Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ward 7

A little bit of needle and thread will put that limb right back where it belongs;
There's no need for panic,
No cause for foolish rivalries with the other patients.
Do you know,
With that stick clenched between your teeth like a rose stem,
You look almost angelic
In a shocky, poleaxed sort of way.

See the pretty nurses,
Wringing out cool cloths to place upon your face?
If you ask them, between moans,
They may even dance for you as they did at the Spanish Theater;
They may lean to kiss you while checking your intracranial pressure and your vital signs.

Once, you sat upon a futon in her silly studio apartment,
Sipping Tab,
And feeling at once aroused and idiotic.
No cataclysmic events disturbed the two of you that night--
No bleeders,
Just sweet warm capillaries expanding like tiny flowers;
Blushing her,
And making it awkward for you to stand up,
Back when you could, sir. Back when it was easy.

This is a place of healing and of peace--
If the doctors have threatened you, waving their pen lights like signal lamps,
Tell me. I'll shoo them away.
Most of them are dedicated and well-meaning, but if you'd like it to be just you and me,
I can pull the curtain and keep them away,
As if we were honeymooning at a fine hotel and needing our privacy.

Catastrophic things happen--
Flesh tears away, one is made hideous in an instant;
Even loved ones rush, queasy, from the room.
Drugs can be dizzying,
Despair even more so...
But does this have to mean that no beautiful woman, no handsome man, will ever smile across the room at you again?

Quite the opposite is true, in fact.
Let go,
Trust us,
Be something you could never have been before--
A spirit among the corporeal,
A broken toy still beloved
If useless.
________

for Flipside's word list #13

20 comments:

HermanTurnip said...

Wow. The struggle to keep on living when the thought of living becomes a painful thing. Very moving.

hedgewitch said...

Tell me, is this the old asylum just down the road from Summerdale, where everyone's 'eccentric' relatives are sent to 'convalesce?" Just tell me it's not in the basement. I'm always nervous about who--I mean what--is under the floorboards. Stanza three makes the grue of its surroundings even more so--the last lines are like a whisper that there is indeed, as I like to think, hope in the madhouse. Especially, I like the oh so matter of fact tone.

TexWisGirl said...

scary. just kill me now. thank you.

flipside records said...

Oh wow, that last stanza is creepy awesome. :) I think I would succumb to that invitation. Although, what other option is there if you're strapped to the table.

Your title made me so excited. I just love asylum poetry. More please! Great use of "needle" right away in the first line ... I was definitely picturing a flailing patient being injected.

Here are some of my favorites:

"If you ask them, between moans,
They may even dance for you"

"Once, you sat upon a futon in her silly studio apartment,
Sipping Tab,
And feeling at once aroused and idiotic."

"No bleeders,
Just sweet warm capillaries expanding like tiny flowers;
Blushing her,
And making it awkward for you to stand up"

"f you'd like it to be just you and me,
I can pull the curtain" ... This is a little bit scary and a little bit "oh, what the heck does it matter at this point."

All of Stanza 5. We are all deformed/sick in different ways. But can we still be loveable? If so, only to someone who is on the job? (Thinking of nursing homes and aging.)

Loved it, Shay. Thanks so much for writing (especially about the madhouse ... which despair certainly is).

Sioux said...

I loved the "sweet warm capillaries expanding like tiny flowers" line, along with that whole stanza.

Another one of my favorites. Except that I seem to say that with almost every one of your poems.

myheartslovesongs.com said...

{{{shivers}}}

Hannah said...

You're gifted, my friend...capturing the voice of one in this sad, scary predicament and bringing the inner desires, dreams and memories to the forefront. I really enjoyed reading this piece, Shay.

Love this:

"Just sweet warm capillaries expanding like tiny flowers;"

GREAT description!

:)'s to you!

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is just crazy awesome! You have such a singular and fertile imagination, and don't know how you come up with these ideas and characters. The voice here is typically unctuous of the concerned matron, but her words are so unhinged I want to save the poor patient from her ministrations.

Helen said...

Ooooh, the ultimate in Cuckoo's Nests! Chillingly good, Shay.

Tanya Sehgal said...

It's my visit to your blog & I found it incredible. Loved the essence of last stanza. :)

Kim Nelson said...

Your creativity and steampunk artistry seem to know no bounds. You turn a mundane scene into something other-worldly, and do so with ease and concision.

Herotomost said...

Like a morphine daze that makes even the most horrific of lifes issues become tolerable, almost comfortable. This was like a morbid little dance with the devil and his concubines. Crazy good.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a tale you've spun. I, too, love the tone, so matter of fact.

Mary Mansfield said...

Amazing!

Susan said...

Your brilliant first line has me imagining a little girl talking to a rag doll, and from there you go all Twilight Zone . . . In the 2nd stanza "moans" brought the doll to life and the next remembers a time of standing up and having erection "Back when you could, sir. Back when it was easy." I got the feeling the narrator is torturing this person--like an inner voice. Thank God it relents a bit by the end--but by the time I get my toy back--I wonder at how we treat broken people. What a perfect poem.

Daryl said...

death slips in with promises .. stay back

Mama Zen said...

What a skincrawlingly awesome ending!

Marian said...

ohhh, nice. the scenes are so real, especially the squatting, aroused and idiotic, on futon, sipping Tab.

Stacey said...

So, the whole thing was creepy and awesome, but I thought this was beautiful:

"No bleeders,
Just sweet warm capillaries expanding like tiny flowers;"

Mary Jane Bane said...

Goosebumps. Heart pounding. Scary. Significant and too familiar. In love with this. you have power in your words I cannot understand or describe. I read your poems with trepidation and equal parts love, admiration, and erotic anticipation. xoxoxox