I remembered when I had died.
That’s right I had died.
Not in the figurative sense.
No heart beat.
In the cradle of Dead.
Let me describe the experience.
It was like a weakening.
From all over.
My breaths had grown shallow.
My eyes began excepting a quickly approaching sleep.
My legs and hands grew heavy.
Then a shadow like cold,
slow but transitioning crept over me.
Then my words began to slur.
And in my fight to stay alive my eyes tried to capture the last images of a living world.
Sparks of blurred light danced around my body.
Later I was told that this experience was my body going into shock.
But it was more than shock.
Now I can call it beautiful
But then, it was consumingly bright.
And as the people who were present on the street gathered around me
I heard everything.
I saw everything.
And that’s when I knew I was dying.
You just know.
Like when the elderly say they’re going to sleep and it’s like different the last time.
Or when you walk out of your house and you know that it’s going to be one of those days.
It was almost like that but much more.
You see, my heart gently started to fade into the background noise of the world.
And finally I was cold.
The blood that poured from my body no longer mattered.
Part of me thought that it felt good.
It was like singing the gospel before a pulpit of angles
When that shiver hits giving you those chills that run down the back of your spine.
And at the one exacting moment
My body felt warm.
In that moment, it wasn’t the sensation of my life flowing from my body that I sensed,
It wasn’t my pure essence flowing from me.
It was something else.
I was living again in heaven.
And while part of me was calling for GOD to keep me safe,
Me bellowing to God to take care of my spirit,
To stop the physical pain,
There was a calming.
Like a second consciousness telling me to, “Shhhhhhhhh.”
And that’s when I closed my eyes one last time.
I closed my eyes.
And I was warm.
Warm like I was when I was in my mother’s womb.
Because at that point, I remembered what it was like.
I heard everything.
The people on the street,
the crying of women,
radio and cell phones,
the police asking questions about what happened,
the ambulance coming,
the doctors testing my blood type,
hurried feet squeaking floors,
the metal and wheels banging,
the machines beeping,
the nurses clapping when they heard a heart beat.
But there was one thing that I remember more so than any other sound.
“Can I go back?”
In my “No light at the end of the tunnel” state I asked GOD,
Can I go back?
And then I woke up.
In my stay at the hospital I was numb.
Not from the drugs given to me to hide the physical pain
But from the fact that I was sent back to this simply by asking.
Why I asked to stay?
I still don’t know.
Why I was allowed to come back?
I don’t know.
But since my arrival I have noticed
every religious and spiritual person has been telling me what God has told them.
What they have heard from God.
Everything according to God.
What I am suppose to do. According to GOD.
What God had ordained for me and all of mankind.
But the words don’t sound like what I heard.
They don’t feel like what I felt.
The voice is different.
What I hear is like asking for directions and giving a recipe for Stir Fried Rice.
You know its wrong from the first word.
Preachers, and Popes, Ministers, and Muslims
They all sound empty.
They sound wrong.
Try as they might, they fall short of the voice I heard in my death.
It’s somewhat sad and comical
Cause none of these Motherfuckers have a clue.
Not one fucking clue.
I walk along streets and see rows of dapperly dressed men and women
Noble men in black and white collars
Men draped in silk and embroidered gold
Staffs of reflective substance
Statues and Stained Glass images haunting and still
Halls filled with shouts , and hymns, the Negro spiritual ringing to the roof of heaven
and I sense in it all great emptiness.
Oh my God, why is it so empty to me?
Why is it so hollow?
And people; week after week continue to feel good.
They feel rejuvenated.
But when I walk into those halls of holy healing
I feel sick.
I feel the opposite.
At home God talks to me.
No musical scales and screams
No preacher prattle
No reminders of Satan and his fall from grace.
No plates filled with the evils called money to be counted behind closed
doors by accountants.
Accountants dressed in Armani and Alligator shoes.
No overlapping calls of Amen.
No great book of by James or psalms upon psalms.
It’s the sun that rises in the morning to greet my opening eyes.
My breath that allows me to say, “Thank You” for another day.
The water that washes away a past life of guilt and sins
and refreshes me for a day of saintly thoughts, deeds and sanity.
It’s the wind that touches my face
And the earth underneath my feet that tells me what is right.
I may not have traveled a heaven
I may not have traveled 10 feet above the streets of Harlem.
But I see the stars more clearly now.
Angles held both my hands and my head on that night
And God had awaken me gently into a World that is still sleeping.
And I know I am blessed.
Why am I here?
I still don’t know
But I am here everyday of my new life.
Work is the sole property of Shazza Nakim and is published with written permission by the artist.
(c) Copyright 2001