Self-piteous Pathogen

Imagine if you were ill and didn’t know about the pathogen that lurked within, keeping house, expanding its settlement, furnishing its living areas. This is how disease works. I heard about a young cab driver who is blissfully unaware that he is dying. All he knows is that bottles of his blood are being transfused and he has larger bills to pay. Since he is uneducated, doctors choose to tell him which hospital sections he ought to visit; they are saving the details of disease for a more obvious time.

This poem is about the intelligence of disease- a coloniser in a way, tearing away at new terrain, making inroads into flesh and a mockery of the source……


A plebian environment

I almost want to leave, imagine being on the brink

Thinking about a bundle of joy with pigtails. Oblivious

To the wilderness he must negotiate

When I tick with excitement and mutate in orgasmic frenzy.

I’m preparing myself if you like,

I’m wearing my best dress and accentuating my cleavage



His bundle of nerves unfrozen, pulsating still with dreams.

Pity and sighs for the prey! I’m sorry if you can not read.

A corporate giant maybe I understand

Natural disaster better, calamities we hold hands.


See me for what I am, you mindless cab driver

No more cat and mouse

Begin the fight-let’s see who wins.


© neelthemuse, 2012


8 thoughts on “Self-piteous Pathogen Leave a comment

  1. This is brilliant – creepy, precise, memorable. We all have to die of something. But I’m reminded of Mervyn Peake, the illustrator and author of the brilliant dark fantasy the Gormenghast trilogy – a man brought up in a happy family (albeit an unusual one, British missionaries in China),a loving husband and father, whose stories and drawings often had an element of frightening strangeness, wasted bodies, mad eyes. In the Second World War be became a war artist and entered Belsen concentration camp soon after its liberation: he was shaken not only by the cruelty and suffering, but because what he had depicted in fantasy he had just seen in reality. While writing the final book of the Gormenghast trilogy his brain was attacked by some rare disease which wasted his body and his intellect, so he became like his old nightmares. It is thought it may have been something he picked up as a child in China. So it’s possible that somewhere he was half-aware of the lurking disease or of how his life would end. But from fear and madness he produced great art that celebrates life and love.

  2. Thank you for telling me Peake’s story Simon. If we really look into ourselves, we might know how things will pan out in the end…life is creepier than fiction indeed!

  3. Now, this is rich–sometimes I wonder what it would be like to trade minds for a day with some of my fellow writers. I’d like to know what it’s like to have this poem rattling around in my brain! Thanks, Neel–I always enjoy the ride!

  4. The dark siren entrances the life blood from the ignorant! Very excellent personification of that which destroys life from the inside out!

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