The Dead Man Dies

May 24, 2016

They’d always thought that the dead man
was deaf. They never noticed how a baby’s cry
would set off his own tears, how a
smoke alarm would bring a panic, how he could
always hear the lunch truck when it pulled
into the parking lot. The call of hunger.
The miracle of ruby red lips.
They’d missed it all; too bad; they had to.
Sometimes it was like a second sight.
But he was always “the deaf man”.
He couldn’t hear them when
they talked about him behind his back.
Oh, why don’t you drop dead?
He couldn’t read lips, couldn’t see their faces.
No need to whisper; he was a little ‘slow’ anyway.
He couldn’t even hear the prayers
they said when he died. So suddenly.
On the wing of silence.
Remember the dead man, they’d said.
He couldn’t hear. Not a drop.

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3 Responses to “The Dead Man Dies”

  1. extrasimile Says:

    and consider this line from Shakespeare’s sonnets [31]
    Thou art the grave whee buried love doth live

  2. extrasimile Says:

    thanks Thomas. the origin of this poem really had to do with the similarity of ‘dead’ and ‘deaf’.and of course the peculiar situation you get yourself into when you say the title.

  3. Thomas Davis Says:

    Whew! What do you say about this one? It’s powerful, of course, overwhelmingly powerful. There is pathos: This character who cannot hear even if a baby’s cry would set off his own tears or
    . . .how a
    smoke alarm would bring a panic, how he could
    always hear the lunch truck when it pulled
    into the parking lot. The call of hunger.
    The miracle of ruby red lips.
    The unnamed “they” in his life never noticed him. He was dead, although very much alive. After all, he couldn’t hear, especially when they talked about him behind his back.
    There are so many people who have this element in their lives that the poem is universal.
    This is simply powerful, Jim. Powerful.


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