Breathless

BACK TO WRITING

copdsidebar
CO: Copped Out1 – slow to sink. Bodies dumped in ditch-water are destroyed by the weakness of blood.
PD: Piss-poor and Deprived2 – forever crudely young, shamefully bare-faced and corrupt, perpetually regenerating.

Wheezer Geezer is one of their kind,
in a night-vest, half-mast and greasy,
too small an envelope for his roundly ripe belly.

Railed all night at the brass,
bleach blonde hecklers, brains between their legs,
too tied-up to shut-up, all mouth and trousers
too small for their arse.
But our man’s smarter than the average Jack
never ever pays to get a gel in the sack.

All his life he’s never pronounced a T
unless it’s the T of the Tooth he keeps safe
at the front of his face.
Ts aren’t his to own you see,
being a loudmouth market shouter
stuffing it to whoever harder and smarder!

Cough. His cough is like a clatter of crows in a tree
or the rush of gravel, COPD.

It’s the fags, they say, forty a day and still
no recourse to the power of will.
Death, they say, the preserve of poverty
wires mind and jaw in careless dichotomy.

Big and bright, his doctors’ smiles hurt,
so big and white and free as adverts,
and pegs like tumbling tombstones,
which go to explain it’s not fags alone
that lie like soldiers wrapped in print,
beside measured and plotted, dug mud pits.

Communally grave the communally drugged
but Wheezer Geezer will have shrugged
because he’d heaved out water as his choice of tipple
long before what’s left of him
flowed beneath that particular bridge.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. It is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people don’t realise they have it.

1CO Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous colourless, odourless, tasteless gas. When combined with haemoglobin in the blood it forms carboxyhaemoglobin, which has no oxygen carrying capacity. The resultant oxygen deprivation causes headaches, dizziness, decreased pulse and respiratory rates, unconsciousness, and death.

2Pd is the symbol for the chemical element, Palladium. Both Palladium and its congener platinum is used in catalytic converters, which convert as much as 90% of the harmful gases in combustion engine exhaust from hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide into less noxious substances such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water vapour.


© Rod McRiven 2010

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