Saturday, October 07, 2006

Where will weeps


where will weeps
and wails, wanting
admission. Everyday
counting breath as pearls
words as diamonds
conversationis gold is
sunlight this bluebright
skysea, floating near and
liquid horizantal these cloudships
could carry me untethered
to nerve lines. Let me lasso signal
for instruction, connect me to me
reconnect circuits, cloud’s light
space instruct me, demonstrate

Akua Lezli Hope




crows wearing hip ties
caw bleak hypotheticals
in bedridden ears
fill blank hospital room
with musty feathers, farts
frustration. peck at resolve
fray optimism’s thin gauze
probe peaceful numb to pain
feel that? broken toothpick
jabbed in thigh. sucker punch
breathe baby, breathe
each tomorrow disproves
yesterday’s hostile croakings
regrows shred plucked heart

Akua Lezli Hope

Note: The Myth of Sysiphus by Albert Camus

Friday, July 21, 2006


In this undoneness I must further undo
so much that I once knew

naked before women whose names are unkown
explain which dark part natural, which flesh is mine

show what I never had to show
let ego's shred and ragged clothing go

evicted from what i own
say when I will be ready to move

without map, vehicle, direction, clue
through heavy doors

pain, my new companion is steady
and surprising

toll taker, grant me passage
to the lit road, I can walk upon, again

Akua Lezli Hope

Saturday, July 01, 2006

You are a Job

You forget that you are someone’s job
something they want to hurry away from
a way to pay bills, daycare, college fees

You remember when your butt goes numb
45 minutes of hard plastic pressed in soft flesh
You remember when supper comes late,

tea cup, empty, soup cold, or missing,
no tater tots, no salad, no grapes
each and everyday, irksome things you cannot undo

When help disappears and pain is invisible
though sniffed, scrubbed with disinfectant hand gels
you learn to plan many moves ahead,

wrap requests in ribbons, create sequences,
hoard packets of sugar, salt, pepper, dressings,
call for help an hour before the ambulatory
flee your immobile flesh for home.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Highlands at Brighton III


Each person who enters
changes the room:

moves the netted curtain
exposing me to view

leaves the closed door open
tugs the heavy wingback seat askew

sniffs my air, exhales their scent
stabs quiet, braying empty news

lowers safety rails
moves bags away from easy reach

narrows the tight path
I must wheel through


In the Bollywood flick

my neurologist, Kruthavanti

would doctor the plump rich

marry a gorgeous unhappy someone

be tormented by some dusty village

secret, how he got away, how he is

tethered to a struggling past

his wriggling sack of bones

clanks in broomclosets,

file cabinets, washrooms

He pricks my insensate legs

with splintered toothpicks,

hammers unmoving knees

cheerlessly, chucks my chin

aside from his stethoscope

that my patient breath not soil

inquiry, then rushes to wash

again and again and again,

hands which never touched me,


Akua Lezli Hope

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I still walk in dream

I still walk in dream
my firm calves whisper
they’ve been somewhere
some near flesh body
works the way it always
did, without thought or pain
no tears water cracked flesh,
wrinkled toes blush and bloom
with blood that moves
all tiny cries of hot sandpaper streams,
hiss of lava lines and itchy lightning bolts
quiet in moving muscles,
signals that transmit
my long full thigh
piston pumping stride
without machine without wheels
feet meet ground and lift off
lift up. if you see her
walking down your street
tell her to rejoin me
it’s my turn again

Akua Lezli Hope

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Highlands at Brighton


We, who count on nothing
open narrow blinds to lengthening day
measure minutes free from pain
seize laughter, bingo, puzzles, cards
ravenous as winter birds
snatching seeds from snow


Strange rumblings at night
from above where dementia lives
frighten Barbara, at unit’s end, awake
are they tormented or tormentors?

3 a.m. cartoon Inuyasha
slays 15th century demons
again and again, comforting me

Physical Therapy at The Highlands III

This self proclaimed Latin King

flaunts his rule bending

“I am mucho macho” Jose grins

as patients struggle to follow

his dictates: more, once more, again

always requiring they push past

limitations. He always has the last

word at home. We guess ”yes dear”

as he is both chef and bus boy,

knows how to cajole and distract

us from our pain, our fear, that

long mouthed grin pushes arroz cheeks

against ancient frijoles negros eyes

watching grown ups toddle, twist

and sway, recalling what yesterday

yielded and what tomorrow can bring:

strength. If not sun, then surely his smile

Akua Lezli Hope

Monday, May 29, 2006

PT at The Highlands II

PT at The Highlands


You think you understand the young man’s frustration

How to find the one in 5,7,9 figures after jazzing in 4s

This patient had just one knee surgery. Cried before,

today she sighs, sweeps her wool wrapped foot from side to side,

her stiff leg straight before her, glides.

She seeks approval, bats mascara’d eyes: Better. He agrees

No more tears. You must relax. You need to try.

This redheaded bunny can hop away

over those unable to stand, who tip, waver, sway

barely lift limp arms, heads lolling, tanks,

ventilators whispering near, those frozen, stuck

on the down beat, waiting to dethaw, like you.

Akua Lezli Hope

PT at The Highlands I: Not Helping

Linda makes 40 reps 80

10 pushups at 5 seconds become

10 pushups at 10 seconds

hold your body in the air

lift your butt off the wheelchair

your small hands redden

blister, cramp, ache

Linda suggests leather gloves

helps by not helping

they must learn to manage

more than pen, brush, fork

bottle cap, they must become

levers, hoists, hoyer lifts

10 more, 10 more, again

arms must learn to carry

your blue freight

Akua Lezli Hope

No Young People Here

Does the brown man with slumped face stare?
One round eye fixed, one puffed slit slants
Still, in institution blues, sits in brake-locked wheelchair
His swollen head most times upright may nod by chance

One round eye fixed, one puffed slit slants
Parked in too bright halls, always in view
His swollen head upright most times may nod by chance
How did his body fail? Why does he look at you?

Parked in too bright halls, always in view
His slight distortion disturbing as his ubiquity
How did his body fail? Why does he look at you?
Roll by quickly, stomach wrenched, try not to see

this ugly state may be better than you
Still, in institution blues, sits in brake-locked wheelchair
stroked, he may rise soon, may walk, as you yearn to do
Does the brown man with slumped face stare?

Akua Lezli Hope