Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'With A Little Left Over, Just Enough'

By Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estés
She found the orange dog with the broken leg.
$800 to fix it the vet told her on the phone.
She didn’t have the dough, but clearly,
she felt an orange dog should be named Blue.
She found an orthopedic surgeon
who agreed to set the doggie’s leg
and claim Blue’s repair on Medicaid.
That worked so well, she claimed Blue
as her disabled son. And the government
paid him veteran’s benefits, since Blue
had served as a buck sergeant in WW II.
But eventually, the bureaucrats found
her out, and demanded she repay her fraud.
It looked like prison for grandma until
Blue miraculously up and died. That
$100,000 life insurance policy
on her beloved son Blue
was just enough to pay back
Medicaid and the VA in full
with a little left over, just enough.
* * * * *
"Orange Dog Blue" is from La Pasionaria, Collected Poetry of Clarissa Pinkola Estés and includes this endnote:
This poem was prompted by a tiny one-line reference in the local police report about a surgeon who was being arraigned for falsely charging Blue Cross for reimbursements regarding surgery for a dog. This poem began with a factual reality, and then sped off all on its own, becoming more and more outrageous, till I felt like a rider with nothing to hold onto but the horn and strings. Sometimes and often writing howls through like that -- the art grabs the artist and spins away with a story of its own, leaving the artist pressed into the saddle with hair flying behind like a flag.

You have to write fast in order to record when the spirit is moving through so rapidly. (Have fast-writing paper and a fast-writing pen. Don’t try to make intarsia when you need the speed of plein aire painting.) Because such storm centers descend without warning, make sure you have developed a shorthand you can actually read afterward. Some of mine, such as, smrf ech bek laff fn lee, have been lost to me forever, (but let me know if you can translate Portu-pidgen.) These are not times to try to shape words and line breaks; that is for another day. Another way of saying it: Just seize the best flowers you can as they fly by on the wind; you can arrange the bouquet later."
"Orange Dog Blue" ©1990, 2009, All Rights Reserved, by Dr. C.P. Estés

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