A beautiful song, just beautiful… by William J Fedigan

Michael says he sings to cancer, says cancer sings to him.
Michael says cancer is a woman. Michael says she loves him, says he
loves her.
Michael says she will kill him. He tells Jimmy:
-I sing to her, Jimmy. I sing a beautiful song, Jimmy, just
beautiful…
-OK.
-She sings to me, Jimmy. She sings a beautiful song, Jimmy,
just beautiful… Can you hear the song?
-Sure.
-We love each other, Jimmy.
-OK.
-She will kill me, Jimmy.
-OK.

Michael and Jimmy on Ward B, basement.
Michael on Ward because he sings to cancer, hears cancer sing
to him. Jimmy on Ward because he wants to kill self. Jimmy tells ER
doc he wants to kill self. Jimmy gets 14 days on Ward B. 14 days.

Jimmy likes Michael’s song. Beautiful song.
-My mother sang a beautiful song, Jimmy, just beautiful…I wish
you could have heard her…beautiful song, just beautiful…

-Delusional, doc says.
Doc puts Michael on different meds, heavy meds. Meds don’t
work. Michael sings beautiful song.

-Tell him to shut the fuck up! Mouse says to Jimmy. Anger issues.
-He’s just singing to himself, Jimmy tells Mouse.
-Fuck you and fuck him! Mouse says. Anger issues. Assault with
intent to kill.

-Any thoughts of suicide, Jimmy? doc asks.
-No. Feel good.
-Any thoughts of hurting yourself, Jimmy? doc asks.
-No. Feel good, Jimmy says.

Jimmy discharged. Jimmy out. Week later Mouse out. Jimmy
sees Mouse in park. Mouse looks for clean butts on ground. Finds clean
butt with good tread left. Mouse cleans it off, fires it up.
Jimmy asks about Michael.
-How’s Michael doing? Jimmy asks Mouse.
-The asshole’s dead, Mouse says.
-What?
-He’s dead.
-Cancer? Was it cancer?
-He hung himself with a bed sheet.
-What?
-He says over and over he hears his mother. She sings to me, he
says, it’s a beautiful song, he says, just beautiful… next thing doc and
nurses running around. Code Blue, crash cart…dead.
-Shit.

Jimmy walks away.
Jimmy listens.
Jimmy listens for her voice.

Jimmy listens for her song. Beautiful song, just beautiful…

4 comments:

Old 333 said...

Thanks, William. That was a pleasure to read.

bruce dorlova said...

beautiful song indeed. love this.

Anonymous said...

Well done! Perfect form for the content: The terse, colloquial sentences are true to my experience as a Clinician, and a lodger in more than a few locked mental "hospital" wards. Your punctuation was beautiful: the use of ellipsis added a day-dream quality to the poem. The dashes formatted sections of the poem as if it were mimicking a psyche evaluation. from any State Mental Hospital.
.
I imitated Odysseus by lashing my-self to the mast just to hear the Sirens.
.
"A beautiful song, just beautiful..." stirred the broken notes that remain despite the injections of psychotropic medications.
.
Thank you William Fedigan for your poem-and thanks Black-Listed Magazine for giving me great poems.
.
Joseph Hargraves

richard said...

Three times was not enough, will need to read this a few more times.
Very good! Thanks for posting.

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