Tell me something I don’t know,
Show me something I can’t use,
Push the button,
Connect the goddamn dots.
—Ministry, ‘TV II’

 

Thrice times toxic, 0.90, brains Ballantine’s
Bloodied, lacking money or memory, flattened
On my gurney, it was vaguely amazing that an
Emergency would stay in one room for my open
Casket funeral-in-waiting. Angels in smiling
Lab coat white chanted ‘hollow, hollow, hollow,’
Clicked time on their clipboards, marked
The hour when I asked the graceful shade
To rise and escort me by the elbow.
Tell me something I don’t know,

I said. Pointing to the grey lake beyond
The window, one replied: ‘Full fathom five
Thy father lies, rolling in the waves,
Those are the pills that were his eyes.
When there is nothing left of you
And your sideways split mind and you lose
Your need to mythologise, you and he will
Share a plot side by side and decide which
One sinks the heavier. I suggest you choose.’
Show me something I can’t use,

I demanded. He held up my shoelaces. ‘Fate’s fool,
You are here. Dawn approaches and the light
Glows with purpose. Thistles grow ever faster,
Foul air smells sweet and the labyrinth
Of night has nearly closed about you.
Thou shalt be judged.’ My guardian moved on
To other wards. Is the IV bag half-empty
Or half-full? The question suddenly assumed
Tremendous importance to a struggling orphan.
Push the button,

I yelled, let there be an ending. O death
You come so pretty to me these days!
Like a whisper behind my earlobe, you come
In new and fantastical words: triage,
Co-morbidity, suicidality, discharge, relapse,
Spoken by mouths of gibbering polyglots.
And after failed pass, I’m obliged to surrender
Every ever after I’ve ever had so in time
My next version will blight the wall in spots.
Connect the goddamn dots.