Jump to content
Poetry Magnum Opus

Purple Heart


fdelano
 Share

Recommended Posts

Clean and polished vinyl floors exude

sharp pine as if to convince all

of the sterility of VA's old hospital.

 

My seat in the permanent waiting

room made of similar material

to the hard floor squares.

 

Experience tells me the wait

will have nothing to do

with my appointment time.

 

Others on standby (or sit by)

are my age or mostly older.

Their blank looks confirm my own.

 

Movement, and all eyes shift

to the gurney wheeled

to park against the beige wall.

 

Its prone creature moves

only as his emaciated chest

inhales and expires pine air.

 

His eyes are closed against

the over-bright florescent

lighting directly over his head.

 

He seems ageless, and I can

only guess his war as the war

to end all wars.

 

Some talented surgeon saved

his life, though removing all

the man's mangled limbs.

 

The gurney and the man wait,

both immovable without even

unwanted assistance.

 

My thoughts get crazy as I

imagine a parking meter

meting out unending minutes.

 

For more than an hour, I watch

the man accept his forced fate

while orderlies busily pass.

 

Finally, when human empathy

peaks, I quietly ask the entry clerk

if someone could give the man water.

 

"Sir, the patient is en route to tests

and will be taken care of." I reply.

"Get that done within five minutes."

 

She speaks in the phone for five

seconds and slams it back in its

cradle. I stand there and watch.

 

An orderly in whites arrives

and pushes the gurney down

the aisle to disappear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! I don't think this narrative could be better. The frame of the piece is orderly and clean setting the scene before the images shared in words begin to register. This is so clear and the images powerful. I really like this poem.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Powerful and well written poem Franklin. The aftercare of those who have sacrificed so much seems to be a never-ending and contentious issue here also. G.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larsen M. Callirhoe

very touching. i really enjoyed reading this. this is something to cherish, relish, and the relection here is a very cvivid, candid detail moment that is very osomber to receive such a merrit. mydad received a purple heart also. he was shot in the head. it gazed im or i wouldnt be here. it s something to really hold sacred. you shed blood. also you or some who receive this award have to think about he blood she you caused others either way you captued a poignant moment very welll. wheni was in the service i got out because i realized i could not kill another. but in war good people die. and on all battle fields the suvors did their duty those tht died and made the utkimate scafice on both sides are the real heros. but thank you. i really enjoyed as i said.

 

victor

Larsen M. Callirhoe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
David W. Parsley

No escape. Every time I read the piece, it just grabs me harder. The sparsely adorned language suits theme and progression. My only request is that the open ending not contain an ellipsis - doesn't fit the unflinching persona of the narrator. But that is just carping. I can not be sure what yanks me around more viciously: the specific case in point (rings like truth); the more general plight in the way we deal with those who sacrifice so much for us; or the even broader theme of tragedies that move through our view then shuffle out of that view to further difficulties for which we can not even contravene a five minute reprieve. A reprieve of unconfirmed effectiveness. Rings like Truth.

 

Thank you, Franklin. (I think)

- Dave

Link to comment
Share on other sites

David W. Parsley

Oh, one more request: larger font?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hope the revisions help. True story from forty years ago. I doubt that things have improved that much after reading of the treatment of wounded when they are turned over to the VA after extensive care at Walter Reed. Everyday I watch commercials asking for money to take care of severely injured combat vets, and I wonder why we spend billions on financial institutions and abandon those who put their lives on the line. No matter your political views, if we send young people into the grinder, we are then obligated to do all we can for them. Sorry, but after all these years, I still get so worked up that it's hard to breathe. Nothing has changed since the surgical tents of the Civil War. Civil, my ass.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well said Franklin. “No matter your political views, if we send young people into the grinder, we are then obligated to do all we can for them. Sorry, but after all these years, I still get so worked up that it's hard to breathe. Nothing has changed since the surgical tents of the Civil War. Civil, my ass.”

 

Just to assure you that the same situation prevails at this side of the pond also. There are frequent reports in our own national daily papers of how our injured fighting men are cheated out of support and after care when they are no longer an asset. The hypocrisy of societies that still operate like some ancient game of chess. G.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi fdelano,

 

A compelling narrative. Your use of short lines with almost clinical precision evokes effectively the terrible fate that awaits 'the gurney.' His desperate sense of 'awaiting' his fate is palpable.

 

A powerful work that touches the reader deeply.

 

 

Thank you.

goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Straight to the heart. Perfect.- Dr. Con & Juris

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

Gate(less.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.