A few months ago, I began looking through my journals at old poems I had written. “Strange planet” has gone through several revisions over the past year or so, and this is where I’m at with it so far.
By Nick Pipitone
Why do you fear death when
you’ve done it so many times?
It was new once and it scared you
awful boom and tingling sensation
up your spine, lights dimmed
explosion of impossible colors
tastes like metal and smells of wood
leaves you breathless
You wake up on a strange planet
red moons and amber clay
You ask, “Why does it have to be this way?”
baritone voice echoes, tells you sternly
You’re a little nothing and you’re not the
one who’s allowed to ask questions.
The poem started as a meditation on death and addiction. In the last few years of my father’s life, I worried so much about him passing away that it forced me to think about mortality (probably too much).
But, for me, the poem is also about spiritual rebirth and dying to self. It’s a familiar concept for recovery folks and one that I think about often.
I often feel that every few years when I fall into a depression or go through a rough period of life, my old self “dies” and a new self is “born.”
Weird, but it’s the best way I can describe it.