a new poem: Needling

By John O’Brien, Jr.

When I was 10, and in my prime
Before the pain of Rheumatoid, stole my mind
I drank of life, as only a child could
And if I could be that child again? I would

When I was 20, I ran into a blind
I had no idea, meds would erase my mind
and alter my dreams, as He oiled my wheelchair
Instead I learned not to limp, who can tolerate despair?

When I was 35, still with dreams like any other
I broke my back, pain and I, now brothers
Bent at times, I cannot bow,
Spent I live, life begins now

When I was 45, I settled into place
And found the peace, and a saving grace
I won’t conquer the world; I won’t die without a ripple
Or fade into the drink, with enchanting, devastating nipple

The needles took away my past, I remember not my youth,
Adopted memories, co-opted from a photo booth
but in brief sporadic moments, in snapshots I can’t find
Those pictures and sisters fill, what deeply I pine

Numbing agents, of both mind and nerve
Erasing against experience, of a bell curve
I love life, adjust against fate
Love is a terrible thing, to hate.


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