Thomas W Case

It Matters

I met a man once who said, It\'s all
nothing. Everything goes away in the end.
It doesn\'t mean anything.

I asked him, What about love?
He said, It\'s an illusion;
it disappears when you
think you have it.
It means nothing;
we are all going to die.

I saw him walking one day,
and I asked him
where he was going.

He said, It doesn\'t matter, all roads lead to death;
it all ends the same- nothing matters.

I said, What about family, children, and God-
what about life?
Family abandons you, children grow up and
move away; God is deaf and dumb, if he\'s
even there, and life ends in decay-
everything goes away.

I said, What about art and literature,
the power and the hope?
What\'s the point of beauty if the
beauty ends? he said.

I said, What about the moment?  You\'re
alive right now, it\'s real and it\'s happening.
Look at the simple beauty of that robin-
Its breast looks like a sunset.
Do you smell the sweetness of the cherry blossoms?
Do you remember the slippery loveliness of
a woman\'s vagina, the taste of a fine Chardonnay?
Look at the dappled fur on that dog; he\'s almost
grinning, that has to matter; it has to
mean something.

No, he said, That dog could get hit by a
car in an hour, then he\'d just be a pile of
bones rotting in the street.

But look, I said. He\'s alive; his fur is warm and
course; look at his tail wag, he knows things.

He shook his head. You don\'t get it.
The race is fixed; the horse breaks
his leg in the home stretch.
The champ goes down from a
glancing blow, the dice are loaded.
It\'s a setup.
Everything goes awry,
it\'s not good for mice
or men.

I smiled and threw a perfectly
timed left jab to
the bridge of his nose, the blood was the most
brilliant shade of red I\'d ever seen.
It flowed from his nostrils and
settled on the green grass
below his feet.
Some of it stained his white shoes.

Hey what the hell did you do that for?
That fucking hurt.

I said, Pain is nothing- it will end- it\'s almost
like it didn\'t happen;
maybe it\'s a dream.

You\'re fucking crazy!
It is real; you punched me,
and now my shirt and shoes are
ruined, he said.

He walked away, and the sun broke
trough the clouds, flowers bloomed,
and a small black
beetle crawled through a
patch of blood onto
a lilac bush.
And somehow, I knew
that it all mattered.