Hypochondria Blues

Hypochondria Blues  

What you’ve got is only a touch of neurosis,
so don’t get your knickers all bunched in a twist—
such worries can give you a deep vein thrombosis!
 
Do you think there’s a prize for a self-diagnosis?
Stop looking for lesions; don’t palpate that cyst!
What you’re dealing with here’s just a bit of neurosis…
 
That smartphone is gonna cause spinal stenosis!
The search engine’s warning that if you persist,
you’ll likely wind up with a deep vein thrombosis!
 
You’d have known it by now if you had halitosis—
like a boil, it’s not something easily missed.
Better face it, you’ve got a small case of neurosis…
 
Now, what would possess you to google psychosis?
Let me guess… The voices submitted a list?
Are they helping you summon a deep vein thrombosis?
 
It’s not a news flash you’ve got some type of –osis—
but the poking of badgers is what gets them pissed…
So give it a rest!  Embrace your neurosis!
Who needs all the fuss of a deep vein thrombosis?
 
(Just to be on the safe side, look up pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis…) 

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

“Hypochondria Blues” was published in the anthology, The Larger Geometry, by peaceCENTERbooks. Thank you to editor d ellis phelps for including my work in this beautiful and inspired collection!

The peaceCENTER, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in San Antonio, Texas, supports the learning of peace through prayer and education; and supports the demonstration of peace through nonviolent actions and community.  All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go to benefit the peaceCENTER. 

Pressing into the Depths

Old-growth Oak

Pressing into the Depths

of an old-growth oak grove on your search for virgin peat     having     naturally     preemptively considered the human calcaneus poised on its subcutaneous fat pad (the sturdy lovechild     as it were     of evolution & bipedal ambulation); you go     whole-soled     knowing nature engenders no freaks     & that the point of weight-bearing     actually     is to sink-spring to life your very own     rooted     upward mobility—to elapse your mossy quiet’s once upon a time into cantilevered boom     to mushroom & split your bark like a seething     green superhero     (who leaves you in tatters)      harden yourself new gnarls to gather lichens      & ever after phosphoresce the midnight fog like a moonbeam striking your cast-off glass slipper

“Pressing into the Depths” was published in the November 2018 peaceCenterbooks anthology, The Larger Geometry: poems for peace, edited by d ellis phelps.

O What Do We Know About Peace?

With a nod to the late, great W. H. Auden,
and in tribute to a father’s gentle courage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkM-SDNoI_8

#PoetsforPeace

Some say it is a fragrant lily
Opened in the morning sun.
Some think it grows in heather fields
Where yearling mule deer run.
I asked the politicians
If its measures might increase,
But they just sent more troops to war.
O what do we know about peace?

Does it taste like dates and honey,
Or like sausages on sticks?
Can you pay for it with money,
Or build it a house with bricks?
Does it make us feel protected,
Like a blanket made of fleece?
Must its pockets be inspected?
O what do we know about peace?

Whenever people disagree,
They claim they’re striving for it.
When sipping from a cup of tea,
Most folks will just ignore it;
The great philosophers have said
We’ll know it when we see it,
And surely as our blood is red,
We ought to fight to free it.

Does it soar like an osprey on steroids,
Or light up the night like the moon?
Could we grab it by flexing our deltoids,
Or float to it on a pontoon?
Does it live all alone on an island,
Or blow where it will on the breeze?
Would it last for a week without broadband?
O what do we know about peace?

I scoured beneath the kitchen sink,
And checked the freezer, too;
I tried to find the missing link
By emptying my shoe.
I followed all the pirates’ maps
That pointed to their loot,
But everywhere X marked the spot,
Its chest was destitute.

Will it come for a visit on Tuesday,
As I’m getting out of the bath?
Will I see it drive by on the freeway,
Or picking up stones in my path?
Does it come with a license to carry?
Can it truly cause terror to cease?
Is a lack of it hereditary?
O what do we know about peace?

When our children are witness to bloodshed,
And murder’s a matter of course,
Should we strap on a nuclear warhead,
Or say: mais nous avons des fleurs*?
Although hate multiplies like a cancer,
et partout, le méchant existe**,
Can’t we comfort a child with an answer?
O what do we know about peace?

*but we have flowers
**and everywhere, the bad guy exists