Thursday, June 17, 2010

When Herpes In Town
for Gladys Mendía

leave me now, I wouldn't mind, I'd understand

I have Herpes, fever blisters, cold sores
call them what you like
it has always been like leprosy to me

Herpes always had me
when not blatantly obviously
has had me in secret

precluding, limiting who I might have
or who might have me

if not impossible, difficult to have someone
for someone to have me
when Herpes has me

to belong to someone
for someone to belong to me
when it is Herpes I belong to

in between when it shows up
and when it shows up
when I'm pretty, free to pursue romance
to cultivate relationships

nervous nonetheless, knowing Herpes
can come along, can come around
can pop out, can pop up anywhere,

show its head and cause me
not to want to show my face
to want to hide away,

run and hide or not show up
leave me wanting to throw me away

I'm ugly, how can you love me
be my friend or be my wife
when Herpes is a friend of mine

when it is to Herpes that I am married
however reluctantly

Herpes and I
married more than 50 years
lied when I told you I was not
when I told you I was single

to the list of things you know I dread
mosquitoes buzzing
mosquitoes biting

Kemp Road cats
I know not who own
coming through the bars
usually locked,
across my front door
I usually leave open
all through the night

dillies, in the stillness of the night
dropping with a shocking boom
upon the tin roof
one storey back portion
of my house

to the top of this list,
add Herpes simplex
cold sores, fever blisters

coming out about my mouth
or somewhere upon
upper or lower lip
dreaded, dread this

it is like having been condemned
I've been condemned all my life
to hell, to this

I go to hell when Herpes shows up
its itch, its blisters

as if to chase away
beauty, happy, elation

depression the company
I must keep
until it lifts, until it leaves

thought you were the panacea
against all life's negatives
plus against all or any
subtraction which might pop up
come along

difficult to love you though
much as I love you

when at times like now
I do not, I cannot love myself

will love myself again though
once this passes

what though of loving God
of God's loving me
are these also suspended
does this policy also lapse
when Herpes shows up
as long as it lingers

wish I were able to love and to be loved
while this plague lasted

wish I were able to love myself
in spite of Herpes simplex

it causes me to hate myself
to consider myself worthless
to want to hide my face
to want to throw myself away

if there were a tower near by
low times like these
I might climb up, I might leap off

antithetical to this
there is this relationship
there is this girl I'm in love with

at times

in the clutches of immense happiness
happiness I'd fear
a single drop more
I'd be unable to withstand
unable to bear

I'd think I'd die

I'd wish I'd die

with my cup overflowing

brimming over
with immense joy

flatulence and using the toilet
add to the sort of subtraction,
the anti-romantic thing Herpes is

a woman's period
a similar sort of plague
similarly difficult to swallow

then there are swallows and perfumes,
art, poetry, flowers,
rainfall and snowflakes

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2010
11:13 a.m. 14.06.14


Anonymous D.A. said...

Obi this must be the best poem you've ever written. I dont want to spoil the potency of it so Ill shut my mouth.

Thursday, June 17, 2010 11:04:00 PM  

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