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This poem is about the relationship with death through social media.

Open Coffin

Dsc02829__small_by Andy Buclaw08 Dec 2014

It lies open
A wooden door that never shuts
So we can watch matter decay
Through technology we've come to trust

I once heard someone speculate
That we live to see our funeral
To gauge our impact upon those we loved
The final blessing before our passing

It's an egotistical idea
But it leads me to ponder upon
The funeral in its current form
Where the dead continue to live on

In their profiles and photographs
I can't mourn their passing
RIP means a torn shirt where I come from
Not an acronym of ubiquitous mourning

There's no peace
When you're notified of every interaction
Each heartfelt message
Causes a small seismic happening

No peace
Now they've linked a webcam to your coffin
And posted up a selfie
To show people how you're rotting

No such luck for us living
Who have to watch each hanging corpse
Paraded by their family
As the hero of their little world

We've always existed with death
But grieving is a process
Not a continuous event
To remind us of the accident

Or illness
Or suicide, or murder
But it keeps me clicking on strangers profiles
To understand their motives

Fascination occurs when lives are kept open
When there is no answer to our intrusive behaviour
Like a vulture to the cultural carcass
We're the professional mourners

We move like graverobbers
Every name a headstone of passive guilt
Now the local councils are more transparent
We get details with a swipe or a click

Our eyes transfixed on their former face
We transform our memory
Juxtapose their time and space
Onto our historical inaccuracies

Moving from website to website
To spread our own personal faux grief
With a fictitious story that others cannot verify
Now they're face to face with a dead body

As long it keeps its mouths shut
And the grieving keep their lives open
The pall bearers will stand waiting to mourn
Staring at an open coffin

27th December 2013