Feeling Squeezed at the Grocery Store I Conclude that the Propensity to Ignore Pain is Not Necessarily Virtuous, but Continue Shopping and Gather the Ingredients for Ham Fried Rice because That’s What I Cook When My Wife is Out-of-Town and I’m Not in the Mood for Italian, and Dammit I’m Not Ill, Merely a Little Inconvenienced, and Hey, in the 70’s I Played Football in Texas and When the Going Gets Tough…

emergency

Feeling Squeezed at the Grocery Store I Conclude that the Propensity to Ignore Pain is Not Necessarily Virtuous, but Continue Shopping and Gather the Ingredients for Ham Fried Rice because That’s What I Cook When My Wife is Out-of-Town and I’m Not in the Mood for Italian, and Dammit I’m Not Ill, Merely a Little Inconvenienced, and Hey, in the 70’s I Played Football in Texas, and When the Going Gets Tough…

I answer work email in the checkout line. Drive home, take two aspirin.
Place perishables in refrigerator.  Consider collapsing in bed.  Call wife.
Let in dog.  Drive to ER, park.  Provide phone numbers. Inhale. Exhale.
Repeat. Accept fate and morphine. Ask for lights and sirens, imagine the
seas parting. On the table, consider fissures and cold air, windows and
hagfish. Calculate arm-length, distance and time.  Expect one  insertion,
receive another. Dissonance  in perception, in reality.  Turn head when
asked.  Try reciting Kinnell’s  “The Bear.”  Try again, silently this  time.
Give up.  Attempt “Ozymandias.”  Think of dark highways. Wonder about
the femoral, when and how they’ll remove my jeans. Shiver uncontrollably.

football

The events in this poem took place five years ago. Life is good.

34 thoughts on “Feeling Squeezed at the Grocery Store I Conclude that the Propensity to Ignore Pain is Not Necessarily Virtuous, but Continue Shopping and Gather the Ingredients for Ham Fried Rice because That’s What I Cook When My Wife is Out-of-Town and I’m Not in the Mood for Italian, and Dammit I’m Not Ill, Merely a Little Inconvenienced, and Hey, in the 70’s I Played Football in Texas and When the Going Gets Tough…

  1. I’m glad life is good now but I love how you’ve captured the detached resignation into fate, how illness comes on us unwelcome when we’re just trying to buy the ingredients for ham fried rice, just trying to unload groceries. A shit day turned into another ponderous poem. Way to recycle.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Glad you added that little note at the end of the poem, Bob! The title grabbed me right away and wow, what a great poem! Was it written close to the time of the crisis or much later?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was drafted about eleven months after, at the Napa Valley Writing Conference. We were charged with writing 10-line poems in that particular workshop that week, and, well, I was tired of the constriction. Hence the title. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not of the opinion that one must suffer to create great art, but I’m glad in this case you got a wonderful poem out of it. I’m glad you’re OK, too.
    You trying to recite poetry while drugged did make me chuckle a bit because I could imagine it so well. My mom had hospital psychosis in January–and it was horrible and upsetting–but her delusions were also so funny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t mind having experienced it, but would prefer not to do so again. Funny thing is that one of the drugs they used was an amnesiac, but I recalled everything. The cardiologist found that interesting. Oh, my dad had some interesting delusions in the hospital!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “Dissonance in perception, in reality” might be an understatement. I think I, too, would shiver uncontrollably! My experience with ERs is of an altered reality, a relinquishing of any control (of drugs, of reliable recall poetic or otherwise). Reading this and the comments, I come back to your dog – waiting unaware. Reality continues, even when out of reach.
    Thanks for explaining that title!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hospital hallucinations: my grandmother thought that my mom had inflated like a balloon and floated up to the ceiling. Grandma was quite amused…Like the way the images create the feeling of being there more than a detailed description could.

    Liked by 1 person

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