because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

observations from a hard plastic chair

every man’s socks look dingier under the fluorescent E-R lights. the nurse
wears false eyelashes on the midnight shift; they ask why i’m here.
her pulled-out tee shows tops of oranged cleavage we pretend to not
see. there is urine under your bed when they roll you away, but not yours.
the stain clashes well with the grey-green tile, just the color of stale love.
the nurse, eyes on the desk now, is talking about another patient.
“suicidal.” “schizophrenic.” i can hear her calling from here.

21 responses

  1. Wow. The seemingly disparate images add up to a scene of great sadness and despair. I’ve been there, where the protagonist is. Excellent, lady.

    December 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    • Thanks, Mosk! What can I say? Hospitals have always been a great source of inspiration for me.

      December 11, 2013 at 10:22 am

  2. oh my…yeah the ER, esp on a friday night is not the place to be…used to have to be there often for work…and it can be a rather scary…and unsanitary place…

    be good joanna…smiles…

    December 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    • Yeah, it can definitely be an alarming place, full of strange juxtapositions and emotions and intimacies.
      “Be good”? I thought you knew me better than that, Brian… *smiles*

      December 11, 2013 at 10:33 am

  3. scotthastiepoet

    Terrific, snappy and evocative writing – you have a great style for an exciting novel I think, if you can sustain the quality.Especially liked:”just the colour of stale love…” exceptional… With Best Wishes Scott

    December 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    • a novel, eh? most interesting… (Thanks, Scott!)

      December 11, 2013 at 10:42 am

  4. A most interesting snapshot in time…conveying much of about the ER experience.

    December 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    • Thanks… it was an interesting experience.

      December 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

  5. When taking in moments of others’ lives, it’s amazing what we learn and observe. I love the reality you share in this piece.

    December 11, 2013 at 12:46 am

    • Isn’t it, though? Thanks for reading! 🙂

      December 11, 2013 at 11:05 am

  6. 1emeraldcity

    Wow and pow…!! Excellent. Just excellent

    December 11, 2013 at 4:09 am

    • Thanks, J! 🙂

      December 11, 2013 at 11:09 am

  7. Gritty humanity . . . deftly painted. Stark. I am affected. The place lingers.

    December 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

  8. stark and powerful, I can feel the panic of being left behind there.

    December 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

  9. hypercryptical

    Excellent observations of the starkness of life in ER when often, we are at our most vulnerable…
    Anna :o]

    December 12, 2013 at 6:24 am

  10. no fun place…the ER in the middle of the night…you made me smell it…the urine…ugh… love the details like the false eyelashes…isn’t it weird what details the mind focuses on in such moments…

    December 27, 2013 at 10:07 am

  11. son works in the ER…tough. Hope you are well, Joanna. Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year.

    December 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm

  12. Stale love…Can’t get any worse than that,

    January 16, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    • It probably can… Thanks for reading!

      January 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

  13. The conflicting and disparate images contribute in creating a solemn environment… and they involves the reader to see and feel things as they generally are in the ER. Great writing.

    January 22, 2014 at 1:08 pm


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