97, Coming to Terms & Goodbye (An atheist faces his own death) A Poem By Michael Lee Johnson

Wait until I have to say goodbye,

don’t rush; I’m a philosophical professor

facing my own death on my own time.

It takes longer to rise to kick the blankets back.

I take my pills with water and slowly lift

myself out of bed to the edge of my walker.

Living to age 97 is an experience I share

with my caretaker and so hard to accept.

It’s hard for youngsters who have not experienced

old age to know the psychology of pain

that you can’t put your socks on or pull

your own pants up without help anymore—

thank God for suspenders.

“At a certain point, there’s no reason

to be concerned about death, when you die,

no problem, there’s nothing.”

But why in my loneness, teeth stuck

in with denture glue, my daily pillbox complete,

and my wife, Leslie Josephine, gone for years,

why does it haunt me?

I can’t orchestrate, play Ph.D. anymore,

my song lyrics is running out, my personality

framed in a gentler state of mind.

I still think it necessary to figure out

the patterns of death; I just don’t know why.

“There must be something missing

from this argument; I wish I knew.

Don’t push me, please wait; soon

is enough to say goodbye.

My theater life, now shared, my last play,

coming to this final curtain, I give you

grace, “the king of swing,” the voice of

Benny Goodman is silent now,

an act of humanity passes, no applause.
 
 
*Dedicated to the memory of Herbert Fingarette, November 2, 2018 (aged 97). Berkeley, California, U.S.A. Video credit and photo credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX6NztnPU-4.
 
 

 
 
Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada, the Vietnam era. Today he is a poet in the greater Chicagoland area, IL. He has 259 YouTube poetry videos. Michael Lee Johnson is an internationally published poet in 44 countries, several published poetry books, nominated for 4 Pushcart Prize awards and 5 Best of the Net nominations. He is editor-in-chief of 3 poetry anthologies, all available on Amazon, and has several poetry books and chapbooks. He has over 443 published poems. Michael is the administrator of 6 Facebook Poetry groups. Member Illinois State Poetry Society: http://www.illinoispoets.org
 
 
 
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times at Artvilla.com More of his personal work can also be viewed at https://poetrylifeandtimes.com video & audio poems, translations etc.,