Two Poems (full doubt)

by | Feb 14, 2021 | February 2021 Writing | 4 comments




my scalp erupts with rash

the surgeon forgot to shave


my head before she left

taxi electric silent no smoke


to curse suck watch rise

yet these white walls sheets


pillows drapes chair sky sky count

backwards to the anesthetist one


hundred twinkles in her eye trust

she kissed both bumpers while parking


a worthy home-life complete with instructions

please close your eyes more plea than command 


just the facts please close the windows

I’m going under pure now forgiven translatable


what year is this where are we what

faceless gassed souvenirs— so heavy


nothing fits in the bag

sever the strap on first tug


toe ankle knee all work fine

should elbow wrist baby finger wave fine


yes I’ve got the fare thank you

take me to the symphony please I’m fine




Esteem of Deserving

The melody/ painted over/ six long years/we took/ wrong rights/ right wrongs double negatives made positives/ tried genograms/ rarely listened to hindsight/ oiled anchors to pass time/ fueled flight with crushed apples/ removed ribs to suck marrow desalted sea/ drops to mirror/ gull rat plastic corpse replaced driftwood/ doubt came like a lover/ on top faith foamed away spring/ water pumped                 to surface subtle yet harsh black ice/ glazed the handhold/ cliff steep / climber unfit/ over-confident / lazy knotter/ prone to great leaps/ peak a letdown/ delusion as partner/ weak swimmer/ spotting the could have beens/ each breeze a tide/ reliable witness/ freighter horn gull anthem sea never far fear shore/ enter each tavern with bravado/ delete deck drama/ hoist mains/ scale stays/ float properly/ repeat seasonally/ calibrate differences/ observe other change/ count origin myths/ name new fauna/ bugger the done befores / never call human resources but Captain, each plank a brick I’m happy

to report this hammock dangles fine. They said we’d never make the crossing /alive/ This is proof.  Hear that sail billow, that’s almost land.


  1. John Steines

    Mercy David.
    (Discharge) You are so good as you lead the reader around as if blind folded, getting hints and I think – getting distractions (yours or mine), then target right back in and I know where we are in the story, say, you waking from anesthesia and the staff checking on your arousal, function. You really have a power in how you do that. Go to the symphony after that reads like a not quite realistic plan that incomplete withdrawal from meds may contribute to, that sense of achievement, success & celebration (life goes on) before the next wave of wash out. I can read it as a celebration of a good outcome yet the RN in me feels caution, like you may not really be ready for the symphony, maybe a soft radio playing classics. Maybe that is a depth I introduce, yet the celebration of vibrancy deserving of a symphony I understand fully.
    (Esteem of Deserving) At first I know where you are, what’s happening then that dissolves, I’m overcome briefly a I try to follow, after which it reads as the confusion of how a situation changes so suddenly and accidentally. Especially love ‘spotting the could have beens’. Then at sometime, I again lose track and it really doesn’t matter,a s I’m so enjoying the ride ending in a hammock. What could be better. How you do that seemingly without emotion or personal involvement beyond the cheery: ‘enter each tavern with bravado’ is amazing. Cheers. john

  2. Meg Tuite

    Two spectacular spectacles! Discharge is a wild ride of going under and then coming to. Some exquisite lines in this: “hundred twinkles in her eye trust she kissed both bumpers while parking” had me laughing. Every line works with the eye of doubt upon the nurses, anesthetist, room, so heavy, nothing fits, sever. Outstanding! LOVE IT ALL!

    Esteem of Deserving: Fast pace rocking through this one. Learning as one goes along through mistakes, the ‘wrong/rights,’ ‘the right/wrongs’ ‘rarely listened to hindsight’ ‘doubt came like a lover’ and through it all they must “enter each tavern with bravado/ delete deck drama”. The way you present yourself even if you have little idea of what the fuck you’re doing. How we all walk through life. I see the macro through the micro of this ship sailing. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! Send this beauty out!

  3. Constance Malloy

    David, I don’t ever feel that confident commenting on poetry. I “doubt” myself. Ha! But, wow! Discharge is a great rendering of going under and awakening in the anesthetic fog. And somehow, you make ending three of the last four lines with the same word work. “toe ankle knee all work fine/should elbow wrist baby finger wave fine/yes I’ve got the fare thank you/take me to the symphony please I’m fine” Very fun to read aloud.

    I really really like Esteem of Deserving. The format fits it and keeps the reader moving at a good clip. Perhaps my favorite line: “bugger the done befores.” The do have a tendency to bite us in the arse. Good luck with these and thanks for sharing.

  4. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Hi David,
    Discharge disorients time and thought just as going under anesthetic does. I love not only the associations, but also “taxi electric silent” disorients us to wonder when the taxi silent takes us– into surgery, or on the way to.. or after, which is perfect.

    And Esteem of Deserving– just filled with so much wonderful! I could pull out so many of these phrases for sheer delight– “/rarely listened to hindsight/.. /gull rat plastic corpse replaced driftwood (that one so sad!)…and the overall metaphor of sea-going– cliff climbing …”/freighter horn gull anthem sea never far fear shore/ enter each tavern with bravado/ delete deck drama/ hoist mains/ scale stays/ float properly” ––wow. I feel in this work the salt and the sea and the freighters I watched from the shore when I was a child and imagined the water world of earth.

    Thank you for these two works.

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