name: Casey Jones
good-spirited and fun
inspired with visions of pending retirement
35 years of good will at the steel mill coming to a close
and opening – precious time with
precious grandkids, children
Marjorie, his wife
absent of impairment
a nice and simple life
set for enjoying the golden years
for Casey, everything is in place
except his watch
– which lately has been hiding its face
where did it go? the good one – you know?
friends assure him that memory declines with time
don’t worry; everything is fine
forgetfulness with ageing is quite natural
a visit to the doctor
at Marjorie’s request
was a battle
but only partially against his will
other than the odd botched word
everything is fine – don’t you concur?
count backwards, you ask?
an easy task – 75, 74, 71…
no – 72, 73…
that’s not right…
his facial muscles tight
muscles in prolonged contraction
burn with lactic acid
as the doctor leaves the room
Casey waits for a reaction
back in with a firm breath
Alzheimer’s disease? progressive degeneration?
that’s an oxymoronic sort of way to say
I’ll drive myself insane
through self-mutilation; desecration of my own brain
his head loses weight
as alpha helices turn to pleated beta sheets
and as they build
pills endeavor to conceal what is real –
dense, plaque deposits
deterioration of cognition
something is choking the living daylights out of him
he wonders, would ignorance be bliss?
forgetting to fret would be a kiss on my face
where is that feckng…wotch, anywy?
his reason wilts and exudes on him a guilt
that he will be a burden
his family tree
as scientists search for a cure
a magic little vial
from in vitro to clinical trials
it looks like this may take a while
a need for assistance with the mundane
periodic feelings that he’s verging on insane
his mind a myriad of dysfunctional molecules
wear ess that…what’s it called?
the missing watch becomes a wrong name becomes an unfamiliar face
“Casey, she’s your daughter her name is Grace.”
the MRI says his brain will die
it’s shrinking in size
“Moderately severe cognitive decline.”
I’d say my brain works 25% of the time
aggregated amyloids gain armloads of power in numbers
daggers to neurons
acetylcholine – minimal.
memory and cognition – low.
but there still exists a familiar glow
relationships hold strong and grow
with pajamas over clothes
and shoes on wrong feet
Casey wandered down the street
Marjoree had no clue
what she would do
is he safe? Is he alive?
five miles away
found hours later by police
in the park, at night
feeding ducks on the lake
with a smile on his face.
same person, different life
different day? Same wife.
needing care for 24 hours(more or less)
absence, apathy, happiness,
cureless, careless, carless, sick
making love has taken on new meaning –
caring for incontinence and spoon-feeding
who is bathing me?
she looks familiar – could she be my wife?
I don’t know, but she is very nice.
not entirely alive
but not useless words
I kreng kawfe mer jow
leaves his mouth
enters down a knowing earpath
communication in emotions of the face
smiling deep eyes, worried lips
recognition of expression
as a thrilling level of cognition
meaning in moments
an avalanche of memories of
love, flesh, colour, sin
collide, collapse and conquer him
rise over run
to the end of Casey’s slope