Tuesday 28 January 2020

Fade to Black

by Nick Gisburne

I am old. I am forgotten. I am feeble. I am weak
Time won’t peel away this rotten skin. The future, mine, is bleak
All my sisters, brothers, wives and children, all of them are dead
For this fragile, fading skeleton there is no road ahead

Not a part of me cooperates, these limbs are stiff and numb
My abundant flow of medication triggered by a thumb
Eyes impossible to focus, faces may as well be wood
All the rhythms of my voice are slurred and rarely understood

I am powerless, a broken doll imprisoned by a curse
Sick of lying on this stinking bed and waiting for the hearse
I have had enough of living. I am too old to pretend
I am ready. Close the gate behind me. Fade to black. The end

The beauty of using a list of random words to inspire a poem is that they present themselves as stories which could never have been imagined without them. Would I have written a poem today about an old man without these prompts? Absolutely not. But now, here it is. 12 random words this time. I replaced ‘frail’ with ‘feeble’ and ‘cooperative’ with ‘cooperate’ but the rest are all there – feeble, peel, brother, fragile cooperate, abundant, wood, rhythm, doll, waiting, pretend, gate. I switched the order of the last two, which tied everything together perfectly.