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Bad Back:

In 1992, at age 50, my back went out. I'd never had back problems before. I was sitting in a restaurant, started to stand up, and discovered I couldn't. That is, I could straighten my legs (carefully), but couldn't straighten up, was bent forward, my upper body nearly horizontal. I spent the next week in bed, taking lots of minerals (especially cal-mag and potassium) and lying on my back with pillows under my knees. With rest, I got to the point where I could get about, just barely, and was well- rested.

Fortunately, I'm a Scientologist, and got what is called "an auditing session" (a form of counseling) at this time. After about three minutes of that session, my back was fine, and has been fine ever since. (This was 14 years ago.) (Note: I'm not saying that a 3-minute auditing session would handle anyone else's bad back. I'm just telling you what happened to me.)

But I had time, during that week, to learn a few things about my partnership with my body, and to write the following:

BAD Back!

Just a minute ago -
so easy to sit down...
My back!

My bad back
teaches me to use it.
Impatient teacher.

Turning Over In Bed,
Step 4...I used to think it

My spine, bone on bone -
I can almost count them
like a Rosary.

Aliens among us
pretending to be us -
our bodies!

Crooked, creeping, rude -
Ah, body, I can't take you

Goddamned back!...Ah, no!
Issa pitied fleas; I forgive
my back.

Lose weight, more minerals,
exercise - and face
what a bad back solves.

Note: The haiku second from the bottom refers to Issa, one of the great classical authors of haiku. The three most often mentioned as giants of the form are Basho, Buson and Issa. Among other things, Issa was capable of bottomless empathy for creatures, including the fleas that bit him. And his various afflictions make mine look miniscule.