If you’re following this site and you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, well. I’ve been here, and I’ve been living with chronic pain for over a year. This is what this poem is about.
I am angry, good god, I am
seething. At the wasted potential
of it all. You don’t understand, I am finally
liberated, free of a prison I have felt the bars of against
my skin my entire adult life.
My shrink, she keeps telling me : you are further
away from these bars than you have ever
been, why do you keep looking
over your shoulder? Why do you keep running?
And so, though it is not easy, I learn
to slow down, look at the view, smell
the proverbial roses. The pace I set is fast, but
I am queer, we do
walk with a purpose. I did not mean
to make this into a poem. My anger, it burns inside
me, or that might be acid reflux carving another hole at
the core of me, and the worst part is that doesn’t even
matter. I am free but still my body keeps
betraying me, calling up all the ways in which it can’t hold
itself up without conjuring an ocean of pain. Waves
upon waves lapping at my endurance my
self-esteem my empathy my
will to live.
Some days the water recedes enough to dry
out the reminders of my own frailty. Invincible,
I inspect the wreckage and ask myself what the
hell happened here, amnesiac
of my own suffering, the absence of
pain exactly that, an absence.
But when the tsunami inevitably hits, and oh,
how I know it will come,
what pity for a body who did not
sufficiently prepare itself, who knew and still
let itself be flooded? What pity, what
kindness? All I have left is
anger. Needling away at my nerves like the
tendrils of fire that inhabit them, not malignant
enough to have the decency of being all
consuming. Mild enough to be slapped
in the face with its randomness. Present enough
that I wish there was a God so that
I could hate them. Pain and anger and a failing,
barely aging body that I was just
learning to love.