Friday, 15 April 2016

ENCOUNTER REVISITED

Over the past two years I have been writing a series of poems about a person with a terminal illness. Here is the full sequence

Encounter

i
Sometime since the last meeting
he had been replaced by an actor,
similar to be true, but older
and slightly more coarse,
who riffed off his own allusions rather
than answer your well meaning questions.
He was angry, that was plain,
manifested in little jibes
that made you uncomfortable.

ii
Disease has depth charged his life,
percussion, shock wave, percussion,
and it will sink him in sunless water.
I cannot begin to understand how that must feel.

iii
he inhabits his history in a manner I have never had to

he developed the technique in the silences between the ticks of the ward's big faced clock

his best he now believes is behind him

a doctor has told him his immune system has gone rogue

he describes himself as shanghaied in an unresponsive body

he signals, I put ear to mouth

it was worth it, you know, 
every single fucking minute was worth living
The sequence attempts to describe his physical deterioration over a period of time, that is why each stanza is numbered. 
In the third stanza I wanted to try and catch the nature of his speech with lots of little statements and almost no punctuation.
I do not think there will be another stanza added but you never know.
Here is Alela Diane and Ryan Franesconi with Shapeless from the Cold Moon album

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