Charles Chaim Wax

Dueling With Memory - Poem by Charles Chaim Wax

John Walsh wanted to be a psychiatrist
sadly he never finished high school
and could hardly read
and would go days
speaking a strange language
only he understood
finally returning to English
nevertheless he studied
the human mind
and asked if he could be called Doctor.
I had no desire to dash
any man’s hopes and dreams
so when I walked into
Meng’s Restaurant in Coney Island
I sat at his table and said, “Doctor,
a guy I know is drinking heavily
and the doctor said he gotta quit
or he’s gonna croak,
plus he got Hepatitis C
and can’t control his bowels
thus he’s soiled
the couch innumerable times
and every chair in the house
thus his wife is going through hell
watching him drink himself to death,
to say nothing of constantly
disinfecting fabric.
He went away to dry out
but as soon as he came home
he started in again.”
Without a moment’s hesitation
the Doctor said,
“Bernstein, the man’s on a suicide trip
like in my home town a guy was on
the same booze journey
but he was strong as an ox
In fact we called him that, Ox.
‘Hey, Ox, lift that car.’
and he’d do it.
Eventually he hung himself
from a pipe on the ceiling
cause it was taking
so long for him to die.”
“Why’d he want to do away with himself? ” I asked,
“The man was strong on the outside
but weak on the inside
from a trauma
like when your old man
smashes you in the head
with a 2x4 cause you dropped
his favorite tea cup.
See maybe this guy
got thumped twenty times,
and that’s the magic number
cause five bashes
a man can recover from
but twenty wallops
no way.”
He paused, closed his eyes,
sighed, then said,
“A lousy teacup
and if not that
any old thing
to bang away
so scrambled
I forget my own name.”
“Doctor, ” I said,
“you’re the Doctor.”

Comments about Dueling With Memory by Charles Chaim Wax

  • john tiong chunghoo (4/24/2006 11:27:00 AM)

    fascinating chaim. write us more. (Report) Reply

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  • Brian Dorn (4/24/2006 10:26:00 AM)

    Charles, another riveting piece of work... interesting characters in interesting conversation!
    (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 24, 2006

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