While jogging on the treadmill at the gym, that exercise in getting nowhere fast, I realized we need a health pandemic. Obesity writ large no more, Alzheimer's forgotten, we could live carefree again. We'd chant the painted shaman's sweaty oaths, We'd kiss the awful relics of the saints, we'd sip the bitter tea from twisted roots, we'd listen to our grandmothers' advice. We'd understand the moonlight's whispering. We'd exercise by making love outside, and afterwards, while thinking only of how much we'd lived in just one moment's time, forgive ourselves for wanting something more: to praise the memory of long-lost need, or not to live forever in a world made painless by our incurable joy.
Rafael Campo - 1964-
Hospital Writing Workshop
Arriving late, my clinic having run past 6 again, I realize I don’t have cancer, don’t have HIV, like them, these students who are patients, who I lead in writing exercises, reading poems. For them, this isn’t academic, it’s reality: I ask that they describe an object right in front of them, to make it come alive, and one writes about death, her death, as if by just imagining the softness of its skin, its panting rush into her lap, that she might tame it; one observes instead the love he lost, he’s there, beside him in his gown and wheelchair, together finally again. I take a good, long breath; we’re quiet as newborns. The little conference room grows warm, and right before my eyes, I see that what I thought unspeakable was more than this, was hope.