Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado
Saturday, February 04, 2017
 
Diagnosis / Prognosis




Diagnosis

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These things grind us to such a sharpened point -
the brightly-lit room, the gaunt sick faces,
the corridor and our feet constantly
shifting to give way, the recesses called
bays as if the grey men there have at last
a view of the sea, and where with stumbling
dread we feel sure the tips of our horror’s
honed blades will catch against the curtain and
cut it open to a vista of dread
and oblivion that will not be like
going to sleep – there will not be postponed
things to complete upon rising, or a
breaking of the fast, or rain, or sun or
a knock on the door and a returning
love, but in so bright a place memories
come flooding in – a man interrupting
an embrace says ‘you dropped your ticket, you
must be in love,’
– how true, the broken bed,
the stained sheet, the passionate protesting,
two arched backs and bodies fused at the hips
making a wishbone on its side, testing
its own strength – where is she now all these years
later? Has she gone on ahead herself?
Will word get to her that I’ve gone? These things
in the rain after diagnosis bring
such pain, such a flood of knowledge of what
a look may mean – in every face already
the November weather, the damp-filled air,
the terror, the fixed masks of a planet
of walking dead, the queued traffic as it
crawls up Pond Street, exhausting grey,
screaming to you 'accept no leaders, not
one of them, friend, is worthier than you'
.



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Prognosis

`

Who knows what happens in the lives of people
glimpsed from a train? As a train crosses
a viaduct, and far below one sees two cars
embraced in their splintered collision
and the lovers' arms gesticulate
towards each other and to heaven
and then are gone, and the train comes
to the kind of city where for minutes on end
it rolls through townscapes of shops
and vehicles queued at crossings,
and if not a man there restraining his sheep
from suicide then a man gone down
in the middle of the day, and around him
people have parted like the sea around a rock,
a circle of living coalesced around him,
observing the struggle they’ll all come to,
seeing that something about him is like a man
on a rope at the base of a tree in autumn,
frayed rope, weak hands, tired heart. An
ambulance arrives and no-one cries,
or cries aloud I have seen a man die
but inside, for the rest of the day, and now
and then for evermore when at the end
of another November leaves start to fall too early
or floodwater parts around a pile of leaves
or the book opens by chance at the page upon which
a poem struggles to talk about us,
some of us hear a voice calling ‘stand clear’
and see a body jolt, and the crossing gate opens
and we are past and the scene is gone
and has no prologue and no end like a page
of a story in an open magazine
in the doctor’s waiting room
to which one has returned
to hear what comes next.




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