08 February 2013

Things to Do: at, on, or about my Deathbed, which may or may not be at a Hospital or similar Institution, so some of this may not literally apply. Please extrapolate as needed.

Read the Psalms.
Out loud.
Start at 1 and we'll see how far we get before I'm done.

Play poker.
On my chest, belly, lap, and legs.
Seven-card variants would be best.
Want to feel the cards and the money on my body.
Coins would be best – and heavy slate chips, next best.
No, don't use the lunch tray-table-thingy.
The stupid Romans ran a casino at the foot of the cross,
you'll figure something out. Stop complaining.
If I'm willing to be the table - just play.
And play for really high stakes.
Something worthy of the occasion.

Talk to me.
I can probably hear you.
Just watch the heart monitor. The number
will go up when you say something sweet or
something jarring– it’ll be up to you to know the difference.

Let the kids play.
With the bed controls. What difference does it make at this stage?
And it’s a good skill to learn: you press a button
and something moves.
Or it doesn’t.

Don't stay here all night.
Just play Alexander Scourby reading the Bible.

Sweet tea.
Need I say more? With real sugar.
Maybe use one of those little pink sponges and daub
it on my lips. The rest of you, though, please
drink it from glass glasses - so I can hear the ice ring
against the glass glasses.

Bring in food.
Don’t ask permission. I probably can’t eat it,
but you can. Collards, black-eyed peas, cornbread,
macaroni and cheese. Banana pudding.
You get the idea.

Touch me.
Preferably where there’s not a needle or a bruise
or a broken bone.

Nice perfume.
Ask the nurses to wear some really good perfume/cologne.
Buy them some if you need to. There's some/enough cash stashed
inside my guitar for this very purpose.

Read the Psalms.
Out loud. Up through 24 would be good.

When it’s all done, leave expensive parting gifts for the nurses
(by the way, the perfume doesn’t count toward this).
There’s always some body to follow.


  1. I love this. I haven't responded to your e-mail. I'm alive.

    1. Hey Amber,
      Thanks for dropping by and for your kind comment.

  2. This is one of the finest things I have read in a long while. Moving, funny. Brilliant.

    1. Dear Jonathan,
      Thank you for your generous comment. Unfortunately, it was triggered by my dear friend's 3-month bout in the hospital, which he just recently lost: he died on Thursday. Great blues harmonica player who helped me at the nursing homes for many years - he was 63. A house-painter by trade.

    2. Sorry to hear that. Fine tribute.