James Strazza was a full-time musician and music producer. He composed songs and arrangements for himself and his customers before he became bedbound at 32 with severe ME/CFS following mono from the Epstein Barr virus. Losing his ability to create, or even listen to music, James began to write poems using talk-to-text on his phone in July of 2020. By October he had written more than a hundred poems and his mother helped him with the production of his first volume of poetry with illustrations: “Lyrical, Poems That Will Blow You a Kiss or Punch You in the Stomach.”
An Artistic Man
send an artistic man to hell and he will
write poetry of his suffering
and of the beauty in the flames.
i hate sharing good news
it’s never that good
just hell with less fire.
like removing water from the
capsized ship with a silver ladle.
yes this is good
i am two spoonfuls lighter
but i’m still a sinking ship
please don’t forget that.
we want a happy ending we want a happy ending
chanting from the able bodies
outside disabled headquaters.
we are feverishly working towards a one-minute montage
where a man with a curable illness
pushes himself to the extreme by
doing yoga and fasting and drinking celery juice but it’s
not done yet
we must hurry
they need a happy ending.
a brick flies through the window
i’m not sure how much more the barricade on the door
they are demanding a happy ending
without it they don’t know how to cope
they don’t know how to conceptualize their problems their
fears their worries of sickness of getting old but if we could
make everything OK in this one-minute montage if we could
make a happy ending–
i have to go i’m scared for my safety
the barricade just broke we are so close to being finished
i’m not sure if we we’ll make it
or what they’ll do to us if we don’t
wish us luck
to be continued…
“Everything will be OK”
everything will be okay
rammed down my throat
like soviet propaganda
“everything will be ok”
as if life were a film
and i were the lead.
privilege preached as prophecy
luxury assumed as inevitability
potential presented as promise.
what happens when it’s not?
our worldview crumbles -
“this can’t be, yet here it is.”
what a painful truth to learn
i am not the lead role
i am the unnamed, the forgotten.
they hide me away when they say
“everything will be ok.”