The News of your Death

for Philip Whalen


You told Lew Welch
I looked like Harpo Marx.
You said my metaphysical poetry
was "not news."

It was news to me, I replied

Death is not news, according to the Buddha.
But it will be news to me,
As I'm sure it was to you,
When everything familiar
Becomes deathly strange,
And the irreducible strangeness at the core of life
Proves to have been the most familiar thing of all.
The silence between the words --
It was always there,
Like the ground under our feet.

The news of your death
Like a distant cousin you rarely think about
And haven't seen for years,
Is strangely familiar.

- 2002 - Charles Upton
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