We are all dislocated
lucked out of our lives and left marooned
frozen portions of a whole which we
assumed through motion,
Now dependants, patients, penitents,
each served on a bed of circumstance:
we must endure
the rigorous displacement of ourselves
lodged here as metaphors;
in notes, as images, conditions, symptoms, charts,
our personhoods postponed, our selves deferred
whose unattractive residues persist
mere obstacles to hygiene and control.
So file us under pending. Battered, blurred,
we inch between the tragic and absurd.
It is not cheering,
being old, in pain, about to die,
the nurses do not like it when you shout,
turning hostile, they neglect your hurt,
they have their own, internal miseries.
One is allergic to her skin,
one was not told she had to work all week
here in the closed ward under quarantine;
if it is cheering which we’re hearing now
it’s distant televisions, not for us.
Such are the promises, the guarantees.
The ward is closed,
we’re scrupulously pale
we wash our hands in alcohol in fear
of spreading further the unwritten word
of vomiting and diarrhoea.
‘I wish to God that I were dead’
he calls out as they make him stand
he wants to fall back on his bed
but that is not what they have planned.
He seeks the swift simplicities,
the minimum of fuss and pain,
while nurses and their therapies
require that he should work again.
The sun comes out (‘comes out’,
as if released from prison,
and there are dark birds blown like scraps of bag;
it has discharged itself, protective cloud
has roiled away to blackbird-eggshell-blue
and still this building leaks and lets off steam,
a shanty-town of huts stacked at the gate
a mystery of plans we dare not trust
a portakabin-temporary time
that ticks into an era.
Place and I
in permanent transition, reconstruct.
All my lost clocks,
their batteries expired
gone feral now.
My life goes on without me, as it must.