Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rebuilding the Pyramids (Poems of Healing in a Sick World) Mike Amado

Rebuilding the Pyramids
(Poems of Healing in a Sick World)
Mike Amado
Ibbetson Street Press 2008
ISBN 978-0-578-00041-1

Mike Amado lets the reader know this collection, in three parts: “dis-ease, coping, and healing,” is not, “a memoir, not meant to diagnose or treat.” The poet was diagnosed with “end stage kidney disease” at the age of thirteen. Within this volume of noble poems, Amado imparts part of his journey. For me, it was difficult to sit patiently with his book. The representations are close to the bone and in my difficulty I found, when I took a deep breath, the light of each verse came through.

“days after surgery i'm different
my johnny with diamond patterns
holds me like smoke”

All I might say about these poems would be platitudes. Who can review someone’s life, certainly not me. With that being said, I offer, from the coping section of Rebuilding the Pyramids:

“Doctor, Doctor

assist me in making up my mind.
go for the jugular?
or go for doctor assisted
the bullet and the pill can both
come to nothing if utilized improperly.
what are you implying, patient?
I’m saying: I knew a guy
given six months to live (fifteen years ago)
who had a brain stormed by tumors.
he was given a syringe then told,
“if it comes to this, you know what to do”…
silver pin sends murder bubble
to pop the balloon of life.
patient, are you sure you heard it right?
I did. but, I need advice.
no, not on which slow death to commit.
doctor, assist me
in choosing a full color brochure.
the one made of photo stock? with high-hair
centerfolds fully clothed playing
nurses, with men too late for beer ads,
too “unathletic” for sneaker selling
playing patients…..”

and then there is this poem from the "healing" section:

“ …the first emanation is light…”*
*paraphrase of paul foster case

“dialysis machine
pulses soft light
on walls of my bedroom,
drives fluid into my abdomen.
pain grips my body python-like.
I wonder:
are deities in the machine?
if so, when the day comes
we all need pacemakers
will heart then be
divine? maybe
people are machines who
need machines. but cells
are micro-Gods.
they thwart the darkness,
this harvest season
that promises burial.
cells secretly reinvent light.”

and the last poem in the book, full of relections:


“I contemplate my situation
by studying the refrigerator
light: when opened, it’s on
when closed, it’s off
just like my mind. I choose
this instant, this moment to be
utterly overt.
I contemplate
until my skin casts back a thousand
reflections: which one is me?
which one is you?
everyone who sees
themselves in you
are overcoats of chrome
polished by others envy.
a clouded mind is a soiled sky,
clouds make slivers of stars and
stagnant energy slows down the body
until all that’s left is malady…
and death.
one body contains my one brain
that isn’t one at all.
layers overlap on layers,
various facets flow like
color from a faucet, a liquid rubik’s cube.
many sides to one personality,
no need to match the cored squares.
(and no, right now I am not on acid).
consciousness provides
an escape-hatch
a latent capacity to walk out of this brain
like quitting a job.
so I shake up my head, pop the cork,
let my Higher Self mingle
with the Divine Everywhere
in a transcendental water tornado.
my psyche slips like a bendy straw
into that bottle that’s more
full than I am.
there is a part of the human vehicle
that dr. mechanics can’t remove,
that’s the part I live from.
the Creator doesn’t create imperfection,
perfection lives in acceptance.
we live in an altruistic universe-
that’s my alternate reality…..”

Irene Koronas
Poetry Editor
Ibbetson Street Press

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