All the ill and the afflicted
All the aged and infirm
All who seek the healing way
You could do worse than cable.
Where once there was a pilgrimage for lame and halt
A dusty road
There’s now a place where hope is offered
Tucked between the binge-watch shows
Law & Order
The World’s Most Trusted Name in News
Here is where the cures are gathered
hiding in your program queues
Tucked between the horror stories
Here are lives that could be yours
Minute segments, bright as Christmas
Perfect people, perfect cures.
(read it closely, strain to hear the warnings
hummed beneath our breath
Don’t stress yourself; we have to say it:
Seizures, strokes, necrosis, death)
Where once depression, limpid joy
Where once ketosis, healthy boy
Plaque psoriasis? Arthritis?
Hug your baby. Build a toy.
Where once was limp there now is stiff
Tubs plein air
You needn’t worry
(Four hour boner?!)
How you’d ever fuck in there.
You are stronger than your weakness
You can look like these folks do
Laughing mothers, jogging seniors
Ask them if it’s right for you
Everybody dies of something
No one here gets out alive
All that said
Would you not rather
Look terrific til you die?
So build that go-cart
Swing your grandchild
Grill those steaks and seek that thrill
If you know you’re not allergic
Go ahead and take that pill
‘But I’m not thin!’ you shout while all those pretty women jog up hills
‘I don’t have a puppy!’ ‘I’m not rich enough for outdoor grills!’
You say it’s not what illness feels like: splashing gaily in the pool.
Illness is a grinding constant, sky-high co-pays, bloody stool.
These treatment options don’t intend
To make your pain a source of shame
But should you opt for rank self-pity
You only have yourself to blame.
We’re up against it, even ad men quaver in the face of death
We’d rather show you pretty people
Whiter teeth and fresher breath
Get you all to think that maybe
If you play your cards just right
You can be just like these people
Ask us how we sleep at night.
And if you just don’t have it in you, can’t commit to getting well
Don’t blame healthcare or big pharma; they’ve got shit they need to sell.
©2017 Melinda Rooney