Sunday, 28 April 2013

Saboteur



He observes; he picks at it, the scar that is, that is the wound.
Deep inside, scars mar his soul, his sense of self sutured with flimsy lies. 
Fingernails rip, wound raw and bleeding, this is me he cries, lonely, needing.

He observes; she cleanses it, the scar that is, that is the wound. 
Deep inside, collagen knits, heals the wound – if only fleeting. 
She leaves him, attention gone, he whispers silently remember me.

He lays there, picks at his soul that is the scar that is the wound. 
Deep inside, the emptiness of loneliness leaves him bleeding. 
He plans now, crashes to the floor help me he cries, wanting, needing.

He lies there, they pick him up, return him to bed, scowls scar their faces. 
They observe, do not see the wound, his emptiness, offer no healing. 
Abandoned, he screams deep inside, screws himself up, self-debases.

He observes; he is nothing, he is the scar that is the wound.  
He observes; he is the scar that wounds and scars his inner sense of self.
He is wound, he is nothing else, he has seen it on their faces.

Anna :o]

There they are the saboteurs and attention-seekers, filling the beds of those with real need, always demanding and always trying the patience of those who seek to care for them.   Want, want, want, want, want, all they do is want. 

The buzzer goes; it is bed twenty-two.  It is him, the entitled demander, the attention-seeker, the saboteur.  He will complain of non-specific pain, generalised here there and everywhere and demand analgesia.  He will demand that you carry out some trivial task for him – he can’t (he is’ too ill’) – you say you can’t now as you are busy helping someone else –‘What about my needs?’ (he seethes) – you say you are sorry and you will return ASAP – he hurls verbal abuse at you.  You leave but before you have closed the door – he buzzes again.  You set the boundary – I will ignore your buzzer until I have finished helping patient X.  ‘Well, f**k you!’ he retorts and presses the buzzer again. 

The buzzer goes; it is bed twenty-two.  It is him, the entitled demander, the attention-seeker, the saboteur.   He complains of ‘crushing pain’ to his chest, you ask him to indicate where (although you know where he will put his hand).  You’re okay then you say- it’s in the wrong place for what you think it is.  ‘Where is the right place?’ he asks – but you never tell him, you would be stupid to tell him.  (You are so afraid one day he will touch the right spot and you will miss it unaware that he will not be crying wolf.)  He sits picking at the scar site of a recent op – don’t do that or it will become infected you say.  ‘It needs a dressing’ he says.  No, it doesn’t.  Three days later, he partially opens the scar with his fingernail.  ‘It needs a dressing’ he says.   It needs a dressing.

The buzzer goes; it is bed twenty-two.  It is him, the man whose wife left him for his brother.  It is him, the man whose working life was brought to an abrupt end by a horrific accident that left him for a forever victim of his injuries.  It is him, the man who lost his sense of identity, his place in the world, his future.  It is him, the man who drowned his sorrows in a bottle, whose bitterness spills over with regularity, alienating his family and friends.  Ex-friends.

He is alone but for his thoughts, he is alone and lonely, he pushes his self-destruct button and buzzes for attention.

Negative attention is better than no attention. 

Look beneath the surface.  Listen to him, really listen to him, he has something to say.


Poem entered at Poets United Poetry Pantry.  Thanks Poets United.  Also entered at dVerse OpenLinkNight. Thanks dVerse.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

31 comments:

mindlovemisery said...

This is a powerful and heart-wrenching piece.

Brian Miller said...

dang...this is grit...the near repetition yet building of that last stanza is nice punctuation on the piece...that first stanza too is chock full...my fav bit...his sense of self sutured with flimsy lies. stellar write anna

VaNdAnA ShArMa said...

Lovely.

aka_andrea said...

you really start hating this guy near the middle and then almost develop a compassionate pity but by the end you are just done with him. great storytelling here.

Paige Nicole said...

excellent writing. anna you have
really gone deep into this man and others like him - to his soul.

this poem of yours is carved in stone and carries the truth
in curled pieces of granite.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Anna, bless your heart for being a caregiver who sees beneath the demanding behavior to the soul who has lost everything. It takes a rare soul to understand that, and you possess one. It once took me an entire year to win a smile from an angry demanding woman in the seniors complex I worked in.....that smile was golden to me. I worked hard for it, she tested me, then finally it came, like a shower of pennies from heaven.

Heidi said...

Lovely piece, Anna. You have shown his humanity rather than a label. Nice write.

Mary said...

The stuff of real life. Sad, human. You definitely have compassion for your fellow humans. Even when it is hard.

rch said...

I truly feel for anyone that has to work thusly and for those so scarred that they try to mar everyone else.

Brother Ollie said...

I teach High School - more than a fair share of saboteurs there..i like your take on these folks

WabiSabi said...

Your poems shows in sharp relief how people can be wounded in so many ways. Saboteurs like this alienate everyone who can help them and then wonder why they are bleeding to death. Thanks for sharing this! http://wabisabipoet.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/even-the-breeze/

anthonynorth said...

Great depth is an understatement on this. Excellent, powerful and gritty.

Libby Meador said...

Someone who will listen to more than a call light is a healer - but people have to heal themselves as well.

Stormcat Poetry said...

Far too accurate!

Tino said...

Sublime. Like looking under the bed of life, discovering the unarranged things can give us more truth about it.

kaykuala said...

The repetition builds up the concern and the mystery. One gets to be more sympathetic! Nicely Anna!

Hank

alan1704 said...

Powerful and full of emotion, well done

Adura Ojo said...

Wow! Simply wow. Some of us know this man. We want to hear what he has to say. But then he won't say it and it does drain the energy out of us. I weep for him in my heart daily but then life has finites...unfortunately. He has to take some responsibility too...sometimes. You touch the nerve of our humanity with this poem. Really well done:)

dsnake1 said...

this is real life.
who should we pity more, the patient or the caregiver?

a powerful write.

mindlovemisery said...

Hey Anna =) I wanted to invite you to participate in the Sunday Prompt I am doing at my blog, the theme will be different each week this week its Old Poetry StormCat left a great suggestion in the comments if you are interested in participating I'd love to have you =)

Jyoti Mishra said...

beautiful piece of work..
the continuous conflict of opinions b/w good n bad..
its never black n white..
real life is full of grey areas

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Thank you for your kind and welcome comments folks.

Mental ill-health is complex and affects more than the sufferer of it.

Labelling is the easy bit – except for the sufferer for his ‘treatment’ is so often the result of the labelling and how oft it is that the sufferer’s actions and the carer’s responses are a self-fulfilling prophecy – a self-fulfilling prophecy of the label…and so the cycle continues…

In my student days, a wise old psychiatrist told me of his interpretation of ‘attention-seeking behaviour’- can’t remember his exact words but the gist of it was “Attention-seeking behaviour is exactly what it says it is. But you must ask yourself why (he) is seeking attention – it seems to me that the only answer is that he is not receiving any that is meaningful. Look beneath the surface – talk to him and find out why he thinks this way.”

So I have always done this – but this action is not necessarily curative – but it does give the receiver a feeling of ‘belonging’ and increases self-worth.

Libby and Adjura – you are both correct that the patient must take (some) responsibility for his own healing…sometimes…but sometimes the damage is too deep, too well-entrenched…and the man becomes the label, for the label is all he has…and there are many different labels…

Anna :o]

PS If the above is a bit rambling – apologies – not long finished a nightshift

Claudia said...

oh heck yes..there's always a reason why they're so hungry for attention...good when we manage to see beyond the visible...very well penned anna

Nilofer said...

Loved it.. Very heart touching.. Pls do visit my site... http://parentingworkshop.blogspot.in/

Luke Prater said...

v interesting topic and also interesting form... somewhere between villanelle and terza rima? Well-wrought and emotive indeed, Anna

James Rainsford said...

This brilliantly describes the familiar phenomena of need. I love the contrasts thrown-up by the use of both poetry and prose. A wonderfully observed piece, written with an authentic and original voice. Great job!

Nico said...

It's far too easy to react to the irritation without wondering what motivates the behavior. You've written a great poem here, a very real problem that caregivers face. Fatigue. Nicely done!

Eusebia Philotes said...

You really worked the angles on this one. Powerful. The reader's attitude towards this fella changes as more insight is received. There are many ways to suffer. Finding the reason takes more than a first glance.

Poet Laundry said...

Hopefully he finds a friend. Definitely a tragic situation to be in. We don't always know what someone has gone through in life but there are always reasons why people act the way they do. It can be tough to be compassionate when their actions are trying, as you've outlined here.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

You really developed a fascinating character here!

mindlovemisery said...

Prompt 2 is up if you are game =)