blackmail press 31  Marginalization
Ruth Arnison
New Zealand

Marginalization - Pauline Canlas Wu
Ruth Arnison lives and works in Dunedin. She is the editor of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ), an arts in health charity which distributes free poetry cards every season to medical waiting rooms, rest homes, prisons and hospices. The Spring poetry card has been transcribed into Braille and if funding permits Ruth hopes the Braille version will also become a seasonal edition. See www.

To hearing loss

and the loneliness it brings

the realization that
holding the phone closer isn’t going
to make voices decipherable

the awareness
that the whole world can’t
be mumbling

jokes lost because the
punch-line repeated thrice loses
its punch

the half heard
questions with your totally
inappropriate answers

the avoidance of
gatherings where you hear everything
and nothing

two compensations: your teenagers’
music is never too loud

the busking bagpiper can
be turned down.

A gathering of words

Street scavenging she was searching for
    stray words
to pluck from passersby.

The constant walker tossed his mutterings
onto the pavement, they were drowned
by the busking piper.

The religious tract guy was gifting the
words of Jesus but they fell
on deaf ears.

Pedestrian words floated in the cool air,
back to school bargains, two
for the price of one.

A rhythmic rap bounced off the scaffolding,
spiraling downwards, hitting the pavement
with a cool thud.

Expletives hung loosely outside the mall,
teens torturing and txting

Carrier bag overflowing with second hand
words, she headed home to play
solitaire scrabble.

Kevin chose the rest home

They all run into each other, the days.
Tripe’s trembling along the afternoon
corridor so, it’s Tuesday.

They say, routine reassures us. Friday
fish, Sunday sausages - no, soup.
Sunday’s soup.

Sid sifts it through his beard. My Kevin
would think that disgusting! Evenings
and mornings,

he’d hiss, You’re so embarrassing mother.
I probably still fart when I rise
from my chair but

we’re all dodgy, deaf and daft here. Those
were his words - Kevins. I might lose my
grips, misplace my teeth,

forget the year, and the grandchildren’s
names but I won’t ever forget who
‘placed’ me here.