How are you feeling? Poems about hospitals (2)

A patient waits in the hallway for a room to open up in the emergency room in Houston, Texas

The thing about public places is that anyone can go in them (including you…it’s interesting how you /we/I have a default assumption that we’re normal and reasonable and personable and sane ). Standard fittings on buses and trains as I remember them when I was a lot younger were: the Unexpected Shouter, The Wide-Eyed-Confider, Your New Best Friend, The One With a Twitch, the Weeping Woman, and the Psycopath. I suspect that this is writ large in Hospitals. I seem to meet more eccentrics in them than elsewhere..though it may be the result of hypersensitivity brought on by fear. Whatever.

A Visit to Hospital :  Neil Clarkson

 

In the hospital corridor

a man approaches menacingly,

ripe red sores between stitches.

He holds up a sign that reads:

“My lips have been sewn together.”

 

In the hospital canteen

a man in the corner is waving

his finger furiously.

As I approach he holds up a sign that reads:

“My lips have been sewn together.”

 

In the hospital pharmacy

a man is gesticulating

like a frenzied traffic cop.

As I approach he holds up a sign that reads:

“My lips have been sewn together.”

 

I find the man I am here to visit

On the intensive care ward.

He is bruised, cut, in plaster, in traction.

“I am the man who sewed the lips of men together”

Says the sign he holds up.

 

Neil Clarkson is a regular member of the Albert Poets Monday night workshops in Huddersfield. His first pamphlet Build you again in wood is published by Calder Valley Poetry (Feb. 2017)

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