Thursday, February 09, 2006

I've been haunted since last Sunday's visit to the stepfather, and this poem has burbled up out of me. I guess it's my way of trying to come to some kind of terms with my current situation. Whether it has promise as a poem remains to be seen. Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated.

On A Cold and Cloudy Sunday Afternoon (working title)

Swift hands have progressed around times dial
this day, yet I hedge and fritter the hours away
at inconsequential chores that could wait
for another moment. My feet feel like pails
of wet cement as I trudge on my overcoat,
lock the door, head the car west.

Too soon the forty-five minute ride deposits me
at the door of a new experience. As I enter
his ward’s great room I notice its dinge of dust,
layered through the years, has yellowed the walls
and windows; tinted the balloon valance curtains
from blinding white on a sunny day
to today’s tea stain brown.

He sits with his new friends, forty-two in all,
head slumped down towards the table
with eyes closed like some post-modern statue,
invisible to me as I scan the room; the attendant
must point him out before my mind blushes recognition.

My touch on his arm springs his jack-in-the-box
awareness, his in and out consciousness
that is alternately sensible and senseless.
As his tongue stirs into overdrive he remembers
and says my name, then blurts that he was once
embalmed and buried alive. I am startled
by the metaphor he makes, which makes me smile
for a fraction of a moment before I inwardly weep.

He rambles away as I monitor the room. Some of them
offer me an oddly surreal rendition of the movie Awakenings:
the hunched over, white headed lady who shuffles
from chair to chair non-stop muttering nananananana
and grabbing wrists; the dark-haired woman who ambles about
pulling the diaper out of her pants; the black man
who stands facing a corner while preaching a sermon
to a stain on the wall that looks like a face.

No one visits them.

The hour passes by like sap that seeps from a maple tree
until I am saturated with it and my pathetic quota
of miserly misery. The urge to run gains the advantage
in my internal game of tug-of-war and my conscience
tumbles into the mud as I stand, pull on my overcoat
and tell him goodbye.

He rises to go with me, dull eyes suddenly sparked
with cognizance. He thinks he is going home
but I must tell him no, he cannot come.

I leave quickly so I will not see him
sag back into his chair, close his eyes
and hunch over the table
as though I was never there.

copyright by Cookala 02-06-2006


Blogger Larry said...

Gosh, Cookala, you're really being put through the ringer. I hope things get lighter somehow soon.

Not surprisingly, the poem is still basically a journal entry with more than usual attention to detail. It ought to provide you with some stuff to keep.

My grandmother survived my mother into dementia; the funniest thing she did was trying to zap the nurse with her cane/ray-gun.

As for us, we'll never die, and when we do it will be graceful, meaningful and uplifting.


4:50 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

Here's some relevant grim humor I just posted on PFFA Challenges.

Chant of The Rolling Hills Rest Home Residents

Change the channel on tv.
Drip-drip-drip goes the IV.
Shit the beds,
spit the meds,
tell my neice to call the feds.

Pass that stupid rubber ball.
Tromp out naked in the hall.
What's that stink
in the sink?
Been three meals since Benny blinked.

Free that bladder. Fill the lake.
Let me off this sad mistake.
Bang that cane!
Sure I'm sane!
Communists control this train!

2:04 AM  
Blogger Cookala said...

Hi, Larry! Thanks, for the thoughts and the poem - just what I needed. I know the poem is very rough and needs a lot of cutting and pasting. Good to know there's something there though. I apprecaite you stopping by - I miss you guys!

6:19 PM  

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