If I Can Remember

Light Verse by Don Tidwell

A Self-Portrait

     From Top to Bottom
     High Tech
     The "Upside" of Emphysema (Seriously!)


If I've sprayed you when I've talked ... I'm sorry.
If your clothes, I've spittle spocked .. I'm sorry.
If, in your company my face
seems extremely out of place --
exiled from the human race, ............ I'm sorry.

If my words I've badly blurred, ........ I'm sorry.
If I cannot be plainly heard, .......... I'm sorry.
If your ears I've badly bent
trying to catch my speech content,
full of lisps and badly sent, .......... I'm sorry.

As the master of my fate, .............. I'm helpless.
To try a smile to generate, ............ is useless.
My tongue don't want to navigate,
I cannot enunciate,
I'm embarrassed by this state!! ........ I'm toothless.

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM Old Father Time has left his mark Upon my feeble frame. Although the parts are mostly there, They're simply not the same. Beginning with my shock of hair, Once thick, and wavy red, It's now worn thin and faded To a dirty gray instead. My teeth were once my pride and joy, Then back in sixty-eight, The dentist yanked them one by one; Replaced them with a plate. My vocal chords which once rang true Are now of little note. I can't be heard above a grunt, As sounds stick in my throat. My lungs are colored charcoal gray, My diaphragm has slumped. My kidneys both work overtime, My battery must be jumped!! My prostate doesn't work too good, My bronchial tubes are shot; I soon must ask the doctor Should I have them out, or not? My hamstrings suffer muscle cramps, So sometimes does my side. I swallow nasty medicine To make the pain subside. Then on the very bottom, A flaw most burdensome, My aching feet from heel to toe Seem always semi-numb! With these aging complications I just do the best I can, And try hard to remember, Life before the fall began.

HIGH TECH My memory is not what it once used to be; A problem related to age. Events long gone by now seem glued to a line On my mind's cluttered Past Events Page. When I try to recall pleasant scenes from the past, The details are dim and lack power. It's hard to remember what really took place Last year, or last month, or last hour. My built-in computer no longer computes; My "chip" has been damaged, you see. The prompt on my screen puts it bluntly in print: "Old man, you've no more memory."

BIRTHDAYS Though birthdays come but once a year, through twenty nine, you love 'em; But as the years slip quickly by, Your learn to rise above 'em! By the time the BIG Five-O arrives, You dread 'em and abhor 'em; Then after milestone Seventy One, -----Just sit back, and ignore 'em!!

THE "UPSIDE" OF EMPHYSEMA You practice early on by smokin lots of cigarettes. Two packs a day was 'bout my tops, and I had no regrets. Continue at this pace for time exceeding forty years, And you've laid the proper groundwork for some future salty tears. At some point folks will tell you that ya really ought to quit, And you nod in full agreement, but continue on with it. You'll not forego the pleasures which that hazy smoke cloud brings- And there's never been a substitute for blowin pretty rings. You smoke 'em on the golf course, at your desk and on the phone. You're addicted to the curse that makes them hard to leave alone. You devour them while you're bowling,\ they inspire each strike or spare, And take comfort that you share the weed with many others there. You quit "cold-turkey" many times, intentions all the best, But resolve is quickly broken, and you don't withstand the test. Meantime you're getting older, and you finally realize That your constant hacking cough won't substitute for exercise. And so you finally quit, although the process is pure hell, And in time the craving passes, and you think you've done real well. But damage has been done to vital organs in your chest--- The Doc says "Emphysema" and now you can guess the rest. You sit there while this word sinks in, not wanting to believe it, But deep inside the turmoil builds---there's nothing to relieve it. Your entire past is scrolling're looking for some answer, And finally mutter softly: "Well, at least it isn't Cancer."


© 1953-2003 Don Tidwell

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