“Sick” – poem by Paul O’Mahony

“I am sick”

the old man said

fingers interlocked

behind a hairy neck

as he rocked in a kitchen stool.

Arrogant son of a bitch

nowadays referred to more kindly

as “self reverential omnipotent”.

Paul loved his style

even more than the secondhand suit

he had from Armani.

His journeys to charity shops

were retail adventures

in the stories he expounded to strangers

on anthropological field trips

to pubs

in search of the community

where he’d be appreciated.

Because he was sick to himself

he made a difference

to the universe.

Personal pride in his sickness

his tombstone he designed.

It would say

Here lies one sick man 

– look up to him“.