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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/824044-A-Man-Can-Only-Die-Once
by Shaara
Rated: ASR · Poetry · Death · #824044
Wrong decisions guided his life, and each time the penalty came, he died a little more.
SLAM 2004 Finals: The prompt is proverbs.

Write a poem, in free verse, based on any proverb of your choice (see a list of suggestions below, or use any other proverb you please.) You must, however, twist the proverb in some way, do something unexpected with it.







A Man Can Only Die Once





When Teacher caught me cheating,
she sent me to the principal
who used his giant paddle.
A Man Can Only Die Once,
they say, but it isn't true
for returning to the classroom,
the kids all laughed.
I recall the wooden seat
with me sinking lower
as the pestilence of mockery
etched lines across my heart.

When I flunked out of Harvard,
my father couldn’t look at me;
the drive home was silent.
A Man Can Only Die Once,
they say, but it isn't true
for when I reached the house,
the silence turned to words.
As I wilted in the heat
of the anger of his scorn,
a plague of self-contempt
branded me in shame.

When my wife called me a failure,
she hired a good attorney;
the court gave her the kids.
A Man Can Only Die Once,
they say, but it isn't true
for when I tried to carry on,
my losses bludgeoned me.
As the loneliness of solitude
tore upon my soul,
I breathed a tortured breath
and opened up to drink.

When my grandson broke the windshield
as I slammed the auto’s brakes,
he landed in a twisted heap.
A Man Can Only Die Once,
they say, but it isn't true
for as they lowered down my Ben,
pain smothered out my heart.
A hundred eyes were staring,
slaying me with guilt;
I accepted all the burden
and rued my wretched life.

And when the pearly gates called,
I hung my head down low,
but Peter offered choices.
A Man Can Only Die Once,
they say, but it isn't true.
As my second door unlocked,
I dived into the night.
A new life is starting;
I’ll change my former ways.
I’ve vowed to make this journey
a life of benevolent good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




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