RabbleRouse News

"The final Story, the final chapter of western man, I believe lies in Los Angeles." – Phil Ochs

RabbleRouse News Local Poet: Val Larsen

2 min read

Grizzly on My Back

It’s gnawing again.

It sneaks up on me.

Right when I’m doing something mundane,

Or something meaningful,

Or something in- between.

Bam! There it is. In my mid- back.

A reminder that I’m not free.

That more is to come,

My body is not my own.

Soon, a grizzly’s paws dig in.

Unbearable pain sets in.

11 on the scale of 1-10.

Pulling my shoulders to my feet,

Ripping my insides out with his claws.

Agonizing, but I don’t cry out.

I refuse to give the bear that satisfaction.

A couch! A couch! Where’s a couch?

As if no ambulance in sight,

I must sometimes stand in pain.

But I won’t give up

My life to the couch.

So I walk. I exercise.

I zoom. I join friends.

And always, my pain comes along

To remind me I’m not alone.

I go with God who hates pain

As much as I do.

So I ask to be healed.

But in the meantime,

I have come to accept

This shrieking inside.

“Be gone, you! Leave me alone!”

It is an animal I can’t control

With pills or shots or exercise

Or positive thinking.

Sometimes short fixes work:

Communal prayer, pills, the couch.

I’ll take whatever works.

But the grizzly always grabs me

Again and again and again.

Yet a mustard seed of hope remains

That one day, God will shoot

That beast off me for good.

Val Larsen is a poet and retired English Teacher living in Los Angeles. Find her on Facebook

*Local Poet is a spotlight by RabbleRouse News on the poets among us… the school teacher, the neighbor, the accountant/songwriter… you? Email us if you or someone you know would like to be featured at RabbleRouseNews@gmail.com.

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