NHS on Election Day

In Outpatients,
Brighton,
and efficiently
weighed by Julie,
‘blood pressure good’,
then to ECG,
to confirm I am well,

as this country
threatens an ill result,
which will mean
in five years’ time
I will need to pay
a private company,
and shareholders,
for finding me unwell.

#GE2017

There will be a ballot
with outcomes unknown,
but the resulting state
could be one that’ll harm,
it may finally remove
the vestiges of pride
which were the first choice
of the winning side,
that construction of faith,
more real than dead Gods,
off socialist embers
fired after the war.

When you make your mark
it will determine the fate
of the care of your family,
the future price paid.
Each ballot with a cross,
is a kiss for the carers,
a token of love,
for the state which will keep us.
Or leave it, don’t bother,
make a mark for the rich,
and let them get fat
on the illness of kids;
let them turn profits
on dementia, new business,
let them trade shares
in your family’s sickness.

For My Physician

You, with gilt-framed diplomas,
please sit for my dull certificate:
I am to lecture you about pain,
since your grasp is so inadequate.

It is the norm, we are born to screams,
the cuts and tears in every childbirth,
in which all mothers are victims:
Dear physician, you are too averse.

Here I sit in your consulting room,
where you ‘tut’ at me about booze,
as I twist under angered muscles,
my nerve-ends twitch, hurt, adduced.

All the time within my skin,
are such thrusts throughout my frame,
spiked and sliced, in feet and hands –
my digits gloved in pangs again.

When taking notes in my lecture
feel the smooth scribe, no hard design,
unsuited for people like me,
struggling to pen ‘anodyne’.

No Country

You know, no more
war-won rewards,

the demobbed wonder
of victory-fixed asset
(assured recovery):

Hope is broken, redacted,
buffed wards pulled asunder.

Weep for our withdrawn beds,
now priced up, re-numbered.

Out-patients


That underfoot scrape of vinyl
over the higher whisperings and
mutterings from around corners,
as ill trolley wheels, out-of-sync,
rattle off, out-of-sight, carrying stuff
through lazy automated doors,
which compress in slow motion,
those last few seconds before closure;
quick-step nurses and slower assistants
move between rooms and offices,
directing the sat-down, long-waiting,
the late-keeping and the early-attending:
Others, like me, unmoved amongst this.


 

Immunisation


It enfolds you in its heated fug,
the wheeled threshold, the NHS hug;
we sit and wait in a digit-lit queue,
but old illnesses will still kill us all:

I went for my ‘flu jab: ‘Done in a jiffy
‘You may feel unwell, perhaps a bit sniffy’.
I’m now pricked against influenza’s grab,
at least for a year then Hunt’ll cut back:

November, next, what will be left?
They’ll have turned down the heating,
and give back less: As I fall apart,
so will the state, we are both diseased,
our futures degrade.


Botleys: Loss of an apostrophe


Those red brick villas
on the sloped lawn hill,
with service roads
linking collections
and deliveries
at every odd hour,
where patients walked,
the ones that could,
between the few points
some had known,
only known, since birth,
long-ago baptised
in that place by
the cloyed smell
of cleaning, and of filth
carried over, into them,
the walking, the lain,
the chair-rocked,
a few with head guards,
over those broken minds.


 

Jewel in the Crown


Rip it off from the past,
sliced on rusty nostalgia,
a span of heritage,
is this truthful disaster,
when history’s lost
pay old craftsmen to make
more bygones-be-bygones,
real genuine fakes:
Bow to the Crown Jewels,
displaced paste from the past,
profited and traded,
‘cross an empire, so vast;
flaunt valuable rocks,
but sell free-to-use jewels,
those men in blue suits
from the right schools.