Urology & Ambulatory Care


hardly anything hurts here
front of the internet
finding out where it came from:

personal history
recurrent urinary tract infection
external beam radiation
consumption of aristolochia fangchi
infection by parasite
caffeine saccharin
hairdresser machinist
printer painter trucker
rubber, chemical, textile, metal, leather worker
smoker (greatest risk) dark tobacco
after that light then second hand
male over fifty
worse as you age

Give up smoke. Get younger.

Have you brought your dressing gown? High eighties outside. I have not. You'd best wear this. Hospital tie-at-back shortie blue angel gown your NHS arse sticks out you can't go in there with your arse out I don't care put on these paper pants cover yourself there's a love. Cover my arse they won't. Edges flapping can't reach or be bothered. Goosebumps. Fear. You alright, Peter? You're next, my love. You are. There's a good boy.

On the screen it's like miniature DynoRod
hunting my house drains
water running so it slides
headlamp camera scouring plunger
At twenty meters they found a ring-seal loose
have to dig that out

On the notes when I browse them
while the nurse is out
the sketch looks like a sea anemone
still life: bladder with flower
done in biro
sideways on the urine analysis
Red cells present: too
many to number.

My father died in this building
five floors up from where I am now
sunlight streaming through the glass
nurse with stockings clearly visible
under her white dress neither
he nor I bothering
him pulling hard for breath and me
holding tight his hand. End game.

But this time, not yet.
I put the gown in the dumper &
the pants in the bin.
Breathe again.

Urology first appeared in The New Welsh Review

Ambulatory Care

I'm with the old men again in
Ambulatory Care waiting to see
if the anemones have come back.

Ronald is given water so he can
piss a bit, pissing helps.
Does a gallon in 24,
has a tattooed anchor on his arm.

These extrusions, effusions,
polyps, pricks, nipples,
tiger flowers, cracked bulbs,
filaments, screw heads -
they come back. They flower
while we ponder. Fuse the muscle.
Flush with blood.

Things we do while waiting:
stop hearing

One of us does that breath
over teeth tuneless the others
watch. No sun no window. Grey.

It's Ronald's turn, he wiggles his toes.
He is drinking lemon squash
pulse piss information sheet
do and don't. Ronald will
have a ray gun fired at him.
Will have slices done.
His bladder will fill with
residual fat some blackened but
mostly still floribunda rapacious. It
won't go away.
Ronald pulls on his plastic
beaker doesn't know this yet.

I'm a smoker he says it over
like a mantra I'm a smoker
like this is the reason the only one
they've told him fear like an empty sky

flowers up ahead.


Ambulatory Care first appeared in Poetry Wales




The penis clinic in Victoriana prick todger prart pork sword skin flute throbber john thomas rusher old man glans proud slammer blaengroen carrot aardvark hatband snozzle tickle-tackle whickerbill whistle full of glowing youth Sun Star Al-Jazirah Nike Nokia

Wash of at risk posters Tattooed Taken The Risk? Take the test. Self harm don't cope alone. Missed pill oops. Injecting? Fight 4 Your Rights. HIV find out. Mobile don't use it everyone does.

How it goes here: fear, irrelevance, inconvenience, stuttering, ignorance, ineptitude, woke with zoon's bananitis, raging smegma, inflamed frenular veins, foreskin ballooning more likely secretion and vast redness pain when doing anything. This carn't be rite number M20446591 waiting in the floor-bolted lounge chairs like a battered airport departures. No air crew. Woman with a flowing white coat loose threads seen better days files under her arms circles. Pert African with tea mugs. Helper from Aberdare green bri-nylon who puts marks on forms. Janitor who ignores the flickering strip light. Delivery of boxes. Phone goes. No movement. Time settling like low fog. Battery gone from clock. Late arrival giant Rasta seen immediately. Continuum like a brick. Feet. Arms. Hands. Head.

Ages: 18, 18, 27, 32, 38, 17, 16, 57, 20, 21, 18, 16, 31, 20, 18, 27, 32, 38, 17, 20, 20, 20.

That many of us.

At the start of the 80s Peeping Tom poetry little mag put out a masturbation issue with work from Lee Starwood, Yann Lovelorn, John Squelch, Bill Sniffit, Barry McFuzz faded mimeograph foolscap photocopied porno shots pasted in and a cover made from wallpaper. Tristan Tzara - the rockets, the open forces of the waterfall threaten us. Opal L Nations. Bob Cobbing. Names like strata nimbus. Sex and Gestetner ink. 64-mil hard sized white stacked and circumcised.

I read the poems. Harwood's White Room. 60s. Feels like the past engaging with the present and failing. The light in here smears the words. Would have changed the world but the world shifted first.

At Urology reception next to Transplants it's like the 4am flight to Gran Canaria tshirts sunhats slop loud everything but no larger. They move you to a second waiting area to keep the stats in shape. One side of me a seventy-year old on a wheeled walking frame, trouble talking doesn't stop him reading out extracts from the Daily Mail. Woman found the face of Christ in a Sesame Ryvita. White hat like a cricket umpire. To my right eighty five, shouts it, won't drink enough water to pee can't be seen until he can drink this don't want to must.

You have names here. Mr Jones. Three of them. Mr Williams. Four of those.
Mr Finch. He's three hours down the list.

Here Harwood fits. A soft pearly brightness in the mist. Lines twisting between shuffle and cough.

The walls warn me against smoking, advise me on bedwetting, tell me not to be frightened when parts of me leak, lisp, leer, illuminate, inflate, conflate, flag, fail, flounder, finish. They show me how to complain, inform me of support groups, let me lean amid their upbeat public service chatter. Leechate is feared in landfill. Here it simply seeps across the floor.

In the lane I've put six boxes of old little mags. Tlaloc. Ambit. Mainly. Element. Rumpus. Oasis. The staples rust. Damp grows on the lower pages. They fold and fade. Mould and foxing. White encrustation. Skin blemish unmoveable by cream. The poems had poor life then none now. Most of them. Many about self. A few about love. None of them about urine. Transmissions of hope gone into dust. There are some of Mottram's Poetry Review. Best of the period a radiance. I yank them back. Most of this detritus, though, won't even burn if I lit it.

There's a photo in there too. Bunch of poets gathered to celebrate the small printing of something. Reid wearing a sombrero, J Tripp with a pint in his hand. Cobbing smiling. Bob Thomas happy just to be in front of the lens. All dead. Me, who held the camera, the only survivor.

Bloods. Wait. Biopsy. Wait. Check with light on a stick. I practise breath patterns. On the out breath how many words can I string? More than Ginsberg. Worth writing down? No.

This cure anti-viral. Side-effects: lights, nausea, skin rash (occasional), rush of creativity. Shortness of breath. Insight. Ability to manipulate paragraphs. Good recall. Remove staples.

Fix the past by deleting the cache.


Clinic first appeared in Poetry Wales




Peter Finch


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