POET’S HOSPITAL — By Michael Burns
There’s a hospital for poets
End of the road for a broken dreamer, and an artist with tarnish on his soul.
There’s no line up there, you just walk right in and get into a bed.
Dead dreamers are wheeled by on gurneys on their way to reincarnations.
The place is filled with unspoken words, and half filled remnants of…those angry hearts
Ghosts, walk the halls of the unpublished, asking you for a word…ah, “Please will you listen.”
The great Dylan Thomas died here and the place reeks now of a writing shed. Corso walks by holding an antiquated toaster and speaks in tongues about the substance of a symbol,
“I was born here and I will die here…” he exclaims in the accent of an Italian Hamlet, on passing.
A water drenched rat from the Titanic, hugs the walls on its way to the basement to fornicate with its American cousin.
Scribbled notes on latin edges, and penciled words on back pages, of dog-eared books about etiquette, written by a Vanderbilt.
And scratched last lines onto the walls grasped, and gasped out by those on their way to the other side for recycling.
And the ‘wall of hope’ remembers.
And so I check my pulse and found I had the prerequisites …to be in this place.
I was definitely a card-carrying member. And my poems were sick.
The nurse arrives and asks to take my temperature.
I tell her “I am minus thirty and dropping…my heart is frozen. Can you help? There’s an ice age comin, don’t ya know!”
“Aw” she says, “Would you like a hot drink… what seems to be your trouble Micko, and can you bend over dear?” She reminds me of a poem about another woman.
An Irish woman named love. Who lives under a hill. And the words fall out of my mouth, “Come away O’human child…”
I tell her I am suffering from double entendre
“Och” she says “There’s a lot of that going round these days.”, as she pulls the thermometer from its hold.”
Nursey leaves swishin; I love that sound. And I wait, on my little cot for doctor Big Fingers to arrive.
“And how are we today.” he says, on entering the clutter. He walks over and closes a cupboard door to staunch the bleeding words from the top shelf.
I say, and ask to borrow his pen and clipboard with a page. And scribble down quickly the words to my next ode.
‘I have a bug in my ear and I am tone-deaf to bullshit’
I return his clipboard — pens are hard to get here.
“So what are my chances doc…will I live?..is this fatal?
Will I need an operation…maybe a transfusion. To rid myself of the parasites in my thoughts.
Am I using my words well?..am I color blind to context?
Is my sense of semantics charged, and pure to the meaning?
C’mon Doc, don’t hold back. Tell me the truth?
Am I…a dead poet?”
He looks at me and sighs, ” Poets are born with broken thoughts. And use words as pills to heal themselves.”
Write a couple more lines, and I will see you in the morning…
And outside my room, there was Corso and that fucking toaster…he was chewin the fat with Larry Ferlinghetti…about spaghetti, al dente. And something about publishing his next book.
They turned and looked at me and Larry said…”So you want to be part of the club, is that right kid… Are you a sick poet?”
“No.” I sez…”but I wouldn’t mind a chit-chat about Fluxus, I sometimes get on my drums and start with my heartbeat.
Bom bom..bom bom…bombom bombom, and the blood gurgles glickly and falls through the holes at end of my veins.
Larry leaves in disgust, hands in the air, exclaiming “Wannabee, couldahbin, mightdahad.”
I am content now I have found my own…I don’t feel as fatal. Not nearly as fatal.
My poems are better …and fellow madmen arrive every morning with new lines.
And my fake Irish nurse arrives for late night checks of my vitals.
I think… I’m ok.