Monday, August 18, 2008

To My Left Pinkie, Revised

Here is a second draft of my pinkie poem:

To My Left Pinkie (three weeks after the motorcycle accident)

You were not sprained as I twirled,
suspended as if on a rotisserie,
slamming each shoulder in turn
before my helmet broke
and I lay supine on Highway 1.
How dare you play the fool
and insist it's you that hurts!
Alien digit on my keyboard
punished by each 'a' and 'z,'
you would make my neck a liar.

Faintly I feel your origins
descend my inner arm and elbow
down to the ulna's tip until
pain absolutely concentrates
in your three-jointed misery,
as if you were freshly broken
or come too near to frostbite--
but there's no bruise or swelling
just your wrinkled cylinder
with two tufts of blond hair.

In pain's intensity
your pink and yellow flesh tones
seem strangely psychedelic.
Are you showing off?
How odd to be upstaged
by such an undistinguished part!
The indignity! I can no longer play
a 7th chord on my guitar, a demonstration
of how the body boils down pain
to elementary deception.
Should I accept this, rail at you
and indemnify my spine?
Who switched a deuce for a queen?
And if I can't trust your trumped-up signal
how can I trust anything?

You have hoarded the free currency of pain
inside your little bank, out-shouting
all my separations, dislocations,
compressions and abrasions.
Perhaps the Empiricists were right.
Perhaps a headache comes
from undetected hemorrhoids,
bursitis from a hangnail,
my fluttering eye's tick
from an abraded knee.
So much for the perceiver.
If you were a middle finger
I could make the right response.

Your insult is one of disproportion,
encapsulating suffering
into one mean appendage,
oppressed and oppressing,
without splint or dressing,
a nothing turned celebrity
in the mistaken pagination of the brain.
Traitor, puppet, fall guy, shill,
least valuable of digits!
Worm not worthy of a ring,
usurper of my first-born pain,
poseur, impostor, not even
my first choice to pick my nose
when it should be my neck on the marquee!
Still “ouch!” means “ouch!” I yield
the floor to a deceptive field;
perception's not all it's cracked up to be.


1 comment:

  1. Ah, much cleaner and stronger. The quasi-silly “hey it’s not so bad” tone counterintuitively makes the pain seem stronger. Like a putting on a brave face kind of thing. Feeling any better?


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