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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Matinée Performance

A safety curtain like the Berlin Wall
confronts me. Flux and change
mark this strange world of drifting scenes.
They blur and merge; the house lights dim;
the stage lights blaze;
the knives are out; a cast of shades
is waiting in the wings.
A disembodied voice, the leading man's,
its aim to reassure, proclaims:
"Low blood loss operation, this."
No one replies.

Half-seen (more ghost-like than I'd thought),
they glide on stage. Or do they?
In this topsy-turvy world, they have encircled me.
Theatre in the round. Or is it? Am I not
the one on stage! I look up to the lamp,
the nearest, largest lamp, almost above my head.
Its polished rim is mirror-like, gives sight
beyond the wall. Chief ghost
is cutting something - and the cut is long and thin,
its ends and middle decorated with
three glistening beads, tiny and bright red.
Unpacking something - me - as from
a bag, he finds his role
and slips into his second skin,
becomes the master craftsman, and begins.
He rummages a bit, then grunts -
he's found the hernia.

A head is laid alongside mine. I do not see it,
quite so much as feel it there. "Hey,
you can see, can't you?" she says,
and looking where I am looking, asks
if I am watching what she sees. I own up,
wondering if I have broken any laws...
Perhaps it's criminal stupidity... Indecency...
Am I a spy? A Peeping Tom? Ostensibly,
her role is pump attendant at the cannula
in my left hand. In fact, I am convinced
she's there to keep my spirits buoyed.

So well she does it that, distracted, I
come close to missing what I sense to be
the highlight of the enterprise: a length
of mesh becomes a part of me.
That which was torn was fixed and now is fortified.
Chief ghost regains his former role, adjusts the lamp -
and by so doing has removed my view.
Above the wall, just heads and faces, masks and shrouds -
and now and then, a blood-stained something on a stick.

You could go to Mars
They will be pleased to take you -
but not to bring you back


Dave King said...

The Haiku refers to a NASA project to colonise Mars from 2030 onwards. They will keep the colony supplied, but it will be too costly to bring anybody back. (Would you believe: Google is in there somewhere?)

Karen said...

Love your ghostly depiction of the operating room and experience. If this is recent, I hope you recover well and soon.

Dave King said...

Thanks Karen for the well wishes.
The op' was 3 weeks ago.

Anonymous said...


My name is Evan and I work at a digital advertising agency called Night Agency (nightagency.com). We recently launched a new community called HAIKYU (haikyu.com) where people can submit their own work as well as voting for their favorite Haiku. It’s a great way to discover new work, get recognized, and even win prizes. After seeing your Blog, we thought you and your followers might be interested to join our new and upcoming Haiku community. To celebrate the launch of this new community we are running a contest until October 31st where the Haiku with the most votes will win $250! It would be great if you could share the site with your followers/readers/fans and send us any and all feedback you may have (info@haikyu.com).

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The Weaver of Grass said...

Dave I so enjoyed your explanation of your hernia operation - the dream like quality to it. My niece had an operation on her feet three weeks ago, under local anaesthetic and she wished it had gone on longer as such a dishy male nurse was holding her hand throughout! Hope you are well and truly over it. Please don't consider going to Mars, we don't want to lose you in blogland.

Unknown said...

Wonderful poem, Dave; such a clinical description! Hope all is progressing well. I'm not anxious to put my name down for Mars!

Jim Murdoch said...

It took me a few goes to get through this. Me, not you. An excellent piece of work and one I can relate to slightly especially the nurse trying to keep your spirits up. I had my adenoids out when I was about twelve and I remember one of the nurses flirting with me at the start and pretending to get on the operating table with me. I have no idea where her head was but she succeeded in distracting me and the next thing I knew I had a gas mask over my face. Carrie takes a great deal of interest in whatever doctors intend to do to her – she’ll even look for photos or videos online – but I’m the very opposite. I want to know nothing. I trust them to do their job, to fix me and inconvenience me as little as possible in the process.

Windsmoke. said...

A haunted operating theatre you can't get any scarier than that i suspect that the doctor and the nurse are ghosts. I wouldn't mind living on another planet it would be out of this world [Pun Intended]Ha Ha Ha.

Dave King said...

Hi and welcome to my blog. Many thanks for the intro' to your site. I shall certainly follow it nd may even have a go at the Haiku, though I don't consider the ones I display here to be true Haiku, just newsy bits in haiku form. Still, haikyu.com looks innteresting. Thanks again.

The Weaver of Grass
Much thanks for that. I had two op's within a couple of weeks. The other was for a cataract. Both with local anaesthetic, both "interesting". I may try to do something with the other.

Thanks for the good wishes. I think it is... fingers crossed. Disap;pointing though it's turned out in some ways, I think I'm sticking with mother earth.

It's no doubt a sign of age that it was her head that registered with me, Jim!
I'm with Carrie, I've always wanted to know what was happening - though in this case I elected for a local bevcause of a chest condition. Thanks for the feedback.

Nope, even the thought that Google is involved doesn't tempt me!

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