I must stay strong I tell myself I must stay strong. Strong I say I must remain to remain I must be strong are we there yet have we filled our quota of necessary life experiences indicated by our blood, skin and bones; having reached obesity before death. Last night I dreamed my father lay dying on the queen-sized oak bed reinforced with magnets under the mattress and around a wrist, but this isn’t about them so much as it is about me. I must keep writing or I will die. The pain is extraordinary now the cortisone shots in the back are giving out as is the interest in Philip Glass’s repetition listening to a quartet on my headphone as my wife sleeps. My wife, by the way saved my life in 2022 so I would reason it was a good year, for this body and a soul at least. My wife stays strong. Divorced 0nce widowed twice she rolled the dice again I could stream. Well I did just now. I could scream is what I mean, we can edit that out if we stay strong. Who is this we you speak about so grandly. My wife and our dog Leo. What a grand name for a dog Leo Leo Leo.

I must stay strong, don’t tell me, I know. I must stay strong which assumes I am strong in the first place. Now I’ve got a pain, a new pain, just under and to the left of my right man-boob. It worries me. But I must stay strong. Why doesn’t someone stand up and shout! Get of the stage you silly old bugger. You’re a waste of space. I stay strong and play on. Throw the heckler out. Grab him by his coat collar, that’ll soften him up a bit. I must stay strong. I have disabilities you know, or might know if you read ahead. Did you do that in school read ahead and tell everybody what was going to happen or nonchalantly keep it to yourself. I stayed strong I kept them guessing. Some days I think there are more of them than I see, sometime less. I don’t like to use air quotes like trying to hide a fart. Never works. They know you are the origin of the stink whether teleological or biological. Don’t argue. Don’t smile. Stay Strong.

Be strong on the front line or the back nine. Get a cart to live by. Whoossh by the doctors, nurses, specialists who tell you, or, in this case me, pronouns continue to confuse me, though I love plurals to fix it; there’s nothing to see. Nothing to see. Stay Strong. They offer quickly.  I can tell you are running out of pep. Every member of your family has survived life threatening experiences, at least one, experience that is. Nobody died except my parents in our first paragraph. Nothing superlative to relate. These are my last words. Stay Strong.


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