When you hear that I have died, think of this.

Think of cool nights breezes while you walk to meet your friends for a beer on a Thurs­day. Think of wak­ing up in flan­nel sheets on a snowy morn­ing and kiss­ing some­one you love. Think of hung-over diner break­fasts and the best cup of cof­fee in the world. Think of the sound of tires on seamed high­ways while you travel, think of French kiss­ing and leather jack­ets and push-up bras and bour­bon, think of the joy of hard work with friends. Then think of me.

Not sad, not the melan­choly soli­tude of empty skies, but the full days and crowded bars and signed con­tracts, a smile too big for my face, remem­ber I said I stay busy enough to fit three lives into one. When you hear that I have died, know that I want laugh­ter, and danc­ing, real danc­ing, to music that makes you move with­out think­ing, you’re wear­ing boots and jeans and a great t-shirt and won­der­ing if the girl at the edge thinks you’re cute. And you moth­er­fuck­ers had best DANCE, none of this bull­shit rock-nod hands-in-the-pockets shoegazer non­sense, no, make an ass out of your­self, feel your hips, kick off the high heels and sway on the shoul­der of a stranger, when I die, you’d bet­ter be laugh­ing your ass off on side­walks, eat­ing deli­ciously unhealthy food, drink­ing shots and tip­ping your bar­tender well no mat­ter how much money you make.

And Adam has to read the poem he wrote, and Laura, and June, and Scott Car­pen­ter has to play “Don’t Go Away, Chloe”, no fuck that, every musi­cian I’ve ever made out with or video­taped or road-tripped with has to play, so drink some cof­fee, baby, it’s gonna be a long night. When you hear that I have died, the best thing you can do is to get laid that night with a com­fort­able stranger, use my story to get their sym­pa­thy, and when you kiss them for the first time, think of me then.

When you hear that I have died, and you will, remem­ber your best revenge is to live well, take risks, save up money and chase your per­fect hap­pi­ness. Beat the sys­tem and learn to make your art really sup­port you, craft into some­thing your audi­ence can’t live with­out. Then make the world an even slightly bet­ter place — stop throw­ing your cig­a­rettes on the ground, vote in the next elec­tion, graf­fiti your life on the eyes of the hungry.

Then just do me one last favor. Please. Love some­thing. Any­thing. Start with your­self, but find pas­sion in every­thing, from an apple pie to a novel, make a fam­ily, get a degree, walk what­ever path is yours with your chin up and feet planted firmly. Have the best sto­ries to tell in the old folk’s home, about life­long friend­ships and epic love affairs, about the time you lost every­thing and yet found your­self hap­pier than when you began.. and remem­ber that time we got in SO much trouble…

Poets.. remem­ber. This is the story that never ends. When one of us leaves, another walks through the door. The pages turn, the sun keeps ris­ing. All you can do in the mean­while.. is to speak for your­self. Raise your voice high, tell your story, join hands against the dark and sing our souls to the sky. Know the best in me comes from the best in you, that as you tell your story, you will be telling mine, and our lives will be linked together for­ever, and every­one who hears you will become a part of the change we make.

So when you hear that I have died..
just ….live.

Gabrielle Bou­liane

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