Only When You Are Dead.

They only tell you

when they hear

that you are dead,

just how much they love you.

The outpouring of grief on the streets,

The middle class avenues filled

with popular opinion and anguish

and in the houses of the fashionable

you get the sympathetic nod becoming of their understanding

and they hear the wails from the true believers;

they are unified when you die,

when the starlet fails to shine early one morning

or when the hero packs away his whip

one last time

right before the sudden bang

breaks the silence

in the papers

that every so often rubbished them all.

Rest well, never forgotten, what a man,

a beautiful woman, a particular kind of idol,

never defer to the alive

but weep buckets

when they die,

only tell them you love them

when they are dead.


Ian D. Hall 2017