J.D. Rage

Brush With Death

life is an ongoing brush with death
only last month I felt my body freezing over
my hands were cold and useless as two dead mackerel
I couldn't feel enough in to insert my key
in the front door

the night before, as I went to sleep
I remember thinking, so this is how it will be:
a frozen feeling creeping up my legs
and arms approaching my chest
I might not get up tomorrow if my brain freezes
overnight and my heart becomes a block of cold blue ice

in the morning I awoke somehow
my limbs were swollen I had trouble walking
but my aching chest and brain hung in there
by evening after somehow getting back into
my place with my frigid fingers ready to crack
I couldn't walk or stand up from
a sitting position alone
I knew I was going down for the count but somehow
a friend got me to the ER. I had hyperklemia or
potassium poisoning which is so much easier
for a dying woman to understand
well what does it do? It makes your muscles useless
It makes your heart stop. The doctor said
I guess that was a good answer

after death brushes by and rejects you it brushes
you off, but it'll be back
maybe in two weeks as you cross the pinball game they call a street
maybe in one week if your body decides to keep every ounce of liquid
you ever drank and you become so waterlogged
your lungs can not accept any air
giving you massive fluid overload, which
also causes death due to lack of oxygen
or you could go in the hospital with pneumonia
and never come back out
or you could cut your thumb on a buzzsaw
which sends you into cardiac arrest

death is a prolific painter
when it is done with one canvas
it starts a million more

I wonder if death is really just a brush with life

Easter Poem

Give me the Easter Bunny
I will chop him
into little tufts of hopping
fur and set
the lot of them on fire
cute Easter eggs
are in trouble
I will dye them black
and paint them over
with skulls
and black cats
and witches eyeballs
Hop Hop Bunny
out of my way
I'm on a mission
of rabbit elimination
Does the egg signify
the sword ripping flesh?
Doe the bunny symbolize
a crown of thorns
and vinegar poured
into wounds?
perhaps the eggs
would be placed under
a large wooden cross
to help it be dragged
up a hill
and the Easter bonnet
could be tied on the
heads of hanging
to shield their
faces from the
weather - boiling sun
over baked earth -
there is a cloth
engraved with a bloody face
there is a strange light
in the sky
I am surrounded by criminals
on all sides
they are begging for water
I am wrapped in a clean sheet
I am on the lookout for
the Easter Bunny
I will make him eat his hat
then I will
nail his little hands
and feet to a
and hang his body
under the arch
leading into
Washington Square Park
so he can watch
the Easter Parade

I Was Never Female Before

I was never female before
and I have lived in many forms
my earliest memories are
those of an ancient turtle
in a swamp snapping my
jaws at giant buzzing dragonflies
diving deep toward underwater
caves at the sight of threatening
shadows of leathery wings
blotting out the light
I still have my shell
always bring with you
the most useful thing

I was a lizard too
a young lizard who wasn't
fast enough

Of all things I love to fly
The sight and sound of
feathers and wings
reminds me that
as a bird I was always male
and as a turtle and a lizard
I never learned the lessons
never wanted to
Raven Eagle Crow
Even in human form
an Egyptian astrologer
disguised as a woman
for safety's sake
I cared for nothing but study
I dreamed of learning the
secrets of the stars
I knew more then
than I will ever
know again
I learned why the brain is
left unused

in South America I was
half man half woman
but half of a thing
never quite equals the whole
I knew how to speak with
no stronger magic existed
than potions concocted in
my prehistoric turtle shell
attracting the essence
of both risen and fallen angels

I was dancing around a fire
when I first dreamed the
smashing orb of sun
rushing at the earth in
fiery anger
falling from the sky
with all the power of
a hungry bird of prey
It glowed and spun
intent on burning
I felt the heat
and awoke to
embers in the fire
and a feather
dead center

my wolf life was a hard one
during the time
of eroding wilderness
and disappearing forests
in the West
Native Americans were taken to
exist in squalor on the Reservation
I hid by day and watched
the invasion but could never
control my genetic urge
to worship the silver moon
I was beautiful howling
when a rifle blast cut off
my song
death came in blood draining
from matted red fur
panting I escaped the lifeless
carcass and saw its open
yellow eyes
glad to have died before
the hunter came to prod old
enemy wolf with the butt
of his gun

I reappeared in Europe as an
an artist
painting all the things
I had seen
until visions of the turtle
shaman wolf drove me crazy and
I committed suicide

I committed suicide
and soared off into Eagle
gliding cool wind currents
turning and swooping on
expansive wings
master of all below
tempted to fly straight into
the orange glow
and melt
descending in a rush of flapping
grabbing a small furry creature
in my steel vice talons
ripping into its flesh high
on a bare mountain crag
I miss the kill
and the suicide
and the sun coming down
baptizing my magic

I was a crow on
Connecticut Hill
a pet without a cage
I would perch upon
the large fingers of a man
who became my father
when I was born a female
when I lived this life as
learning lessons
of blood
of loneliness
of prejudice
of poverty
of escapism without suicide
of giving life
learning lessons I never
wanted to know
my father was nicer to me
when I was a crow

female is a harder thing
than wolf facing civilization
even with the feather
from the center of the fire
even with a
prehistoric turtle shell

J.D. Rage (1947-2018) said she dreamed herself up in a drug rehab in 1978 and came to life in February of 1985 on the sixth anniversary of the suicide of Sid Vicious. She believed that words are more important for their sound than their conventional meaning but that when both effects combine in harmony, the result is true beauty. While searching for excitement and peace, she played bass guitar and sang lead in several bands, wrote three unpublished novels and vomited up mountains of published and unpublished poetry, painted many portraits, and worked with film and digital photography. She was co-editor of CURARE, a multimedia magazine, and of Venom Press, a chapbook publisher. JD Rage was one of the co-hosts of the Sunday Open Series at ABC No Rio in the 1990's. She wrote in one of her bios, "She thinks Jack Kerouac is god even though it is no longer politically correct for a woman to feel that way. And by the way, god is dead. LUV, JD."

"I Was Never Female Before" has previously appeared as part of J.D. Rage: A Remembrance, included in The Wall, Volume I, Issue 6.

(These poems & the drawing appear through the kind auspices of Ptr Kozlowski who was asked by J.D. Rage to take care of her work after she died.)
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