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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Tiger Prowls

I wrote this in 2011 by hand. Posted it in 2012 on facebook. This article from the Washington Post on Robin Williams brought me back to the poem. Before my wife died. Most of what was in it, I thought, was referring to other inmates in the first circle of hell. One in particular was a man struggling to find the money to keep his wife alive. But no, the Tiger was coming for my wife. Since then the Tiger keeps taking members of my family, immediate and extended. If ACA goes away, the tiger will take more people than before.

The Tiger prowls my corridors
I hear her sobbing in the front row
Does the Tiger argue with God?
If we are meant to find a peaceful world
Why did He create the Tiger?

Inspired by real life and this article in the Post:…/2…/04/21/AFGGtLEF_story.html

I walk the corridors
of a small city With buildings named “Mercy” and pajama clad inmates.
And I hear him sobbing
in a lounge room with stuffed chairs
Making phone calls to get money,
to keep her alive another moment.
If we are meant to live in peace,
Why did the Ineffable One make his wife so sick?
Fierce is the light,
fiercer still is the dark
And we go crying down corridors doing our laps.
clear plastic pipes dangling from the tree of life
Mounted on wheels following the atheletes
Bald heads covered with bright bandanas,
Walking for their life.
Such are the whistles and beeps.
A walk is measured in terms of time.
How far can we get before “El Gordo” starts beeping?
Running from the Tiger
The tree of life is made of metal and plastic,
festooned with bags and things.
A stuffed doll hangs from one,
a stuffed bear from another
A comely woman, a bald child.
And we walk until we are too tired.
And then we rest, the three of us.
The Tiger awaits us in our rooms!
We are suspended in molassus above the first circle of hell
Barely above a yawning chasm of hell
Occasionally we get a puff of sulfur smell.
This person is leaving. This one is alive
This person is recovering, hooray for the doctors!
This person is leaving,
on two legs
“Paliative care” is newspeak for tragedy
Watching the children gather around their mother
“They treated my booboo, dear.”
she says
“I may have to go away for a long time.”
When that time comes, suspended in molassus,
A father leaves with his children alone.
But the doctors always have another plan
If that won’t save her, another one can.
And they try this combination,
this cocktail Administered with blue gloves,
It is so toxic that if it doesn't cure, it hastens death.
The tiger awaits, but it mauls even those who escape.
It is so toxic That there are reports of cancers caused by it,
Arising in later years from mutations that were started when killing this one
They have plans, they have alternatives, they have educated guesses
And the women in the ward, wear the same pathetic dresses
They walk around dazed, like zombies but not crazed,
Doing their laps in hope for a cure.
Short ones, tall ones, robust and demure,
All hoping that the doctors know what they are doing
“Don’t you understand? Did I promise you a cure?”
“I said we’d get you out of here, I didn’t say how.”
“We will treat your cancer, until we can treat it no more.”
“And if we are successful, you’ll walk out that door.”
“And if we are not,
maybe we’ll learn something that can help others.”
The Tiger awaits in the treatment room
Wearing robes that are white and gray.
“Meanwhile, I’ll give you something for the pain.”
Suspended in molassus above the first circle of hell
And the tiger comes to talk to me in my vision
Or maybe my exhausted imagination
While I sit in my chair listlessly, kind-of-sleeping
He sounds like my doctor, and wears a white gown.
“I can’t offer you much hope, but the odds are better than dice.”
By Christopher H. Holte written April 2011

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