Thursday, October 11, 2012

On Diminished Capacity

image from

At Real Toads, Kerry set us a task: to tell a tale by an unreliable narrator. Some of the prompt words offered were impaired memory and diminished capacity and I perked right up! Topics I know a LOT about :-)  given my own diminished capacities. For this poem, I chose the everyday ramblings of a dear little old lady for whom I provide home support. 

Well, I know for certain that
I handed him the keys in his hand
because I dont have them any more.
Do you suppose he is
getting copies made?
Do you suppose he 
has designs on me?
Because I love the man 
for his kindness,
but I have no thought 
of anything with him,
his wife can rest easy.

I keep calling and asking him:
Have you found the keys?
and he says "No keys,
I gave them back to you,"
but I dont have them,
so he has lost them.
The man is in another world,
the poor bugger,
and I wont ask anything of him again.

And Those Idiots called,
saying I owe them money.
What this?
I paid them the money,
and now they say
they need more money?

Well, after I looked through 
all the papers in my filing cabinet
(I left a big pile of paper 
all over my desk, not to worry,
sweetheart, whenever you have time,
rest yourself,
dont exhaust yourself),
and reconciling the statements
because, thank you, God, 
for giving me a brain, 
I discovered a discrepancy 
of five dollars.
They are trying to steal 
from the People,
what this? They are Idiots.

And you remember,
I switched from Shaw to Telus
because the tv was not working
and Shaw was charging
too much money?
Well, Telus is an Idiot,
and I am switching back to Shaw,
and Telus said I signed a Plan
and I did not sign a Plan so I am
filing a complaint 
with the Better Business Bureau
and now I have to find all the Papers
from Wherever I Put Them
and thank you, God, for giving me a brain
to keep all this paper from all the years,
I just have to find Where I Put Them.
Can you bring up the boxes
I told you to put in the basement,
so I can Review them?
Whenever you have time,
Sweetheart, dont exhaust yourself,
but the man is calling me in half an hour
and I have to find them by then.
I love you, God bless you,
but the world is full of Idiots,
making us tired.

I have to go see the doctor,
That Idiot,
who does nothing to help me,
since three years now,
loooong time, I am aching
and my legs not holding me up,
and he asks me
"What can I do for you?"
and I say "You're the Doctor!"
What an idiot.
What this?
They take our money
and they dont look after
the People?

And that woman - the Twit -
we wont even say her name,
Lord, keep the Bad Energies from us,
and protect us forever, Amen,
she said to me
How are you?
and I said Fine Thank You Very Much
and just kept walking
because I want only good energy
and she is bad energy,
and her, I dont need.

For the sale, I got
half price for the chairs:
two chairs,
they bought, 
for the price of one.
People, they dont want to pay,
I paid so much money,
the chairs have hardly been sat on
in fifteen years,
and there they go walking out the door,
may God bless the people who sit in them,
and this poor little widow
left here to cry, alone.


  1. This made me cry. I saw both my mother and father in it. Life can get so is a tough one.

  2. Brilliant piece, absolutely brilliant. Loved it all the way through.

  3. Oh, Sherry. You don't have to worry about your own capacity being diminished when you can write poetry the way you do.
    Like Susie, I thought of my parents when I read this, but I also laughed. I just loved loved loved this part:
    "the chairs have hardly been sat on
    in fifteen years,
    and there they go walking out the door,
    may God bless the people who sit in them"

  4. Agh, lost first comment.

    This is so very well done, eerily well done - Sherry - you display an amazing ear here. The reader, like the narrator, moves through so many emotional poles - it is alternately funny and terribly sad - just brilliantly portrayed with an extremely sharp but also sympathetic eye. k.

  5. Sherry, this is heart-breaking, and so accurate it can only be written from first-hand experience of working closely with the elderly (and bless you for that). Your narrator is such a sweetie, I want to give her a hug, but she brings me to tears.

  6. Oh my! This would have a touch of humor if it wasn't the truth and if you did not have to sort out the truth from the imagined. The paranoia is the worst, really, as who knows when the accused may be you. Well expressed.

  7. Here is my grandmother that was and my parents becoming. Except my family runs silent, so we hear it in wounded sour pusses and curt dismissive accusations. I like how you have condensed and shaped the rant, and I smiled a lot, from recognition with a few tears.

  8. This is sad but I can also feel your touch of humor. This woman has probably been blaming all her troubles on other people all her life--just a bit more picturesque now. Wonderful example of the prompt.

  9. are not diminished, my dear! Wonder what she says about you? - most likely that you have misplaced her box of papers.

    This was an outstanding effort.

  10. i know the type! i must say it brought a smile to my face ~ i hope that doesn't mean i'm a person with Bad Energy! great take on the prompt!

  11. I boy, I have seen this before! It is sad, but I also see the humor in your poem! Bravo or really nailing this prompt! Wow, what a day it must be, for you! You are an angel! ((hugs))

  12. I keep lists all over to avoid going round and round looking for things like my keys! You must have such patience to take this on every day!

  13. It gets rough, really rough doesn't it? Good work.

  14. Sherry, I did love your narrator. More Idiots than Dostoyevsky! But the sad fact of one's mind eventually going (and I'm the queen of Where Are My Keys?), the selling off of things. Her dissatisfaction was, for me, completely satisfying in my own twisted way! Hope you are feeling good, my dear. Love, Amy

  15. You've hit a few nails on their heads in this piece! :)

  16. So sad, Sherry you've captured every heartbreaking element of this sickness and state of mind. The little breathed prayers between all the madness breaks my heart. Well done indeed.

  17. I can hear the ramblings. Sad, true, scattered, frustrated...joyous and wisened rolled together into a life.

    I know all about handing keys over and having the other person lose them--only to find them in my coat pocket.
    *laughing* Darn him for slipping them in there to mess with me!


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