Life and War with Mikey Fatboy Delgado
Monday, January 02, 2017
At the teaching hospital

At the teaching hospital

(from November the
Psych ward poetry circle
meets at 4 pm.
This week please bring a haiku,
or tanka, if you prefer.)

At the teaching hospital, he says,
in the late afternoon
the light has almost
but not quite gone. It isn’t now
that most people draw their curtains
but it’s time here to not see
any more people passing the window,
or hear the thoughts they have,
or see them going wherever they are going to,
to do whatever it is they are going to do.
It’s too much.

And the bird on the ledge on the other side of the curtain –
there is a life in that too.He says he doesn’t want
to always be thinking why that is a bird
and why he is what he is
and how easily he might have been a starling,
or some other thing that lives outside
with no-one to medicate his pain.
He has wondered these last few minutes
if it can be time yet.

Does he hear voices?

Only when he notices himself
saying to himself
“oh fuck off”
as he shuts the day out,
or when the hemiplegic tries to rise,
asking, “Did Mallarmé ever say
ça suffit?”

Is he frightened? Now?
Only when he notices
that he can see himself from above
like a camera
or when the camera sees him in the dark
illuminated by blue screenlight in the still house.
Or in bed, when he will be asleep
and helpless,
when nothing is moving but the dust and the house itself,
and him laid out with everything that is him
departed from its case.

“I am afraid,” he says,
“that there are not-quite-people
gathered around the bed,
observing my sleep,
watching the blankets rise and fall.
They never speak.
They listen, gasp, shudder.”

“The collective is drawn to purpose
like the atoms of a shoelace
through an eyelet,” he says.
“These rooms are groups of lines we hide among.”

A female student, he thinks,
knows she can’t do this work.
She goes home each evening smelling of hospitals.
She sees the emptied dead wheeled past the ward.
She fears to think of herself as a cabinet of bric-a-brac.

The sociopath with vertigo is the first to rise.
“You man! Beans? Si, Art, grassy arse.
Pay Li-wee, con template, says the O.”

What is this? Pay him with a template?
You speak Italian? Chinese?

“Adore. No.”
He is besieged.

“My walls may fall.”
We can help. If you co-operate. You must.

“I can’t. I will lose myself.”

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