Thursday, July 15, 2010

Waiting Room


In the waiting room it’s muted
in the waiting room it’s cold
filling forms and signing papers
simply doing what I’m told

smiling faces gazing up from
creased and tattered magazines
seem content to be distractions -
they’re still prettier than me

there’s a door that I came in through
there’s a door where I will go
with a waiting room between them
full of people I don’t know

all whose lives have been delayed here
and who share a common aim;
who can only sit and wait for
someone else to call their name

there is water in the corner
and a clock that holds its breath,
there are flippant plastic houseplants
impervious to dust and death

there’s a door that closed behind us
there’s a door that’s closed in front
with a silence in the waiting
full of nothing that we want

7 comments:

swatinair said...

I remember my first interview. It felt just like this. Just like this.

Brilliant.

-Swati/RassumFrassum

Kits said...

there are flippant plastic houseplants
impervious to dust and death

Fab fab lines :)

In Hindi there is a word 'hai' which changes meaning depending on the tone on the speaker. 'Hai, kaash tumhare tarah likh pati' translates into 'If only, I could write like you!' with an envious tone :)

Karen said...

I've spent a good bit of this week living this poem, and it is amazing to me the feelings and details that you've pulled so accurately from my own experience. A door that we've come in through and another we'll go out of, and waiting, waiting in between. Yes, you've described the hospital waiting room but life, too, with the strangers we encounter here. Read this way, the last lines become a bleak comment on living.

Sarah Hina said...

It's a terrible place of purgatory you've described here. There's a haunting sense of powerlessness, and settling, and dimmed hope, that rubbed against me, like that cheap faux leather that sticks to your legs.

And even though they're not really very similar, in terms of context, the poem reminded me of Radiohead's "Fake Plastic Trees."

Wonderful, yet again.

Terresa said...

Lyrical lines here. My favorites were:

"there is water in the corner
and a clock that holds its breath,
there are flippant plastic houseplants
impervious to dust and death"

Great writing!

joaquin carvel said...

swati - thank you. i think all interviews feel like the first interview - for me at least. good to see you!

kits - wow - a compliment in hindi! thank you! i understand - there are many i wish i could write like - but then i wouldn't know how to write like me. and that's where my voice is, for better or for worse.

karen - i was sorry to hear about your mom - hope she is (and you are) doing well. you're right - that is a pretty bleak outlook. i didn't really intend it that way - i was thinking more that the waiting is almost always worse than the news - but i was feeling bleak, and i always love when someone reads something i wrote in a different light. thank you!

sarah - damn. "purgatory" probably would have been a better title. maybe i'll use that in the book. (there is no book - but if there was....) anyway - yes - nothing dims hope quite like powerlessness. except maybe cheap vinyl. thank you. if this was a song, i'd like to think it would sound radioheadish.

terresa - thank you! glad you dropped in!

Julie said...

Very powerful and accurate portrayal of the waiting room, or as Karen says, life in general. I've been there and have lived it, and you describe it so well.