Home > Fragments > Hospital Wanderings and Wonders

Hospital Wanderings and Wonders

September 10, 2012

by Kathy Uyen Nguyen

June 12, 2012
(composed on my cell phone)
The swirling buzzes and tsk-tsk’s of nickel-sized beetles as they draw haphazard figure-eights between the citrus-tinted night sky and new pavement. The limbo between sanity and melodramatic crazy-eights.

***
(composed on my cell phone)
something beyond the hospital
the fear of irreparable minds
and a possible chemical plant
meltdown right across
the road

***
(composed on my cell phone)
Is it me or is it you?
The new hospital campus created a stranger
in the way you say
Welcome back.


 

June 13, 2012
(composed on my cell phone)
Today I watched
four distant birds forming a sign
of the cross as they flew across
the bluish grey skies over the hospital,
their tone-row chirps bounced off
in the wind like those bathroom-tiled squeaks
of bright yellow toy ducks.
Does that mean the patients
are blessed now
so that I won’t have to take
their ghostly blinking hearts
home with me?


 

June 14, 2012
(composed on my cell phone)
As the patient, a soul splinters to memories and realities designed to shock even the most non-sheltered individual. And yet, when that soul has sought the answers to braid his/her newfound coping skills back into life again, it is only then that the most profound shock of all is the sincerity and certainty of boundless hope.


 

Undated (written sometime in 2012)
How do I forget the patients I have yet to meet sometime along the way? I have already begun to change for them.


 

POSTSCRIPT:

After working in a psychiatric hospital for 5 years (and counting) and currently studying in nursing school and going on various clinical rotations, I still find that hospitals and similar settings are a major source of inspiration—wanderings and wonders—for me. In the world of medicine and health care, everything is fragmented: the patients, the staff, the hospital system, health insurance, etc. Because working in health care is constant and fast-paced, my words and poems are composed on the back of blank staff assignment sheets and any scraps of paper I happen to find and stuff in my pockets. However, I do find that composing fragments on my cell phone is a better alternative as I am less likely to lose scraps of words throughout the day that way. Otherwise, those friendly scraps become laundered tabula rasa. For me, writing is a comfort and reminds me of my human vulnerability because we can’t always play God.


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Kathy Uyen Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American poet whose work has appeared in various print and online publications including Lishanu, Take 5: Best Contemporary Tanka. Vol. 3, Pay attention: A river of stones, and Four and Twenty. When she is not a poet, she is currently a student nurse, yogi, a hopeful marathon runner, and an origami enthusiast. She also loves going to museums, the zoo, and watching films and plays. More of her work can be found at Origami Lotus Poetry and on Twitter @alotus_poetry.

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  1. Anonymous
    September 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I love the opening, the language, the way this is structured. I am carried along in the corridors with the people, the speaker and the cell phone which is also a presence. Wonderful!

  2. Barbara LaMorticella
    September 13, 2012 at 5:12 am

    A recent stay by my husband’s hospital bedside reminded me again of what I love about hospitals– the urgency and sense of purpose I feel in many of the people who dealt directly with the patients, the human drama and the intensity of the human contacts in hospitals. I was impressed by the dedication of most of the medical people during my husband’s stay there. I sense that you are one of those dedicated medical people, and I am impressed by your poems.

  3. Barbara LaMorticella
    September 13, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Oh- and your voice is– lovely.

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