My Demise

after a career of running guns
in North Africa, Rimbaud succumbed
                        to either syphilis
or carcinoma (depends on who you've read)
in Marseille in the care of his sister,
            much as he had written.

he was thirty-seven–
same age as Mozart.

Zen Masters, it is said,
recite a poem at the exact
moment of their death,
often ending with
the exclamation "Ha!"–
                they die.

alas, for me
nothing so singular
or noteworthy–
a small house on the Mediterranean,
the south of France–
              L'Estaque perhaps–
or maybe Spain–the Catalan.
        some place warm
            where i can sleep
    with the window open,
a ceiling fan overhead,
the fragrance of fruit trees
                        on the night air–
                  lemons, oranges, plums.
    there i would be happy–
            or at least content–
                        to die alone
                  a slow, quiet,
                        unhurried death.

but if i am sudden to die
                    let it be spectacular–
  crushed by a bus on my bike
                        in downtown traffic,
             body burned beyond recognition
     out along the

let it be shocking,
          let it be violent,
     and let it be
        while you still care.

-david bayliss

david bayliss is a poet and musician who resides in South Minneapolis. He is the host of several regular monthly poetry series throughout Minneapolis, including Poets & Pints. He works exclusively in the medium of poetry as he has a very short attention span, even for his own work.