Posted in Death


He came into our lives the year The Beatles took America
in the coolest symbol of that cool era
a yellow Mini Minor
hurtling around town
visiting the one and no car homes
with stethoscope, instrument bag and jelly beans.
He checked our ears for rabbits
throat for aahhs
co-operation rewarded with jelly beans.
Prescriptions were scrawled at the kitchen table
while drinking tea
coffee still traitorous in a former English colony
dispensing medicine of a different sort – listening
company for over burdened, over childrened housewives.

With formalities and informalities complete
A rush to the surgery and mobile patients.
People paid monthly then
the scalpel of welfare applied to invoices
many agreeably billed for a sum less than expected.
It was widely known some never paid – and were never refused.

Grandpop died of betrayal
his body ceased to obey the mind’s will
spirit fled to another billet. Death moved in.
There should have been an autopsy
being pissed off with yourself doesn’t hold with the coroner
Grandma didn’t want him cut up
through tears said her husband would hate that
lying on a table like a slab of beef on a butcher’s block.
He came in the dark family saloon that visit
perhaps the yellow Mini too flamboyant for such a calling
or being early Sunday morning
his wife didn’t need the big car as a taxi
listened sympathetically
and counterfeited the paperwork.

He wasn’t unique
carbon copies in every small town
doctors who job shared with themselves
multitasking as paramedic, physician, counsellor, social worker
making a good living but not the dollars possible.

Some things disappear so irretrievably
it is possible to believe that existence never was.
Medicine is a business nowadays
General Practice renamed primary health care.
The family doctor as altruist
and gone forever. Dead a good many years.

For the back story click Backstage
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Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.