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"Poetry is the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Leonard Cohen

Friday, April 9, 2010

TAKING APART THE SELF number two autobiographical poem

Taking Apart the Self

Where was I when I learned the teeth were going
I forget but I still remember the dentist’s voice
And his very real remorse as he explained how
Taking so much medication over so many years
Can really take its toll on a person’s mouth, especially
Their teeth; the shearing off I was experiencing
Not only wouldn’t stop, it would get worse
The solution? Yank ‘em all and do it all at once
Get immediate dentures, he said, like it was nothing.

So – that was the first thing – oh, no, not really
I forgot; years ago, my nails gave up the ghost
I mean, they started first by going very soft and
Then splitting near the top; they developed ridges
And then they ended splitting right down to the quick
Man—some days I didn’t know which hurt more
My mouth or my fingers—however, false nails
Protected my own nails as long as I always wore
Them, and again, it will never change, only get worse

As with all things ruled by keratin and calcium
Next it was the hair—first eyelashes became sparse, then
The eyebrows disappeared – next, the hair on my head
Thinned a bit, then a bit more, until finally – wigs became
My dearest friend; good thing I used to be in a business
Where it was common to wear them; it didn’t take
Me long to get back in the habit again; oddly, no-one
Seemed to notice all the changes going on and even
Close friends are surprised if I tell them —counter
With, “No way – but you’re not wearing one now?”

Finally, I say wearily, “No – of course not ...”
It reminds me of the old days when people would
Say, “Is that your own hair?” and finally I started
Retorting, “Why yes, yes it is – ” Figuring, hell – I
Paid for it, doesn’t that make it mine?
So far the hand is steady enough to draw on eyebrows
I can live with and water-proof brow pencils do last
And last; so no need for tattooed brows just yet
And the nails are fun, especially the colours; I favour
Viridian and am famous for it—I do wonder though
What’s going to desert the home front next?

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