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Life is What You do While You’re Waiting to Die*

All your life you hear the lure of the healers
Who tell you to awake from the dimension of self,
Tear away the voice that bosses you around,
Focus on the heartbeat of the moment,
Feel the cosmic energy, the atoms within you,
Reach into yourself and change shape as the cloud;
Let the chanting wind sound as voices in the waves
Charged with the power of the moon tides
Which come to a soft and tickled landing
While you slowly breath in and out
From your left lung while sitting like a lotus.

But the primal genes speak loud in you
And make you daven with the music
From throbbing electric drumbeats
And the masturbating guitar licks;
Absorbing the fires of autumn with sad requiems
When the human voice brings you to tears,
Or bathe in the memory of nakedness
Guiding your sex into furious orgasms;
O let the blood seethe with passion
With love and hate and greed
Howling at the time lost to hopes and prayers
And carrying an ax to shatter the mirrors of truth-
“Forget all that crap, just live your fucking life!”


It is said those who await an imminent death
Will pass their last hours in an ecstasy-
The ego evaporates into a strange halo light
That appears to hover over the bed-
At last you are free of want, free of thought,
Letting go of all possessions and desires,
Just floating in the currents around you
As the birds gather like angels at the windowsill
And stare into the silence of the room.

In that forever now you are spellbound,
Something beyond time or imagination.
You always knew that shy perfection.
But it’s such a bother to live without words
If just before you die you find that union
Between the white nirvana and feeling alive.

Last few words: 
*The title of this poem is from “Life Is”, song from the musical Zorba! Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Zorba was a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis (1946) and later a Broadway play and movie about the lust of life a la Greece, just dancing with absurdity and paradoxes. If you do not know it, a good read or try the film with Anthony Quinn. "Daven" is a word now in the English dictionary, from the Hebrew, as describing the act of swaying up and down while praying or reading sacred texts. I couldn't find another word that said it better, like when they "drop the base" in the club-mix. The poem is edited with new title and broken into 2 sections using asterisks- (a "dinkus") .
Editing stage: 


a fantastic poem, you keep me spellbound throughout with surprisingly beautiful lines. A very well crafted piece, its almost like a sculpture, because it takes time and care to chisel out a beauty as this.

I do have a peeve, that last, question asking, line seemed too direct.


The most powerful reaction
of mind on mind
is transference of sight

I have edited it a new title and broke the poem into sections. The intent if the last line was to try and say was if you eventually reach that state normally just before death (as is suggested a scientific fact that countless studies have shown from those like Hospice nurses and doctors -see "the art of dying" by Peter Fenwick, ) then what the hell, dance with life rather than sit in full lotus contemplating it (controlling your breathing and humming om) We need to know that timeless place exists, to to live a life obsessed with getting there before your life force says no.
And in the end you reach it anyway, naturally, and as the moment to reach is "eternal" , well, part of you was always there anyway.
The whole song "Life is" kind of says it all, It is great great lyric. (Not great poetry, too one dimensional)

Life is what you do while you’re waiting to die,
Life is how the time goes by!
Life is where you wait while you’re waiting to leave,
Life is where where you grin and grieve!

Having if lucky, wanting if not,
Looking for the ruby underneath the rot,
Hungry for the pilaf in someone else’s pot,
But that’s the only choice you’ve got!

Life is where you stand just before you are flat!
Life is only that, mister,
Life is simply that, mister,
That and nothing more than that!

Life is what you feel,
‘Til you can’t feel at all,
Life is where you fly and fall!

Running for shelter, naked in the snow
Learning that the tear drops any where you go
Finding its the mud that makes the roses grow
That’s the only choice you know!

Wait! Once again…

Life is what you do while you’re waiting to die…
This is how the time goes by!

I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing
than teach ten thousand stars how not to dance
ee cummings

author comment

read lovedly
in new garb as

I did get your meaning in the last line, it just seemed out of place poetically with the rest of the poem.


The most powerful reaction
of mind on mind
is transference of sight

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