Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What to Prepare For (Skip Fox)

what to prepare for

I didn’t call him daddy from the age of six or seven
in anybody's presence, including his, if I was that kind
of poet this would be that kind of poem, abundance
of little in the face of presumptively abiding under-
standings though of course neither of us believed
the other knew what was or wasn’t the construction
onto which we were so inclined much less the operative
intelligence behind existence,  “Your head must be
swimming,” he said the last time I showed him my work,
he was my first pronoun, last night the most lonely and lovely
of my life I helped my mother wipe his ass held him up
damned near carried him from recliner to wheelchair then
to bed stroked his hand and cheek rubbed his shoulder helped
my sister change him enlarged the hole in the retractable
penal catheter massaged his abdomen until the helmet appeared
pulled it out checked for redness at the slit placed the head
and as much of his cock as I could through the hole
into the bag pressed down on the adhesive round the base
“window-paned" the diameter hooked him up talked
to him listened carefully down the well of his distress
as he responded in gasping exhalations of from one-to-four
syllables to sounds or shapes out of the mirror-glossy horror
window after sundown and chemically-induced slumber proves
transcient turns turn into rolling over in the shallow surf
of sleep-distress scratching his head turning up his blankets
in fists and fits pulling his pillow to his side then pushing
it over the rail grasping my hand with his surprising strength
scratching his arms or the backs of his hands eyes barely
closed jumping to voices apparently out of the glittering
blackness telling him in effect that it was over except
for the misery     “No, no, no         no no"       "Oh my God,
Oh my God"       once        "Forgive      me          Forgive me"        
"Okay     Okay           Let's go          Let's go"         multiple
"I'm ready's"      once      "I wanta          die          I wanta die
I just         wanta die"       twice         "I don't          know     whether
         to shit           to shit         or  get off          the pot" at least
one time of which he could actually have been referring
to what was occurring once something like "I'm stuck          I'm stuck
I can't go           forward          and I can't          go back"
all this time I sat in the wheelchair beside him or occasionally in
the living room's recliner and tried to sleep in the four-to-fifteen-
minute intervals between outbursts or activity with pillow and blankets
Nan coming up the stairs saying "Poor Daddy" so sweetly sad and soft we
changed him and then she sat with him until nearly five when I
relieved her for an hour and a half during which period his cries
and pleas and groans of despair came in supplements of approximately
three every five minutes sometimes more in the hour and a half
before we got him up then an hour later responding to his cries
I said "It's okay Daddy I'm here"      and he      "That           helps
       That helps          Really          helps"     thinking the tone sarcastic
I said      "Well I am"     or maybe     "Regardless"      and he looked
at me through a hole in the cloud      "No no           I mean it Skip
           It really       helps          I'm           glad          you're here"
gasping for breath congestive heart failure and Alzheimer's
the wicked double whammy though profound physical breakdown
and sudden decline may be a mercy disguised as suffering cast
into a cause terrible to die from an existence worse than
continuance lost to himself for forty minutes out he asked
demanding agitated      "What are we doing          What are we
          going to do"      and      "What are the plans          What
are the plans      I just wanta           know           what are
           the plans"       "Well Daddy in forty minutes Nan and I
will get you up and into to your chair and cover you so you'll be warm
and then we'll get your tea" which with Mom and Judy's help we later did
and more and he responded calmly      "Forty minutes          I can do
           that"     and twenty minutes out in response to general agitation
probably moaning something like      "Oh shit          Oh shit          Shit"
or      "No    No       No no" such flashes every minute or so I told him what
we'd do in twenty minutes using the same formulation and again it
calmed him fifteen minutes before we got him up I asked him
to be patient and he said        "I don't wanta          be patient           I
don't wanta           be patient"      I said      "You can try to be patient.
     Remember the patience we had when we used to fish"     he nodded
his head so I went on to the cleaning bench by the pump-shed two
guys scaling two filleting and one running about cleaning up
carrying packs to freezers and pulling more fish off the lines
such was the magnitude of our catch occasionally rock bass and
perch      he said in his short bursts     "We sure had          some good times          didn't we          didn't we          Son"     and I said something like 
"We sure did"      he said      "And there'll       there'll be        be more
        in         the future"     weakly waving his hand             as I turned
to the wall           and he fell into      a sleep that lasted over three minutes

Skip Fox