Reanimated Lavender Granola Switchblade Nun rides again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023



This is the hospital
where the nicked-up blown-up bastards show up.
We give them ice cream 
and a priest.

There is a river
down the middle.  We launch ourselves into the current
and it is unclear
who is drowning, who saving.

It's a system of gradations, and if you don't die in Emergency,
why then, we come into your room with cake and streamers.
Presto! You're ambulatory, then outpatient, then nurse, doctor,
surgeon, administrator, president emeritus, cutting ribbons
instead of flesh.

See one, do one, teach one is the motto. See the staggering
son of a gun falling to the floor with wounds beyond telling.
We lift him as if we were angels.
Yesterday, we were lifted.
Tomorrow, who knows?

Nothing stops the flow of the river or the flow of patients.
We are Boatmen, and Mermaids, reaching, 
saving, being saved. We are heroes of the
Carousel Horse Cavalry, coming over the 
hill, with bugle and blood pressure cuff,

dizzy with purpose, maybe dying, learning as we go. 

for Desperate Poets We Can Be (SUPER) Heroes

Music: Brass Band of Battle Creek Song of the Volga Boatmen


  1. I love where your mind takes you when you start tapping the keys. I love the river down the middle of the hospital, (who is drowning, who is saving?) Awesome. I especially love "We are Boatmen, we are Mermaids, reaching, saving, being saved." Wonderful.

  2. Goodness me Shay. This is breathtaking. Such richness in the language and metaphor and all woven into a story with so much to prompt reflection. Deep reflection. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

  3. These are wounded healers who might have become shamans or poets but their mission is a little more mechanical, the churn of triage for the sake of an engine, nearly dead becoming super. The river's inexorable as the dream of power. The soundtrack's exquisite. The sense of inevitability unmerciful. The swirly danse macabre of a system.

  4. When I read this yesterday, I felt as if I were reading a novel, perhaps by Hemingway. Yet it's some of the purest poetry I've encountered. The sense of being not just caught up in, but part of the disaster is powerful. And not just part of an ongoing tragedy, but part of what may be fixed, what can grow even in a fatalistic mess, to bring life. Really a strong piece, and an amazing response to the prompt. ~hedgewitch

  5. I echo Joy above, this is like reading a novel condensed into a poem. I like in particular the river metaphor and "ice cream and a priest" is both sardonic and heart-breaking at the same time. Cold comfort. A brilliant piece of writing, Shay.

  6. I love this tale you tell with your signature startling to-the-pointness. You chisel away the unnecessary and offer us the gem of the line. I so love these:

    "We lift him as if we were angels."

    "dizzy with purpose, maybe dying, learning as we go."

  7. "We are Boatmen, and Mermaids, reaching,
    saving, being saved. We are heroes of the
    Carousel Horse Cavalry" - fantastic. We have nothing but who we are and we show up with that, as thin and failing as that might be. Still we show up.

  8. I absolutely love this! The narrator's voice is fantastic and every line from beginning to end is perfect. Brilliant and darkly hilarious


Spirit, what do you wish to tell us?