Posted by: Mark Nielsen | March 26, 2014

I Choose to Fade – orig. poem by M. Nielsen (after Van Morrison)

"Call me Raincheck / Need a shot of Rhythm and Blues" - V.M.

“Call me Raincheck / I need a shot of Rhythm and Blues” – V.M.

As some of you may know, I work as a medical courier these days.

Now and then, I see some mysterious “holy ghost” as I meet people. And then the High Priests, like Van Morrison, help me work it all out. This poem is about that experience. Below that, the song that created the spark for me:



I Choose to  Fade   (3/19-26, 2014)


The Belfast Cowboy

says not to let the bastards grind me down.

So I won’t.

I proceed instead in the direction that the compass points.

I am making a house call.


It is raining.

On my left

I pass Iggy of Loyola’s street.

On my right,

Therese The Little Flower

is just now opening her shop for the day.

On the radio, a woman sings “You Don’t Know Me”.

This may be true, Honey,

but He does,

and that’s all that counts.


When I reach the door of the patient–

the Filipino man

with the winning smile and the withered hand–

I see, and am seen.

There is that mild shock of recognition…

followed by quiet joy.

We smile in unison,

and he hands me his bright red left-over Life,

taking it out of the fridge

from the shelf next to the beer.


The Big Idea is so clear to me now–

it is just the niggling little details

that are too fuzzy to make out.


I place a vial of his red essence,

the proceeds of his heart,

into my cooler.

And as I walk back down the sidewalk

in a drizzling rain,

a nagging but important question

occurs to me:

“Who is healing whom here?”


We did not choose

but were chosen for each other.

Yet even after that,

I still must choose to fade today–

to let my chalk mark run in the rain,

even as this old man’s illness

forces him to do the same.

The rain may make us fade today,

but I’ll take a rain check,

and with Help we will never fade away.

 !  !  !  !  !




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