Give me that paper

My head's on fire

Maybe if I can spread the fire to the paper

I can take away some of the heat


Give me that paper quickly

I have to stop the bleeding

Use it as a bandage

And when the blood dries


The imprint will tell the story of the wound

In impressions clear and bold

Or in splotches and stains


Now don't get me wrong

If I bled all the time I'd be dead


It would be easy to mistake

A pile of bloody bandages

For a history of protracted agony


But just like the proverbial squeaky wheel

Only negative traces can be seen


When I'm not bleeding

I'm too busy being healthy to leave a record

So only half the story ever gets told


I'll assume you know

I don't bitch and moan for the fun of it

And I'm not really a miserable wretch


The poets in the audience understand this from experience

And know that sometimes gatherings like this

Can be likened to a bunch of war veterans

Showing each other battle scars

And retelling of those moments


Where brushes with pain and death

Took life to the edge

And gave it fresh meaning

By way of contrast.


GS, 11/29/90



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