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KEVIN HAYES

 

The Long Process Of Dying

 

my father complains the pinched nerve

in his back has caused his left leg

to fail him & he is falling down

so I advise him to call the Scooter Store

& when he asks me to explain

I say, "if you're sitting in a scooter

you won't fall as far"

 

the long process of dying

begins before the diagnosis

 

when my father tells me

he has been diagnosed

with Lou Gehrig's disease,

he says, “now if I get cancer

at least I won't ever feel it”

 

I remember when I was a kid

I asked my father if he had killed

anybody when he had fought

in Europe during World War II

he said, “I don't know

every time I pulled the trigger

I closed my eyes”

 

my father & I reminisce

about roughhousing together 40 years ago

my father says,' my arms & legs

have gotten so weak I don't think

I can beat you up any more”

 

my father says,

“Death won't find me easy to catch

it's just that I can't move too fast”

but the long process of dying

does not last so long as we expect

food debris suddenly causes pneumonia

& my father's lungs fail as he sleeps

hours after admission into a California hospital

I guess one has no chance to run

when Death employs its blindside maneuver

 

when my mother died, my father

said, “if there is a heaven

your mother is there”

 

now in paradise my father may live to see

the Chicago Cubs win the World Series at last

now my father's body has been burned to ash

& nothing remains in the radiant silence except love

 

 

Black Hole President

 

     as the bombs fall, the President becomes a black hole sucking in & obliterating all the joy we might find in the world as he appears on national television claiming that no one on our planet will be safe until we seize control of Iraq & strip it of its weapons of mass destruction. . .the news reports begin to flow over all the available information networks that hundreds of Iraqi troops are surrendering to the American-British coalition rolling towards Baghdad with little opposition & I wonder why Saddam Hussein has not used any of the weapons of mass destruction George W. Bush claims that he kept hidden from the United Nations inspectors who were evacuated from the country several days ago. . .in 36 hours, the vast majority of deaths & casualties suffered by Coalition forces have been the result of mechanical failures or friendly fire &, as I transcribe these words into my computer while the television provides me with the information I am shaping, I wonder why Saddam has failed to terrorize our troops with any of the dangers George W. Bush claims that he embodies & I wonder how many Americans will realize that the only side involved in this conflict possessing weapons of mass destruction that present a danger to planetary & security peace happens to be us. . .despite the left-wing bias dominating the American media, none of the television analysts have bothered to mention that our quick progress would seem to indicate that the objective of disarmament must be, at least in part, a fiction, nor has it been noted that seizing control of Iraqi oil fields would appear to have been a higher priority than locating the secret underground bunkers where Saddam's weapons of mass destruction no doubt have been hidden since it would be unthinkable to suppose that our President George W. Bush has been lying to us because he needs cheap oil in order to ease our long-term recession if he wishes to ensure his re-election, if he wishes never to hear his mystery opponent campaign on the slogan "it's the economy, stupid". . .this black hole President along with joy sucks in & obliterates all common sense & logic leaving empty heads in his wake, heads that ask if we have discovered where Saddam has been keeping the weapons of mass destruction he would not let the United nations inspectors see & when these weapons will be unleashed against our troops, no head asking if these weapons might happen not to exist at all. . .