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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Morriston Infirmary Blues

…& flesh moulds itself
from shape to shapelessness,
the plastic elements of animal speech,
help and helplessness, 
as looming figures bring messages
of hope & despair,
among curtains & filing cabinets
snaking tubes & machines of desire

when will mother come? tonight?
when, on this ladder of crisis & recovery?
when will mother come?

We exist now among dials & screens
controlled by gods, animals & angels
jelly, sun, lunchtime & evening.
is there money to buy a portion of turkey
to extend the tablets I am on
or instead to do nothing
with no ounce of energy left?
Did we give it to the dog to chew
In midnight angioplastic reveries?
Or is there time yet to listen to tinkling teaspoons of laughter?

My husband’s middle name is Johnson
And he had two bars there
Holding the bottom ones in
I had to go back in and get the solid gold sections replaced

as an auxiliary nurse
with soft southern Irish accent
walks in with machines & laundrybasket
we didn’t have this trouble yesterday
and Sharapova is out
the screamer has gone
blackhaired student
asks Ron how he is
he, blind to zimmerframes & bedpans,
has a head full of sergeant-majors
& their messes
and the time one of them, knowing he was a teetotaller,
poured a pint of beer over his head
and he got up & hit him so hard
he fell backwards over the table
“You do that to me again & I’ll kill you”
he said
& now he sits, his lined, blind face
covered with his long, wrinkled fingers
waiting for his daughters
& his beautiful granddaughters
waiting for the man in black
who he knows has his number
waiting for the deal to go down
waiting for the cards to fall
waiting waiting waiting
for the various multiple indignities
inflicted upon our poor
                   and shapeless flesh
in this oxygenated cornershop
                        of unconsciousness
tucked away
within the great grey scar
running from the end of the world
to the navel of the baby of God

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