Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Digging Out the Bullet

Pain – the deep pain
the walking with
every day so much
you almost forget
it’s there – almost –
pain – the hard-shell
part of a past that
can’t bear telling let
alone retelling pain

that pain – bastard
betrayer that it is –
bubbles up out of the
formless void that is
future past
(to borrow from the Moody Blues)
into the now that isn’t hurting
present and stabs its knife
right into the muscle of you
and does not stop

so that you are reduced
(why do tears reduce
rather than enlarge
can someone please tell me?)

because John F. Kennedy died . . .
50 years ago

brings you sobbing bent over

because a son killed
himself after trying to stab
a father along for the ride
50 miles away . . .

brings you screaming your agony
into the loneliness of the space
that surrounds you

because someone looks you in the face
and declares that you are the kind
who tricks and deceives and cheats
your way into advantage
50 gulps of air hence

and you drown
in the shock and awe of it all
as war is declared far too
quickly for you to pull
out your white truce flag
always carried in your back pocket
for just such occasions as this
when one son blends into another
into a president into a child into
a black man into a baptism you
never wanted . . . never – wanted
never but there you are and the
never is now always for this
hurt, these memories, that pain
shall never leave

oh, you’ll carry it better some days
than others, for that is the way of
things – and the calm bit in your
head tells you this is just not a
better day and it too shall pass
and you know it is truth yet it
is no comfort, this knowing
and so you scream – for if you
do not you will go mad
may have already done

and gritting your teeth,
you rip the knife out of your
flesh and slowly stand aright
for that too is the way of things

and even as the scabbing crusty
overlay of time healing crap
lie shit does its work and tries
to call it good, you - wound
gaping for the unseeing world
to see – walk on – what else?

and then you look down and see
the knife in your own hand
and the gaping wound of your
own flesh and the bloody
bullet lying on the ground
and a small grim smile appears
physician healing herself . . . again

maybe God makes you feel better
he’s never done so for me –
all he’s ever done for me
is pick up the pieces
it’s not nothing,
but shit God, I thought you
were a better surgeon than that –
look what you’ve done to my leg


  1. As Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us!" I feel your pain, Beth. But only those who've suffered can be the compassionate healer you are... and we cannot save the world from all the agony going on around us daily. As you remind us, "This, too, shall pass".. and God is always there in the midst of our pain.

    This is beautifully written.


    1. Marilyn, True, true and so it goes. Thank you for your voice in my life. Hugs, Beth