Ode to Healing – Part One

John Updike


A scab
is a beautiful thing — a coin
the body has minted, with an invisible motto:
In God We Trust.
Our body loves us,
and, even while the spirit drifts dreaming,
works at mending the damage that we do.
That heedless Ahab the conscientious mind
drives our thin-skinned hull onto the shoals;
a million brilliant microscopic engineers below
shore up the wound with platelets,
lay down the hardening threads of fibrin,
send in the lymphocytes, and supervise
those cheery swabs, the macrophages, in their clean-up.
Break a bone, and fibroblasts
knit together the blastema in days.
Catch a cold, and the fervid armies
swarm to blanket our discomfort in sleep.
For all these centuries of fairy tails poor men
butchered each other in the name of cure,
not knowing an iota of what the mute brute of body knew.

— Continued —

For further reading:
Updike The Jew



At The Moment

At the moment
of your birth
all options may open
for you.
Or they may not.

Profound experiences may befall you,
or they may not.

Difficult choices may be placed before you
or they may not.

Lessons may be learned
or they may not.

You may find meaning
in your suffering.
You may find sorrow.
You may find joy.
You may find chaos.

You may find death;
but Death will find you.

In a moment
of clarity,
Truth may come to you.
Or you may find it
through years
of struggle.
Or it may never come to you
at all.

You may wish
to understand
it all.

At the end,
you will not.

 —   —   —

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Cave Inside

—–     —–     —–

My cave has no mouth to scream with;
 My eyes have no sight for to see.
 There no one inside there to be with;
but there's no place that I'd rather be.

—–     —–     —–

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Sometimes Stops Being


—–     —–     —–

sometimes taxi dog’s blue.  sometimes stops being.
bees someone “else”.  lost somelongtime now.  fragmented, loozing hiz gripz.
Becoming…   …   …?
hard to describe.  looked for coincidences.  Serendipities.

—–     —–     —–

now, not describing, more being.
conclusion?  not yet.  not now.
but feelz goode…   …   …words flow, non-sensemaking, easzier.
all the betterer, all the meaning-er.

—–     —–     —–

Not for you?
i take’m as they are…   …   …out of analysis, out of form(alde)…   …   …hyding.
Will you see the strange reading
I’m sure, I think, for you.
For me; ecstasy!
A lopstuck piglet?
Who knows?

—–     —–     —–

What’s written is a manufractured, pro-ducttaped assemblage.  an un-naturaled axe.
Want “heard”!
Want Meant!
Allizz what I can write-right now.  Allizz is fragments.
writing fragments like the end.  ’til the end.  ’til I end.
‘Til I write in an ‘other’ way.

—– —– —–

brainworthy of worry?  scary to me.  How to know; lest you know.  tell me?
Maybe brained injured writers will be all the rage in the later parts of his decage (sic?).
Stick to the sictionary, TD.  browse the Classics. paleontology?  knew her sisters well:  Ellis and Anne?
The Brontesauruses?
Pun-machine hymning,
thanks God!

—– —– —–

I’m no eecummings.  and hezze no me.
Go nightnight  Go to my cell.

—– —– —–

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Norman Is In Ireland (apologies to R.J.Squirrel)

Falling.  Bottomless.  Tumbling.
painful joints;


to know You.
I is nothing with out U.

Writing this,
like this,
formless, meaningless….



No meaning.

All I know, can know, hope to know, hear, see, feel:
no form. 


Pin-ball wizard!
Damaged hands.
Motion. Memories of motion; e-motion.
Broken/English, back-hand, left-hand, no hand.
No spin; dead ball.

Wish it’d “Go”!
But it won’t.



Because it captures unknowable Truths

the rational mind looses

in the subterranean pathways of Mind.

No; I don’t know if THIS is poetry!!

I don’t know what poetry IS.

Yes I know.

Its only a punctuational game.

End the sentence here.  New line there.

Change a metaphor there.

Mechanics are not creations.

Of course I know this.

Don’t play me for a fool!

And I’m sorry I can’t play

up to The Standards.

Don’t the losses keep mounting?

I know that refrain.

Its dirge  gets loud

Vesti la giubba” in ragtime.

Who gets the last laugh?

Sadly, or not, we all know

His name.

— The Taxi Dog —


Had I known my love of poetry would
get me so many chick readers,
I would have started this blog
years ago. Now I’m 70,
married forever,
can’t get it up all the time, and living in a wheelchair!
A half-paralyzed dream lover.
Where’s Bukowski nowadays.
I need consolation.
Related articles

The Boston Marathon In Poetry


Difficult to copy.  Worth the read.

A Thank You Note

A Thank-You Note


My daughter made drawings with the pens you sent,
line drawings that suggest the things they represent,
different from any drawings she — at ten — had done,
closer to real art, implying what the mind fills in.
For her mother she made a flower fragile on its stem;
for me, a lion, calm, contained, but not a handsome one.
She drew a lion for me once before, on a get-well card,
and wrote I must be brave even when it’s hard.
Such love is healing — as you know, my friend,
especially when it comes unbidden from our children
despite the flaws they see so vividly in us.
Who can love you as your child does?
Your son so ill, the brutal chemo, his looming loss
owning you now — yet you would be this generous
to think of my child. With the pens you sent
she has made I hope a healing instrument.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2013).


Poem Club: On Retirement

Desire for Retirement

by Roy Mash

Sometimes I envy my bed, 
how it gets to bask all day with the dog, 
the pair of them loafing on the 
quiet raft of the afternoon,

lulled in the lapping of the clock, 
the still life still on the wall, 
linens adrift on the shelf, 
the whole house awash with cushiness.

What is the work of the bed, 
but to bask all day with the dog? 
What is the work of the dog, 
but to quiver his ear at the phone? 

Somewhere is a midday world
of penny loafers and bargain matinees, 
saunas and marinas and 10 speeds
and laptops in strudel cafés.

Bored? Me? Not. My plan’s to saw off
one day from the next, 
to produce my quota of carbon dioxide,
to throw myself into the job 

of dabbing up the seeds that have fallen 
from an everything bagel 
(though, to be truthful, 
I may delegate this to my little finger),

to join the road gang of sleepers-in, 
pay my dues to Local 6 
of the lookers-out-of-windows, 
bow to the whims of my new boss

the TV Guide, take on the grunt work of doing zip;
then every afternoon 
at four, following my meeting
with the Committee of Clouds,

to return, exhausted from a long day
of breathing in and out, 
to the bed and the dog, and tilt
the glider of my nose ever so slightly down. 
The descent so easeful, so gradual. 
I won’t even know when I’m on the ground.


Roy Mash produces his quota of carbon dioxide in Marin County, California, where he indulges in a pensioner’s sense of entitlement dabbing up the seeds that have fallen from an everything bagel. Staring out of windows, he is given to mentally thumbing over his poems that have appeared in Agni, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, The Evansville Review, Nimrod, Passages North, Poetry East, Rhino, and River Styx among others. His first full-length book, Buyer’s Remorse (Cherry Grove Collections), is due out later this year.