If Right Is Wrong, What's Left?

This was written in response to a request for our own epitaphs.

In Memoriam -- Barton Lynn Rolsky
1948 -- Sometime Tomorrow Afternoon

They won't sing when I'm gone. At least,
they won't sing all that long.
The work I left undone's increased
There'll be no twenty guns.
The final word's been said, 'Deceased'.
And that means what you've read.

I would have liked to live some more,
I gave you what I give.
I'd hoped my kicking at the door
Would rouse your quaking flat.
I hope I shocked you to your core
That's what I tried to do.

'This rhyme won't scan', I've heard you said.
'The way it stops 'sabsurd.'
Yet follow still the way you're lead,
Hear what I planned to say
It stops that way because I'm dead,
Forgive me while I pause.

by Barton Lynn Rolsky -- H2G2, 2001

(Since I wrote this, Psychocandy composed a far better and much more general epitaph,

That sucked

The time has come
the walrus said . . .

January 26, 2004

Life goes on.
We have some dreams, we have some fears.
We have some schemes, we shed some tears.
We change our themes, our ending nears.
And though it seems that vision clears
There' no regimes that last the years
And each esteems what's in arrears.
Still, life goes on.

Else, living screams ... and disappears.

Things have changed, here as elsewhere. I will be here more and more occasionally. I will reply to those who wish to communicate, less and less often, till I do not, any more. And that will be that, till it isn't, again, I suppose.

Sand castles just don't seem so important anymore. And, the tide still seems to sweep the beach away. Perhaps, the problem is the moon.

My love to you all and my best wishes.

Barton Lynn Rolsky
Cabbages? I hate cabbage . . . I'm not terribly fond of kings, either.

[email protected]
My Web Page

This was written to a researcher here who was living in an abusive relationship but could not bring herself to see it. I posted it in another thread. When she read it she said (approximately), "I don't know why but it made me cry."

Abuse surviors: This will be hard to read and may be triggering.

The Little Things You Do

(In hopes that I said something useful to both abused and abuser)

I do not mind at all the way you do not seem to care
What other men might think is right or even what is fair.
Or, that you challenge anyone to think less of your mind
For knowing how a woman really needs restraint. They're blind.
Your manner says it all to me. It's not respect I crave.
The thing I need more than all else, to serve you as your slave.

It's not that I require your hand to put me in my place.
It's not that you have always been so careful of my face.
It's not that beating down your friends or making one your foe
Is any indication of some problem you don't know.
It's not that I'm not fearful, rather, grateful for your touch,
To know you is to love you. You have made me learn that much.

It's not the endless panic that I might have made you mad,
(There's no way they will ever make me say that you are bad.)
I would not ever claim to be the equal of your brain.
I flatly will not listen when they say you are insane.
How could some stupid doctor ever know the truth of you?
I love you dearest for those thoughtless little things you do.

Those things like leaving early when you could have stayed here late,
The pain was almost nothing, You can't tell me that was fate.
Or how you sometimes will not beat me, even when I'm wrong.
Like when I stole that nibble from your cake I'd made too long.
Of course a week was proper to not eat or drink or dress.
How kind of you not to have let me serve you any less.

You did not need to get me that grand Hoover that you bought.
Those many fine attachments weren't as painful as I'd thought.
But most of all I thank you for the skill with which you showed
Me how to handle kitchen knives and catch the blood that flowed.
It wasn't that I meant to kill you. Right now I'm so sad.
I cleaned the mess up so well that I'm sure you would be glad.

I've hidden most of you where no one ever will suspect.
I tidy all around your grave. There's no sign of neglect.
Those little things about you which I couldn't bear to part
With are there in the freezer sitting right next to your heart.
And every now and then I take them out and have a cry.
You know I really love you but I still can't tell you why.

I think about those little things that made my life a joy
The way you used to make me crawl and play with my dog toy.
The absent way you brushed my hair away from where I bled
The silent exultation when I knew that you were dead.
It's times like this I know I couldn't ask for any more.
Such memories as these are really what a life is for.

Barton Lynn Rolsky -- H2G2, 2002

This was written as part of a suite of poems using a visit to the Empire State Buiding as a central, mystical unity and a metaphor for the mystery of huge buildings which seem to detach themselves from our normal lives simply by their distance and blank walls.

I'm still trying to figure out why no one laughs when I recite this poem.

Best Wishes

On the twenty-third floor of the Empire State Tower
A man and a woman were going to jump.
They jumped and they fell.
Yes, they fell hand in hand.
"Hey!" I looked down and called down.
"Good Luck!"

by Barton Lynn Rolsky -- East Lansing, Michigan, 1966


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