mango death grip

30 Aug

We die.

No news to anyone here,

but in all the lush and frantic

moments that make up days,

the inevitability of death lies in a sealed envelope

in the victorian desk drawer

locked with a key.

The heart knows

the time and the manner,

I suspect, and

that beating soft and tender fruit of life,


calls to the icy fingers of some immortal

to hold me in a mango death grip squeeze

each night.

This heart, I suspect,

thinks it good

that my body battles the passing of me,

in the moments of desperation for air.

My horror dreams

have me up and out of the bed,

turning on lights,

but light does not provide oxygen

and the outside summer thickness

hides oxygen in blankets of steam.

The cat wonders if he is dreaming

as I join him under the moon.

The life dream has lost its key, dear cat.

I can not go gently, just yet,

and the night is not good

who steals from me not only what I think of as me

but takes my loves and drowns them

into the depths of the sea.

At night, I am living death

as a calling to look deeper

to unlock and open the drawer –

to do whatever it takes to find out

who is the I am

who never dies

before I do again.

30 Responses to “mango death grip”

  1. M.A. August 30, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    When I was a boy with childhood asthma
    and thought at times that each breath
    might end me, I had moments, glimpses
    of release. All my life I have tried to get
    back to that attitude I learned as a boy,
    to crawl out of this clinging into the open
    space of being, to the “I am who never
    dies” but only collapses into the 10,000
    things, a new multiplicity of manifestations.
    But these days, both the time I have and
    the time I’ve lost–future and past–terrify.
    I want to pry apart the fingers of longing,
    release myself from its grip. I’m trying to
    learn how to earn each day’s dying. And
    each rebirth.

    • marga t. August 30, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

      I am repeating a pattern in my sleep that feels more real than any waking hour. The mind closes her eyes for just a bit and the jaws of death clamp down again and again, so vividly, I panic and quake in bed, in the house, outside, even, in hours outside of normal. I cannot escape the body itself. Pressing: how to release beyond ideas of what death is, how to give in to the suffering of the body, how to relax into the breath as the teacher. Your writing is particularly beautiful, M.

  2. fouzul10 August 30, 2015 at 4:00 pm #

    Proved once again, you are exemplary poet

  3. smilecalm August 30, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    enjoyed this
    dramatic exploration, marga!
    i’m seeing melting back
    into the tub
    of ice cream
    as i eat it 🙂

    • marga t. August 30, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

      Oh, your seen/scene is so sweet.
      You help me remember
      whipped cream and cherries –
      for certainly they are as real
      as anything else is, too!

      • smilecalm August 31, 2015 at 3:25 am #

        it’s so sweet
        we can go
        as dessert 🙂

  4. Michael August 30, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

    I think of death often, M. I think perhaps I’m not the only one… I think the Dalai Lama once wrote we should do so everyday… 🙂

    What I think of is the sweetness of falling into the endless cushion of being– finding it familiar and ubiquitous, finding it complete. I think of the welling up of anxiety that may or may not precede this sweetness, and then I think to myself: this sweetness is available right now… What are we waiting for? What are we holding onto that keeps this away? It’s possible to take a breath without the baked-in worry that something could be taken from me… There’s a way of identifying with experience itself that absolves us of these heavy questions…

    Last night in my dreams I was chased by a bear. I haven’t remembered a dream in quite some time, but twice last night the bear came for me. Was it the moon? Once close to two decades ago, at a particularly significant time, I had a dream I was willingly allowing a bear to eat my heart right from my chest. How much do we have to give to finally surrender to the sweetness!?! Perhaps some nights, when the moon is full, Hafiz becomes a hungry bear!

    I see such love behind this dying, M. Such concern for loved ones. Such concerns for what one’s own heart still has to say… Such concern for living…


    • marga t. August 31, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

      I am touched by your kindness to visit such dark, scary places…

      In the light of day, I shake my stick at these experiences and say, what was all that fuss about, but in the night it has been full blown panic – very much a dying sensation.

      The moon and Hafiz must enjoy their luminous ritual, tromping through the subconscious minds in slumber, pulling costumes from the largest theatre dressing room imaginable. Cue bears and boats, hearts and cold watery depths, what a show!

      I paused for a good long while, days even, over the phrase, “There’s a way of identifying with experience itself that absolves us of these heavy questions…” There’s a way…perhaps even that is enough just to know. m

  5. Hariod Brawn August 30, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    I really warm to this work Marga, and you seem to have captured well an old British flavour somehow, perhaps evoked by your references to Thomas and Victoria.

    Odd that many should fear the one thing they never may experience; perverse too is it not, that what experience may be had be filled with imaginings of nothingness?

    • marga t. August 31, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

      Everything odd and ironic and complicated once I start the words and rumination after the fact. Perhaps there is a way to just feel it, and then feel what is next – seems easy to move on after the storm clouds move off to sea – but in the midst of the storm, nothingness sure seems big somethingness.
      I am delighted to channel even a tiny sliver of British flavour, perhaps I will dream of high tea tomorrow. That sounds more fun. 🙂 Always a treat to see you, H! xo! m

      • Hariod Brawn September 1, 2015 at 9:58 am #

        True indeed Marga, and we seldom can effectively philosophise away our emotions – try as we might – nor guess with accuracy what they may be at whatever imminent event. H ❤

  6. Karin August 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

    Beautiful poem, Marga.
    But I am sorry to hear that you have trouble breathing at night. If that is really a lesson for contemplatingn the I AM, then I hope you find the I AM soon.

    Best wishes for your health,

    • marga t. August 31, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

      I am so glad that I did not disturbing anyone with my night time panics until the breathing trouble passed. The caring nature in your words helps me press on to that bigger yet simpler question

      in gratitude for your encouragement!
      xo! marga

  7. Alison and Don August 31, 2015 at 3:03 pm #

    I am moved by your poem into remembering, again, that this life will end one day. I agree with the Dalai Lama. We should think of death every day. And like you, there’s a yearning to find out who never dies, before I die, and at the same time feel powerless to do anything about it. Swept along in this life that Life/the I am apparently wants to live I can only put one foot in front of the other hoping I’m headed in the right direction.
    With love

    • marga t. August 31, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

      Much like the dream I had a while ago, this Dalai Lama lesson has revisited a few times, lately. I’m headed with you, one foot in front of the other, hoping. 🙂
      xo! marga

  8. openminded45 August 31, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    What seems to be a life is a woman is a man dreaming. Unkown yet known. One can reason, others, can they reason them selves. Perhaps, such a dream of as you stated in your piece. “Who the I am is?” (A mere speculation,on my part.)

    • marga t. August 31, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

      I wake from this tough dream – and someday I will wake from the dream of the waking life, too. (mere speculation…everything:)

  9. Dr. Mike Campbell September 1, 2015 at 2:36 am #

    My dear friend, you’re becoming the Monet of words. What a delight.

    • marga t. September 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

      you send me into a little grading break, looking at water lilies online, scheming to plant my feet on the earthy ground at first chance. hello to you desert dwellers this morn!

  10. rahasyah September 2, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    By reading this blog it seems to me that we need to remember that we are mortal and by remembering it everyday will make us be in the moment and enjoy the moment and feel great to have a moment. I don’t know much about losing someone through death but just that it is the truth and maybe one day i’ll enjoy that moment too. I suppose that the moment will be a clarity and gives completeness to life.

    • marga t. September 6, 2015 at 11:39 am #

      So ironic the way death (in contemplation) can bring one more to life 🙂

  11. Andrea September 4, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    Marga. I have read this post several times now. It is really powerful. I have had my dates with death, though not like this, and I know it is a commanding force that brooks no interruption. I will say, that it seems to be selective on these occasions, giving a gift wrapped in writhing snakes to someone who has the potential of weaving nimbly through the gaping and fanged mouths. It seems the trick is to stop fearing the venom, at least it seems that way for me, though I’ve not achieved that fearlessness. But here, you become the snake charmer, adding music to the dance, or dance to the music, or both. Thank you for such brave and tender words. I dance to your music.

    • marga t. September 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm #

      You are the snake charmer, A! What a gift to glance in my own mirror expecting my own reflection, yet be met with the likes of you. I can see and hear your weaving of words that help me in my dance toward fearlessness – – I know that you have a post, and for days now I’ve been trying to get there, but the life flow right now demands a different rhythm – plus I enjoy having that visit to look forward to…xo! m

  12. Ka September 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi Marga,
    Every time I get somewhere, I stop in my tracks. Your poem here, and the words that follow, make me never want to leave the screen. Why is that? How can this text and font built of 1’s and 0’s hold so much humanity? At night, hold yourself in love. For you are very loved. We all are. ❤
    Aloha, Ka

    • marga t. September 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

      Oh Dear Ka,
      I feel your pause in this clearing. The love that holds me is felt! There is an awareness that what arises is just right for right now, and placed in my path when I have the directness to face it and move on through. Smiling at your beautiful red tree canopy – xo! m

  13. megdekorne September 10, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    So very lovely in its strength and deep quietness . I love your poem beautiful Marga and the title haunting and yet so sweet ….love , megxxx

    • marga t. September 11, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

      thank you, megxxx 🙂
      (your name sounds like a super hero – megxxx!)
      xo! marga

  14. bert0001 September 20, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    i hope you’re well. struggling myself with the need of oxygen, since the beginning of my conscious days. i had a very stable 12 years, till february this year. now it has become frightening again. and the doctors, they don’t know … those i visit have never experienced first hand, and see me as just another spot in their statistics … sometimes i see the light but i often experience the fear.
    wishing you the highest peak flows and fev’s, and a stable condition with always enough air to deeply fill your lungs
    … and love

    • marga t. September 20, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

      Oh, Mr. Bert. I can so relate. This vessel, so miraculous, is so seemingly vulnerable to such basic necessities – water, oxygen, food… the air one, especially, triggers powerhouse survival chemicals – an emergency siren goes off internally pulls out all the stops! I don’t have words, and perhaps that is my incentive to try some poetry – it feels like death, and in all reality, is probably worse than the real end transition because it makes no sense. Mind can’t wrestle it down. I am sending you the same as you send to me- I imagine love has much to do with the air deeply filling our lungs. Soothing, easing love sent your way!

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