Mary's prompt at Real Toads is to write a poem showing two points of view. I couldnt resist writing the conversation my son and I have been having the past two weeks. One of us thinks he is dead. (You can't make this stuff up!) Check out Toads for other less astral takes on this prompt.
His voice is portentous, soothing, reassuring.
I know immediately that he is somewhere else.
"I'm speaking to you from the astral plane.
but when you wake up you will remember
You will be getting some bad news,
and then you wont see me for a while.
But it's okay. I'm all right."
Listen. Listen behind the words.
Assess what is really being said.
Push those roots down into the earth.
This is the time for steadiness.
Be a tree.
"I'm awake," I say. "I'm stirring my coffee.
Where are you?"
"You think you're awake
because we're meeting
on the astral plane,
and on the astral plane
things seem very real.
I don't want you to be upset,
but I called to say goodbye.
I'm dead. I made a soul decision
to not go on. This planet
is too dark for one
as beautiful as me."
You have always been afraid
this day would come.
The first thing: his safety.
On the other phone, I call his worker,
who goes right over.
He is hospitalized,
very annoyed at being routed
from his blissful visit to heavenly realms,
in the depressing confines
of the psych ward,
surrounded by people
not in the same realm he is.
"I was so blissful, saying goodbye,"
"I'm dead. I'm in the realm where dead people
aren't sure if they're dead
and think they might still be alive.
I don't know what's happened
to my physical body.
Why is everyone freaking out?
I haven't gone anywhere.
We're still chatting on the phone.
What's your problem?"
"I hesitate to ask, but......
how are you holding the phone?"
His laugh is his usual startled cackle.
His laugh is still the same.
We both crack up.
But he still thinks he's dead.
"How do you know that's not possible?"
he asks me.
"I am gathering you don't intend to do
anything physically to yourself?"
"Oh, no, all of this is internal.
I will exit the planet at will.
I decided to stay
a little longer,
to go to the Pink Floyd concert,
and say my goodbyes properly.
I plan to enjoy my last two weeks."
Listen to the part of this
that you understand,
the soul exploration.
If he actually had died,
I believe he would be exploring the bardos
he thinks he is visiting now.
But he is still very much alive,
though very Out There.
For now, this is his reality,
his soul's journey, his quest.
The hard part, for a mother,
is accepting that,
understanding one has no control
over someone else's Trip.
Hoping that things do not get
even more difficult
before they return to
what passes for normal
on any given day.
his actual absence from the planet.
Hopefully he can continue
understanding, at some point,
that he is, in fact,
still in his corporal body.
Just listen, as you have listened
for twenty years
to the questing, the wondering,
the exploring, the suffering,
the pain, the euphoria,
the impossibly endearing utterances
of this very beloved son,
who talks to me from frequencies
that grow ever so faintly
and yet, more close
as the years roll by.
Listen, and pray your tree-self
will not topple
under the weight.
"What will my Heaven be like?" he says.
"There will be wild geese,
beautiful natural environments
such as waterfalls,
mossy rock formations
and mighty groups of trees,
and all my loved ones will be there
(and you really will).
I will have 10,000 wives, like Krishna.
I will be radiant with absolute Bliss.
I will be all knowing.
I will experience everything
in the universe simultaneously.
I will stand on a summery lawn,
blowing soap bubbles with children.
I will meet beings from other Realms,
such as unicorns, nymphs and mermaids.
I will hold intimate conversations with all of you.
I will spend eternity in the Buddha Land.
I will be a million Buddhas playing together.
I haven't even begun...
After you exhaust your time in Heaven,
you gradually enter the 'Rest Stage',
where you get a great vacation
while you wait to be reborn.
You have to understand
that the laws of the universe
keep us together, literally, forever!!
Why not be wise and radiant like me?!"
Why not, indeed?