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Wednesday, August 05, 2009


by JoAllen Bradham

The daily paper does a spin on death,
Fabricating fame, puffing trivia,
Conflating decades past with yesterday.
Sweetness and light, vapid as high school lore,
Fill up inches of obituaries.
So “passing on” is pastiche of platitude.

If the deceased had not drawn their last breath,
Had not recycled beyond the last hurrah,
They would blush, object, demand a replay
Upon reading cookie baking was the core
Of eighty years fighting heavy weathers,
That playing bridge defined beatitude.

Upon his “untimely passing” Macbeth
Today would be washed free of all faux-pas.
A “loyal husband,” “brave king,” “sturdy stay
Of strength.” One who earned his due, no more.
His lady—not the cookie type—carries
Her strong hands with spousal rectitude.

Newspapers issue none-too-fit bequests—
Puny, pitiful desiderata.
“Lovely,” “loving,” “devoted”—they all say,
Stamped out in mass. Not what each singly bore.
It’s long past due for obit’s commentaries
To take note of truth or fortitude.

JoAllen Bradham lives and writes in Atlanta. She is a published novelist (Some Personal Papers) and, by training, a specialist in satire.