Max Gutmann


You Only Die Once

Of all the many ways to die,
we each will taste just one;
the rest, untouched, we must let lie,
a smorgasbord of fun.

To wither with one’s family near,
to drive into a tree,
to feel one’s throat cut ear to ear:
one cannot do all three.

A suicide shows nerves of steel.
A murder’s thrilling, no?
And death by accident I feel
a jolly way to go.

A fall from height can give, I bet,
a stunning journey down,
but as you soar, you might regret
you’ll never get to drown.

It’s hard to truly feel content
to exit just one way.
And when its over, how it went
we’re not allowed to say.

Max Gutmann has contributed to dozens of publications, including New Statesman, The Spectator, Cricket, and Light Quarterly. His plays have appeared throughout the U.S. and have been well-reviewed (see His book There Was a Young Girl from Verona sold several copies.