Life is one long horrible disease.
As victim or as witness it’s the same:
There are no opportunities to seize,
And helplessness leaves no one left to blame.
The path ahead seems only downward, slick
As running water on a plastic slide,
And pausing seems to be a magic trick
That never works however hard you’ve tried.
Eventually of course that blame gets laid,
No matter what you want. A gap, a fault,
A wall, some outside force that can’t be stayed,
And you become at one with the gestalt.
Some love, some fear, some cry, some laugh to death.
You cannot talk to addicts. Save your breath.
Marcus Bales writes: “This sonnet began as a set-up for a re-write of one of the terrible-pun-spoonerism poems from February 2023, and it sort of got away from me. It happens sometimes — you start out with one idea of what a poem is about and then the poem just won’t cooperate. At every line i was trying to tell the story of the alcoholic swami with cirrhosis who had been unfortunate enough to have married a woman who was impatient of inheriting, and who finally killed him when she weighed down upon the swami’s liver. As you can see, the poem was determined to have none of that, and went its own way, cleverly taking all the addiction and death for itself and leaving me with nothing I could use for my purposes. So to punish it I let it sit for a few months, hoping it would come to its senses and realize that the only way to see the light of day was to accept the purposes I had had in mind for it, but even there it was too smart for me, and kept quietly to itself until a day came when I hadn’t finished anything else. With a sigh and a shake of my head I posted it. So here it is.”
Not much is known about Marcus Bales except that he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and that his work has not been published in Poetry or The New Yorker. However his ’51 Poems’ is available from Amazon. He has been published in several of the Potcake Chapbooks (‘Form in Formless Times’).
“Helpless” by Scarlizz is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.