Category Archives: illness

Upright Midnight


Upright Midnight

Our night’s rest should meander, releasing us to dreams,
but my sleep took me on a trip down other sorts of streams
with rapids, eddies, waterfalls that jarred me rough awake.
I think that just one night like it is all that I could take.
Whenever I lay prone, I had another bout of coughing—
with one hack executed, another in the offing. 
I could not lay my head down to soothe myself to sleep.
Instead I slept bolt upright, my covers in a heap
around me on the sofa as a cough jarred me awake.
Sleeping upright on the sofa does not sweet dreaming make. 
I longed for my soft bed and former slumbering meanders
through crisp rows of wheat stalks and banks of oleanders
in search of something still unknown, a peaceful all-night search
for those soulful comforts I never found at church.
My mother’s laughter once again, my father’s joking ways
waiting just around the bend of this nightly maze.
Instead, I’ve barely three hours sleep in between my wheezes—
my dreams propelled by cyclones instead of gentle breezes.
The cold germ is not neighborly. It visits when it pleases
and brings unwanted hostess gifts of drips and coughs and sneezes.

As you may have guessed, I’ve come down with a miserable cold. Two poems in one night, one while I was still trying to stay in bed, then another after I moved to sit upright on the couch which at least furnished a half hour of sleep now and then between the coughing bouts.  The prompt today is meander.

The Spring Cold Blues


The Spring Cold Blues

While I should be off-to-sleeping,
instead I’m coughing, sneezing, seeping.
My poor throat is scraped and raw
and herb tea sipped at through a straw
doesn’t seem to help at all.
Tissues rolled up in a ball
litter the table and the floor.
I cough, then blow, then cough some more.
I sweat and shiver and sweat in turn.
Sometimes I chill. Sometimes I burn.
I can’t lie down lest I should cough.
Propped up on pillows, I fall off,
knock tea to floor and break the cup.
No energy to mop it up.
So, with my head still in a fog,
I sit up straight and write this blog.
If I were horse or sheep or cow,
I’d know the secret of just how
I could sleep while still erect,
but since I’m not, I still elect
to sleep while prone whenever I can.
Tonight, it seems, that’s not the plan.


Hey!  Just realized this is my 4,000th posting!!!

Election Night and RBBB


Election Night and RBBB

The world is broken.
Even the little dogs cry out in sleep.
The darkness drops its tears
on the tile roof
and my heart misfires,
its electric messages
out of their normal path
and back again, trying to establish
some order.


I am heartsick tonight, both literally and figuratively

Once Upon a Lime in Mexico

Once Upon a Lime in Mexico

I was just a small amoeba living on a lime,
and though Judy disinfects her fruit every single time,
I fear that the bartender doesn’t bother to
so that is how the tale occurred that I am telling you.
She squeezed her lime above the ice, then dropped it in the drink.
The Coca Cola fizzed up and the ice began to clink.
As she took her first big swallow, I lost hold of the lime
and slid down a soft pink chute into another clime.

I’d heard of other journeys and knew how this might end,
but I decided I’d enjoy every curve and bend.
I wound up in a reservoir where I gave in to sleeping,
but woke up to a million of me jumping, kicking, leaping.
It wasn’t half so pleasant as it had been before,
so I commenced to swim around, looking for the door.
Unfortunately, though I found it, it seemed to be blocked.
The wind was brisk, the waters churned, but the way out was locked.

When I heard the one who had consumed me groan and cry and cuss,
I rued the fate to which that Cuba Libre had doomed us!
For as distressed as she must be with headache and each cramp,
I was suffering equally from jostling and the damp.
For two days she lived on Electrolit, in bed and with no food.
And I held on for my dear life, listening to my brood
tell of what we could expect, flushed to a watery hell
down in the earth with all our kin—this legend they knew well.

Two days I lived like this, just holding on for my dear life,
listening to her pleas as spasms cut her like a knife—
too ill to go for help and unable to even sit.
I wondered how much worse this grisly tale was going to get.
Then suddenly, this morning, I felt the waters swirl.
I felt myself slip-sliding right out of the girl
into a clear container where I could see the world
from prison I’d once more escaped, or rather, I’d been hurled!

I felt the jostling and the engine of the moving car
which set up small vibrations in my little jar.
Yet still my progeny and I enjoyed the five mile ride.
It was so much better now that we were not inside
that dark and windswept place where we’d resided for two days.
Though I’ll admit none of our legends accounted for this phase.
No other amoebian Aesop had written any story
that took a turning such as this. Former endings had been gory!

I heard the car door open, footsteps and a creaking door.
Other footsteps, blinding light, and I was freed once more!
Spread onto a sheet of glass, surveyed by a big eye,
I breathed a sigh of pure relief. I’m such a lucky guy.
While they weren’t looking, I slipped off and landed on a shelf
where ever since I’ve been observing others like myself
who have escaped amoeba hell at least for a small time.
While I’m in amoeba heaven, and my dears?  It is sublime!!!

So clean, well-lit and active. Just like a picture show.
I sit here so languidly and just go with the flow,
calling out encouragement to visitors like myself.
And now and then, others come and join me on my shelf.
The girl who works here likes to put her sandwich very near,
where it serves as a good cushion for those of my kind, I fear.
The moral? Take care what winds up inside you, please, my friends;
for in spite of all my warnings, this story never ends.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Once Upon a Time”—tell us about something that happened to you in real life last week — but write it in the style of a fairy tale.

Sorry, friends, this one is another groaner!!!!