In the Land of the Incontinent

In the Land of the Incontinent
There are many islands
Surrounded by the Ocean of Shame
Each has its own flag
Mine – a sabre in equipoise over a leg bag
Ready to cut off a strap or a connector,
Slice through the whole damn bag
Strewing the contents asunder
Wildly proclaiming the freedom to freely piss
Wherever
Just once.

There are many solitary boats in the Ocean of Shame
No ocean liners at all
Small sailboat masts wave and wink,
Rowboats rock and collide with each other creating
A momentary, instant camaraderie expressed with shouts of
“You’re in, you’re in!”
But each sailor steadies his own course
No one has thought to start a boat club
Or regatta races
There is no winner’s cup
No banquet

Everyone hurries home to her own island
As darkness falls
Lowering the flag then
Tripping and rolling over
Boxes of catheters and diapers
We all have our own treasure and bounty of
Devices that stick on us and in us
Bags that bind us or hang off us
(Generally defeating the purpose
Of their names like Freedom
Some continent marketing genius
Came up with).

I want to water flowers, draw a new yellow brick road,
But instead struggle with valves not meant for those
With limited dexterity
And wind up spraying my socks
In the quiet of a bathroom over a toilet I no longer apparently need
But am not allowed to sell
To pay for all this paraphernalia

My island is open to anyone
If you happen to sail by
Bring your own supplies
For I often run low
But I promise you will not go home hungry
Or feeling quite so alone
As you set out on the Ocean of Shame
Which I hope some day enough of us will rename
By flying our flags high.

Copyright 2012 Ruth Harrigan

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2 Comments

Filed under poem

2 responses to “In the Land of the Incontinent

  1. Lisa

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if it might be possible for our organization to use one of your poems in our newsletter. I couldn’t find a contact email on your site, so I thought I’d just post a comment. What would be the best way to contact you?

    Thanks!

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