Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Relative Gratitude

My brother Masuda
who is dying
two days at a time
tells me
about his leg
which may have to be amputated
and how the diabetes
is raping his system
and that its working
with the vasculitis
to speed his immune system
into oblivion
and how he’s so broke
he trades his pain meds
for hamburgers
at the local diner
and how one of his daughters
won’t talk to him
and how his computer crapped out
and will it cost $65
that he didn't have to fix it.

I take it all in
and heave out a sigh
“Man, I’m sorry to hear that.”

Masuda changes the tone
“Hey, I ain't complaining,man.
I could be in Afghanistan
somewhere dying.
At least here I got a place to live
and I’m still alive.”

It’s a simple but compelling
relative gratitude.

I store it away
in the part of my mind
where I keep my
nasty spritzo insults,
orgasm memories
and hacks I use to tweak
my programming

so when I feel like
walking away
or driving into the oncoming headlights
or giving into something
wet and forbidden,

I stop
and reboot.

when I'm in the angry pitch
in the blue quicksand
or if I’m feeling cornered
I’ll be able to say

“Hell, at least,
I’m not Masuda.”

[Posted for my pal Masuda and #OpenLinkNight at - go there and drop yourself in the healing, poetic waters.]


  1. Ah .. there's always someone having it worse... reminds my of the movie "my life as a dog" (Swedish movie, but received some interest internationally)... where the boy compares his life ... and says "think of Laika"... being sent into orbit, and never returning alive...

  2. its all a matter of perspective man...
    even in the midst of the crap
    we dont have to be overwhelmed by it
    thanks for this one.

  3. haha... relative gratitude made me smile... and i surely like that reboot tactic...starting again and again on a fresh canvas - not bad at all

  4. the ending brought a much needed smile to my face (and a shake of my head, but still...). I guess in the end there is always a brighter side to things; it may not always be easy to find one, but when you do...cling to.

  5. smiles... love this, Mosk = )

  6. I think sometimes it IS a good idea sometimes to just stop and reflect and realize just how fortunate we are!

  7. poor guy... great attitude... There's always someone worse off than you; sure it doesn't always make whatever's going on easier, but, it does lighten the load--mentally--a bit... good stuff man!!

  8. Ha! I love this - all IS relative I guess. Even gratitude. I'll remember that line: "At least I'm not Masuda." Enjoyed this.

  9. Relative gratitude. Thanks; I'm storing that away now, for use later.

  10. It's all in the attitude. My husband's had a few surgeries and odd illnesses, but he never stays down for long. He likes to quote Steve McQueen in Papillon ('scuse the language): "Hey you bast***ds, I'm still here!!"
    Thanks for sharing this, Buddah. May Masuda hang in there for at least a bit longer!

  11. Yes, we all need that ability to reboot. For some, not so easy.

  12. Wonderful poem — raw truth, wry humour, affection, philosophy ... all couched in language that says it just right!

  13. We all should follow your example. Good stuff, Mosk.

  14. Awww, sad story but true. Just need to remind ourselves of it occasionally.

  15. Anonymous8:04 PM

    damn. ~

  16. Love this line. I have a place in my brain just like this.

    where I keep my
    nasty spritzo insults,
    orgasm memories
    and hacks