The night before surgery: thoughts and stuff…

Stuff, mostly. Things that came or went or stayed or circled back…in no particular order:

1. My unfinished poems. Technically, what is the status of a half-done poem when life is finished?
2. The first thirteen lines of a brand new poem. Quite unrelated to the situation at hand. Poetry comes when it comes. Even through a canula.
3. One person I wanted to apologize to. From way back before way back. Time moves in mysterious trajectories inside a hospital, dodging right angles and ramps, needles and gurneys.
4. How mesmerizing that infinitely slow drip from the IV pouch is – like an existential morse code. Drip. Dash. Dash. Damn. Drip.
5. Two questions the universe hasn’t answered yet. The universe needs deadlines and then someone to enforce the deadlines. The united nations of forsaken questions.
6. All the people I hadn’t visited when they were in hospital. Karma is a fucking vengeful accountant.
7. All my passwords. To important things. To streaming apps. To game apps. Memorized for potential transfer in the ether.
8. How will people I know who don’t know any one else I know, know if I die?
9. What about the person who gets my mobile number? What if they get the call I am waiting for?
10. The earliest I can go to South Korea is next summer. Maybe it will be beautiful in autumn? Will seasons still be seasons next year? Will next year still be next year? Will I still be I? What difference will it make?
11. Raised voices. Running feet. Wheels. Hums. Clanging of metal. Like the inside of a program. Everything in binary code. [Life. Death.] [Hospital. Sky.] [Tomorrow. Maybe.] [Why. If only.] [1.0.]
12. AK Ramanujan’s poem about the death of his father:
“But someone told me
he got two lines
in an inside column
of a Madras newspaper
sold by the kilo
exactly four weeks later
to street hawkers”

I was paraphrasing, crushing his craftsmanship inside my head. But this is now. No one prints obituaries anymore. No one reads newspapers anymore. But someone told me / she got 17 likes/ and the odd comment/ on an Instagram post/ that an algorithm relegated/ executing quietly / an hour later
13. My mother.

26 thoughts on “The night before surgery: thoughts and stuff…

  1. It gets harder not to have thoughts like this as we get older. And 2021 brought home just how quickly some things can end. Glad you are on the other side of this and I hope healing progresses smoothly.


  2. I hope your recovery goes well. I had no idea you were ill. Rest easy my friend. All those unfinished works and things you didn’t do will find resolution one way or another. Either you’ll get them done over the coming months and years or they will slip away as unimportant. After all, health is the most important thing. No point in stressing over what the past. Getting strong and healthy after surgery is a journey all it’s own.


      1. Thanks Rajani. All is well. The scare is very real: Munira had an operation over 3 months back. We’re glad that it’s behind us as I am sure you are too. Take care and get well soon.


  3. My poet friend rajani,

    I wish you well and many more delightful days of life in the wild and wonderful world of Planet Earth. Yes, hospitals can be poignant reminders of our fragility, the fragrant scent of a rose bud that sparks delight and then wafts away on the winds of time.



  4. Wow, you took me to exactly the same thoughts I had before surgery some years back, a watrshed moment when – then – my main regret was I had not archived my work in books. When the tumor was benign I immediately set about correcting that situation and I now have a shelf full of books. I am glad this is past, too, I was worried till I read the comments. Whew. When I was told, it was like a complete reprieve, a new beginning. You wrote this so real, it took me right there.


  5. Glad to learn from the above comment that this is now past. So long since I had any surgery … and it’s only ever been for things like broken ankles, not carrying the possibility that I might die. But there have been other times I’ve contemplated that possibility, and yes, those are the kinds of mixed-up thoughts; you’ve captured it well.


  6. Good to know that it is behind you and you are you, still. Hopefully we will get together when the time is right…till then.


  7. How you capture this! Pre-surgery, in my experience, is exactly like that. If you are indeed on the brink of a procedure now, take my thoughts with you — prayers for you, your doctors, the hospital, everyone who cares. All will be well.


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