I Almost Died A Lot

When I was very small
My mother took me to the lake
Out I floated, inflatable raft
Then I slipped.

I didn’t know how to swim
And down I went. Once. Twice. A third time.
Thrice is a bit much.

But she dragged me to shore.

A few years later, away at camp
In the bitter winter, I ventured a lonely lake
I chose to walk on the ice
After school specials be damned

Through the ice I went
No one to see me

Somehow I pulled myself out (some movie taught me how to do it)

In college, headed to a party
Everyone loaded and laughing
Especially the driver, what a punk
He flipped the damn car at 90

Being drunk paid off
As I flopped out the window

Cut up, but I scraped by. I left a few pints behind.

Sitting at the bar, having a few
A downtown Detroit restaurant
Suddenly yelling, a gun
It was a robbery, hands in the air

Nobody move, he says
So some asshole moves. Thanks.

Gun goes off just past my shoulder

One night I found myself on a roof
Seven stories high, look at that skyline
It was night, and I was stupid
I fell off the back, should look when I am going
Only 60 feet, instead of 150

Broke a hip and my pride. Pride still hurts.
But survive I did

Later to be the punch line of jokes. Maybe you heard a few.

A year later, only a damn year
A violent storm, a tornado in fact
Tears through the house
I hid in the basement

Lost everything I owned
But a bag of clothes. That I had packed for the weekend. Convenient.

It was a close call.

Then there’s the time that fell after
I don’t care to share details
I can tell you that I
Made bad choices, the killing kind

Truly, it’s a miracle that I made it
If life were fair,

I’d be dead.

Two, maybe three times over.

If I were a cat (A Tom Cat), I’d be down to my
Last life. 9 of 9. (Rough calculation)
But I fear that it might be
Whittling away

Being nickel and dimed by fate
And age.

It’s a list of nonsense:
Late onset food allergies, hives
Teeth falling apart (I get cavities now)
Plantar fasciitis.

Now I got a goddamn podiatrist.

Hemacromatosis – big word, big boy.
(Hey! There’s a cyst in my liver. They tell me this happens all the time)

Other bullshit, and bullshit to be named later.

The slow death of minor inconveniences, maladies, risk factors, possibilities.
I think that my last life will be taken by a collection of annoyances.

A lazy hatchet splintering small chips until tree
Number 9
Falls over.

Photo Credit: [ henning ] via Compfight cc


13 thoughts on “I Almost Died A Lot”

  1. Love this closing line: “The slow death of minor inconveniences, maladies, risk factors, possibilities. I think that my last life will be taken by a collection of annoyances.” Great poem, Tom.

  2. Compelling poem. I almost feel like you’re wishing it would be the more headline-grabbing storylines that finally gets you. I, on the other hand, would rather that my ending not be dramatic. I’ll take the old age and maladies rather than a foolish slip of fate. But it won’t result in a fantastic poem like this.

    1. Well, I have always said that I am not afraid of death, but I am afraid of dying stupidly (such as falling off a roof because I am not looking :P)

      My hope is to stretch out life #9 as long as I can. Thanks for the good words and taking the time to share them!

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