Daily Archives: December 17, 2016

The Sickness

How many of us — 
sick as bees,
ill defenders of our rumpled peace,
remotely disordered dancers on the edge
of our doctors’ scalpels —

how many of us there must be 
who’ve learned to take our diseases as
strictly personal, all our own doing;

how many there must be 
who cannot see how we
are obvious medals
on a bad society’s lapels.

No one wants us to know —
they tell us to hide
and drug us into exile —
they paint us into
suicide corners
and fictionalize us into
television monsters —
they keep us from each other —

because of 
what we could tell
them about themselves
and how we got here
with their help, with their
God’s help, with their
permission and
their need for us —

first as
steam valves
hissing off pressure,
then as
spillways for their junk,
finally as
scapegoats turned loose
in their parched deserts

to ramble.
Don’t we ramble, though;
don’t we wander
outside their walls.
Their walls that
hold them in so
tightly.  We might be sick

but we’re free. It counts
for something
as long as they don’t kill us
while discounting it.


The Couch

“I’m beginning to lose faith 
in this nation,” they said. 

I am struck by the word
“beginning.”  Tells me much

about how comfortable it has been
for some to keep the faith.

Conjures up a couch made of 
faith, upholstered in red, white, and blue.

As for me: I’ve long had no solid faith
in the nation.  It’s a nation,

after all. It does what they all do
and it’s never been more than half

on my side to begin with. 
I was never comfortable on that couch.

Always felt it was garish and scratchy.
It’s not large enough

for everyone who wants on, either:
too easy to lose your seat 

if you get off for even a second, 
and sitting on that couch, holding your place,

sinking in, it’s been easy for some
to fall asleep. Some folks never get off,

even if there’s a fire. Maybe beginning
to lose faith isn’t so bad

if it gets them off the couch. Maybe
they could come outside for a bit.  

It’s cold right now but from here,
after all, you get the view.