Greg Bell


Listen to the audio version.

Stuck in the ER again, transferred
from the rehab Kafka torture den
a shipwreck that sent me crashing
down – again – into the maelstrom

Thought I could breathe free now
Thought I was out of the undertow
away from jagged rocks
that pulverize this fragile flesh to

mere organic soup to feed the fish
but no, the world it seems is still
a dangerous place where life still
hangs by a fraying nerve, and

I am dangling
                         The gurney
asserts its kinship with a concrete
slab and goads my bones, my
papered flesh, for this long wait

Although I likely canít sit up
without passing out, I reach for
vertical bars on the rail, test
them for their tensile strength

I tug a bit a tiny bit of
strength in all this weakness
leveraged on my wounds then
alternating left right

hands clumsy claws
muscles gone skin and bone
my molecules remember
valences forgotten

and little by little

I pull
to            begin                          again

my swim for shore


Greg Bell has been writing poetry all his life as a matter of necessity. It took a critical illness and near-death experience to renew his dedication to the written and spoken word. He now facilitates the Green Poets Workshop at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, CA. Says he "We are the witnesses, the Jiminy Crickets, the agents of change, and we have a deal of work yet to do!"