Albany, New York (Spring 2017)
pencil on canvas paper
Who am I? Nobody
Here I lie, quite anchored,
a hesitant child led by questions
which assure proper response.
I grant them whatever they want,
a nod or a name.
From them I expect nothing less
and get plenty of, what is called
here, therapeutic stimulation.
The pleasure of such hands
I readily accept, for to them
I am frail, a human to be tended to.
Still, can’t they see?
What I elicit is myself, no
bed-ridden invalid, but a voyager
becoming something else, something
The only solution is to attempt
to react, though sometimes I’m so tired,
I confess, I’d rather fake it, resting
suspended upon the crest of a wave.
How these ripples enchant but exhaust.
Perhaps I’m a rock, some body
the sea requires. Yet even when I lay
almost effaced, I’m dreaming awake of
terrains I remember, here, a kernel,
there, a crumb.
This is when they think
I’ve probably succumbed.
Actually, I’m given over;
lost, lost to immunity.
Motivation resurrects reflexes.
You see, I am swimming, stroke
after stroke. Illness is
a metaphor to be tread. I am
its witness, tell-tale.
If they don’t know it, I protest,
why do I?
STEPHEN MEAD is a resident of New York, published outsider artist, writer, and maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. Rooted in his experiences as a direct care giver two of his health care related pieces in book form are “Washing the Body” and “Weightless.”