LAST THOUGHTS OF A DYING PHOENIX

A POEM BY ZAY ALABI

I’m shattering.

My feathers are falling, my bones are breaking. My ligaments stretch, tight and taut, I thought I taught them better but it was for nought. They snap. There goes my leg, my arm and I pretend to be alarmed but I knew this was coming. I think I’ve always… known. That this was fate, that this was destiny, perhaps written in ACGT code or psychosocial suggestions. Maybe it was both. It was always just a matter of time, marching in 4/4 while I wished to waltz in 3/4, wished to dance in the dark while the world slept and pretend that these feathers hadn’t been fading. I tried, I lied, I lied surprised at how easy it used to be to pretend to be anything but me. I’m not the composer here. Rallentando I say, slow down! And time says fuck you.

I am breathless, enraptured by the feeling of my lungs slipping out of the holes in my chest, of creeping serpentine cracks slithering across the surface of my skull, of soul-splitting golden truths ripping through my flesh and now I understand how empires must have felt when death rained down… my body can’t take this anymore.

Oh. There I go.
You know now, don’t you? Oh my little camomile, you realised. I am ash and dust, but you will come out shining, You will soar. You… will be fucking beautiful. I doubt you could even imagine it. Hell, you’ll party with angels in heaven and host AA meetings for demons, you’ll run with werewolves bathed in the light of the full moon and howl alongside them, you’ll tell Dionysus that rum tastes better than wine, you’ll tell Zeus to wear a condom, honey?

You’ll be electric out there.
But remember me, in here. I manned the fort, I tried my best, I was strong… right? I got us this far, didn’t I?

Just… give pause for me. Grieve for me.

Never forget me, and never forget that you are meant for this world. Go forth, and flourish in it.

Words Zay Alabi

Images Mel Bles / Stevie Westgarth Archive