Monday, June 22, 2015

seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation

picture by claudia

In the Emergency Room, the doors shush
everytime someone enters, as a school mom
with a ruler on a quest for knuckles & morality.
She never stops.
                        & neither do we.

There are no strangers here. Everyone is family,
blood relation by the spilling that brought them
to the Waiting
           Room.               A man,
with an 'S' on his chest, and moustache
that looks like a comb taped to his lip, each line even
& parallel, is staring over the back of my couch, listening
in. I want to reach out to his face & muss his symmetry.

So they won? he says.
Yes, 5 to 4.
Who do they play on Monday?
And that is it?

He wanders through all the huddles, of family members
taking his space again, under the exit sign. Shush.
Shush. Shush.
                      Two circles over is an MMA fighter,
I taught - math & how not to be a jackass.
His wife broke her arm.

                          I mark time by the number of coins
fed into vending machines - $1.60 for Buddy Bars,
$1.65 for a soda, 85 cents for coffee flavored water.
It is $8.45, in the evening.

My son counts ambulances --- racing in, lights on.
That makes fifteen, he says, and years fall away.

A nurse in warm colors calls names like a crier
at an execution.

Hawkins, the family of Hawkins,
Siegel & Shuster.

I wait for Superman to move from his station,
he doesn't. & when our turn comes, they take us
two at a time, into the ark - every creeping thing
of the earth after his kind, two of every sort
shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

It's been raining for hours already. Gutters,
full and rising. The wind sings on the window.
I wait.
My grandmother, dying.

I have $3.15 left.
I shake the hand of the MMA man.
Superman has left the building.



  1. Very sad, X. There are some things that Superman cannot change. And yes, in Emergency, everyone is kin. Everybody knows & cares. And Superman....well, sometimes he is nowhere around.

  2. Bitter reality...evocative...tears...and hugs...

  3. the waiting room in an emergency is like a universe of its own - the atmosphere - the fear - the people we see and our own worried condition kinda shuts out everything beyond that walls for a few minutes or hours - esp. liked the part with the ark and the convo with superman as well as wanting to destroy his symmetry... felt... praying for your gramma...

  4. You brought me into that waiting room, all those little things you would see in the sorrow, the silent connection to all the other waiting. Wonderfully tight.

  5. Not a pleasant place to be. Anxiety permeates the wait. I knew someone once with that kind of moustache. Love the school mom (marm)! Lots of visitors do come in twos, lol! There is time and a season for all things. Pray your grandmother isn't suffering. God bless you and your family.

  6. Second shot! I've missed your writing. Now I recall exactly why. Beautifully done. I'm left wondering... always.

    1. Hey friend. I hope your little one is well - enjoying summer.

  7. I've never liked hospitals but your poem, your descriptions are absolutely extraordinary. That opening stanza outstanding start, very clever. I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother


  8. oh X I've been there once, the part that gets to me is when the funeral parlour asks you to identify your mom before she burns....and that man, I'll live through a thousand time, oh and the time I were there in a coma, fractured skull at 16 and I remember none of it, but I remember seeing the shell of my mom as if it were yesterday, thinking of you today XO

    1. I have been there far too much - for myself - and many, many others. If there was a frequent flier programs for the ER, I would be able to fly round the world a few times. Ha.

  9. All that waiting in the hospitals and emergency room is a world of its own ~ You captured well the details like the bonding, the feeling of family ~ I also like the way you mark time by no. of coins in machine and sounds of the ambulance ~ I am sorry to hear about your grandmother ~ I too wish for Superman to be around ~

  10. Poignant capture of the "waiting" room in the ER. I hate the ER. You can't get in to be seen unless they think you are dying. In my experience, a mind-splitting migraine or kidney stones won't do it, but have a miscarriage and your in like Flynn.

  11. It's a tragic trip to the hospital to see a loved one dying...and yet something that can be very holy too. I've been there...too be with my wife and her family as her dad passed away. Coming on a year now...but still too recent, and I think it always will be.

    1. It probably will be for some time, but it does get a little easier the longer you go.

  12. reality. Man, I felt this poem so deep.

    Thank you sir for writing this....I know exactly how this feels. :(

  13. The things that are brought into focus when we're on the verge of losing our loved ones stay with us forever. Bless you for sharing this bitter beauty.

  14. Such a poignant tale.. the rain isn't always as pleasant as it seems..

  15. I'll be praying for you during your time of loss.

  16. At 24, I have both experienced how to wait for the return of a loved one, & how to keep a loved one wait for my return. The two sides of the wall (ER) has the vibe that can kill you inside, but the experience I had waiting for the return of a loved one was much sadder & tough than I thought. The rain will stop eventually, X, and the birds will air their sweetest tune to cheer us to move on & be glad for what remains.

  17. I love how you mark time by the number of coins going in the vending know it has been awhile when you hear the money drop again and again..A rough journey you are on, I have traveled that road as well. Best to have some spare change and a prayer in the pocket. Thinking of you!

  18. Wow... so many elements in this poem deftly working together. Pouring rain enhances every emotion don't you think!

  19. In the waiting room, the ER, things seem to move in slow motion and each thing becomes significant when we later dare to think of it. I've spent a lot of time in emergency rooms myself...Those coins dropping and by the sound, you know what they are. So sorry you are having this in your life. My best thoughts are there.

  20. Elvis has left the building too! It is cats and dogs outside typical of monsoon reversals! Wonderful write X!


  21. The waiting-room of ER is one of those places where, for a while, we feel equally powerless in front of adversity. Sometimes the unfairness and sadness of a situation make us feel a deluge is pouring over us. I am sorry for your grandmother, X.

  22. You touch upon a reality of monsoon, that often it comes suddenly, like an emergency because everyone has been waiting so long.

  23. I want to reach out to his face & muss his symmetry.

    No one can write this sort of allegorical immediacy like you--it reads timelessly, covers the very posture of this moment, every wince and jaded wiping of the hand over the tired face, the droop in the back as the hands swing between spread knees, waiting, passive but frustrated and furious wanting/not wanting the stasis to be ended--the ultimate passivity, there in that Waiting Room, of fear, of knowledge of the things we don't want to think about, all larger than and as small as life--one of your best.

  24. I just had to stop by to see what you've been up to :) To me you seemed to have slowed time in a chaotic place where time stands still while you wait.

  25. Claudia and Mary said it very well - it is a world, EMR, where the inconsequental becomes primeval. The poem snatches scenes of humanity there, where all is a tightrope.

  26. Agonizing...really pulls on the heartstrings, this one.
    Tears are rolling down my heart is aching...I am there too...

  27. I've a bit of experience in Er's from a decade of rugby, and I think you've captured the feel here. I'm sorry for your loss if this is your story.

  28. Black hole emergency room.. rain not easily escaping.. parching throats of Love.. anticipating worst.. or best.. in prayers.. of living now.. sunlit eyes peak through.. tear love sharing strangers.. never meeting on sidewalk streets.. love lives on in death.. death mends love.. for those who love life and death... as marrying partners of now... Monsoon death equally ruling Monsoon life..:)

  29. There was a time in my life where I had to admit my father in the same hospital thrice within a month - I almost went back to those moments. Wonderful write.

  30. How very poignant! You've written so vividly that I felt I was sitting in that ER too.

  31. So vivid....felt sad....somber....


  32. Dranatically detailed. You took us with you through the experience.