“These Are the Rules” by Diane Klammer

Diane Klammer


What matters most is how well
you walk through the fire.
—Charles Bukowski

The whole world may be burning
around you,
but you have knowingly
chosen this.
You must confront the blizzard
with a tattered umbrella.
These are the rules.
You must stop the gaping
head wound
with only a tiny circular band aid.
You do not have more
and you cannot do less.
This is the choice you make:
to wash it with your tears,
wring it out,
and begin again.
Eventually it may stick.
The role you take
is only as a guide.
Your patient is the one
who struggles each day
through the snow and the wind
but for the band aid,

from Rattle #34, Winter 2010
Tribute to Mental Health Workers


Diane Klammer: “I started teaching poetry while working at my first agency, transitional living centers for the chronically mentally ill. When I work with the vulnerable I am constantly reminded of my own vulnerability. We are all walking through fire in one way or another. Bukowski also wrote, ‘these words I write keep me from total madness.’ I heartily agree.” (web)

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