There is great love in this place of devastation
dire illness, rank injury, and near death
I watch from my room’s uncurtained door
the Brownian movement of white coats
stethoscopes dangling, aids in blue, nurses white
incessant motion, seemingly without meaning
they look at a board I see the edge of and rush off
urgently beyond the narrow scope of my vision
I miss the action when they come to work on me
they draw the curtain that distracts me from my pain
I joke where there are no jokes, let them probe.
One more CAT scan before I rise to higher floors
but still must wait in the corridor and see the action newly.
Then I see them coming, the worried, anxious and fearful
lovers of those thrown up, wrecked here.
A soft eyed black family waiting to know, for their son was shot,
Japanese crying, solitary women dreading their love’s fate,
There is great love in this place of devastation.
Kent Bowker 1/18/ 2016
I bounced my brain as if in a goofball game
rattled inside its bony shell, Oh well
but my wife thinks I’m unbalanced now, Oh dear
I can touch my fingers from each other to my nose
remember the three words after a while.
The Neurologist puts on his serious face
and bangs me allover with a little rubber hatchet
inducing jerks and spasms and unlikely pleasure
and then with a little but, declares me fine
though it always requires further examination
to see if I’m coco or not. So we sing the song
of referrals, hither and yon, sanity always in doubt
once the question is asked. Face it my dear,
I lost my drivers license and will now succumb
to the ills of cooped up-ness and your horror
of having to have me always at home
and demanding errands and rides as well
but to hell with all of that, I’m slow, not retarded
by blows like old prize fighters
and must defy the judgmental bell
that tolls for you too as well as me.
I’m no longer shocked by the awful reports
of damaged refugees, beaten by clubs
their heads and faces so often crushed,
it’s so often, police bully clubs or rifle butts
or the fists and bricks of black clad gangs.
Doesn’t matter which, the pain’s the same.
We see it, read about it too often
whether it happens in Calais or Israel
Syrian refuge, or removed Palestinian
that we don’t think about the pain
or the blood caking, or the ghastly bruises
don’t think much until it happens to you.
When I fell and smashed my face
there was a hospital to care for me
and many months of visiting nurses
and physical therapies till I was well.
I look normal now, bones have healed
but now I think of those others
who’ll not be cared for, festering wounds
profound disfigurement, lingering pain
how unfair this world is to the venerable
and how little we actual encounter the wreckage
from the wars we started and those we left to die.