What was once ignorance=s illusory bliss
has given way, through the surgeon=s
knife and needle, to a series of certainties
no longer avoidable ‑ the knowledge and
understanding I thought I had before, now
revealed as the shallow deceptions necessary
to sustain the mundane activities on which
I=ve wasted my life for too long ‑
adventure again ‑
I want endless roads and
seemingly unreachable peaks
at the end
of steep winding wilderness trails,
I want the feeling of moving toward the unknown
and beyond ‑
I want to feel alive and free and, yes, young ‑
to live out of my backpack again,
travel on my thumb,
sleep where ever I find myself ‑
never sure what the next day may bring ‑
but now there is health insurance to consider,
the next surgery,
the constant medications,
the groaning joints and gaseous gut
and this house full of shit I can=t cut loose ‑
there is the reality of 60 years of living,
some of them as hard as I could make them,
and whether life is sweeter now than it was
before is too difficult a question to answer ‑
the unknown has occupied the mundane
and things can never be the same ‑
Sucks the marrow out of life
Leaving only this hollow bone
From which the dry wind
Entices a dull and tearless cry
The tediousness of each day
perpetuated and punctuated by
the same manufactured diversions
as the day before and the day after.
Mood flat, ambition dead or dormant,
nothing seems worth saying anymore.
Yesterdays of action grow more
distant and vague, details need
to be created to flesh out
memories - what did happen?
What really did happen?
Did any of it really happen?
Or have I always been floating,
suspended in an aspic of uncertainty,
indifference, and boredom?
Able to see out but not get out
until getting out is no longer a
option and memory dissipates
along with everything else.
(M. J. Arcangelini has published 2 books of poetry and lives on borrowed time in Northern California USA)
How did I get here again, I mused,
as some of the other patients exchanged
parts of their lives with each other,
I watched and waited for Jesus Christ to
walk through the security door and bless everyone,
I don't know which is more numbing,
the depression, or the meds,
Laughing outside, a tempest inside,
Listening to the rustle of the nurses' uniforms
as they half-whisper, "Lights out",
Hoping I'll sleep peaceful tonight
and don't see the ghosts of my past
with their hollow eyes,
The older woman two rooms down from me
yells in the late night hours in despair.
The young psychiatrist is handsome,
which is more awkward for me
with my social anxiety,
I promise him I won't jump off the roof,
and kiddingly ask for a beer
with no alcohol in it,
Remembering too much a photo in
the extended family album of my mother
in disheveled drunkeness,
holding her Camel cigarette with mascara
smeared under her eyes and sitting with
just her bra and slacks on,
Geez, what a legacy,
Woman never took much pride in herself,
I wait in line for the balm of the psych meds.
(Regina Elliott is a poetess and Navy veteran who resides in Swannanoa, NC, USA with her husband Mike.)
She lost her friend of over thirty years
because of my madness,
and did not tell me.
Should her desire to spare me pain
spare me guilt?
I should be doing more
when all I do is hear her,
a saint with diabetes,
cooking and cleaning,
healing with artichokes and bleach.
Only blinks interrupt
wrinkled eyes reflecting my awe.
(Caroline Am Bergris is from London and uses her experiences with both physical and mental disabilities when writing.)
The Beautiful Space-