I’m poeming this poem
from a forest-boreal
to my poem
against the bony mets
that XXXX up my posture
& infiltrate our nat’l backbone
its prostate biopsy
in the sagamore gloam
this spine unresponsive
to the pre-patent analog
that is my poem
- by Maureen Miller
[This poem was inspired by an ad for a medical conference, “Summer Radiology Symposium at the Sagamore,” at an upstate New York retreat for Gilded Age millionaires. I found out about it while previewing prostate biopsies for a surgical pathology service. We don’t see the pain except in tissue core numbers. Who that’s most unfair to is the subject. Readers may decide.]
The snow and salt on your coat
suggests that you’ve been outside
shoveling, maybe, or
tossing snowballs for the dogs.
But in fact it’s the dogs who have
brought the snow and salt inside,
flinging it onto your coat
when they shake it away.
Your coat hangs on the back of a chair
and you haven’t been out all day.
You’ve been mostly in bed because of the
new and unfamiliar but not
unexpected pain in your hip,
Another joint your illness
is colonizing in your body.
You can only watch the dogs
play in the snow,
young pups again,
their own bodies slowing even faster than yours.
the outside in
where you can
be in it.
No one talks about Occam’s other idea,
when his razor didn’t cut deep enough,
his hammer smashed down.
‘Of an event occurring, it is most likely that the simplest one is the correct one’
‘Of an inevitability occurring, the one that hurts the most is the correct one’
When Occam’s hammer falls,
it’s not a matter of when or where it lands,
it’s simply a matter of how hard it hits,
and if this time you choose to scream.
Just got a letter from disability insurance: Denied. I’m not disabled enough to get anything. After months of trying to convince them.
How do you prove you can’t work?
I cannot sit up, stand, or walk hardly at all. There is no job I can do while laying down, without having to make phone calls.
Just laying here, my back aches. But it’s the most comfortable position I can find. (It hurts my hips but those aren’t important.)
If I dared to sit up, my lower and upper back would scream in agony. It would not end until I laid back down.
I couldn’t keep working; had to move back in with my toxic parents. I have no money, no freedom, and no chance. I have no future. And that terrifies me.
I’m a survivor. The world wants me dead. It’s only a matter of time.
Every day I travelled, called or thought
It was never going to get better
But the morphine did its job
Varying degrees of brightness
But in the end all grey
Kept away the darkness that we knew would come one day
We had laughs, we had tears
We had quiet, we had sleep
We had time together, we had time
You never once complained
You never were bitter
You were in pain, but they always kept it subdued
In the end you were distant
Slowly fading away
In both mind and body, but along with your pain
I still remember now
Not as frequent but still vivid
Your pain it is now ended, and I still I don’t know why
I get back upI keep stumbling
I keep falling
I keep breaking
I struggle to get back up
I listen…I feel pain
I listen….I lose sight
I lose control
I lose meI ask myself
Want me to be?
Need me to be?
Make me to be?
I define me
I defy being defined by illness
I the author
I the architect
I the enforcer of my life journey
I find me again
I see me now
Do you see me?
His hand closed up over the stretch of five years, and stayed like that till he passed. First the pinkie, as if winched towards the palm by an invisible string, and then the ring finger went, till his hand was frozen stiff like a claw. It was like it had slowly snapped shut, sixty years late for the butterflies we’d chased in Parson’s field. It was no worry to him, he chuckled, his pipe still fit between his fingers.
what for is there beauty
what for is there pain
what for is there beauty
if not for Solely me
for anything with beauty
is strictly what I see