RJ Walker - "Deceit & I" (IWPS 2015)

RJ Walker – "Deceit & I" (IWPS 2015)

deceit and I have a strictly professional relationship with benefits we've been seeing each other for years since before I told my aunt her birthday gift was still in the mail since before I told my bishop that I never touched myself but deceit and I started really getting serious back in my ambulance days when we worked together we hid the sirens and drove to the trailer park that we called Wyoming because nothing good ever happened there we got the call at 3:00 a.m. unresponsive infant the parents stood over us large and stiff and weeping like mountains in spring shrinking as the snow and ice melted from their eyes beneath us all a child so cold and blue he could have been winter deceit and I did CPR for a lifetime CPR always lasts a lifetime but we knew from the beginning this blue baby boy had been dead for who knows how long there was no crib in this one-bedroom trailer these people with mountains for bodies kept the baby in their own bed and smothered him in their sleep what a horror it is to kill the one you hold close by holding them close deceit handed me the clipboard and my tongue grew thorns as I wrote SIDS as the chief complaint and I told a lie the size of God's hands as long and as dark as the midnight between stars it's not your fault I lied sometimes they just stop breathing in the night it's called sudden infant death syndrome and we don't know what causes it and mother mountain fell to her knees and shrieks so loud I thought the earth would retreat beneath us a lie this big could move mountains but the truth could obliterate them the true was a leather belt tied around a ceiling fan with mouth wide open hungry for her neck the truth was all the whiskey in the world thirsty for his blood and a new dead drunk to call home I can live with the guilt of a lie but I could not live with the guilt of their guilt so I lied like Cain was in the corner taking notes you made the right decision lied the medical director good job lied the nurses on my way out when I woke up deceit asked how are you feeling I'm fine I lied you didn't have nightmares no I lied I slept like a baby

23 thoughts on “RJ Walker – "Deceit & I" (IWPS 2015)

  1. I heard this long ago and it choked me up, but now as a nearly certified EMT I felt like I had to rewatch it and it made me cry. This is easily one of the strongest things I've ever felt from poetry.

  2. I am that mom that accidentally smothered her baby (although I was told from the start by the coroner that he suffocated because I brought him into my bed to nurse him). Like you, the EMS workers tried. They took my lifeless son from my arms, took him to the ambulance, and they tried to bring him back. It was obvious he was gone… his gray skin, how stiff he was, the blood and fluids that expel from your body when you die. He had been dead for about 4 hours at that point. It was completely hopeless, but it meant so much to me that they still tried. I’ll never forget the man that took my baby to the ambulance, and how he came back in and had to tell me my son was dead. Someone said they saw him in the passenger seat of the ambulance crying. I know he still carries it with him. This poem is hard to listen to, yet I come back and watch this every once in awhile. It makes me cry and it gives me a lump in my throat, but I love it and I respect it. Thank you for this perspective. The medical professionals are often forgotten when it comes to the trauma of a call for a baby or child. I know all of you carry it, and while it hurts that the burden of pain is on you too, that tells me you’re in the right field of work because of your dedication and empathy. Thank you for all that you do.

  3. I can't stop watching this poem and dissecting it. It is crafted so beautifully and I love it so much. My favorite part is when he says "Mother mountain feel to her knees…" because it just shows how even something that seems so strong and powerful can crumble in seconds.

  4. "…like Cain was in the corner taking notes." Chills. This is one of the most visceral and powerful pieces I've ever experienced

  5. The gasp from the crowd made my gasp even louder oh my god I can't! What skills I swear this poem gave me chills

  6. Holy shit. I'm literally bawling my eyes out. I don't have words that are enough to explain how hard this hit me. As a mother who once upon a time couldn't afford a crib myself and slept with my baby. This Tuesday she's turning four but…. just imagine…i can't imagine a world in which this happened to me. Wow. This guy is talented. Amazing. I'm still crying

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