Friday, March 18, 2011

ICU Waiting Room

How many flat-panel images have been banished
from that damned Samsung pixellated wall-mount
harvester of tears,
In the naugahyde clusters where
the filter-tipped death sentences
the measured pace of pall bearers
were proscribed 7,000 patients ago?

Today, all I.V. drips arrive with another dozen dying
in an emirate square.
Today, portacaths are inserted in time with
the tango tap-tap of NATO bombs playing drum circle
with Tall King and Spoon Rest radar.
Today, intubations come free with potassium iodide pills
providing false solace for the plumes swirling,
even now, on rooftop ventilators of Beth Israel.
And if you act now,
perhaps the next voice is not silenced.

How do you favor your agony, friend?
Bedside immediate relatives and significant others,
Where your hand caresses the rough-hatched textiles
to surround the apparent thigh and calf
of persistent vegetative state,
Listen for the steady beep of lifelines?

Or in waiting room purgatory,
solitaire hands unplayed,
Grisham novels tossed in splayed spines,
hyperalert for the raised eyebrow
of a physician that never arrives?

The blank screen is not allowed to nourish me.
So I imagine a gymnasium in Sendai
and call it waiting room.
I imagine the tamped earth of Saudi border
and call it waiting room.
I imagine the uncomfortable seats
of UN Security Council
and call it waiting room.
I imagine the sand traps unfolding across
an infinite Sahel line,
called metastasis in the local vernacular
of cruelty on the public square
But I call it waiting room.

Shorn of emotion, exposed as Worthington
blares through ear buds,
“This is my son in whom I was well pleased,
and you bastard.
You bastard, you just sat there.”

Sitting, of course, insures a fresh coat of cesium
from a hospital ventilator,
an extra alpha particle in the ICU.
None dare call it solidarity.

Where, when, how to sign the
do-not-resuscitate order.
You bastard, you just sat there.
The millions before me form an infinite recursion
of victims on life support,
trapped in fun-house mirrors.
Who’s ready to listen to that many beeps?

Loring Wirbel

March 18, 2011


Angela Killian said...

We are indeed setting up most of our civilization to become a giant ICU, no matter how you look at it. People are degenerating to the point of caring more about their dramatic tableaus than right or wrong, and the ones in power are certainly bastards, no argument there, Loring!

Angela Killian said...

You are quite right my friend, as those in power are bastards, they are setting up much of civilization to be one giant ICU, and they are manipulating the people to degenerate into wastes who are more concerned with the visible drama of their tableaus than with right and wrong!

Loring Wirbel said...

Thanks for visiting Angela, all we can do is keep close watch, speak truth to power, etc.