manifesto for how we will mourn our dead
We will raise their bodies on flagpoles and string them in sequence. Father first, mothers, then children. Babies will be nestled in crèches on the ground at our feet. Each family will keep their own babies. We will build extra flagpoles if we need to. When you die we will add you. We will cut the rope that hangs your family together, in order to fit you in.
Your son who is dead will hang beneath you.
We will fit you in.
We will build your flagpole near those of your family, and those of your ancestors. To this end, we have begun mapping out flagpoles in advance. We have begun digging up your parents and your grandparents and your uncles and your aunts, to string them from the tops of flagpoles. To hang over you, to attach you to when you are dead.
For the children of blended families, we will string rope between flagpoles and hang them. They will be hung midway on the rope, or less than midway if they loved one parent more.
This will be fair.
We will hang your pets. As some pets have many owners — mainly pitbulls and certain lizards — we will divide them into pieces among the families that cared for them, or alternately those that didn’t.
We will not discriminate based on the amount of love you gave your pet. A portion of it will still hang with you.
We will string strings from your mouth and your eyes and your hands and your fingers. These strings will reach out to clandestine lovers, to she who you loved like a sister, to he who inspired you to write again, to memories. we will tie you to your memories by whatever means — to the rivets in your brain, the valves of your heart, as necessary. We can tie these strings to your father’s hands, to your mother’s love.
We can tie them to the plastic garbage truck in the sandbox you played in as a child.
We can tie them to each grain of sand.
We want you to sleep with your favorite books. We will string these books from you on fishhooks. They will all hang from you.
For books loved by many, we may build tents with books at their apexes. The tent will reach out from the book and drape across you. In this way the book covers you.
We acknowledge the foundation that you form.
We want you to remember your favorite car. It will be parked in a lot beneath the flagpoles that you and your family hangs from. We will leave just enough room between each car for the babies in their crèches.
We will remember family trips, your backseat conceptions, your hot days. For those who loved cars more than people, we will make special exceptions. We will peel you from your bones and insert you in pieces into the car’s engine, into its exhaust pipes.
We will fit you in.
We will acknowledge your favorite emails. The lot where every car is parked and every baby is crèched will be a floor of living screens.
Your emails will always be accessible. We will have access to the one where Megan never forgave you. We will proudly display your Barbara and Paul Salt Teaching Award. We will show off the ordering page for that back issue of Heavy Metal that you were featured in.
You will have as many screens and channels as you need. We will ensure your eyes cast downward.
We promise to honor the dead that you have honored in your schoolbooks and your novels and your literary prose and your holidays.
We will set up Kickstarters as you have done, and we will teach units on them to fourth graders. We will stand in front of tanks as you have.
We will backpack across Europe and start blogs. We will rail against your enemies on Facebook. We will criticize anyone who shops on Thanksgiving.
We will honor your traditions as we honor corpses.
We will honor you with an exact word count. We will say your words and attend your parties. We will learn your languages.
We will make sure you know how important you are. We will honor your ideas. We will love you as no one has loved you.
We will kiss you when you sleep.
We will miss you when we can’t see you at Christmas. We will sacrifice for you. We will never be angry when you can’t take our calls.
We will dream of what you looked like naked in your Manhattan apartment, and we will dream of this a thousand years. And every time your corpse logs onto Facebook, we will talk to you.
We are sorry. We cast at flagpoles. Birds land on you. We wave them off.
We walk among you, stepping between crèches, charging dead car batteries. We look up at every pole, just to find a sight of you.
We look for your sons, lost this many wars.
Note: should be read with this playing in the background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHI3PUd-gAU