Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends writing

cause of death

i’ve heard
every bad
mortician joke
a thousand times

how’s business?
bet they’re dying to see you?

and at one time
it made me want
to pickle the comedian
on my embalming table

but i’ve long since
stopped caring about
editorial cringing

and the press conference of
pointed questions wielded

how did you endure that?
what made you want to be a funeral director?
is it harder when it’s a child?
i’ll bet you’ve seen it all, huh?

then come the requests for tabloid photos
gory details
of the suicide
car crash
dead baby

blood tracing
brain spatter
on quilt patterns

the puddle of urine and shit
beneath every body

rigor mortis
livor mortis

(me not revealing
i don’t like massages
it reminds me of
rubbing the wet corpses to increase
drainage of blood
and circulation
of embalming fluid)

ever seen one with a boner?
do they cut the feet off to fit tall people in caskets?

the living are far more frightening than the dead

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace. Amen.

how many dead bodies have you seen?

it doesn’t matter
the only one
of any consequence
was my father’s

Jazz Music poetry Short Stories Uncategorized Urban Legends


marlon brando’s corpse
was left forgotten for weeks
by his addled children
after it was embalmed

locked in the dark back room
of a california mortuary
inside a kentucky copper casket

cardboard covered with blue felt
staple gunned polyester cream lining
and aluminum hand rails

but the godfather was bigger than the container
in which he was placed

somebody finally scraped together the cremation fees

one hell of an ending for a man
who in life
filled streetcars with desire

whose funeral was attended
by 30 flower cars
and the heads of the five families

poetry Short Stories Uncategorized

dinner with death

as an undertaker

you grow accustomed to death

respect his place within the layers of being

certainly fear him more than most


over time we realize how random

his judgement

and unreasonable the damage done

by his heavy hand

as we drain the blood

and our innocence along with it


how tenuously our human cells hold together

yet the way we fight to go on

despite the inevitability

of ending


questioning the point of all this suffering


as you place the receiving blanket in the coffin


or put the last curls into the eight year old girl’s hair


the motorcycle crash was a closed casket service

but his mother decided before we placed him in the hearse

she had to see his jawless face


someone’s nana covered in bed sores

who lingered too long to suit her family’s liking


the suicide who dealt with his wife’s affair

by removing the back of his head with a .45


you learn to have dinner with death

sharing a bottle of scotch with his dead sockets and wicked grin

in the hopes that laboring over his body count

will keep your own bones

from owing coins to the ferryman


and at the end of the day

as you’re cleaning up the embalming room

back turned to the finished work of a life on the table

sterilizing trocar needles and scalpels

the sounds they emit

as the gas escapes


somewhere between a moan and a sigh

coming through the vocal chords


you hear the last sound their voice ever makes