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.
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.