Friday, May 18, 2012

On This End of the Phone

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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. 
You're dreaming,
but when you wake up you will remember 
this conversation.
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."

Really listen. 
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," 
he complains.
"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, 
allowing 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.
Hopefully not 
his actual absence from the planet.
Hopefully he can continue 
his explorations 
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 
more distant,
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?


  1. Oh my Sherry. Difficult conversation but you sound like an experienced and solid tree. Hugs to you and your son.

  2. Sherry, there is so much love between your two points of view. Thanks for sharing this difficult conversation. You teach us all with this one,


  3. Ah, Sherry.

    Well, if one is going to be "Out There," that doesn't sound like such a bad place to be.

  4. Sherry, I know this is hard, but he is trying to meet you half way, in his way! I hope he is a receiving of your half way~ This is difficult and I can't imagine, but his view is at least trying to find hope of there being more. (((hugs))) I am sad for both of you~

  5. No need to be sad, Ella......he is actually blissful and now that I know he will not physically harm himself, which took some time to figure out, I can listen to his explorations, as I always have.

  6. Wow, this is one powerful 'two sides of the coin,' Sherry. I am glad that he won't hurt himself, and I am glad he can stll laugh. You are a very understanding mother, but this still has to be awfully difficult.

  7. Pink Floyd concert has to take precedence over all...naturally!


  8. Having been married to someone who was/is bipolar, I know better than most that they can think they are being wise and radiant, when in fact they are putting everyone close to them through a (not very) funhouse of lunacy and exhaustion. Then they look at you like "What's YOUR problem?"

  9. Remember him--before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well,
    "Who was found dead on the phone."

    (Ecclesiastes 12:6)
    (Dogs lyrics - Pink Floyd)


  10. We can exhaust ourselves trying to understand the people who interact with the world from a different sort of consciousness, for what ever reason.

  11. okay, i wanna see a pink floyd show and then go on to have 10,000 wives. though to tell the truth, that doesn't really sound so blissful to me :)

    sorry to chuckle, sherry, but you've written this with such love and good humor that there is quite a bit of chuckling in the read for me. i love that you are laughing together through this.

  12. i feel the connection, the love, the finding of each other, the hearing of each other, the light-heartedness just makes it so solid and real. you displayed a different, although familiar somehow plane of existence with this.

  13. This reminds me so much of visiting my niece last week. It was very surreal, but we both had fun because, like you and your son, there were points where her reality and mine met. All we have to do is love them, and listen.
    A very powerful write, Sherry, and I can't help but hope the writing has made some part of your relationship easier, somehow.
    Luv, K

  14. Hard for a mom to have to try and cope with this but, as you said yourself, as long as he isn't intending to harm himself, what does it matter what planet he's on if he's happy.

  15. Sherry - that you can enjoy the conversations now, knowing he won't harm himself, must be a blessing. Thank you for sharing it, it is so intimate and dear.

  16. This takes my breath away. I can't imagine what that would be like, well, now I do--somewhat. This is so powerful and painfully real. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  17. I AM Siddhartha, the son of Sherry Marr, refered to above. You can read my entire experience, as well as my poetry, at Later Great Pumpkin,
    I AM Siddhi!!


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!