Tuesday, November 21, 2017

We're Good for Tomorrow

"The end of the world always the day after tomorrow." ~Albert Belisle Davis

The windows with the most light
On the psych ward floor
Happen to be in the room

I share with young Mike,
A skinny LDS man
In his twenties, so polite,

Clean-shaven, with a young wife
Who's also thin and pretty
Who visits him each evening.

He keeps a copy,
Softcover, new and blue, of
The Book of Mormon

On the desk beside his bed
With his toothbrush and wellness
Workbook. I haven't seen him

Read it yet, and I wonder
What comfort there is in it
For a young man on psych meds.

Joseph Smith could have lived now,
I suppose, and been cared for,
And not spawned new religion.

Those years I taught "Memories
Of West Street and Lepke" now
Make me wish for Lowell's gift

Of the prosodically rich,
Visually exact detail,
"Yammering Abramowitz,

So vegetarian he
Wore rope sandals and preferred
Fallen fruit." Now I've fallen,

Here among the others wrong
Enough to fail at the world,
Lucky enough to survive

To this point, conscientious
Objectors in our own way,
Our haze of lost connections.

Turns out Mike's an X-Ray tech.
He might have x-rayed me once.
His dad died five years ago.

His dad didn't want to go.
But the cancer made him go.
Mike says, "It's wrong I'm healthy

And I feel this way." He saw
A car roll on the freeway
A couple of years ago.

He ran down the embankment.
A woman had been thrown out
And trapped under the wreckage.

She died before she was free.
Mike still looks dazed telling me,
But maybe it's the Prozac.

"I can't sleep. I've seen a lot.
If there's no one to talk to
I feel like my chest's burning."

Over in the common room
Women are talking movies.
"Ever seen Pretty Woman?"

"Guy fixes up the hooker?"
"A lot more rich guys should do that.
You could save a life that way."

Two men are talking Bible,
How Jesus drove the spirits
Into the pigs, how pigs share,

Since then, human DNA.
Mike asked me what I told myself
To try to keep contented.

I told him I'd been thinking
The comparison shouldn't
Be between this existence

And another, better
Life, earlier or future.
I told him it's this, as is,

Versus never anything,
And then I'm okay with this.
He nodded. "Good for today."

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