Observing Sweden – Life & Death Part 2

            Sunset with music, non-invasive, nice.  I start to understand this quiet river as a symbol, driver, metaphor and simile . . . provocateur. Darlana, here tonight, for me, is life . . . and death. The river curves, goes out of sight into unknown, obscure, event horizon  . . . Death. A major change in life, the mother of addictions.

            Orchestra now playing James Bond movie theme, Gold Finger— simple, unpretentious. Nice. This perfect evening, warm for Sweden in September. Colors deepen . . . masterpiece evolving, still more fascinating. I’m locked in . . . this river, life . . . and death.

            As we grow older, short term memory begins to lose some staying power. Long term memory turns up the volume, in 3D. Things done, and things not done. A Tibetan Buddhist asked me, “If you take away all good things you’ve done in your life, then all the bad things you have done. Who are you now?” An interesting question.

            Bad things. Remembering. Only had one fist fight in all these years, with a best friend, of course. He’s dead now, and I swear I didn’t do it. I’ve been fairly innocent, did a few stupid things that hurt people, but that was not my intention. I can’t think of all that many good things either. I once taught inner city High School . . . got to be some bonus points for that. If there’s a judgment I should have a 50/50 chance.

            ‘Old’ people read obituaries, curious I guess. Can’t read the local papers here, or understand the Swedish TV news. I do not channel surf for English language views. It’s kind of nice . . . not knowing. But one sees and hears of death. Once famous actors fall like ten-pins, Bogart, Brando, and so many others, long gone, James Gandolfini, almost yesterday. Great writers, Mailer and  Capote. Is it ill advised to wonder, how much time do I have left?

Image           I think about the Hindu Goddess, Kali, belt of skulls around her waist, a severed head held happily in one hand, dripping blood, more instruments of death other hands. We symbolize things we can’t fully understand . . . give them a name to make them seem as known, at least identified, a label. Goddess Kali is no more, or less, than time personified. She kills us all. No one escapes her.

            Time. How much to I have left? A decade? Probably that at least, and maybe more. Another twenty years? I would be ninety-five. If I were asked of years, how many more I want . . . glad I don’t have to answer that. My choice of way to make an exit? By surprise, would be my pick. James Thurber’s wanted to be bit by a blue mamba in the Taj Mahal . . . creative.


            Dark now. Things are winding up, music with fireworks overhead. My life is more than half way down the river, with exploding colors overhead. Fantastic punch line to this evening. I’m remembering a favorite movie, ‘Meet Joe Black’ (Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pit). There’s fireworks at the end, when death walks off with the protagonist. This river’s been a trip for me tonight. I’m curious to see what happens next. Worst that could happen, a rude unawakening.

            Death is the exclamation point of life. I hope my sentence is a long one. Time enough to add a few more words.


About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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5 Responses to Observing Sweden – Life & Death Part 2

  1. The day of your death is a celebration of all that you achieved. Whereas the day of one’s birth is only a celebration of what the parents hope is to be.

  2. I rather go for James Thurber’s idea… this will give me something to think of endlessly instead of what three books I’d take to a desert island !!!

  3. authorjim says:

    Is it ill advised for you to wonder how much time you have left? If there is an answer to that question it is really irrelevant because you are going to wonder regardless of the answer. Any of us who get to the time when the shadows are long are going to wonder. The only ones who don’t wonder are the ones who die unexpectedly while their sun was still high in the sky. Go ahead and wonder, Bruce, but don’t dwell on it. I once heard the advice, “Be prepared to die tomorrow but plan on living forever,” and I like it.

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