Numb

I've been reading, Making a Poem, by Miller Williams, and I came across this passage: "I'm not offering a cure for the world's ills, or pep pills for the despondent, or a way to happiness, but I am committed to the belief that poetry - as well as painting and sculpture, music and dance and drama - in a time when we are sometimes tempted to pull away from the world, in a time when there is so much to withdraw from, in a time when we may forget that to be a little bit numb, to be a little anesthetized, is to be a little bit dead, may in a small way help keep us alive."

This resonates with me, and it also gives me a concrete answer for students when they ask why they should care about poetry. It was also the catalyst for a poem that I wrote today...


Numb


Death and destruction meant nothing to me
as I sat on my brown sectional 
and drank my microbrew
I watched as gore flashed
across my 1080i HD plasma screen
and listened as explosions echoed
from the surrounding speakers

And I thought about the funeral
that occupied the afternoon hours earlier
and about my five-year-old son
who sat in the backseat
and asked about his own funeral
and I told him that if I was lucky
I would die before he did
because that’s the way it’s supposed to be
and he burst into tears
and he said that he didn’t want me to die

And as I sat on the couch
beside that new memory
I felt human
and a sudden urge
for another beer