Ballad of a Paralyzed Denizen

Poem 2:

Seeing clearly
left all blurry
Nothing feels
makes everything right
Doubt empties
the stomach of trust
Holding God
turning me to dust

There is a general panick in a pool. It’s ironic, considering all of our development takes place suspended in water, our lungs collapsed within us. But there we float, happy, unknowing, protected against drowning by never having known air or breath. Ignorance being infantile bliss.

Suffocation is a slow death. It’s even slower to the person who experiences it; you can watch your life (or death, rather) slowing down as your brain learns to cope with less and less oxygen. Your mind, ever the survivor, shuts down some of the less important parts in favor of those that really keep a person alive. Emergency shutdown.

There is panick, though. You feel a yearning for air. You know how good the air tastes, how welcoming it feels in your lungs. You can recall thousands of times you held a breath, never a time cherishing it instead. But that hand keeps you down. A hand holds you under.

Sometimes, in panick, we close our eyes and ears. We strive to only deal with one perception at a time. Like, when someone is lost, and they turn the stereo down to help them locate their lost location. Or like, when someone closes their eyes to enjoy the mystery of Beethoven or Bush or passing winter traffic that reminds them of Chicago. We close our eyes, and we thrash and scream. Our body goes into spasms, a frightful dance of last resort, hoping that at least one action (or combination thereof) will cause the hand distress and us redress.

No abrasion is more jarring than cheek to pool bottom. The twelve foot bottom, no less. Hope flits up from our chest as we recall that the bottom is a starting point – somewhere to push off from. The hand continues to push. Then the bottom makes us think of all that heavy water – terrible weight – pushing down on us. A thousand miles from sky.

The body is slow, dumb, dull, and weak. Worst, it is soaking wet. Somehow, being wet makes it all the more horrible. The mind is no longer problem solving, no longer cognitive and reasonable. The mind is a thing of reaction and instinct, but no pattern of behavior prepares us for this; for death. It is against all the laws of every species to accept death. We must survive, plain and simple.

Our eyes open briefly, distorted shapes of objects rise and fall before our grim eyes. The brain refuses to make sense of it, for the sake of being able to see it instead. The lights begin to go out. The muscles begin to relax. The white noise of heartbeating begins to fade to silence. One flickering realization sparks in the dark.

The hand holding us down is our own.

The poem at the top was not written by me. You can hold your mouse over the words to see who did write it. I could not write something that poetic and true. I am just a boy who mocks his words with other words, pushing rhyme into and onto other rhymes like a two year old does with differently shaped blocks of wood. This was written by a sculptor; one afraid of her figures, unfortunately.

I hate nights like these.

…what is he on?

One Reply to “Ballad of a Paralyzed Denizen”

Comments are closed.