The Doctor’s Edge

A Poem for Thompson

The Doctor’s Edge

They'll ask some heavy questions, as they should, when I am dead; like:

"What sorta nonsense crept its way into that fellow's head?

Who did he read that might have made him act without a care?"

Or, "What gave him the jagged edge?" they'll wonder, if they dare.

They'll seek their answers in the items found within my room.

But first they'll have to hear the tunes that play inside these walls.

The record player will be spinning the Songs of the Doomed.

No rhyme or reason in the random way the needle falls.

Once inside, they won't see much; a manuscript, perhaps.

A cluttered mess of profound words with hallow, empty gaps.

A typewriter collecting dust- not touched for many years.

A stain of ash from cigarettes- the smell of sweat and fear.

They may give up and search my pockets, looking for a cause.

All they'll find in one: a pen- uncapped and nearly dry.

The other: a Bic lighter and an old pack of Pall Malls

that, somehow, didn't have a thing to do with how I died.

A doctor may begin to pry when they deliver me.

He'll ask about the evidence before the autopsy.

They'll shrug and then he'll start his work, beginning with my brain.

"It's clear- right here," the doc will say. "This fellow was insane."

"The cerebellum's clogged with crazy; this we know for sure...

I'll clear that out, no problem here, before we can proceed.

You know," he'll say, "for craziness, there really is no cure.

The sane won't know the truly horrible lives that they must lead."

The nurses, then, will blink and stare, not certain what they've heard.

They'll say, "If you feel faint, old doc, be sure to give us word."

"I'm fine, I'm fine," the doc will say, proceeding with the dead,

Not paying mind to all the sweat that's beading on his head.

"Here, within the amygdala, a sight we must behold-

It will say the man was rarely honest while alive.

He barely spoke a word of truth, but truth is never told-"

The doctor laughed, "between the daylight hours; 9 to 5."

A nurse will nudge him, "Doc, you worry me, please take a rest."

"But nurse," the doc will say, "I am just fine; I'm at my best.

Besides, it's at these moments I should work," his voice will fade.

"They'll lock me up for saying so unless I'm being paid."

Right here, inside the thalamus-" the doc will start to say,

But change his mind and ask the nurse, "Could you hand me that knife?"

She'll oblige and he will sing, "This man has passed away-

In doing so he just gave me the consciousness of life!"

He'll plunge the knife into his heart and give a final cry,

"My witness," he will laugh in glee, "will be the empty sky!"

He'll then collapse, the nurses shrieking; tearing from the room.

Then the music starts to play, the Songs of the Doomed.

The doc will lay there, smirking, and he'll say unto himself,

"The knife still cuts." He'll giggle over this for quite a time.

He'll understand his laughing heart and say this to health:

"If moderation is a fault- indifference is a crime."

He'll die and understand The Edge, the place where people go,

Not when they teeter there but only when they overflow.

And then he'll realize where I'd been when I had MY attack-

And if you live to tell the tale, you probably pulled it back.

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