Five Propositions about Death

1. Caught in a substance imperceptible to humans, like a spider-spun web (as their web substance certainly must be to insects). We go about our lives. One day Bill walks into the substance (the web) scarcely perceiving it. Months pass and he notices his struggle with increased workplace stress. It’s uncanny his desire for fried fat-laden food, ever greasier. Some people remark on his disinterest in physical fitness. Until the heart attack. People’ll say those elements caused the heart attack. But the elements didn’t. They were only indications of having walked into that invisible web—time experienced in a different scale from the predator—and the heart attack? The death bite. A possibility attested by the trap.

2. The air around my flesh, feels to me, indistinguishable from the way water around a fish’s scales, feels to the fish. I must constantly be wary of hooks.

3. God’s abattoir: Earth. Humans talk about an all-seeing, all-knowing, wise God. Of course, nobody understands why little Dana, the age-three tragedy of Brome, had to die of a particularly virulent flu. They’ll say that in God’s wisdom there was a reason. Marcus, age 102 on the other hand, lived a life of acme quality. He fell asleep Tuesday evening and never awoke. And the stutteringly handsome Vincent, back in the day, contracted syphilis—so efficient those sorts. God gets hungry. Or if not God, a few of God’s customers need nourishing. God claims it’s the most humane method of slaughter, which they believe. Humans get to go about living, relatively unaware of what’s in store. No one escapes Earth. But come time for a tender young dish, God readies the flu machinery. Customers demanding something aged to fashionable ripeness encourage God to dispatch more disease, swiftly and efficiently handling the stock.

4. Birdcall serves the ominous function of death siren. We get lazy, we humans. The birds singing, we enjoy or marvel. But there is one, always one designated per person. We let our guard down over the millennia. Birds know it. Birds stick around, calling, trilling, chirping, singing, etc. making us used to their sound. We lost our ability to hear only what we choose. We hear everything now, only selecting some things for consciousness. But we hear it all nonetheless! So there’s that one unique bird, paired with its person, just waiting for its moment. That bird may land or fly nearby. Maybe it’ll wait in a tree or build a nest by one’s home. The moment one hears its song, is the last. Hearing that sound affects one’s singular solo decrescendo into death. Do the birds cheer one another? Are birds satisfied or joyous in their duty? One must practise choosing not to hear one’s paired bird.

5. Waking and dreaming as states of life: the parenthesis between death and inverted potential. While the wakeful may arouse the dreaming, I’m anxious to encounter the counterpart of the wakeful in the inverted potential that accompanies my death.

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