I have pain in my back
I’d say it’s a pain in the ass, but it’s worse than that
Also, it’s more like just north of the crack
Which might not seem like much on the surface
But it’s got me bent up, breathless, and nervous
Namely, it’s a damn pain, not that I want to complain
Cuz there are worse kinds of physical curses
That can leave you horribly disfigured, disabled, or in a hearse
But I can’t think relatively speaking
In fact, I’m having trouble thinking at all cuz of this freaking
Pain, my spine needs more than jus tweaking
I’ve had morphine, acupuncture
Chiropractics practice advanced techniques and
Still my lower back keeps on weakening
Something about an L4 and L5, lumbar joints and compression on the SI
That’s a nerve, makes my posture swerve
And sends tingles and burns down to my ankles
I’ve had more doctor’s opinions than West Indians eat mangos
I’m chained to my pain like a leash
Gotta strain every day to make it to work, cuz I need the pay
But I don’t know how much more of this I can take
I need some peace, painkillers won’t make it cease
I’ve gotten these prescriptions in scribblings I can’t for the life of me read
Pumped with pills so various, I’m starting to fee like Elvis
And the pharmacists are suspecting me of peddling my meds on the street
They make me show ID and give me grief
And after all that, I still can’t get nor relief, no release
Sometimes I think I’d be better off deceased!

So this one’s for those of you that got chronic pain
The kind that messes with your brain
That makes your hope drain, makes you feel like a stain
On the good name of humanity
Because when something’s that wrong with you
You wonder, “Why is God so mad at me?”
And wonder what people are thinking exactly
Because pain is so often accompanied by blame
As if you have done something wrong to deserve your calamity
Or maybe someone has worked obeah
And you forgot what your specialist told you
Something about needles and incisions, and surgical decisions that
Take months to recover from, and the horror stories you hear from
Everyone who saw that episode of 60 Minutes
Where a guy went in for a tonsillectomy, and never walked again
But, dammit, the pain!
The electrical impulses like daggers shooting down
Your muscles, arteries, and veins, driving you damn near insane
That lame pillar that props up your pathetic semi-vertical self
Tilted like an incarnation of the Tower of Pisa
A visible symbol of ill health
And you can’t get decent treatment unless you got insurance
With extended coverage, or you’re a superstar athlete
But I don’t have that kind of clout, nor wealth
I’m trying to take one morning a week off for physio
But I gotta do it in stealth, cuz I don’t want to get laid off
Workman’s comp won’t pay off, and I can’t even get one lousy day off
I gotta be tough and keep a tight grill, play it cool, still
But damn, I mean, how much steel can a brother be made of?!

And when I stand, it pains, and when I sit, it pains
And when I kneel, it’s OK for a minute, and then it pains again
And when I lie on my back, it pains, on my stomach with ice packs
Laid out across my back, is about the only way I can relax
I don’t even know who I am anymore: I am identified by pain
That makes me stoop and feel so sore
It dominates my day-to-day, the person I knew I was before
Now does not exist, and looks like he may never exist again
I should probably change my name!
If I was an actor, I’d be William Hurt
If I was a Disney move, it would be the Hunchback of Notre Dame
If I was a football star, I would be Troy Aikman
And if I was a biblical figure, it would be Job, Jonah, or Abraham
I feel so tribulated and Godforsaken, like my tailbone is breaking
My whole foundations shaking, my hope’s taking a beating
I can remember happier days, but now those moments seem so fleeting
I know I get melodramatic, but I tell you, I can’t stand it
I guess who knows it go feel it, so I can’t really explain or otherwise reveal it
But it’s very deep-seated, so forgive me if I repeat it
But I feel like I’m about to snap
See, I have pain in my back!


a. bansfield, 2012


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