‘Dying’s Annoying,’ a poem by Heathcote Williams

Ever since the death of two close friends, my staff of thousands has had trouble sleeping. Recently a suffocating moment of enlightenment troubled it further. The staff was contemplating an obvious but astonishing fact: When a body expires the person attached to it vanishes. The person has dematerialized.
It’s hard to wrap your head around that. It’s not science fiction.

'Dying's Annoying' by Heathcote Williams

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  1. says

    Another approach might be to realize that happiness is an unobtainable and ephemeral delusion, and that there can be no greater heaven than the eternal peace of non-existence.

  2. says

    “the eternal peace of non-existence.” i shall keep that in mind. it sounds very comfy — and very beckett. thx for the thought. i found the humor in heathcote’s poem therapeutic.

    • says

      “We like life, but all the same nothingness also has its good points.” – Voltaire

      “…it remains at least doubtful whether existence is to be preferred to non-existence… [and] … if experience and reflection have their say, non-existence must surely win.” –Schopenhauer

      “You’re on earth. There’s no cure for that.” — Beckett

    • says

      Liebling was with the Allied forces when they entered Paris. He wrote: “For the first time in my life and probably the last, I have lived for a week in a great city where everybody was happy.” Which goes to show, as Schopenhauer notes, that happiness is just a counter-reaction to perennially reoccurring emptiness and sadness, Or as Jacques Lacan put it: “I am there where it is spoken that the universe is a defect in the purity of non-being.”

      “All I know is that the hours are long, under these conditions, and constrain us to beguile them with proceedings which – how shall I say – which may at first sight seem reasonable, until they become a habit. You may say it is to prevent our reason from foundering. No doubt. But has it not long been straying in the night without end of the abyssal depths? That’s what I sometimes wonder. You follow my reasoning?” — Vladimir, Waiting for Godot

    • says

      Wasn’t the ignoto term something he used as a sports writer for the NY Times where he was fired for its use? Major American propaganda organs must keep up appearances, especially hard work when masking the slaughter of innocents…

      • says

        hmmm … You may be right. It may have been the Times. I thought it was the Providence Journal, where Liebling’s newspaper career began. as I recall, he was assigned to the news desk, or the equivalent in the sports department — it was a low-level assignment — to get the results of local wrestling matches (high schoolers, i think). the results were supposed to include the names of the referees. when he couldn’t manage to identify the referees, he filled in the word “Ignoto” (as in “I don’t know”). Somebody finally noticed that this guy Ignoto was doing an awful lot of refereeing. Oops.