EVERY COFFIN IS A SOAPBOX DERBY RACER
by Derrick C. Brown
Tear apart every picture frame in the house and build that casket.
Wallpaper the roof of it with the photos
like your high school locker.
Load it with the images of all the animals and friends you loved.
Lie down in it with a new bullhorn,
letting them know that you blew it,
that what you ‘knew’ was wrong and it’s fine,
that you should have planned less, undressed and just begun.
You should have been more strolling grateful
and less city of butt-rock and boring piss.
Holler gratefulness to the animals you killed
or that died around you, under your care, trying to make you see.
Lady and Sara, the dogs who hung on for you until you could
Belteshazzar and Shazam, the doves you used in magic shows
who died in a cage of the flu because the way to stay warm
Mr. Fish, who first met you when your huge white orb
landed in his bowl like a rescue buoy moon,
fine with the small world he ruled alone;
not the last thing to die of your boredom.
Mickey, the white mouse eaten by Minnie, the secret cannibal,
who got greedy and choked on her own tail. You dead bitch.
Ain’t nothing Fine or Young about you.
Easter Bread, the wild rabbit living in your yard,
who you gave water to, who trusted you,
who grew tired of running from the neighbors’ loose dogs
and gave in, proud of the races won.
Thank you for the master class.
You should’ve watched and learned
that language doesn’t solve everything,
to fight at the right time, to surrender well,
to hold still and shake alone, clean your nasty out and eat it wild,
race down the grass on ice blocks and howl away nude in the night
realizing that untamed is the better solution.
Look at you. You’re racing away. The lid is still open.
The details whiz by and you reach out to catch them,
but it’s all flash paper.
You will gain speed and sing that the prize is wildness.
Chop up all them frames,
let yourself be scared as a pheasant realizing the decoy, too late,
too late. Pack the bags under your gaze.
Get into your solid black soap box derby for one.
Goodbye clean heroes. Goodbye marketable life. Goodbye
safe lethargy. Goodbye resurrected shame. Goodbye wallflower
botanist. Roll away proud. Sing out that you are not sorry. Forever is for losers. You have got to go.
Why not leave in a Champion face? Cross the finish line and freeze in that Champion face. Goodbye. You win.
Close the lid.
It’s getting warm. Look how the racer becomes a finish line.
Relax and give in to all the victoriously beautiful,
loving energies of death.
DERRICK c. BROWN is a comedian, poet and storyteller. He is the winner of the 2013 Texas Book of The Year award for Poetry. He is a former Paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne and is the president of one of what Forbes and Filter Magazine call “…one of the best independent poetry presses in the country”, Write Bloody Publishing, which has launched over 112 books of poetry. He is the author of five books of poetry and three children’s books. The New York Times calls his work, “…a rekindling of faith in the weird, hilarious, shocking, beautiful power of words.” He is from LA.
Image: “Hubble view of barred spiral galaxy Messier 83”, by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Acknowledgement: William Blair (Johns Hopkins University)