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this is for all of you that's got chronic pain

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I have pain in my back
I'd say it's a pain in the ass, but it's worse than that
Also, it's jus North of that
Which might not seem like much on the surface
But it's got me bent up, breathless, and nervous
Namely, it's a damn pain
Not that I want to complain
Cuz there are worse kinds of physical curses
That can leave you horribly disfigured, disabled, or in a hearse
But I can't think relatively speaking
In fact, I'm having trouble thinking at all
Cuz of this freaking
Pain, my spine needs more than jus tweaking
I've had morphine, acupuncture
Chiropractics practice advanced techniques and
Still my lower back keeps on weakening
Something about an L4 and L5, lumbar joints and
Compression on the SI
That's a nerve
Makes my posture swerve
And sends tingles and burns down to my ankles
I've had more doctor's opinions than West Indians eat mangos
I'm chained to my pain like a leash
Gotta strain every day to make it to work
Cuz I need the pay
But I don't know how much more of this I can take
I need some peace, painkillers won't make it cease
I've gotten all these prescriptions in scribblings
I can't for the life of me read
Pumped with pills so various, I'm starting to fee like Elvis
And the pharmacists are staring to suspect me
Of peddling my meds on the street
They make me show ID and give me grief
And after all that, I still can't get nor relief, no release
Sometimes I think I'd be better off deceased!

So this one's for those of you that got chronic pain
The kind that messes with your brain
That makes your hope drain, makes you feel like a stain
On the good name of humanity
Because when something's that wrong with you
You wonder, "Why is God so mad at me?"
And wonder what people are thinking exactly
Because pain is so often accompanied by blame
As if you have done something wrong to deserve your calamity
Or maybe someone has worked obeah
And you forgot what your specialist told you
Something about needles and incisions
And surgical decisions that
Take months to recover from
And the horror stories you hear from
Everyone who saw that episode of 60 Minutes
Where a guy went in for a tonsilectomy
And never walked again
But, dammit, the pain!
The electrical impulses like daggers shooting down
Your muscles, arteries, and veins
Driving you damn near insane
That lame pillar that props up
Your pathetic semi-vertical self
Tilted like an incarnation of the Tower of Pisa
A visible symbol of ill health
And you can't get decent treatment unless you got insurance
With extended coverage, or you're a superstar athlete
But I don't have that kind of clout, nor wealth
I'm trying to take one morning a week off for physio
But I gotta do it in stealth
Cuz I don't want to get laid off
Workman's comp won't pay off
And I can't even get one lousy day off
I gotta be tough and keep a tight grill
Play it cool, still
But damn, I mean, how much steel can a brother be made of?!

And when I stand, it pains
And when I sit, it pains
And when I kneel, it's OK for a minute
And then it pains again
And when I lie on my back, it pains
On my stomach with ice packs
Laid out across my back
Is about the only way I can relax
I don't even know who I am anymore
I am identified by pain
That makes me stoop and feel so sore
It dominates my day-to-day
The person I knew I was before
Now does not exist, and looks like he may never exist again
I should probably change my name!
If I was an actor, I'd be William Hurt
If I was a Disney move, it would be the Hunchback of Notre Dame
If I was a football star, I would be Troy Aikman
And if I was a biblical figure
It would be Job, Jonah, or Abraham
I feel so tribulated and Godforsaken
Like my tailbone is breaking
My whole foundations shaking
My hope’s taking a beating
I can remember happier days
But now those moments seem so fleeting
I know I get melodramatic
But I tell you, I can't stand it
I guess who knows it go feel it
So I can't really explain or otherwise reveal it
But it's very deep-seated
So forgive me if I repeat it
But I feel like I'm about to snap
See, I have pain in my back!

credits

from south is north, released August 7, 2013

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nth digri Ottawa, Ontario

nth digri is inspired by his Caribbean-Canadian heritage, hip hop culture, and the African griot tradition. His LP Tales of the North Coast was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award. His poem Sugar Cane was selected for the Best of the National Poetry Slam Anthology. He was the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word 2010 Male Poet of Honour. He has performed in Canada, the Caribbean, and the US. ... more

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