The phrase “gut instinct” is more than a metaphor. Scientists have found a sort of second brain in our GI tract, which they call the enteric nervous system. During stressful times, it’s common to develop digestive issues. In the piece below, the Poet Spiel muses with his usual humor and bluntness about what makes 2020 so hard to swallow.
Spiel’s books include the illustrated autobiography Revealing Self in Pictures and Words and the poetry collection Barely Breathing. His spoken word album breathing back words is available on Spotify. Visit his website for more information.
TEACHING LITTLE ONES
As a farm kid, I swallowed
axle grease, copper rivets and dingleberries,
road tar, spiders, coal dust, and lead paint,
chicken beaks, mouse bones and my sister’s snot,
and chips from Uncle Charley’s permanent asbestos siding.
Mostly I swallowed crap
similar to what my dad swallowed
in the early 1900s
before the age of five.
I’ve swallowed a lot
but I cannot swallow the brazen narcissism,
the hypocrisy and bullying of a nation’s government
that serves its righteousness to me in a bloated bladder
that’s about to spew its selfishness all over this earth
while the shameless leader of the pack
teaches our little ones that cheating and lying
are the only way to win.
I will stand when you stand,
but I will grip my grieving gut
with my right fist
while you place yours against your heart.