Sunday, September 15, 2019

sunday poem


To decide whether life is worth living is the fundamental question of philosophy”
-Albert Camus

Camus knew how to question
The nagging vexations.
He never found an answer.
The best he could do was a method;
Pushing massive boulders
Up and down a steep hill
Day after day until the end.
Sweating, straining under the weight,
Somehow still smiling,
Grinning at the absurdity of his fate.
You can close your eyes
and imagine him happy.
Or peak a bit when no one is looking
And wish the boulder would just stay put

I too embrace the absurd:
Another night on call
Every other weekend
Days and times blurred.
Another gangrenous gallbladder
Busted up appendix
Perforated bowel
Air under the diaphragm
Air tracking through the perineum
The wounds that ooze
Frantic next of kin phone calls
Chuggering wheeze behind a curtain
While on the other side
An out of town niece weeps.
Try to go home but 
The ER is calling again.
The doors never close,
Sickness never sleeps
Blah blah on and on until the end
The living all die, just you wait.
That one you save 
Gets a lovely obituary soon enough.
The stones always roll back down.
But I have no time for boulders.
My weariness precludes the effort.

Awareness of the absurd is not nearly enough.
This is second derivative shit.
I need to be aware of the absurdity
Of my chosen form of distraction.
And that's it.
I carry an old newspaper clipping of 
a young boy’s death
smashed by a car one fine day.
We had tried to save him.
Cut open his little chest.
Feathery pink lungs spilled out
But he died right there in the trauma bay.
There’s nothing ever here.
Good and good and so what.
And so I keep a small 
rounded pebble in my shoe;
formless, blunted, no blood is drawn.
A modest ache, at most,
a dull nuisance,
a query lodged against my sole.
When are you coming back home?
They don’t understand.
There is too much work to be done.
I can't lie down.
I carry this rounded stone
as a gnawing reminder
of the final absurdity.
How could I ever forget?
It’s too late to escape
this particular fate.
So dumb, stone in a shoe.
It throws off my gait
Makes my back ache.
But it works.
And this is the life I choose.
Running away is not an option;
The faster you run
The deeper the stone digs.
The very bone gets bruised.


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