Poet’s Corner: Confronting a Man With No Legs, When my Body Says No, No Apology Necessary, In This Present Moment

Here is the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group

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This poem is written in response to an event that occurred in Huntington Park California on Feb. 6, 2023 involving the local police department and a disabled mentally challenged local resident.

Confronting a Man With No Legs

Dingy urban streets stage dramas of unspeakable dread

out of the midst of the hustle and bustle the unexpected emerged,

a man with no legs,

running, hobbling, sporting a well honed knife!

Can he be the next mass murder?

amidst roaring sirens and flashing blue and red lights

a man with no legs becomes a menace to the public?

minds often void of thought are tasked with confronting the threat

outrage spews forth like an erupting volcano, soon to be dormant

kaleidoscoping clouds hover overhead serve as myoptic overseers of justice

how delightful, the reemergence of an amusement park shooting gallery

holster the mace, the night stick, no taser needed!

maybe spike stips would incomber the stampeding man with no legs

slow him down just enough to lasso him like a steer waiting to be branded,

The obvious choice, a single well placed shot, efficient, cost effective,

The Perfect solution to dispatch the imminent threat,

A man with no legs?

Extermination completed!

in the aftermath,

public trust and safety restored,

streets remain quiet they have no voices

a fading shaft of afternoon light cast a faceless shadow.

Gerald Bigelow

~ ~ ~ ~

When my Body Says No

Now days, nary a day goes by
when I ain’t feeling fair to middling

I remember old folks talking bout the miseries
in their back and knees.

people talking bout feeling pooly

many bent over like they were spying
for a lost silver dollar on the ground

hands cupped beside an ear
to improve catching words
as they drift by during a conversation

rubbing on a bit of Sloan’s Liniment
to ease stiffness and muscle fatigue

I know, I can no longer leap tall buildings in a single bound
or stop a speeding locomotive

I need the assistance of my cane just to step over a curb
I struggle to stop my speeding three year old grandson

when challenges involving the body or other things life throws your way,
I recall the words of my Great Grandmother,
“further down the road you will understand all that I am telling you”!

I recall watching my 81 year old Great Grandfather take a daily 5 mile walk
always sporting a walking stick that seemed to grow as he shrunk

daily, my 80 year old Great Grandmother worked in her garden
ending each of her day’s labors with a liberal dousing of Sloan’s Liniment

ailments that the body advertised but people ignore
often take precedence over what the body is telling you

as I age, I only have to be concerned about who speaks the loudest,
My ego or my body!

Only time and a bit of Sloan’s Liniment will tell.

Gerald Bigelow

~ ~ ~ ~

No Apology Necessary
A letter to White Supremacists

No One is Being Replaced!

apologizing for being White
is an unnecessary exercise in futility
words and feelings, although noble,
do little to change the nature of things

however, actions do!

don’t apologize for being privileged
feel free to be privileged,
just don’t be privileged
at the expense of others

it’s ok for you to be angry
with those who hold
political views opposing yours
Who likes “ bleeding heart” liberals anyway?
“as long as they are White it’s alright”!

for us, any contrary opinions that we may hold
at the very least can label us as “uppity”
At worst, it can get us killed!

the saga of Emmett Till, still not to be spoken of,
yet, after 75 years,
we are still focused on “Who Killed the Black Dahlia”?

the communities of Greenwood in Tulsa Oklahoma
and Rosewood in Florida,
total destruction, innocent lives and fortunes lost,
escaped mention in our US history books

the mere mention of the Bloods, Crips and MS13 send shivers down spines
while the longest living and most treacherous domestic terrorists group
in US History, the Klu Klux Klan, seldom receives a notice of mention
beaten, lynched, castrated, set ablaze for public amusement, redlined, black-balled,

I guess that’s the history that makes this personal!

What’s this modern day crap about using “The N Word”?
when you are thinking it and feeling it,
it ain’t “The N Word” you are thinking and feeling,
You are thinking and feeling “Nigger” and all of its ramifications!

Remember, the origin of all words is thought!

as I listen to your rhetoric
I am often challenged by situations
forcing me to question your intentions

dissatisfied with the opposing positions in today’s society
many grow nostalgic for the less complicated 1950s America
You get to have your place,
while I am relegated to stay in mine

our lives are akin to the difference
between which direction water goes down the drain
in the Northern Hemisphere
as opposed to
the Southern Hemisphere

life has become an eight millimeter film,
flickering on and off to create the changes in scenery

the secrets that make people disappear
are the secrets that everyone knows
and no one cares about

I have learned not to look at yesterday’s news
pretending that it is today’s news

Critical Race Theory, being “woke”, Make America Great Again, unfit drinking water in Flint Michigan, mass shootings,

I guess that’s the history that makes this personal!

after the 2016 presidential election;
some smart people became stupid
while all stupid people remained the same

historically, scapegoats were those
who you could point a finger at,
Now they have become those you can point a gun at!

Don’t worry!
No one is being replaced,
the pieces are just being shifted around
to create a better fit.

Gerald Bigelow

~ ~ ~ ~

In This Present Moment

In the midst of a vortex voices and thoughts swirl
Doctors whisper, contemplating an outcome,
in the minds of some, “more art than science”.

an amended DNA sourced from my body,
extracted and reintroduced,
is now a standing army actively engaged in fighting and destroying the Multiple Myeloma that has raged in my body for oh these many years,

What happens next is akin to anxiously awaiting the next chapter of the Saturday morning serial at the local movie theater.

A cliffhanger!

Please stay tuned.

Gerald Bigelow

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gerald Bigelow

Previously published in the Arizona Centennial Anthology and in Between the Lines, Gerald is a board member for EPIC Group Writers and chairs a monthly poetry group. He edited and contributed to Soundings from the Salish Sea (A Pacific Northwest Poetry Anthology).

In 2019, Gerald was selected to read his poetry with the Washington State Poet Laureate. He helped establish a bi-monthly Poet’s Corner featurette in My Edmonds News to showcase the work of local poets. He has a new book of poetry on Amazon entitled, Memories Looking Through a Screen Door.

Among his other credits, Gerald has read his poetry at the 2019, 2021 and 2022 Edmonds Arts Festivals, read and served on a discussion panel at the Edmonds Friends of the Library, participated in poetry readings and a discussion panel at the celebration for the winner of the 2021 Paz Prize for Poetry (Alejandro Perez-Cortez), and acted as manager and featured poetry reader for Epic Group Writers Poets at the 2022 Day of Remembrance for Japanese Americans held at Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds.  



  1. Regarding poems one and four: the older I get the more discouraged I am about effecting positive change in some minds and hearts. Why, oh why, can’t we learn from the past instead of repeating it?

  2. Thank you for sharing this amazing work! You rock our world and we need more of this! Blessings to you on your healing journey!

  3. Thank you for that last poem especially. just found out Tom Brokaw has had multiple myeloma for ten years. Depending on where you are the treatment opportunities are not always there. you are blessed with this new treatment. I am happy for that! This Florida native knows about the Florida and Oklahoma tragedies. We each have experiences where we learn too much or too little and it chases our dreams sleeping and waking.

  4. Jerry – I love the way you honestly and sincerely share your lived experience through your poetry! I am definitely staying tuned as you progress through this healing journey. You have been a gift to us in the EPIC poetry writers group, and I thank God for you!

  5. I love your poems Gerald. And I ESPECIALLY love when you read them out loud. Your voice brings your words to life in a profound way. Well done!!

  6. Gerry,

    You are such an inspiration to those of us who find it harder and harder, as we age, to feel inspired.

    I feel so fortunate I have been able to cross your poetic path a time or two.

    I will always look forward to crossing your poetic path anytime I can.

  7. Jerry, I dedicate my latest poem (in progress) to you,, “No Mourning or Sorrow After a Duel with an Outrageous Sappho Stripped of Privileges and Without a Handkerchief,” which deals with a common woman who is about to be hung in 17th century England after killing a royal man in a duel after he offended her honor. One day it occurred to me that there are no dueling women in Shakespeare, and when I researched dueling women, I found no record of a man and a woman dueling (duels were same-sex affairs), unless you count Kit Cavanaugh, a 17th century Irish woman who almost killed a man in a duel (and she was not hung; even though dueling was a capital offense). But Cavanaugh was cross-dressing as a man at the time when she almost killed her fellow SOLDIER. Her true story of read’s like a great poem, play or novel.

    1. Jonathan:
      Thank you for thing of me as you create you latest poem. It as great to have you in our group.

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