road to the end of the line.


One Tiny Rose
by Renee Y. Brown

The tea rose may be small in size
But its meaning far transcends its guise.
Bestows this message to those bereaved:
“Love conquers death,”
Implied — Believed
Upon one tiny rose received —
And placed in one small casket,
Grieved.

“With this rose you take my heart,
With this rose, remembrance starts;
One tiny rose to encompass all,
Me—the finite; You—immortal.”

Blessed are they who mourn, unreserved;
Through them a greater good is served.
For those who love their all and best,
Shall with the richest grief be blessed.

“This one tiny rose I give you today
Shall bloom in white for as long as it may
Until you give it back to me, still new —
And we dance among roses of every hue.”