Home | Arts | Poem: Pre-existing Conditions -- Jeff McCallum

Poem: Pre-existing Conditions -- Jeff McCallum

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Pre-existing Conditions


Cultures where the aged and dying,

The toothless and slow wander off,

Trek as purposefully as their unstable gait allows

Toward the wilderness, the elephant burial ground

To leave us unburdened

Are dead, aren’t they?


Except for America.

We are Sparta at end life.

Our failing are removed from the roles,

Cast from the life raft, marked as pariah.

Tales of the fabulous and famous suffering these indignities

Distract us from this war or that

As we are lifted to Olympus on the pages of super market tabloids.

Our consciousness tickled, our conscience fails to make the connection,

To penetrate the molasses thick

Slow swirl of the amber filter the media whores

Smears like honey over the dry bread of our lives.

They hide a hundred, a thousand,

A lost tribe of Joe the plumber, Joyce the beautician,

Alice the single mother of three

And Bill, the veteran of some war or another

Because they are irrelevant to Sparta.


Katrina, a long five minutes of fame for the tribe of the nameless

Isolated in the remote reaches of forgotten

Removed beyond memory and follow-up.

911 claimed its victims

The war began, and her victims disappeared,

Returned to their rightful place out of line.

We send more humanitarian aid to the faceless

Of some other nation, spend more on airport security than

Shelter for the disenfranchised.


Pre-exiting conditions exist as a statistic, leave perhaps millions

Out in the reign of the insurance gods,

The cold of anonymity a grey shawl on their shoulders

And if they are tired or different or poor

Some reason or another

Is casually assigned to their condition

And our conscience

Which warrants no response.

Let the tireless hands of Mother Theresa continue

She’s a volunteer after all.

Jeff McCallum is a poet and author of "Somebody's Bright Balloon," a collection of poems for cancer patients and cargegivers. McCallum maintains a web site and can be reached at jeff at wordstone dot org.

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (5 posted):

christmas presents on 12/05/2009 02:52:06
My Goodness,This is really great poem.Very fascinating post.This subject is really inspirational!Thanks for sharing it...
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16gb m2 card on 02/22/2010 21:58:35
Hi Guy's,
Awesome Poem.i like it very much.This subject is really inspirational!Thanks for sharing it...
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iedge on 05/18/2010 01:35:19
Poems are my favourite topic and subject that I like to read all the time. It is very nice to read poem and the above poem is really nice and awesome, it has attracted me to read it again and again.
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Rhinoplasty on 05/19/2010 05:26:22
A very touching poem that really makes sense and very much related to the practical life. It seems as if you have been passing through a tough time.
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manolo blahnik on 07/04/2010 20:59:59
This subject is reall inspirational!
Every nation are equal, each species are equal.
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total: 5 | displaying: 1 - 5

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