where you’ll find me

you might need to pick my dead body up off the ground while the supporters cheer and the protestors wail and their guns pour smoke out the barrels.

you might need to bail me out when i have welts on my head and dried blood in my hair and in a trail down my nose.

you might need to drive to washington dc to pick me up after the march has concluded and nothing has been changed but it happened and we didn’t let it die.

you might need to get me from the hospital with spray paint on my hands and nightstick bruises all over my chest, welts on my black eyes and two less teeth in my gums.

you might need to follow me from the office of the trucking company where i slashed their tires and they’ve called the cops and aren’t letting me off easy and are calling me terrorist.

you might have to pull me out from under the tires of the paddywagon and undo the handcuffs i locked to people on both my sides.

you might need to wash oil from my eyes and nostrils and earlobes and from my tongue because you found me drowning in the spill.

you might need to bring me food because we all gave it to all the starving people who were somehow worse off than us.

you might need to watch me get torn to pieces by the mob because you knew i would never join them.

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imitation game

this is a new theory of mine:

the lyme disease theory.

 

to start,

you may already know that

lyme disease is caused by ticks;

little parasitic arachnids

adept at

drinking the blood

of their hosts.

this is fairly well-known.

 

did you also know that

lyme disease is sometimes called

‘the great imitator’?

 

it is an extremely difficult disease

to properly diagnose.

it often mimics the

nightmare maladies:

fibromyalgia,

multiple-sclerosis,

ALS,

parkinson’s and

alzheimer’s.

 

a person close to a person close

has lived with an

alzheimer’s diagnosis

for the past three years.

turns out she actually has

lyme disease.

now that they know,

doctors think

they can cure her.

 

isn’t that crazy?

 

from the prolonged, sorrowful descent

into the incurable fog of alzheimer’s,

she may yet return.

thank heavens!

 

(so be watchful for ticks.)

 

now getting back to the theory:

it often seems that our

sick world is hurtling

towards

annihilation.

 

at the least,

we’re looking

pretty bad.

 

but,

perhaps neither our nation

nor world has

actually gone mad.

 

suppose we are

living with an unchecked

and untreated form

of lyme disease

which is

imitating everything we fear

in order to survive

within us.

 

perhaps it is the same culprit:

parasitic ticks.

 

the ticks descended upon us

only god knows when.

i postulate they’ve been

feeding from us for a while,

as our tragic symptoms

are well-advanced.

 

also, as ticks feed their

bodies swell.

the ticks we carry

should probably carry us

they’re so damn big.

 

they’ve taken purchase

on our aorta to ensure

they get all the blood

they need.

 

at first we were frustrated

that they needed such

necessary blood.

yet the ticks

are very

convincing.

 

and so we acquiesced.

“there is enough for all,”

we said.

 

“we’ll always have enough,”

we thought.

 

but as they drank and

fattened themselves,

they poisoned

our blood and

they’ve poisoned

our lives.

 

now our limbs flail madly

and rip at our own flesh

trying to end the pain in

our poisoned nerves.

 

now our brain

is deluded and not working

quite right because

we can’t recall

who we are.

 

now we live with a

craving for death, as

we see the future holds but

more and more pain

to endure.

 

and there will be more pain

unless we fight

this disease.

 

right now the ticks

are attempting

to swallow us

whole.

 

“your blood is no longer

good enough,”

they say,

“plus you owe us for

our service, so

we’ll just take

the rest.”

 

now the ticks tell us

“we are america.”

wasn’t that

our name?

 

the ticks tell us,

“we are in charge.”

the host is now

the guest.

 

the ticks tell us,

“you need us.”

don’t you

need us?

 

for so long

we’ve listened.

 

(we even dutifully listened to

their medical advice.)

 

but we are the body.

 

and a body near death

has astounding resilience.

 

before death

a moment of clarity will

come through the cloud,

a tunnel of light will

extend before us

and a voice will

erupt in our minds:

 

you are the body

that pumps the  blood.

you are the body

that moves the hand.

you are the body

that controls the voice.

you are the body

who listens to conscience.

you are the body

who bears all the fruits

of their pain.

you are a body

worth saving.

the tick says it was him who

spoke those words.

 

but the voice wasn’t like him

at all.