Thursday, 8 February 2018


Shoes, orthopaedic, custom made,
casual style yet strong and sturdy, black and shiny,                                                          
Velcro strapped for ease and comfort, unworn and waiting,
pristine condition, still in the box.

He refuses to wear them.

Why walk when one press of the buzzer will bring
some ‘f*cking lazy c*nt’ to stand in waiting,
waiting for his pathetic demands as he lives out his sick role in bed.
I am so so sick.

I am too weak to walk he will bleat, refusing physio,
all interventions aimed at moving him forward – for why walk
when you have your servants to do all your bidding,
when you can’t be bothered to lift even your tiniest finger.

Malingerer, that’s what he is.  Or is he?

When he screams at you, calls you a f*cking lazy c*nt –
why does he do that.  Ask yourself, look at his past.   
Look at his notes, read up his history and then you will know.

I wouldn’t like to wear his shoes either. 
They would stay in the box.  
Anna :o]

The above is a thumbnail of someone I knew, someone I cared for (and about) in my place of work.   (I am retired now.)   Despite his readiness to verbally abuse, be buzzer crazy, demanding of attention – I liked him and would give him at least thirty minutes of my time each shift.  We would chat, had a rapport, but that did not excuse me from the lash of his tongue outside these times.

Most presenting behaviours have a backstory… I knew of his.  I would not like to be him, stand in his shoes.

For Susan at Poets United, whose prompt is Shoes.

(I don't know why 'shiny' has given itself a line and I can't seem to correct it.)

Image:   Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons 


Sumana Roy said...

Nobody would want to walk in his shoes. So sad. However he was fortunate to have at least thirty minutes caring company. He at least had this much happiness. Such heartfelt write Anna.

Susan said...

This is a poem after a poem. I like using my life in my poetry when a story is so far reaching and eye-opening. The man was lucky people still came at his beck and call. Or was he? He'll malinger himself right into inability to move, he'll have an audience for his death wish. And all that despite what his chart shows.

Myrna R. said...

He was lucky that you could go beyond the ugliness he spewed to the sadness in his life.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Vividly described! And a timely reminder that people who behave badly are always sad, somewhere underneath.

WildChild47 said...

It's always tough to understand and know, especially when dealing with someone so callus, abrasive and abusive, but perhaps, the 30 minutes of genuine care and rapport offered something so deeply appreciated, and that is a true gift. And speaks of the determination on your part, to offer despite how exhausting someone like this can be.

Everyone has a story. It won't always be known. But the choice to walk, or try to walk, in consideration, is still one we all can make.

Great piece :)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I admire your compassion in seeing the pain behind the anger. I worked in a care facility too and there was a fierce old lady who gave everyone a hard time. I persisted with sunshine and sweetness through her testing of me till, one day, i came rushing when she yelled and she took my hand, looked into my eyes and smiled. I felt like she had given me a million know that feeling.

rallentanda said...

I very much admire you Anna for doing this kind of work.It takes a special person and you deserve the best life has to offer you.

Derek Dupp said...

This is very powerful - and all born out of a pair of shoes. Thanks for sharing.

aspiritofsimplicity said...

There is always a line between the reason for a person's behavior and what we will put up with. I will mostly forgive certain things if I am aware of a back story...I have my own back story, as do we all....but I have learned to find my own boundaries as well.
as well.

Magaly Guerrero said...

We can't understand other people, if we don't take at least a minute to really try to understand where they come from. This is particularly true for people who are in serious pain, especially when their bodies don't show it all the time.

Rachel Gloria Mayer Walsh Schapiro said...

lovely imagery.

Nicholas V said...

A sad life, a sad man and yes, sad, shiny shoes - they promise much in terms of comofrt and mobility, but walking in them? No...
A thoughtful poem, Anna, and justification of what at first glance seems unjustifiable. Great to see your wirting once again!

Charlotte said...

Nurses and other caregivers are woefully under appreciated. In this case, you showed great empathy and restraint. Bless you.