The Death Poem II

1.  Statements

“If you mean:
Do I believe in an old man with a gray beard up in the sky?
then, no—
but I believe there’s something—
a force—that underlies everything.
Maybe God is the Universe
or the force behind the Universe.
It’s kind of hard to express.”

“I’m not a religious person—
I’m more spiritual.
My spirituality means everything to me.”

“You don’t believe in anything after death?
I like the Hindu idea of reincarnation.
I believe we have a purpose to fulfill
and we keep coming back till we fulfill it.”

“I’ve lived before.
I’m sure of it.
I believe I was a chambermaid to Catherine of Aragon
and that I caught the eye of King Henry VIII.”


2. Discussion

“When we die,
something continues—
our Essence or something.”

“Is it our minds? Will we think?”

“No, we won’t think.
It’ll just be our essence.”

“So how will it be us?”

“I don’t know.
I just believe our Essence continues on after we die.”

“Will each of us be separate?”

“No, I believe we’ll all be part of some underlying force.”


3. A Theory about a Theory

“So, the way I see it,
a lot of people believe
that when we die
our body rots
and goes into the ground.

“Meanwhile, something—
call it a Soul or an Essence
or the ineffable whatever—
lifts off of us
and goes up to some cosmic plain.

“It’s like each of us
is a golden beam of light
and we feel good—real good—
because our perception of ourselves
is still there.

“And that good feeling is
like an orgasm
in outer space—
like this big continuous orgasm.”


4. An Objection

“I read about a woman
who had some rare illness
where she couldn’t stop orgasming.
It was extremely painful.”


5. Synthesis

“Clearly, I’m not talking about a terrestrial orgasm.
This is some kind of ethereal outer space orgasm
where our Essences just feel good all the time
as they merge with each other.
There’s no discomfort,
no muscle spasm or engorgement to worry about.”


6. Unfortunately

Pope Pete, the Bullshit Artist of Rome,
came to me in a vision.

He said, “Wise up, Dung Beetle.
When you die, you die.
You stop being you.
There is no more you.
There’s no first person I anymore.
Only other people will know that you’re dead.

“Remember when you were a baby
and you fell into this world? No?
Well, you did.
You fell.

“Just as you fell into consciousness so you will fall out.
And the value you’ve placed on your life for lo these many years
will be erased as you will be erased.”

And I told Pope Pete that I’d heard him bullshit many many times
but that I didn’t believe he was bullshitting now.

And so we were one.

from Sunset at the Hotel Mira Mar: New and Selected Poems by Herb Guggenheim;


Herb Guggenheim‘s poems and short stories have appeared in Kalkion, Gargoyle, the Florida Review, and many other publications. His book Sunset at the Hotel Mira Mar: New and Selected Poems was published by Infinity in 2011.

Mirjana Batinic is a new media artist working mainly in the medium of interactive installations, sound and video art. Her work was shown at many solo and group exhibitions and festivals of new media art all over the world. She presented Croatia two times at Biennial of young artist of Europe and the Mediterranean. Her work Peace, 2006 is a part of collection at Casoria International Contemporary Art Museum in Naples, Italy.

She holds BA in Fine Arts [University of Split, Croatia] and MA in Video and New Media Arts [University of Ljubljana, Slovenia] and is currently writing PhD thesis as part of the studies at the Department of Philosophy and Theory of Visual Culture [University of Primorska, Koper] and the Department of Philosophy [University of Malta].

Extensively engaged in writing, research and education. In 2004 she won 1st prize for literary work, by Književni krug (Literary Circle) Karlovac, Croatia. Her prose and poetry work was published in several publications. She is member of Croatian Association of Visual Artists – Split and Slovene digital video archive DIVA at Center for Contemporary Arts SCCA Ljubljana. Based between Malta, Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Split (Croatia).