Life Extension

by Kirby Wright

With modern medicine, isn't all life artificial?
Wonder drugs make us artifacts, might someday
Preserve us longer than Methuselah, the antediluvian.
Walt Disney's still alive in a cryogenic sense,
His skin as blue as Matterhorn snow. It's a wonder
I survived babyhood after three convulsions,
Thank god Mrs.Tamura held down my tongue with a
Spoon. Lives keep extending, making postwar babies
The envy of their prewar parents. What about pets?
That cat down the street isn't breathing the way he did
Last week. Must be his diet. Some owners give their
Dogs and cats Life Extension, either in powder or tablets.
After powder, Grandma's Chihuahua wants to be bounced on
My knee like a baby. My vet says animal longevity can't be
Predicted. He's right, especially when you consider the
Omnipresent threat of traffic. In the human world,
Orchestra conductors live the longest—something about
Commanding with hands, making faces, waving a wand
In front of trained musicians. I doubt train conductors live
As long, although their approach whistle might resemble
A note blown from an archangel's trumpet. My uncle wanted
Taps played over his grave. Will I be buried with
Cuff links polished? Gold watch strapped to my wrist?
Saint Michael on a swimmer's chain around my neck?
A classmate I once loved keeps getting posthumous
Awards in my quarterly bulletin, this one for
Lifetime Achievement. It's as if she never really left.
Our lives keep overlapping in Alumni Notes, even though
In high school we hardly touched. Sometimes I break out
The tarot deck, work it like a Geiger counter—
Detecting spiritual fallout, measuring ethereal
Particles, interpreting her half-life, trying to kiss a ghost.

BEFORE THE CITY poetry collection (isbn 0974106704)

Kirby Wright's picture

Kirby Wright was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu and the University of California at San Diego. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Wright has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and is a past recipient of the Jodi Stutz Memorial Prize in Poetry, the Ann Fields Poetry Prize, the Academy of American Poets Award, the Browning Society Award for Dramatic Monologue, and Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowships in Poetry and The Novel. BEFORE THE CITY, his first book of poetry, took First Place at the 2003 San Diego Book Awards. Wright is also the author of the companion novels PUNAHOU BLUES and MOLOKA’I NUI AHINA, both set in Hawaii. He was a Visiting Writer at the 2009 International Writers Conference in Hong Kong, where he represented the Pacific Rim region of Hawaii. He was also a Visiting Writer at the 2010 Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency in Edgartown, Mass., and the 2011 Artist in Residence at Milkwood International, Czech Republic.

Last updated September 08, 2011