To Maybe Wake, To Maybe Not



To Maybe Wake, To Maybe Not
The  Parkway near my  Condominium, 2003

My own feet.

Eyes closing,
So hard
To keep them
From closing.

Barely aware
Of my
Trying so hard
To focus
On taking one step
After another,
Just one more step,
And then another.

Overdose, I think.
So much pain this morning.
Slapped my Fentanyl Patch
Right over my spine.
Didn’t help much
On my shoulder.
So maybe, I thought,
It might do more
On my spine.

That’s if I thought
At all,
Of course.

Sometimes in a daze
Of pain and drugs,
I hardly knew
What I was doing.

But I did know,
With practical certainty,
That if I lay down to rest
On that particular day,
If I dared to give in,
For even a moment,
Then I might not get up again,
Not on that day,
Nor ever again.

Barely remember
That morning.

Barely remember
That whole day.

Just remember
Those moments,
By the river,
Trying so hard
To focus.

To focus
On putting
One foot
In front
Of the other.

Barely conscious.
Eyes closed.
In my waking sleep.

I wonder sometimes
Why I didn’t just give in.
Could have rested
On my bed,
Or on the grass,
In the sun,
And maybe slept
The long sleep.
The restful sleep.
The pain-free sleep.
The forever
And ever

That day,
It would have been so easy.
To stop.
To lie down.
To sleep.
To maybe wake.
To maybe not.

Two Hours to Go ’til Home



Two Hours to Go ’til Home
Enroute from Bancroft to Ottawa, 2002

Eyes closing,
As I drive.

So very tired!
Impossible to stay awake.
A danger to myself.
A danger to others.

Parked now,
At the side
of an isolated northern highway,
Dozing in
and out,
Struggling towards wakefulness.

Zombie-like effects of medications:

Percocet –
Oxycontin –
The Fentanyl Patch –
Gaba Pentin –
Hydromorphone –
Vioxx –
Amitriptylene –
Lyrica –
Cymbalta –
Naproxen –
Tylenol with Codeine.

Whatever concoction,
Whatever mix,
I’m on now.
Who knows,
There were so many.

No cell reception,
Still struggling towards wakefulness,
Two hours to go ‘til home.

And the pain, of course.
Always the pain.

The story of my life now,
Medications that do little good,
Side effects that devastate.

A new young doctor.
He’s never been in pain.
Says he can help me.
All sorts of options.
“We’ll” experiment, he says.

The “we” meaning “me”.
15 minute visits at most,
A new prescription.
Or, more often,
More than one.

And off I go,
And the pain goes on,
The side effects too.

And here I am
At the side
of an isolated northern highway.
Struggling towards wakefulness,
Two hours to go ‘til home.