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I have a “contusion” on my right ring toe, which means that for two weeks I cannot dance or do yoga, according to the toe doctor at the clinic I went to yesterday.
In the lobby I was almost beaten up by a Latina twice my size in pink flipflops because I and the other patients in that hellish ghetto waiting room were trying to watch Erin Brockovich on the TV monitor there and she started playing Lady Gaga really loudly on her iPod and I said to her, “it’s a little loud.”
She was hateful, but I tried to stay compassionate by reminding myself that she probably had to be tough to survive, probably had been raped by a series of stepdads, probably had no job or a shit one, etc.  I hate this country.  I was trying to explain to two of my Chinese students why this country is so hateful.  They haven’t been here for very long and they think NYC is paradise.  I told them the story of the obnoxious woman in the waiting room and said no one in China would act like that, no one in Japan would act like that.
Anyway after the encounter the staff moved me into another part of the clinic, a hallway in the inner sanctum that was even more like hell.  Everyone looked so ill and desperate.  One older sort of drugged-out looking black guy was talking to someone on his cellphone, saying, “Almost done with all this medical crap.  They keep putting white people in line ahead of me. You know I don’t like that and they want to get me out of here as soon as they can. I just need to get my medication.”
Some parents wheeled out their emaciated teenage son in a chair.  He looked as if he had some kind of mental disorder as well.  The doctor was a very beautiful dark-skinned woman with long hair in an only slightly frizzy ponytail.  I admired her.
Anyway after being forbidden by the doctor to dance or do yoga for two weeks I was in a foul mood…and was sulking all the way home, but then a woman walked past me with her arm in a sling and her ankle bandaged up and I reminded myself how very much worse it could be.
I have a lot on my mind, I have too many responsibilities, it’s hard to make poetry right now. For one thing I’m teaching in the mornings and so I can’t just sit down at work and spill out poetry as I can when I teach in the afternoons.   After teaching I sometimes get a little zombified. I don’t know, I feel confused, I’m in a bit of a limbo space right now.  I thought I had some idea, some picture, of how my “future” would unfold, hazy though it was, when I was married.  Then suddenly the big seismic thing and now… what? I know this is an opportunity for all sorts of things to happen, it’s just hard to be clearheaded still, I’m still, a year in, trying to put pieces back together. I’m told it really takes two years for the feelings to settle, and for the imagination and memory to stop going to such horrible and alarming places.
I loved this poem I got on one of Buck Downs’ poem/postcards (The linebreaks are a little different in the original.):

         thanks in reverse
               internal stakeholders
               rage’s tart strain
           fantasizes the experience
my secret currency
lifeless as a pound
of mercury dimes
my condition is a pleasure
good way to get run over

What a good poem this is! 
And I still have conversations with them, those people, the infidels, in my head.  Sometimes I try to tell them how they misunderstood me, sometimes I wish them ill, although I know I shouldn’t. 
My mother in law just read this blog, I noticed in my stats.  She was so unjust to me.  Her narrative was so totally wrong, completely skewed, wrong wrong wrong.  I was thinking I wanted to make a list of all the terribly wrong unfair tactless horrible things people said to me in the wake of the mess.  But then, you know, they would be there even more reified and objectionable, just staring me in the face.
Lately I’ve been thinking, you know?, people should just be sterilized at birth.
Now I have to go get the laundry.

One thought on “contusion

  1. Your contretemps at the clinic sounds so familiar because I'm in Detroit, which is totally Proleville. You're surrounded by people who've survived by baring their shark teeth umpteen times a day, and everything people on a higher plateau try to keep private, they try to make public. They want you to hear their cell phone conversations; they want you to watch their family arguments and admire their brassy bons mots. If one of these monsters is bothering me in a place like a clinic or the Sec. of State, I try to get away from him–or her, just as often. Don't say anything, and don't try to reason with him; he'll rip your throat out like a ravenous pack dog. I don't even honk at rude drivers. You could get shot or jousted into a telephone pole or something. Lovely country.

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