Careful not to look too hard, or lift my eye to where
might be caught, latched onto or beseeched, I searched
room, slid past a crumpled blanket in a chair.
I saw in him the ruin of a military man,
a smile aslide with drool and eyelids bled
of sleepless tears set in the crust and crosshatch
of his pain's thin script, where wrinkles etched
soft loose skin. How sags the military spine,
tissue parchment of these blood blue veins explore
claw clenched hands,
I have to leave, to look away
to shift my gaze once more to mindless box instead,
glares into the sun filled day room hour by hour,
exhortations of the healthy rich to train each day,
achieve such bliss, five minute discipline,
ecstasy of mindless function, and such sculptured strength.
simple ride and rock and such a little price to pay.
one old dear's simple ride and rock cries out
another cries in pain, so like a clock, screams out,
out from a corner rug: my horror turns again
and I too swing around, I turn my head,
catch the inadvertent ruin's eye.
through the window of intelligence I stare
feel foul ravishment of self, feel dread.
22 August, 1999
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