Mark Novak

Stay Calm

I took the sizable medallion of beef from the refrigerator,
Put it in my mouth, where my tongue could then savor
The spice of the roast and its boldly braised flavor.

Delicious! Masticated as a python, wholly down the throat,
Where the cut lodged in my airway and I began to choke.
Mother said, 'to chew your food', you thick and hopeless oaf!

I, in the nude, -stay calm- before my ritual morning shower,
Realize the cleaning lady will find my body on this cold, tiled floor.
The poor thing. -stay calm- The messes that are left to her.

Perhaps this is the animal's vengeance for a sad, slaughterhouse kill?
I now understand the agonies of W. Bush and his Presidential pretzel.
Tennessee Williams' final act concluded with the popped cap of a pill bottle-

Gagging - the poet's, southernly tragic end. -I can't breath-Stay Calm!
One hand at the throat while other digs in the wind pipe for some
Grasp of tendril or tendon, while maintaining stoic resolve and aplomb.

Nothing To Grip! -I Can't Breathe!!- You know what is your last resort..
Fingers depress the tongue, as a bulimic reversing intake to the floor,
Push! -Push!! -For Your Life, Here And Now, You Must Induce Disgorge!

Hack and gag, -until grey mush finds its way past the tracheal seal,
And in an instant, the beef blockage frees itself and my lungs fill
With air!  Sweet life giving air!!  Thankfully breathing in and out until,

Conscious of the mortal danger evaded and joyously now surpassed,
My body begins to tremble, and I note the mess, -which does embarrass
My pride, -spew and vomit to be mopped, while life is zestily cherished.