Conquest Hospital

Robert Richard Rollins –
I was born nineteen thirty-four
struggled with the name –
El-dwabe

He worried out loud
that he’d forget
the surgeon’s
Egyptian-sounding name

As he was wheeled –
backwards for ease
he again apologised
so profusely to the nurse

for his failure to recall
I forget names –
the consultant …
El-dwabe

#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’.

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.


 

Hunted

hunt

Desserts of shame!
Cover thine chunks!
Your sugary delights,
they offend Mr Hunt.
Reduce your fats,
you obese puddings,
return to austerity,
to simpler cooking,
to ancient ways,
when sweetness was short,
the poor pot-bellied,
the rich pissed on port:
He’ll ‘save’ the NHS
by cutting it back,
and lighter taxes
for his sweet fat cats.

The Times, 30-09-2016

Speech Therapist

With my therapist,
a genial chap,
we sit and review
my quality of chat;

a bit of a struggle,
with my stinking cold,
an incurable disease,
which has now taken hold:

In the near distance,
two floors below,
a howl of laughter
is loudly let go,

then back to peace,
as my therapist stammers,
r-r-r-repeated advice,
and nice bedside manners.

Nothing On

[Enters stage left]
That click-clack of the
blind man’s walking stick,
and background natter
from the receptionists:
Noises-off.

Dove soap on my fingers,
I had washed for the Doctor,
who knows more about me
than I can ever recall,
he is checking my notes,
re-pronouncing the drugs,
which I tend to forget
[Prompt required].

I’m tongue-tarred by the coffee,
sipped before my drive here,
a route of life-threatening lanes,
and I try, try, to recall my script
for this ten minute soliloquy:

A repeat prescription –
to conquer the constant nausea,
my travel-sickness,
even when hardly moving,
my performance then given,
up from the gut.
[Prop – mop]

Our Time Bomb

By our eighth decade,
the correspondent wrote,
over twenty-percent
will succumb
to dementia:

I can see her,
fixed to forgetting,
and sat bed-side,
the frail ‘other half’ left,
shelled, bombed-out.

Will there be enough room,
for so many?
The twenty percent,
to be bed-locked,
to be bed-blocking?

As you avoid
hospice-bound falls,
on shortened stick-ticked walks,
or on a shuffle between rooms,
before the last shuffle begins,

will you be feeling lucky
to be, in your moments,
one of the eighty per cent,
still lucid, but alone,
in your eighties?

Speech, After Therapy

 

The return walk, hobbled together,
From the speech therapist’s advice,
Should encourage me to avoid The Alma,
And other throat-burn-delights.

A short climb up Framfield Road,
Past Old Ale’s 4% call;
My dignity would still remain,
If I had just the one pint pulled ?

Breathing the roadside fumes,
Will surely do for me before a pint?
Or am I pouring distractions,
from the assure of medical advice ?

I am reduced by Austerity’s ardour,
Having lent a fiver to the wife;
There is no cash-point en-route,
So I will forgo that poisonous pint.