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DISPATCHES FROM THE (WAR) HOSPITAL |

August 25, 2008

DISPATCHES FROM THE (WAR) HOSPITAL
Name: Jennifer M. Pierson
Posting date: 8/25/08
Volunteering in: Walter Reed Army Medical Center
Hometown: New York City
Email: jmpmerton@starpower.net



NIGHTWATCH ONE
But in their brilliance angels do not lift us above our ruinance

you arrive in the night
your body laid down and wait

a hand or a shoulder braces it
grief moves through us

as
our bodies lift your stretcher oh

the body moves the heart the hands how
rough they love

        (a careless angel hovers)


THE BOY IN 5715: Visions

                *
stumped:
            above the leg the leg
a stump-with-knee
& then

a stump
above

two legs cut off
at Landstuhl

             *
three
fingers lost

others
burnt and bent

            trigger's absent

             *
I almost miss seeing
you when coming into
the room: steam-heated
as you lie tiny on the bed

blue covers
nothing

then

your shaved
head monklike
blued

gorgeous
smile
skinny
face too
big teeth

you laugh

            *
room's hot

your dad's curled up
on a steel chair in the corner

mother's gone
for a smoke and a bite

but

            the effort's there
(to stand up)


ON THE BUS

his head his
neck slashed

black: the cuts
        elegiac a
        scarf of loss

humanness seeps out

            **

as he turns
his cheek to show
the impeded bullet

       tears
       pool

he moves his mouth to say hello


PASTORAL
A gentle ghost will ease in his place

Seamus is famous in the hierarchies of angels
who walk quiet the long pavements of grief.

He wears his suit shiny
teeth crookt in a grin.

Seamus listens to dreams of the dying.

        How I love this man
this priest who comes in the light
seeking comfort, something sweet to eat.

(A Roman Catholic priest, in service to Walter Reed 39 years).


GIRL SOLDIER
Five years out they'll all have leukemia

demerol's wearing off

she's sleepy shivering
in a chair

skin's blemished blue

shorts
tiny for her tiny frame

snakes covet her
pallid thighs then
verge with
tigers at her crotch

we bring girly things
to ease her edict of dying

Great tattoos!

My daddy did em, when can I rest?


SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS

Oh sorrowed one
how we negate the absent
self, body and its particulates.

How we distance hearts: your,
not our, loss.

Who grieves once
condolence is drawn
from the mouth? Smear us with ash.

Who pulls hairs? Rends cloth?
Lifts the chest, wailing?

Sorry for your loss.
From your lips to God's ear.

Save us.

Around the stone church
in Provence gitanes ride
horses to encircle us.

The crypt oh   it's dense
with soot, votives burning
centuries of hope.

Spirit lies inside the pale glass.

Comments

Never visited the hospital nor heard so much, too hurried to listen for such; but this time without fear I stopped to peer and felt them reach out and touch.

Thanks

Hi Jennifer
You have a good blog.
Please visit my blog:
http://www.soldierfun.blogspot.com
Be happy.

Ms. Pierson,

This was a frighteningly accurate description of being in Landstuhl.

And you're right...why did they say to me, "Sorry for YOUR loss" when it really should have been OUR loss?

you're words are like a knife.

they cut into my heart.

and i think.

my eyes fill up.

and i remember.

Really powerful stuff, and well-done. A good poem draws the reader into the moment and forms an image in the mind. You have achieved this. Painful but worth the read. Keep writing.

I love the poems, they are so awesome and hit the soft spot. I tear up when I read them because my cousin went through the samething.

These are really great poems. They hit close to home becuase my uncle is in the hospital. He may not have been in the war, but he has a battle of his own to fight now.

Your poems are great and very powerful. They really touch your heart and really paint a picture for the reader.

I absolutely love poetry and your poems are amazing. They are straight to the point and incredible reads!

the literary quality of this verse is questionable. to call it tawdry grist for an unimaginative psychic mill would be only too kind.

Who grieves once
condolence is drawn
from the mouth? Smear us with ash.

Who pulls hairs? Rends cloth?
Lifts the chest, wailing?

Sorry for your loss.

Yes. I've buried nine kids since I started with the PGR. Not once did I feel I had anything adequate to say to the bereaved. As if, by pagan howling and strak ritual I could prove my knowledge of your loss.

Thank Gawd business has been down these last few months.

King C: literary quality and critical
evaluations are beside the point when a person is expressing the truth of their unbearable situation in their own way.

Don't be a lit-snob about suffering.

laqray,
i did not deride the person's sentiments. just the rather unfortunate expression of them. you contradict yourself, my friend. i can only be a lit-snob about lit, right?

seeing as how you have written after richard's even more disastrous verse you seem immune to bad writing (at least in this context). not everyone is.

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