In Waves and Flashes

When I first had seizures
I had no idea I was having them:
I lived alone

All I knew was
I felt terrible
When I woke up

I should have known something was wrong
But I wasn’t able to think
Terribly clearly

It’s a matter of what we call
That I woke up at all

Makes you feel so alive
That you never think
Any one you ever did it with
Could die

A friend of mine
Sent me a recording of
A youth choir we were in
42 years ago

The choir director
Who was also my piano teacher
Always sang along
And his ringing adult operatic voice
Pierces the straight young voices
Around him

He died a few years ago
His life having taken
One of the saddest family turns
I’ve ever personally known

Age can be cruel:
Our faults magnified without
The magic spell of youth to
Distract or attract people

Many people who
Have touched countless others
For the good
Have simultaneously
Disappointed their families

Every morning and evening
I take medication
To prevent seizures

When I would get a new doctor
That doctor would
Wean me off the medication
To see if I would still
Have seizures

I would

So, eventually they stopped trying

I have thought of myself as defective
Because of being an epileptic
Because I am

But we all are short of ideal
Just in different ways —
That doesn’t determine our worth
Or define who we are,
It’s just part of the picture

Only humans
Can truly dehumanize others
While fully convinced
Only other humans do it

I know I’ve done it:
Saw people strictly in terms of
This or that characteristic

It is ironic how often
People do this, while
Simultaneously decrying it

I’ve been told that
My somewhat compulsive writing is
A common side effect
Of epilepsy

That the same thing that causes
My brain to go into overdrive
And stop working properly
Causes these random thoughts
To come in waves and flashes
And I feel compelled to record them

So writing, for me,
Turns out to be symptomatic of a disease

A thing I know I don’t have to explain
To a readership who are all writers

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