Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I am carving a magnificent death mask. My knife is time. It's razor's edge cuts over and over into the pale putty of my facial tissue. Keened on the blood of my soul. Honed with hunger, and malevolent hatred. Fueled and fed, suckling on anger, joy, passion, regret, fear, sickness, depression.

Slowly lacerating, excoriating flesh, bone, soul. Every person I've ever loved or hated, slashed angrily into violent snarl lines and downturned mouth corner lines, smile lines and laugh lines. Every day of monotonous, mundane work, slowly eroding and drying the flesh into wrinkles, sagging, sallow skin. My brow has been knit by decades of frustration, enmity and bad moods. Eyes sunken and hollowed from untold numbers of breakups and family deaths, failures, tragedies, triumphs.

The eyes still burn though, and when I complete my carving, I'm sure they'll light the mask for a while to come.
I know they'll see what needs to be done, when the time comes.
So will you. Chances are, you squinted or maybe knitted your brow while reading this. Maybe from the disagreeable contrast of your monitor, or the absurdity of this blog... Just a little thing everyone does a hundred times a day without thinking. Flesh has a memory. it bends and creases, every which way, absorbing punishment, cushioning blows, loving others, hurting others, even until death.
Like most people with "good sense", flesh eventually gets fed up. Stops "bouncing back". When a person is pushed too far, over and over again, they snap. They do damage. Flesh is only different in one way. It fights back, even confronted with it's own end, it strikes hard and deep.
Cutting into your flesh, it's flesh with a voracious, all-consuming hatred that is anything but, and yet all-too human.

It is my pleasure to aid you in carving your own death mask, in whatever manner or capacity that occurs.
Now don't get judgmental and pious. Everyone is helping at least two other people carve their death masks every second of their lives. Maybe the most at the times of each person's birth and death.

I like to think that when you die, your death mask is taken from your face and placed on display in a massive gallery with everyone else's death mask, so the living can appreciate the quality of the carvings.
Sounds a lot more interesting to me than being planted or cremated. That's why I know what to do when the time comes,
and so will you.

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