Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When I Tried to Dull the Toothache

author's note:

The poem below was written while I actually had a toothache.

I’m reminded of the Cole Porter song, “At Long Last Love”--a song that supposedly carries a curse.

Porter took a spill while riding one day and his steed landed on him. While he lay there in pain, waiting for help to arrive, he wrote, "At Long Last Love".

Some have speculated that his pain was transferred into the song.

But to me, that's no curse at all.


Something needed my attention
but I couldn't bear to listen

so I put a cushion
between me and the shouting

then when the broadcast
broke through that layer
I added another

and then another, and another, and another

--always one more pillow.

Now I'm dulled in a soft place
and very nearly deaf--

yesterday, I sensed
how tired I had grown
of the nothingness of numbness
and proclaimed:

“From this point on
  I will confront my tormentor!
  I will beat it, I will best it!"

this big talk ended
and I retreated
as soon as the pain
raised its voice again.

For a long time, I've thought
of that hot horn as a devil
cursing at me.
But after I uncovered a little
I could hear the tears:
the ache is a child,

Such pain will always find a way to find me...

so I've finally chosen
my only real choice:
I will deal with the source...

but delicately now,
with humility...

© 2013, Michael R. Patton
Glorious Tedious Transformation

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