Poetry from J.K. Durick

Visible Man
I’ve been CAT Scanned, MRI’d, ultra-sounded,
x ray’d here and x ray’d there, lab-tested and
examined till I’ve become the new visible man,
a new video game they’ve played on all their
screens, winners and losers alike adjusting this
prescribing that. I’m the visible man pictured
more for his insides than the out, the subject
of tests and reports, the much prescribed for
victim of our times and the woes of getting old.
I’m the visible man hiding at home waiting for
the next call, the email suggesting another
change in medicine or dosage or both or yet
another test or way of viewing the inner me,
the inner me I tried to hide away, but I have
become the visible man and they are all viewing
waiting to stake another claim, another diagnosis,
another bit of invisibility to expose.

                    On Mornings Like This

There are mornings, like today, when getting out of bed
is a task, a trial, something I would avoid if I could. On
mornings like this I stay under covers, on my side, on my
back, properly pillowed, secure and then I begin to think
about the day to come, I remember all the other days, so
many now, days that were frustrating, even frightening,
other days that hurt, days when I was happy, I was sad.
These memories hold me there, where it seems I almost
have a choice – begin again and let the day come to me,
let it be whatever it will be, or just stay there and let to-
day go on without me, like the elderly recluse I sometimes
imagine I am, bedridden, beyond caring what the day will
bring. It’s like the old one about doing the same thing over
and over and expecting different results – the insanity of
the thing, this getting up expecting something different,
something unexpected. My saner self just stays there, lays
there for a while weighing the possibilities, then he’s up
moving, starts up, feet on the floor, stumbles a bit, and then
sets out on yet another day.

                           Organ Recital
Today it’s my right elbow, feels like my left knee felt
yesterday, pain I can’t shake out today, couldn’t walk
off yesterday. It works like that, mobile, always ready
to relocate. It’s like my body comes up with a new dis-
traction each day; one day it’s my back, my shoulder
my neck, it stays long enough to slow me down, stays
long enough to make an impression but then it moves
on. It’s part of aging I’m sure. I remember as kids my
sister Liz and I used to joke about our old relatives and
called the first part of their/our visits ‘the organ recital.’
They would describe each pain in great detail, locate it
for us and compare it to other pains they knew we needed
to know about. On the way home or after they left we’d
imitate them, voice and all, and have a good laugh. Now
when Liz and I get to talk, by phone these days, we begin
with an inventory of aches and pains, this condition and
that. We get the irony, even call it by the name our joke
used, our organ recital. Today it’s my right elbow and I
feel like someone’s aging relative, feel like mentioning it
to anyone who would listen, knowing they need to know.

J. K. Durick is a retired writing teacher and online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Yard, Vox Poetica, Synchronized Chaos, Madswirl, Pendemic, and Eskimo Pie.