Paeans - and Aches

over the years

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Elegy that could have been for me

Last year, it was you
who slipped away, you
who left friends stunned;
that one so young,
so warm, so bright,
was simply not there,
never would be there..
It wasn't fair,
it wasn't right.

This year, I should,
with as little warning,
have gone too;
a less luminous act
—don't smile, you,
you know it's true—
but, in fact,
as I was lucky to discover,
more loved, more
would-have-been-missed
than I ever dreamed I could be.

I sit here, now, and wonder,
if it had been the other way,
if, that day,
you'd pulled through,
and, on that other day,
I'd slipped under
—for, really, it was that close
for both of us—
knowing each other
as fleetingly as we did
(two conversations,
four cigarettes, a light,
and the Italian dessert
you insisted I try),
if you had lived and I had died
would you have cried?

Know what? I think you,
you would have.
That's why
knowing each other
as fleetingly
as we did, I,
though it's been a year and some
since you slipped away,
mourn for you today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Two versions of the poem, read at Bombay's Bhivpuri read-meet.

Repace, Storvas, Betaloc too,
Sip of water, down they go.
And Clopilet and Ecosprin
All on a life-long prescription

Sip that water, down they go,
Once a day, no less, no more.
They are a life-long prescription
Like breathing out and breathing in.

Once a day, no less, no more;
Got to take them if I want to go
On breathing out and breathing in.
Got to take my medicine.

Got to take them if I want to go
Anywhere but the ICU once more
Got to take my medicine.
I'm paying for not listening.

Anywhere but the ICU once more.
Monitors and drips and needle sores,
I paid for not listening,
The wages of too much nicotine.

Monitors and drips and needle sores
Have made their mark. No more, no more.
The wages of all that nicotine
That was part of the daily regimen

They made their mark. No more, no more.
It's Repace, Storvas, Betaloc too
Now part of the daily regimen
With Clopilet and Ecosprin.

* * *

Repace, Storvas, Betaloc,
Says my friend the cardio doc
And Clopilet and Ecosprin
They are your life-long prescription

Says my friend, the cardio doc
As part of my post-op pep-talk
They are your life-long prescription
Like breathing out and breathing in.

As part of my discharge pep-talk;
He also tells me I must walk
Deep-breathing out, deep-breathing in.
And got to take my medicine.

He also tells me I must walk
Away from things like cheese or pork
Got to take my medicine.
My payment for not listening.

Away from things like cheese and pork,
At fats and oil I must now baulk
My payment for not listening,
The wages of too much nicotine.

At fats and oil I must now baulk,
Knock that beefsteak off my fork.
The wages of too much nicotine.
Now life's all full of food that's lean.

Knock that beefsteak off your fork!
And top up -- always -- that tablet stock,
And makes sure that the food's all lean,
With all that cholesterol in your blood stream.

Keep topping up the medicine stock
Instead of that old twenties pack.
With all that cholesterol in my blood stream,
I have to change my regimen

Instead of that old twenties pack,
It's Repace, Storvas, Betaloc.
Now part of the daily regimen,
With Clopilet and Ecosprin.