Under the Bright Lights / Mark Bromberg



One day they will wheel me under the bright lights
and open me with the surgeon's scalpel
and out will come the valuable organs I depended on
expended at last from their necessary work no longer needed
the lungs I needed for breath to form words and kidneys the filters
  for alcohol
the ears I listened with to be able to tell the truth from lies
  every day
the pump the heart that I needed to keep me going for so long
believing in love and trust in the goodness of others

The surgeon will remove my eyes
the ones they said made me look like my mother
in the old photos and I wish while the doctor is busy working
he'd remove my father's crooked grin too
the one I used to see in my face every morning when I shaved
catching myself with the razor in the exact spot he used to
it's unavoidable this genetic blueprint
even as I mutter to myself I've turned into the old man at last
I wish he'd take it right off
it took a lifetime to accomplish this remarkable family resemblance
even though it seemed like no time at all
I am through with it and will not need it where I am going

Next out will come my old man's liver embalmed in beer and whiskey
such a fine preserving fluid that kept me in friends and partners and
their conversations and crazy ideas late at night
sitting in warm smoky bars until past closing time
and the doctor will remove my own sharp tongue the one that spoke
usually before I had a chance to stop myself
simply because I liked the rhythms that the words made
and leaving the bar sometimes too late
sitting shivering in cold driveways in mid-February still talking
when we should have gone inside and lie together
the touch of other's hands and the brush of a thigh
better than any blanket to make me warm even just to think of it now

Then he should remove my own hands first the one and then the other
I won't need them any longer their work being finished and complete
my right hand the one that curls helplessly spasmed
around nothing at all as though it were holding on to life itself
will relax now from its palsy and release as though nothing were the
  matter
the poems I lost and never found again will finally come pouring out
the words all spilled from their vessels the small vials of fingers
all those poems will finally come pouring out in immutable and
  perfect meaning

At last very carefully and with great precision
the surgeon will remove my brain from its stem
solemnly intoning come up Kinch you fearful Jesuit
in the final sacrament as I lay splayed upon his table
and he holds my brain aloft in the light of the surgical theater
when I am not alive anymore all these things will be possible
I will finally be free from the firing of synapses
and the electric overload of epilepsy sparking tremors
there will finally be no hesitation between thought and the word
the thoughts will spring from my mind released from its case
and all the words I formed and never said will fill the room
I will return to the universe once more and become the electricity of
  stars

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