This is how it happened.
It was a dark day.
It always seems to be a dark day
when you die.

Even in a beautiful summer,
when you die
it becomes dark.

The clouds form and rapidly so.
Over storm drains, the radio hums
a bitter tune.
The moon licks the sky.
The salt of the sun
turns blood orange.

I died. It was a simple way to go.
Just me, a boat and a banjo’s echo.

One of many humdrum deaths,
nothing beautiful but the last breath.
It wasn’t a witch, it wasn’t a switch.
It wasn’t a slit wrist or bruised fist.
It wasn’t a madman or a madwoman.
Not mutilated or grasped and gapped.
Nope, nothing at all like that.

Wasn’t a manhole slip, or a slipped disk.
Wasn’t a mouth full of water
or lungs drowned in quick.
Wasn’t a bullet or poisonous needle.
Wasn’t ’cause I was old or feeble.
Wasn’t drugs or an overdose.
Wasn’t the haunting of a red rum ghost.

It wasn’t a brick, or a slab of glass.
It wasn’t a slice, it wasn’t a gash.
I don’t know what it was,
but I know it wasn’t any of that.

I died a humdrum death,
not even newsworthy.
A life not yet lived,
a poem far too wordy.
I never saw the glaciers.
I never saw Venice.
always played checkers
while others played chess,
My humdrum death.
For a second, the funny pages
had a happy ending I guess.

Like something out of a movie, it wasn’t.
Unless the movie was Deliverance.
Then that exactly was it.


Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His third book, Train of Thought 2: Almost Home is available now at the Oddball Book Store.