Frost on the Pain

I don’t want to think these thoughts again
     Not because they’re any less deserving
          But because of what they do for me – not much
              Not much good that is, though lots of all things bad.

There’s plenty of bad stuff to focus on
     If I should choose to walk that road once more –
          The pending cycle of the pokes and checks
               The scans and smears and scopes and
                    All the differential fears that rise from
                         Every ache and pain – could this be it
                             All back again in some remote
                                  Location unbeknownst to all
                                       Till far too late?

And then regrets – of fortune found and lost
     Through silliness and pride – it’s like a drink
          Concocted of some vile offending brew
                Dressed up with color bright then
                      Served – “all this and twist of lemon too”.

I hear the yanks who can’t afford the docs
     And live along the borderlands go south
          Stock up on pills and potions for a song
               Get cut-rate health and dental care
                    Along with people just like them –
                         The poor and dispossessed – by nation –
                              Out beyond the margins

It’s pretty bad when now I service get
     And scans and scopes flood in as those
          Of ‘our estate’ find selves restored just
               Like the book and play to style and
                    Fashion of our lives ‘deserving’ of our
                         Place and level of our care,
                              Say ‘this is good’. – Good?

The drink is bitters
     Which we drink each cycle round
          Of tests and probes and fear of what is found
               Of chemo-head and burns
                    To skin and violence of
                         Gut reacting to reality
                              Of war within and out
                                   Till we are spent.

It’s hard enough to deal with all of that
     Without the lemon, thanks – the only
          Thanks that finds its way to surface
               As I push myself on forward once again.

I’ve had it light – so light – and yet the hit
     Of cancer seeks to suck the life from me
           For though I took the double hit,
                It was not me, just me, but us –
                     We took the hit, and had to deal
                          With all the lemon and the
                               Splash of hell from cancer’s brew.

So now it’s just the brew – and I can find
     Scarce energy to worry ’bout my peers down
          There on second deck of steerage’ quiet hold
               Who suck on lemons in their pain
                    As way of life – no freedom reigns
                         For them in life or death – just
                              Misery’s foul drink with
                                   Twisted fate of lemon too.

I’m not supposed to see up here on upper decks
     Like some Titanic ship with lovers split apart
          Who long to sing of freedom at the prow
                But settle for some steamy moments
                     Deep below – stolen quiet from the
                          System that enforces up and down
                               To live and die together –
                                    Save the desperation of
                                         Those lives below –
                                              No option to be
                                                    Nice or no, to
                                                         Others without

How strange – those months I strained and chaffed
     Against the bonds that held me – crying ‘don’t
          You see, I’m one of you – where is the
                Fare that I deserve?’ Then found
                     It was an error made and so
                          I’d gotten thrust amongst the
                               Dispossessed a while –

And now? Now that my “fortune’s” been restored
     And I recipient am of what I “just deserve”?
          What now? To walk among those rich
               And powerful, and those just not quite
                    So, as though I’d never seen and
                         Felt and heard what I’d been
                              Through of twist of lemon
                                  With my drink which
                                       Others still endure?

I think not so – Good move, my Lord, for
     I’d not gone there on my own I know
          For pleasure and no pain is what I like,
               And reasons plenty I can give why I should
                    Walk this pleasant road and take my
                           Bitter drink without the lemon, thanks
                                Just anyway.

So what to think – in this fair world
     With fouled drink and lemon twists and shifting
          Fates – for some of us so brief.

I see the crystal frost upon the pane as moisture
     From the house creeps through the crack
          And settles with its beauty in the sun –
                I camera take and look again as child-like
                     We’d all done as kids, then left
                           That world of sparkle for this
                                 Adult world that’s almost done –

But it’s still there – and more – far more
     For us to reach and touch and drink up
          Like some cocktailed brew of life and
               Love and beauty all around.

For all of us – on all the slimy decks
     We’ve made for better or for worse –
          And maybe this can call us all to
               Something better than we have today –
                    Not just for us – for all – not
                         Just for those in this fair
                              Country, but for all –
                                   A place of justice
                                        On this globe
                                              Transcending greed
                                                    And self-defense –

That speaks of scarcity and woe
     Awash in waste above below
          Within, without, yet so few know
               How twisted things are here in snow
                    “Just-us” we say, and then
                           We go about our lives, “Say it’s not so".

And now, I camera take once more to see the world
     Afresh from this changed point of view –
          I’m different now – I’ve seen and felt the
               Pain – both kinds – far down below
                    And nothing can erase from me
                         The knowledge that like
                              Pyramids afar the base
                                   That holds the point
                                         Up to the sky is
                                               Massive like the
                                                    Gymnasts’ stance –

Who hold their lightest member high
     To lift up arms in vibrant
          Victory – for all.