No Stranger to Death

by Brad Everett

It is a strange thing to have relationship with death. I hear the potential of death outside my window sometimes. It sounds like bullets. I hear the potential of death in the chants of people screaming for my rights. Black Lives Matter. I feel the potential of death every time one of my brothers gets deployed on active military duty. Freedom feels like death. So in my life, death has always been part of the general population. The following poem is a reflection on death.


We are the type that fly because walking takes us to the same lands
With the same sands
No Serif

And we’d die there, where no waves break
Just the sand sanks
And we fall slow like credits-no letters
No one would ever see our tragic end

So instead-we float over sharks because we’ve seen that fin
Or better yet that FIN

We fly with friends
Who could be fiends
But they are of the same type so they are fam’

And we are heir-real
Authentic Legacy.

Connected like the stars
So we are mars with more son
And rougher terrain to rove on

Our legacy allows our children’s children’s future generations to roll on Excuse me….
I meant fly on.
And we are no strangers to death
We are no strangers to death
We are no strangers to death
And Truth be Told
We are eternity so death is a slave to us

We pray like hands pressed-together-no forearms,
We think deep like chin on hand but shoulders with no world on
Because we holding up the galaxy as it leans towards just-us.

They tried to break our backs to build wealth but
Our backs were built to carry the creativity of our creator so we created a people so strong not even racism could crush us
Not even bullets could hush us

And that last line references the whole time we’ve been here

We will build here

Something like back nines
Where we walk towards green — no miles
Just pastures
Just pastor your hope when it seems to skip masses
Be something like a prayer rug
Support the weight of desperation and faces downcast when
they look to something greater than the gates keepin’ em’ trapp-ed

That’s tepid in trap
And we’ve grown far too used to that.
So let’s shawshank a map until we free men

And free us

And we are no strangers to death
We are no strangers to death
We are no strangers to death
And Truth be Told
We are eternal-so dying is more like sleep to us.

More like unconscious weeping that does Not complete our pain
But instead our joy, our laughter
Our heavenly ever after

So here in this land
We see the fight against our flight but we bring bags
No carry-on
Just the type that zip black
For that carrion

After overcoming we carry on
Even if it means we carry our young in caskets

Rest in peace George Stinney
You were more a man than those who accused, convicted and electrified you
You sat on the Bible because it was God that held you up
May your spirit wake up, inspire and inject the youth
With a passion that only God gives- To cups
Waiting to be filled like young kids at the supper table.

And we are no strangers to death
Because truth be told

It has been next door for so long,
We’ve considered selling house and moving out to find other neighbors
But death is pedophile and stalks the child with unwanted touches

So we’ve found our own law enforcement:

It travels underground with shotgun in hand,
It flies north like hummingbird attracted to star,
It dies on cross with body beat till resembling the rot of man,
And it rises to rebuild our crumbling world-like taking us back to the start.

And if you tracked with that, it’s a cold play.
Like Coltrane in winter
Like spade played on ace
Like Ancient of Sondown to Sonup
Bringing joy to a new day

And truth be told

Forget death and world
We were meant to fly with Forever anyway!

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