Clifford Bernel by Mark O’Brien

Clifford Bernel by Mark O’Brien


Lonnie didn’t want to eat with Clifford.
I tried to keep my eyes away from his mouth,
Which opened uncontrollably,
His thick saliva oozing over him.
And he couldn’t talk.
So I ate my lunch with Lonnie, heard him talk
About the dive which broke his neck, about
His motorcycle shop in Chico, while
Another nurse gave Clifford lunch.

Every day
His parents came to push his chair around
The grounds. A grim, determined pair;
I wondered what disasters they had seen.
The nurses talked with them about
Their son. His eyes are beautiful, they said.
One day a nurse who put her stethoscope
To Clifford’s chest could not detect a beat.
“His heart has stopped,” she said in quiet awe.
The P.A. speakers cried:
The doctors, nurses and technicians ran
Into our crowded room. The squeaking
Crash cart could not be heard above
The urgent, human sounds the doctors made:
A swirl of orders filled the air. “I need
The mallet quick, goddamnit, QUICK, I said!”
Encapsulated in my iron lung,
I noted that doctors weren’t the calm
Professionals portrayed by Robert Young
And Richard Chamberlain, but people just
As scared of death as everybody else.
Then, they took me, iron lung and all,
And parked me in a room
Where women patients spend their lives.

The room was quiet as a stone; no clocks
Or television sets marked the time,
Which passed as slowly as Moses climbing Mount Sinai,
Until the social worker, Mrs. Mintzer,
Came to talk to me about Shakespeare. All his tragedies,
She said, contain a point where things begin
To fall apart. The bold protagonist,
No matter what his cunning, skill or strength,
Can see his fall foreshadowed by a small
Event. Macbeth saw Banquo at the feast
And after that it went from bad to worse
Until the murd’rous thane became a corpse
Without a head. She paused to think a while.
Now Clifford led a fairly normal life,
She pointed out, despite his cerebral palsy.
Playing cards and camping with his family
Were not beyond his reach.
The point where things fell apart occurred
Five years ago, when he fell and broke
His shoulder bone.
“Clifford died,” she said.
And tried to comfort me with her sympathy
For my awful loss.

I didn’t mourn his death at all.
“Too bad he died so young,” I said,
At twenty-three.” But all I cared about
Was the space in my crowded room.
The p.m. nurses took me back into my room.
I asked one to play my tape,
Appalachian Spring.
She reached into my bedside stand and slipped.
“There’s blood all over the floor, Clifford’s.
I thought they’d cleaned up all that mess.”

I spent the weekend after that in the solarium.
I read and overheard the nurses in the next room.
“They say he wrote exquisite poetry
About the way he felt when people stared
At him as if he were a freak.”

And so
I learned of my insensitivity,
Insensitivity so great I failed
To recognize a person
Caught in much the same predicament as I.
Such numbness isolates me more
Than any iron lung.


Sometimes the remorse of ache.  And, its conflict with disdain.  Leave me in awe.  In awe and imagining…of my lack of care.  With all my evolutionary meditation…All the hi-tech poking and prodding into an already distorted surface.  With all this disability and more…I l lose pity for others who suffer.  What kind of world am I?


Dear Chain of Fools
Ben Carson Revives Conspiracy Theory About Planned Parenthood And Eugenics… …claiming that Planned Parenthood needs to be defunded in order to save black babies from being aborted.

Dear Chain of Fools…commonly known as the Crackers elected into office-C.E.O

Give me back my Buddha

Give me back my Freak

Give me back…all that has made me unique!

And, oh, by the way, Big Brother,

take back your dime if you are buying my time.

If it means you will leave me alone and

Man has dispersed the needle

Defying our bodies for the sake of your ego!

Handed down the spoon.

With no one exempt..

Not even…The cracker dress in pressed pinstripe

shutting down the capital at high noon.

Keep your paws off my laws!

Keep your plans for parenthood and your witch hunt draped in factual flaws.

These are not a man’s, white or black, causes.

Time it was we were melting in the pot as one

The women in the harbor with honor shining bright is not your lady

She is someone’s


Orange is the new Black
Donald Trump: Planned Parenthood is an “Abortion Factory” That Sells Baby Parts Like Automobiles

She is someone’s


She is someone’s


If they plan on appealing Obamacare…what will become of women’s healthcare? For nearly 100 years, Planned Parenthood has promoted a commonsense approach to women’s health and well-being, based on respect for each individual’s right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex, and family planning. – See more at:

Ruth, we really mean it this time! Final Notice Democrat!





I wonder are we, democrats, all cut from the same cloth.  I used to think we were.  My family, devote Catholics, have been nothing but hardcore democrats.  Tree hugging, middle class, white folk wanting to build a better world for their children.

Classic argument, ‘did you vote for Jimmy Carter, Janice?  I hope you did!  Why won’t you tell me?’

‘I’m not going to tell you because that is my right!  It’s a free society.  Who I vote for is private and personal!’ slams my mother.

Of course, she voted for Billy’s brother.  But it was her democratic right to keep that information top secret.  God love Democracy.


Yet, as of late, I look around these political arenas.  These den’s designed for denizen’s of phone banks, these family homes splayed open with freedom of speech extremist.  Have all those do good and good things will happen supporters of OBAMA, LYNCH, CLINTON and the KENNEDYS  lost a step?

I hear, let’s get some new blood.  Yet, the screams are from old blue bloods that have held the same seat, been given the same aristocratic privileges, for the same twenty or so years, shouting the same old lines, day after day after political day.  Does my fellow political volunteer with their house on a hill.  With their LL Bean Duck boots.  With their earth friendly coffee mugs filled with fair trade coffee.  Does this well off, no dirt under the nails, no broken down stance from years on a factory floor, does this elitist democrat really want change?  Or, is it just good politics?  Really?  Who’s life and lively hood is at stake?  Theirs or mine?


This is a current mailing from my friends up on the Hill.  Course, enough is never enough when both sides of the aisle have too much already:

Ruth — This is the final notification of your member status before tonight’s FEC fundraising deadline. Name: Ruth Bowley Supporter record: 13345402 Suggested Support: $3.00 We were not expecting this: we are just 850 away from hitting 500,000 online donations! We’ve never gotten this far this fast! Hitting the half-million mark would be a BIG deal for our campaign to win a Democratic House for President Obama. Let’s step up, shatter that record, and leave John Boehner and Paul Ryan in the dust.

Obscenity? The rich is getting richer and richer and richer while the middle class is getting more poor.  Making billions and billions and billions of bucks.   Well my friend if you weren’t already rich at the start well that situation just sucks. Cause the riches mother fucker in five of us is getting ninety fuckin eight percent of it and every other motherfucker in the world is left to wonder where the fuck we went with it Obscenity? I’m a Senator I gotta raise $10,000 a day every day I’m in Washington. I ain’t getting it in South Central. I’m gettin it in Beverly Hills.

So I’m votin from them in the Senate the way they want me too and-and-and I’m sending them my bills.  But we got babies in South Central dying as young as they do in Peru. We got public schools that are nightmares. We got a Congress that ain’t got a clue.We got kids with submachine guns. We got militias throwing bombs. We got Bill just gettin all weepy. We got Newt blaming teenage moms.We got factories closing down. Where the hell did all the good jobs go? Well, I’ll tell you where they went.My contributors make more profits makin, makin, makin, Hirin’ kids in Mexico!

Oh a brother can work in fast food. If he can’t invent computer games. But what we used to call America. That’s going down the drains! How’s a young man gonna meet his financial responsibilities workin and motherfuckin Burger King? He ain’t! And please don’t even start with that school shit.  There aint no education going on up in that motherfucker. Obscenity? We got a million brothers in prison.  I mean, the walls are really rockin. But you can bet your ass they’d all be out.If they could play like Johnny Cash.

The constitution is supposed to give them an equal chance. Well, that ain’t gonna happen for sure. Ain’t it time to take a little from the rich motherfucker and give a little to the poor? I mean, those boys over there on the monitor they want a government smaller and weak. But the be speakin for the riches 20 percent when they pretend they’re defendin the meek.  Now, shit, fuck, cocksuker, that’s the real obscenity! Black folks livin with every day. Trying to believe a mothefuckin word Democrats and Republicans say.  Obscenity? I’m Jay Billington Bulworth And I’ve come to say:

The Democratic party’s got some shit to pay. It’s gonna pay it in the ghetto. It’s gonna pay it in the trailer parks and not just being freebies at McD’s!

  The movies, the tabloids, TV and magazines.  They tell us what to think and do.  They make up all our hopes and dreams. All this information makes America phat! But if the company’s outta the country. How American is that? But we got Americans with families that can’t even buy a meal. Ask a brother who’s been downsized if he’s getting any deal! Or a white boy bustin ass til they put him in his grave. He ain’t gotta be a black boy to be livin like a slave…

Rich people have always stayed on top by dividing white people from colored people. but white people got more in common with colored people then they do with rich people. We just gotta eliminate them. White people, black people, brown people, yellow people, gay people, women who want rights, vets who need help; get rid of ‘em all!  All we need is a voluntary, free spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial/gender/sexual orientation deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin’ everybody til they’re all the same color

With all the free, there goes another tree, literature we send the least you can do is acknowledge that you once cared!  Write, call or simply send an instagram so we are confident you haven’t fallen to the wayside like the rest of the uninsured!


OBAMA this/OBAMA that

The Working Class Stiffed

OBAMA this/OBAMA that.

gay/bi/transgender/poor/black/white/middle class/pregnant/single mothers/no insurance/poor insurance/elderly/earth friendly/own a home/want to own a home/different