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Open Blog Weekend: [Poem] Outcomes Don’t Belong To Me by Bobby Oliveira

Open Blog Weekend

I showed up at the appointed time
In the appointed place
Not really expecting much
Most can’t get out of their own way

What the hell is this
Building is packed
Oh wait – hunger event
Our little meeting has been moved

About half way through
You walk in
What a freaking mess
This ought to be good

I don’t know about you asking for cereal
I don’t know you talked to the Pastor
I don’t know she sent you back here
I really don’t need to know

So you sit and tell your story
Like a lot of stories
Your life is a disheveled mess
Nothing new in that

But the voice in my head
Is Screaming
Do Something

Do Something
Do Something
Do Something
Do Something

All right already
I’ll figure something out
So much for Chinese food
When we get done

Based on the quality here
The Chinese buffet
Is the most important reason to go
Hooking up equals Hepatitis C

So I listen to you moan and cry
Everybody hates you
Nobody understood you
Is this ever going to get original??

And typical
You can’t shut up
That’s ok
My Higher Power and I have you

So the 90 minutes sludges by
The smoke break makes it worse
The smoke break
Always makes it worse

Gotta tell my boys
No Chinese food tonight
There’s another meeting across town
You and I will walk and talk

My mind starts racing for cataloged information
Who’s in the emergency room
Who’s on the 8th floor
Who’s on the desk here and there

I guess I’m going to have to ask the question
I hate the question
In the modern era
Because we do it all wrong now

All right
Let’s get this over with
The night is cold
But at least you’re talkative

Guess we’re not making the other meeting
So we will sit
In Queen Anne’s square
Where so many others have sat

And you will talk
Past when the Packies close at 11
Past when the bars close at 1
You and I will talk

Finally you seem to be talked out
So now I can do what I am supposed to
Hope you don’t mind
I’m olde school about the whole thing

“I started drinking when I was 10
And by 12 I was a blackout drunk . . “
The idea is simple
So you feel I understand the drinking game

Told you I was olde school
I am that way
Because it works that way
The new way sucks

You’re doing that nodding thing
I can see the fight leave your eyes
Point of complete demoralization

At least now I know
You’ll listen to anything I freaking say
One last check to do
Take a deep breath, say a prayer

“You know your dad and your sister
Want a different life for you right??”
“Yes I do”
Another box checked off

“So are you willing to go to any lengths
Anything I ask you to do
To stop drinking and using
And find recovery, which the universe wants for you??”

You think the silence of closing builds pressure??
Ask this question a couple of hundred times
Everything depends on what he says next

Ok, I know what to do next
Make sure he’s safe
Spend the day tomorrow
Maybe 3 meetings, get him a book

But wait –
There’s a voice in my head
It’s loud again
“Grab his wrist”

“Grab his wrist”
Higher Power – that sounds gay
“Grab his wrist”

Look – don’t know what you’re up to
“Grab His wrist”
What the Fuck??
“Grab His wrist”

Jesus H. Christ, all right already
I grab his wrist
He’s got a heavy winter coat on
I can feel his pulse through the coat

When’s the last time you drank??
“About 8 hours ago”
How much do you drink every day??
“About this much”

A new calculator starts in my head
Based on those numbers
Packies are closed
Bars are closed

He’s going to stroke out on me
Like in front of me
20 minute walk to the hospital

Ok, walk or call for a ride
Or call 911
Too much processing time
We walk

Please don’t let him stroke out
In front of me no less
That lesson would be saved for
A much later time

We began our 20 minute journey
Took 1 hour and 15 minutes
3 times
3 fucking times

His eyes rolled back in his head
He started to shake
Is this what it looks like??
All in pursuit of Ativan

We stagger into the ER
I coach him on what to say
We get asked to sit and wait
It’s the ER – not a shock

We sit and we wait
All of a sudden he speaks
“Hey, I can’t see right
Lots of dots and double stuff”

Not fucking here
I got him to the ER
What is the point of this lesson??
You let me get him here

Inside I’m a panicked mess
Outside, I’m the cool guy
Done this 1000 times
“Oh, that happens when your body is low”

Finally the nurse comes out
It’s his turn
My insides start showing on my outsides
Wonder if the bleeding guy notices??

I wait and I wait and I wait
Nurse comes back out
“He’s upstairs now”
Thank Christ

“By the way Bobby”
Here it comes
“8 minutes
We figured you made it by 8 minutes”

Ativan is a cool drug
I say a soft prayer
Get up to leave
Hit the street, I won’t make the corner

The tears come
Not regular tears
Like drive you to your knees
On a public street tears

Probably takes me twenty minutes
To get up and get squared
Walk home and already
My mind is at 200 miles per hour

It’s not Bi-polar yet
But by the end of the night
It will be
I’m going to hatch the best plan ever

No sleep
Didn’t let many others sleep
Round the clock visitation
I even created a big chart

For 4 days
4 freaking days they kept him
In the hospital, no insurance
4 freaking days, that’s amazing

Round the clock
He had visitors
All my sponsees
Had required shifts – they loved that

Going to show those boys in Akron
The Next evolution
Dr. Bob and the Coffee pot
Me and the revolving guests

Finally on day 5
I get the call
“They’re discharging him”
Hang there until I come by

It’s Friday at 5
I can’t get him a detox bed till Monday
Think think think

Down to the hospital
Cool – psych ward director still here
Track him down
I need a favor

“C’mon Bobby, he’s not a psych case
We both know that”
I agree
But press that he can be held

Director finally relents
When they let him out
Walk around to the ER
Up to the 8th floor

Spend the weekend there
Monday I have till 5
To discover a bed
Too easy drill sergeant, too easy

Ok, other side of the hospital
Track down the charge nurse
Go over the plan
Make sure she gets it

“Bobby, that’s great
But there’s a problem”
Problem – my plan is perfect
There can be no problems

“We offered him a detox bed
He turned it down”
The tears are coming
But I have to think

Find him
Check in like group
He’s got “unsettled business”
Needs to stay with his sister

But my plan was perfect
And I worked hard
What is this BS
Don’t you know who I am??

That would be the last time
I’d see him upright
3 days later, drunk off his ass
He wandered out into the road

That would have been fine
Except the car that hit him
Straight on and hard
Dead at the scene

First I felt failure
And mad at me
What did I do wrong??
How did I fail??

Then I got mad
At my Higher Power
I did everything right and by the book
You screwed me

Just a big bowl of hate
Punching walls
Searching for the lesson
Feeling fit spiritual condition disappear

Where’s my sponsor?
He’s a Pastor
Maybe he can explain it
I’m not the dead guy and I’m angry

Literally accosted my sponsor
“What did I do wrong??”
“Bobby, it is so much simpler than that”
Oh this ought to be good

Then the words would be spoken
“Outcomes don’t belong to you
You do the work –
The outcome belongs to the universe”

The words hung in the air
How ego filled and foolish am I
Asking for a right that isn’t mine
Expressing outrage I don’t own

So because of 8 minutes
Because of detox rejected
Because of death
Because of my own ego

I was taught an important life lesson.

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