I don’t know about you, but when I have a friend in the hospital, I visit if I can. Ryk McIntyre was a huge part of a team that introduced me to the world of Slam Poetry. In 2001, I made the New Jersey Slam team and flew to Seattle for my first National Poetry Slam Competition. Imagine 300 poets on 75 teams crowding into one or two hotels for five days. Nationals is supposed to be about the competition, but not really. For people like Ryk and me, it’s about family, and it was Ryk who introduced me to this concept.
when the safety-straps slip?
That was our first kiss.
We knew it’d be crazy, knew the risk –
we’d have to disagree to agree
with the voices in our heads
that sentence us to solitary,
and do something really crazy,
like … not listen to them!
Set ourselves loose enough
to measure the space
it takes to live happy,
with one last leap of faith.
easy abundance, and a shelter from the storms –
that it is too common I forget to have gratitude
for all the things that aren’t, never were and so
won’t it be. I’m grateful for every stupid jerk
that didn’t cross my path today, for the idiots
that got my coffee order absolutely… correct.
Thank you, you weird looking mole on my neck,
for the inoperable Cancer that you are not. Oh,
not-out-of-control City Bus, thanks for not hopping
the curb because your driver didn’t have a heartattack because his high blood pressure was
under control. Thank you, all my past lovers
who were not serial killers, Thank you brain
that the question of whether or not they were
serial killers never crossed my mind late at night
at the time. That would’ve been awkward.
When I first became sick and disabledI had to thank Lyme Disease, ALS,
Parkinson’s, AIDS, MS, Huntington’s
and a whole alphabet of Hepatitis, and
everything I was tested for for NOT being
what’s killing me. Thank you, things
that ARE killing me for procrastinating
and being generally apathetic. Thank you,oh inevitable Zombie Apocalypse,
for those movies, and for staying in those
movies. Thank you Facebook for not causing
Cancer (I’m assuming this is true). Thanks,
sense of humor, for reminding me sarcasm
is better than head/desk. Thank you Evil
shit in this world for remaining mundane.I owe you for all the near-misses I never saw,
for every dark thing that passed by me
and kept on swimming. For every guardian
Angel I must have worn down to the nub.
I am grateful to that asteroid that wasn’t
the size of North Dakota, and didn’t crash
into the Earth. Thank you, luck of the draw,
thank you, skin of my teeth, thank you wire
for letting me under, thank you every bow
I pulled to make an arrow escape. Shut up pun
haters, this is me thanking the Whole of Creation
for the loopholes and tiny odds in my favor;
for every bad thing that could have happened,
and didn’t. Lord, let me be grateful for Nothing.