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    dots Submission Name: A Neglected Man in the Hospitaldots

    Author: tjsmith5
    ASL Info:    28/m/MS
    Elite Ratio:    5.49 - 109/231/124
    Words: 264
    Class/Type: Poetry/Misc
    Total Views: 554
    Average Vote:    No vote yet.
    Bytes: 1808

       Written from my observations from working in a hospital.

    Make the font bigger!! Double Spacing Back to recent posts.

    dotsA Neglected Man in the Hospitaldots

    They play rock-a-bye baby
    on the loudspeakers everytime
    a newborn arrives
    but yesterday I know that
    two old women died in the ICU
    and I didn't hear anything,
    not even "Taps."
    Maybe they're afraid of looking bad;
    if the outgoing exceeds the incoming.

    And I love the way
    they assign pretty young nurses
    to the charge of old men,
    knowing that breasts motivate:
    In earlier times, they'd stir anything
    from bar scraps to college enrollment
    but now they inspire walking caneless
    and proper toiletry.

    The basic cast doesn't change:
    a brood of college-loan starved doctors,
    the handsome physical therapist
    the nurses pretend not to notice,
    the never-married pharmacist who smiles
    out of habit,
    and the cleaning crew waiting for quitting time
    and malt liquor.

    But the character I notice is the old man in the waiting room.
    He's there everyday, dressed in a black canvas jacket even in July.
    He's never without the paper and I've haven't seen him speak to anyone.

    Without knowing better, I assign him a story: the retired hospital administrator
    widowed for 20 years.
    He's seen the most cruel neglect there is: that of death.

    I'd like to have lunch with him
    to hear stories about train hopping
    in the Depression
    or missionary trips to Uganda.
    But his sort of luck is contagious
    and I want to die on time.

    12/8/08 - Petal,MS

    Submitted on 2008-12-08 21:57:23     Terms of Service / Copyright Rules
    Submissions: [ Previous ] [ Next ]

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    ||| Comments |||

    having just been in hospital for a few days, (though hard to make many observations from a bed), there is a strange hum that takes place all around. funny, one of the nurses wanted to get my number 'cause we had a great convo at one point where real life was concerned. she seemed to like my thoughts on life (though it could have just been my morphined awarenesses).

    i like your observations here. hospitals must be like restaurants, a strange dysfunctional family,
    that somehow works with its strange oddities. (not sure if i am making sense).

    i don't know, i suppose it is strange that a new life is always celebrated with fanfare. i mean who goes around singing songs for the dead. death is scary, especially in hospital. nobody wants to think they aren't coming out alive. (me included).

    the old man here seems to be death to me. not sure why. kinda like a joe black charachter. i imagine what a convo might be like with death.
    i think i would have a hell of a lot of questions. but i don't think i would ask any about myself. at least i don't think i would.

    | Posted on 2009-01-12 00:00:00 | by isabella | [ Reply to This ]
      i like this
    i have a few ramblings in response:

    i worked in a resthome and found death to be an interesting thing there. i'd heard that in other resthome the residents were encouraged to form a guard of honour of sorts so that the deceased had an opportunity to mourned but in the resthome i worked in nothing was ever said until after the body had been removed through some side door somewhere while the rest of the residents had been distracted. i understand your observation of wanting to stop death looking like a failure of sorts.

    its tragic what boobs will inspire.

    i really like this old man at the end. the one you've assigned a life to. i do that all too often- if i cannot find out what a persons story is i will make them one until i can find out otherwise.

    but his sort of luck is contagious and i want to die on time.

    thats like a smack in the face. i cannot decide whether his is luck or not. he reminds me somewhat of the dude from the green mile that tom hanks played- you know... how he didnt die and outlived everyone...

    yeah. i really like this one
    | Posted on 2008-12-09 00:00:00 | by Someones Epiphany | [ Reply to This ]
      Bleak, bleak, bleak. I would agree that a hospital is one of the more difficult places in which one can embrace the warmth of the world. The sterility of the place and the awareness of sickness are depressing.

    You could certainly do with trying to assign some sort of regular rhythm and metre to the poem, rather than inserting line breaks at seemingly arbitrary points. For example, the two 'stanzas' where you discuss the old man break with the established flow of the poem and could quite easily be moulded into something a little more structured.

    The first three stanzas/paragraphs laid the foundation nicely, and described everyday hospital life from the perspective of a detached, cynical observer.

    This was good; the next part, when you explicitly project your imaginings into the poem, is better. I love the way you explicitly projected your own imaginings onto the poem. It added a new dimension that marks this out from a lot of other poetry, and firmly shifts the poem from 'interesting description' to 'existential musings'.

    And I do love musings :)

    Cheers on sharing, ciao.
    | Posted on 2008-12-08 00:00:00 | by Civilian | [ Reply to This ]

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