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News and Events
by Brian Weilert

Home alone


Both my kids are grown


 and I am home collecting disability checks

my wife works two jobs

no real details just a lot of hours with little pay

I am ashamed that this is the man I have become

My father was a hard worker until the day he died

            Blue collar hard

At 47

I broke my back loading sand bags for the church

During a flood

    A flood that only comes around every 60 years or so

            So bad luck I suppose

It was something so simple

            The way it happened

I had worked the whole day

            Doing my good deed

WWJD…well he would be loading sandbags


As we finished, I jumped from the bed of the pickup

            Landing on my feet


            But my back was not that of a cat

            But that of a tired man

            A tired man of 47


            I heard it as I landed

Then a sharp pain…then just a dull severe ache


I had hurt my back before so

            I thought I’d be down a few days…

                                    maybe a week


But weeks passed and my back grew worse


I come from a family where you don’t go to the doctor

Unless a body part is missing…and then it depends on the part


One time when I was camping and turkey hunting with my father and two brothers

I became gravely ill…I had a temperature of 104 degrees

As I lay outside on the bare ground

 my tent was too hot

            …my loving family

Began to stack rocks on me

Explaining that it would be a fitting grave

And this would save them the trouble of hauling my pussy home


That is my family


“Buck it up.”

Was the saying I grew up with


And I did just that “Bucked it up.”


On the 4th of July, my family got together

My two brothers and their family

            My sister

                        My two sons and wives…

Everyone knew I was hurt

                        but hurt didn’t mean a lot


At some point one of the kids found and old skinny, yellow

            Whiffleball bat…and one thing led to another

                        Teams were selected

                                    And we were playing Whiffleball

I  Bucked it up

            Swinging one armed…

                        Fake smiling, laughing, running


That is my family


So I did not go to the doctor…

     Time passed




My back was still bad



but then I became very ill


 I went to the doctor…



This is when I learned I had broken my back

I had broken my back and had developed a staff infection

An infection so aggressive it had eaten my spine

An infection so aggressive that it had spread

An infection so aggressive…

I might die

When you hear something like that

            “You might die”

It is not like you would think it to be

            You might die…

                        You might die…

So fearful and powerful

It is amazing that after hearing the words

 We don’t just…

Well, die

But I rebelled as if he were a liar

“Your lying.”

I actually said those words

After some time…I realized

Barring some bizarre hidden motive,

            He was telling the truth

The truth was,” I might die.”


            I didn’t


So many days have passed

 that I wish I had


A miracle they said


            I can’t use my fucking legs and they call it a miracle


That was four years ago


I sit in the same chair all day

            Every damned day

A red velvet recliner stained with daily sweat

 a bloated pale whale of inactivity

I consume pain pills like Pac Man

Dulling all my desire to move…

To live my life…

                        What life?

In my head I think of all the ways to end it all

But I am a coward…or maybe

I hold out some fantasy that I will be normal again

    My wife and I used to take nightly walks

We would hold hands and talk

            Talk about silly dreams that deep down we knew we would never do

But somehow drew us closer

            Talk about our children and our hopes for them to have amazing lives

                        Even though we just wanted them to be happy

            Talk about nothing as we walked in silence

                        An occasional glance, a smile, to remind us of just how lucky we were

Now she comes home, late, tired

            She fake-kisses my forehead, and continues to the kitchen to cook

We don’t even try to force uninspired conversations any more

            I could ask her about her day, but I know it was bad

                        She doesn’t want to lie and I don’t want to act like I actually care

She is still beautiful

            just worn

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