Regular readers of this blog will know I’m a fan of The Poet Spiel, a/k/a the artist Tom Taylor, whose eight-decade career includes both exotic pastorals and furious satires of bigotry and militarism. These poems on dementia show a more understated and gentle, but no less powerful, side of Spiel.
When I cannot know my name and
I cannot recognize the ones who care.
When my native language becomes none
and I’ve forsaken caution.
When my curiosity has vanished
and I’m no longer able to want.
When I don’t know that someone I don’t know
is paid to garb me in disposables.
When I can no longer talk to my self,
the I of me will be suspended.
When I know no equivalent
of dusk nor dawn
and you no longer feel a need to visit me,
on the day I am unable to miss you,
you will know for certain that
I’ve forever lost my song.
I doubt I’ll be painting daisies
like the others in this home
who can’t recall their names.
But please, dear heart,
smother me in gobs of paints and
leave my thumbnails caked and cruddy.
Please don’t scrub my sweats
of muddy colors and all that goop
I used to flush down in our kitchen drain
Can’t you hear, my dear, that I’m still here
but unable to cry in the colors
we used to share.