Thursday, December 28, 2017

Logicians In The Sanitarium

Logicians, lit weakly by the skylight,
find each other.
Overtaken by passion, they posit avidly.

"Which," they wheeze to each other, holding bony hands,
"of the following is true, if any?"
1.If infirmity, then writing.
2. If writing, then infirmity.
3. red on the handkerchief reveals the heart's longing to express itself.

Doctors smile at the logicians, but hate them.
How are you feeling? Does the treatment seem to help? 
Who the fuck cares? Move to Arizona and die there, albeit a little more slowly. 

Dizzying excitements exhaust the logicians.
Staff wheel them in chairs out to the verandah, buried in sober wool blankets.
The sun stutters on the horizon.
The world displays its affliction in tones of slant red and crumbling orange.
The logicians gasp, but their minds race with articles
and the heady imaginings of each other's naked admiration.

And so here is what I want to say,
to you, to God, 
to anybody whose conveyance is locked to guard against accident. 
When medicated, 
when not hacking to the point of collapse,
I dream of the most illogical things.
I pretend that my body is not made of disintegrating papier mache,
and that you want to fuck me,
like somebody used to, in some other place, once, that I can't quite remember.
I see you and hope
that you, whittled down to nothing, incontinent and demented,
want the same illogical things.

That's when the logicians recognize it in my face like an obvious error.
They laugh uproariously,
joined by their new friends, the doctors,
who lobotomize me,
wait for me to babble through the froth,
and say, "See there? You're making sense," and walk away on skis
like giant L's held stiff by the wax and starch of correctness and clarity.
______

for "Aspire" at Real Toads

14 comments:

brudberg said...

The sense of the past and horrors of the medical practice weighs heavily on me... that pale death of TB that used to haunt us, more malicious than cancer. As a matter of fact, my being me is part a story of the few who survived... my father caught it when he was eleven, and maybe because he didn't understand that he was dying he survived.

How can you ever be logician at the brink of death?

A said...

My kick ass comment evaporated. Crimeny! Let’s adjourn to the desert and live a little longer:)

Sioux Roslawski said...

The "disintegrating papier mache" line slayed me.

I hope 2018 is a good one for you.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

The papier mache line got me, too, and the spirit still hoping to be loved at the very brink. The callous laughter made me want to slap some ponderous faces, lol. It is amazing that illness inspires such flights of poetry in you. Your brilliance never dims.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

My goodness this is poignant. The emotions in this poem are so raw and honest. There are times when we feel as though the world is pricking needles into our skin, as we struggle through both ups and downs in life. Little do they know that it would take more than that to break our spirit.

hedgewitch said...

Ah Shay. Just when I am saying to myself I can't even stand to read poetry, let alone write it, when I can't even imagine where my lifelong love of poetry has gone, you write something like this and fan the dying embers into a firestorm. It's just so very well put together, every line--the characters like those we accept as normal in dreams, saying the dream truths that sound normal til we wake and realize they are everything but--in this case, because they are *way* too true for normal conversational driveling. The last twenty lines are especially excellent and moving. Thanks for the rocketship trip back to my old love.

Toni Spencer said...

Fireblossoms give birth to firestorms....I was reminded of the folks in the nurshing home where my mother was in your line about papier mache'. There are a few new couples there, old folk who found love on the brink and others still looking, even though they have spouses at home that they have forgotten. This made me want to slap half of the MDs in the world, My husband being in hospital for fucking ever hasn't helped. This poem is a catharsis.

Vivian Zems said...

An interesting take. I love the different perspectives you wove in so effortlessly.

Brendan MacOdrum said...

I second Hedgewitch for this oasis of heat and heart in such desertful art.

Susie Clevenger said...

They hang over you in that tiled, pilled, death warehouse and write last breaths onto a form that only smells death and not the life inside the scarecrow. You say it perfectly. As always I am in awe.

Marian said...

Wool blankets on the verandah are less comforting than ridiculous and sooo heavy, and the rest of this is such a nightmare, I love it and want to run away.

Ω said...

I think 2 is true.

What exceptional poetry/storytelling. I'm partial to the following:

"The world displays its affliction in tones of slant red and crumbling orange.
The logicians gasp, but their minds race with articles
and the heady imaginings of each other's naked admiration."

"to anybody whose conveyance is locked"

"When medicated, 
when not hacking to the point of collapse,
I dream of the most illogical things.
I pretend that my body is not made of disintegrating papier mache,
and that you want to fuck me"

"you, whittled down to nothing, incontinent and demented,
want the same illogical things"

"in my face like an obvious error"

"babble through the froth"

"walk away on skis
like giant L's"

Trådløs said...

Kick the doctor and give the logicians a break
My favourite image was the papier mache one - though it's hard to choose

Kerry O'Connor said...

Shay, you are a poet for the good days and the bad, often simultaneously. Thank you so much, friend. Especially when on my dark days, I could read a poem that makes infinite sense.