March 4_On Hearing

See Tupelo Press to read the poems for March 4, 2014 by scrolling down to “Day 4/Poems 4” and of course, to read my poem, On Hearing / by John C. Mannone.

The backstory is as follows:

Sometimes the best poem ideas come from very fresh experiences. I am certain that today’s poem will need more help, this is one of the ways poems are born. And capturing raw emotion always has to be tamed.

Back in November/December 2013, I stopped at a nightclub bar to check out the scene, and to go to the bathroom. To get to the restroom, I had to walk directly in front of a live band, which was playing excessively loud. As I passed their huge speaker, they cranked it up and the blast literally hurt my ear. The pain remained the rest of the night and periodically bothered me for the next couple weeks. But even today, there is an occasional discomfort. In the meantime, like most of us, I got the flu (on Christmas Eve), which left me with bronchitis and walking pneumonia. I was already on antibiotics for another infection, so here we go again with another round for that. I never needed to take probiotics before, but I sure did this time—two weeks after the antibiotics were done. I seemed to be fine, but while sitting at the computer one day, I experienced “extreme” vertigo. It was bad enough that I feared to drive, but not so bad that I had to do much more than sit down or brace myself for about a minute. My doctor was not available, so I went to a walk-in clinic. They cleaned the wax out and deemed my ears fine. All they gave me was Dramamine (I was never nauseated), and my imagination ran wild: candida yeast infection, diabetes, high blood pressure, imminent stroke, heart disease, brain tumors, etc. In fact, my blood pressure suffered way beyond the white coat syndrome—it was 180/100. I think that was around the end of January. My ex convinced me to see my regular doctor. Sure enough, in early February, I had fluid in both my ears (don’t know how the walk-in clinic doctor missed that)… another round of antibiotics, and a steroid, too, actually worked. But all the while I was having vertigo, a tinnitus would accompany it. In fact, it is still with me thought the vertigo is all but gone. So I was scheduled to see a specialist. The hearing in my left ear has definitely been compromised, I am to get my auditory nerve checked out via MRI. But to see the nerve, I must receive an injection with a radioactive dye. I am extremely phobic of needles. So now you understand a little bit more behind the writing of this poem. I started it shortly before I got to the doctor’s office and finished the draft while sitting in a Panera Bread in Cleveland, TN, six hours afterward. Today is actually March 3, 2014.

A few words about the poem. I had hoped I could have ended the poem on an upbeat note, in which case I would have rendered it a humorous one, but the news, though not devastating, certainly concerns me. The ending had to be serious. I deliberately maintained a little distance between the narrator and his problems by rendering the narrative a little technical. The sections fell out naturally and, as usual, I try to create good line breaks, but many of these are not good (nor bad).


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