Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wild Animal (a poem)

I’ve tried out the gesture of tsk-tsking a few times,
When it seems it may have been appropriate.

I’ve tried,
Not for months now, but once upon a time,
To do the type of things that level-headed people do,
Like sighing at others’ reckless denial of the
Shit that passes for first-world amenities –
Not to humble-brag, but yesterday I spoke at length with
A homeless woman whose mouth was all covered in
She liked my jewelry and my dress,
Commenting on it the way my dead mother would have.
Anyway, this homeless woman,
To whom I gave some amenities that were in the scheme
Of things as paltry as offering
To piss on a jellyfish bite that was sustained
Months and months ago –
It was nice just to be there with her.

But there have been times,
Yes indeed,
When I tried out tsk-tsking.
I’m speaking to you now,
Ghost of my Mom.

There was a day when I called the mental hospital where
You’d been placed in an involuntary 72 hour hold.
The first time I called the phone number
(it’s just payphones in places like this if you
Want to speak to a patient –
Trust me, I know)
I spoke with a patient who tried his best
To help locate you for me.
“She’s a white lady with sort of frizzy hair and
A dead tooth?” he confirmed.
He didn’t know where you were and
That was fine,
He’d tried his best.

So the next time I tried the nurse’s station,
To speak about you behind your back.
“How is she doing?” I asked.
“She stays in her room.  They’re supposed to participate in
The activities, they’re not supposed to stay in their
rooms all day but we can’t make them participate in
The groups.”
I did the sighing version of tsk-tsk.
“Sigh,” I sighed to her in my best impression of someone
Who believes in capitalism and the sexist practice of psychiatry.
I made it sound like, “What can I do?  She’s so stubborn, so irresponsible.”

I was wearing a viscose blouse and ugly slacks as I made this call,
Trying for some privacy by standing under the stairwell where
The office I worked in stashed all their industrial-sized recycling bins.

I’d been on the phone with the nurse from your place of captivity
For almost 15 minutes and that was how long my break was.
So I wrapped it up, before my boss or the other secretary I
Shared my office with noticed I’d been gone for two or three minutes
But in truth, my boss was a bit of an asshole,
And the secretary a bit of a sanctimonious bitch.
And if I’m being honest,
The nurse who answered the phone at your final
Facility for captivity
Was a bit of a shit head.
And I was a bit of a drone,
A wet blanket,
An ineffectual female version of a Eunuch.
What would you call that?
Just a bore, I guess.
This was the last facility you’d ever be placed in.
You hightailed it out of there as soon as your
72 hours were up
Because you wanted to get home to your
Six hightailed cats and make sure they were
You were the “crazy catlady,” I guess it’s called sometimes.
You were the “pack-rat” I guess they called it.
But you were an animal,
And that’s more than I can say for myself.

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