Tuesday, August 28, 2012

OpenLinkNight: Multiple choice tests & No. 2 lead-ings

turtle, Branson, MO

who lives, who dies & who cares?

government (ha
now that is a statement,
but this is...) class
& we are discussing
heart transplants,

the denial of one to a twenty three
year old last week, because he's
autistic---

quality of life & usefulness to society,
ability to pay
taxes & create revenue
streams,

really? Angsty stuff
knowing you will piss off
some/every/body
no matter which side you take. we
read the newspaper

clipping, argue til blue (in the face
& other internal parts) but the point
is someone had to make a decision,

which is much different than sitting on the couch,
pretending not to notice or bitching about it
when unwilling to do it yourself---look around

the cinder block walls are thick with layers of paint,
so many layers---aren't they
pretty

Bring out your poems! Bring out your poems! It's OpenLinkNight @ dVerse Poets....time to get out poetry on! Doors open at 3 pm.

Here is a link to the article we were discussing as well.

101 comments:

Dave King said...

I guess I've reached - passed! - the age at which these matters become life and death considerations for me personally, but I do see that there are deep problems here - beneath all the angst. Brave post.

Grace said...

You have asked a tough question Brian, and the answer is not a pretty one. Really, this situation is a sad state of our society ~

Happy day to you ~

Lorraine said...

Excellent write-up, difficult to decide who gets what...personally, I think there should be no organ donations...sorry all those swearing at me right now, but I believe that keeping someone on earth when they could fly back home, our real home,our spiritual home, is kinda crazy, when you think about it.

G-Man said...

Money Talks Son.
Sad case of life.

Daniel said...

Wow, this is a very tricky issue that I would not want to be in a position to rule on. Talk about a slippery slope kind of decision.

the walking man said...

Mickey Mantle got a liver.

DICK cheney an organ to fill that hole in his chest. How long did they wait? How many more years will we now have to look at that bastard spreading his polemic?

Put the kid on the list, give him his shot, at least he won't be sending any of the worlds children off to do something he, himself would not do.

Good question though at the end of the article--have you signed the donor card?

Me? Hell yeah, right to the medical school and they can take every bit of this flesh apart right to the joints and then burn the rest I sure as hell won't be a needin' it when I am dead.

Apparently one eyed diabetics who've smoked for over 50 years, had skin cancer, and more metal in them than a jumbo jet, just don't make good organ donors.

Pauline said...

Someone has to make the decision... pivotal point in this poem.

Your words always ask the hard questions.

Mary said...

Difficult questions you posed in this poem, Brian. I just am glad I am not the one making the decisions. A person in charge of such decision-making would have a hard time sleeping at night, I would think!

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah it is a sad state of affairs
No matter what side will always curl some hairs
I would not want to pick
They should just clone organs already and fix all who get sick
But money talks
Those in need walks

JANU said...

Tough decision to make. Always two sides to a coin. There's angst, pain and also anger. And, the system fails you. Nice write.

Susan said...

With less images and layers than usual, this poem asks me to discuss the issue again. As if this one was more emotional or more political for you. That is not a criticism, just an observation. And the cinder block walls are a heavy symbol! I do not agree that someone had to make a decision. If he is next on the list, give him his turn. So much is experiment in medical transplanting that surely something can be learned here. The decision of the list is already clear.

Daydreamertoo said...

Tough choice. Having gone through the whole liver transplant process from start to end and beyond, with my late partner, I suppose the hospital transplant team have taken all factors into consideration. Will his unpredictable moods affect his recovery. Will his body/mind be able to cope on all the meds he'd need etc etc. The list is endless but, the one thing they cannot deny is his own will to live despite his medical setbacks. Not many of us want to be told we won't do anything to save your life. I read the article.
Your poem hits the spot Brian. Very tough call.

Anyes said...

It is not an easy decision, and you are right...somebody had to take it. Was it the right one?

Monkey Man said...

tough subject,choices....well done brotha :)

Alice Audrey said...

You have to draw the line somewhere. Sometimes, no matter what, someone is going to be the bad guy.

ds said...

Yes, it's a cinder-block wall coated in many layers of paint, and no, they are not pretty. After reading the article, I have several questions. I hope the mother will be able to get a second opinion, and yes, the doctor was right about donor cards...
Dave is correct--this is a brave post. You conduct a brave class. Thank you.

Valerie said...

A very emotive issue, Brian, and one that I'm battling with over here.
Tough questions, touch decisions.

Magpie said...

That's some pretty volatile subject matter, but it is the very reason your students will remember you for years...fondly. And it was a kick in the teeth..."but the point
is someone had to make a decision,". Thank you God, I was not the one.

Jenny Woolf said...

I don't think it's totally right to do nothing and leave these things to medical ethics committees. But that's what I do. At least they presumably enjoy figuring uot the rights and wrongs. Same reason I couldnt stand to be a judge in a court - some of us worry that any conclusion is wrong, and some prefer to reach a conclusion anyhow.

Mama Zen said...

From the article:

as much as somebody might say 'how can they do this,' the question is, "Did you sign your donor card?"

Yes, I did!

Excellent write, Brian.

ayala said...

Passionate and brilliant write..sad and thought provoking.

Claudia said...

so many layers...yes..love that closure...tough questions here with no easy answers at all...i'm glad i'm not the one who has to decide and it's always easy to discuss all kinds of things while sitting comfortably on the couch.. and we don't know how may sleepless nights they have

Louise said...

Oh, tough decision & not one I'd like to make...so difficult..thought provoking write

Glenn Buttkus said...

There are the monetary concerns, the ethics, the compassion, the rules--all thrown in a bilious blender behind the scenes. Once the decision is made, the lines begin with unhappy responders. God, government, or administrators--too often it is out of our pervue.

Tarun Mazumdar said...

It is the same story in every country... the ones making decisions and the ones facing them..

Susan Daniels said...

Brian--well said. I certainly would not want to have to make that choice--unfair, really, to make anyone do so and then try to justify it. Fantastic poem.

Steve E said...

I love to see layers of paint, like on the hull of an old vessel.

Friend of mine (I sponsor him) said this morning at a meeting he is ON THE LIST for a kidney-and-liver transplant. He doesn't have a dime...but I guess they figure he is worth saving at age 45.

He has photographic memory (mine is photogenic--grin!) and is excellent photographer also. Remembers everything he ever has read or been told. Maybe he will life.

Is he more important than autistic Peep? I'll ask HIM, LOL!

Glad I'm not in the decision making group for transplant recipients.

Good story! PLEASE understand, I cannot comment on GUV'MINT right now--life is too peaceful--grin!
PEACE!

Donald Allen said...

A very interesting read. Thank you.

Victoria said...

Meidcal ethics is such a difficult area. Who can put value on a human life? I had a patient once who was bleeding profusely from the urinary tract. He was developmentally disabled and on MediCal. I visited him daily for an injection (Epogen)that cost hundreds each shot. His mother/guardian was of a religion that wouldn't allow blood transfusions and thus no surgeon would operate. The University hospital where I worked had to make the decision to discontinue the expensive treatment since there was not hope without surgery. For me, while I "got it" that decision took the human out of the whole equation. I knew him as a person. Very painful.

hedgewitch said...

What a classroom topic! But if you don't challenge the mind, then thinking, real thinking, just atrophies like a flaccid fat man's abs. I can't imagine a subject more difficult than making the choice of who lives or dies--but most of the ones who do it are so passive aggressive they can squirm their way out of the logic box.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

Money does talk--sad thing is, even when it screams, we all die in the end--the question is with how much or how little of our dignity intact---intense write Brian and spot on--

chromapoesy.com said...

Very tough, thank you for the link to the article. You handle it very well and all I can say is yes, I have signed my donor card. What happens to my organs will be for the debate of those left behind.

Edward said...

what a fire you've lit with this piece...apathy with longer arms than Love can reach with, takes every heart and cuts it wide open...kudos...Edward

pandamoniumcat said...

Great poem that asks of us the tough questions, that need to be asked and thought about it. My firm belief is everyone should be entitled to quality health care regardless of the social economic standing or any other reason. This poor boy has as much right as anyone else to be on a transplant list. It's about compassion and to deny someone hope to me is abominable and you can't play these sorts of games with peoples lives. It's just wrong... and yes become a an organ donor, sign that card.
Again a great not beating about the bush poem that really says something...

Kristina said...

I've thought about this myself. There are some tough decisions to be made. How can people make some of these decisions? Doesn't even seem right that we CAN but we can and somebody has to.

Tara Miller said...

So sad that anyone is viewed as "not worth saving". I hope the person who made that decision had to be the one to look the parents in the eye and tell them. I understand decisions like this probably have to be made but this is just sad...

Joan Barrett Roberts said...

Great poetry is words that leave you a glimpse of what ifs? This indeed is a most difficult decision for anyone to make. So glad I'm not the one making it -- or aren't we?
Thanks!

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

RAGE! That is the feeling right now Brian! To think someone was denied because of autism???? OH!!!! Although I must add I was guardian of a man with mental retardation that died as we fought to get him proper treatment! A "typical" person was put before him who was not as critical.... So.....MANY .....LAYERS

Okay...off to read that article

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I have an autistic godson, who brings great joy to his family and friends, and his own 'quality of life' is excellent. It's not only, who makes the decisions? but also, what are they based on and how do we measure it?

^.^ said...

Heart transplant would have saved my babies life ... way back in 1986 ... but there were no tiny hearts available ... just my own ... but they did't want that ... so they "repaired her to death" ... they didn't want to harvest her corneas for another baby in need ... because they were to small, they said ... all I have left is my grief, and I will never let go of that ... my compassion for my fellow beings has grown ++ since then grown ... so I go on loving ... quietly and cautiously. Love, cat.

Alex Dissing said...

So many layers - some pretty, some not so much. This is a very touchy subject, but you've managed to present it in an entertaining way, as usual. I have an opinion about it all, but "who cares?"

Sue Judd said...

You always address the hard questions, thoughtful, probing poetry...

Bodhirose said...

Pretty pathetic. I felt anger reading about that story...how can it be judged as to whose life is more valuable than another's? The hospital's response...blah, blah, blah...does not cut it.

Yes, I've signed my donor card!

Maggie May said...

Definitely food for thought.
It is in the end all about moneyMaggie X

Nuts in May

jackie dick said...

Terrific scathe here, Brian! Made me tear up some. We need to get a RanT Poetry Collection on Social Issues..howz about it? We are the voices, the pains in the arses that just might get things going again...mebbee? Great Write!

Buddah Moskowitz said...

Really love the title and how such weighty topics rarely ever have a close-ended PLEASE SELECT ONE OPTION answer. Bril, my friend. And how are you enjoying school?

Friko said...

keep your eyes tightly closed against reality, of whatever kind. Much safer that way.

don't say I didn't warn you.

Polly said...

Who has the right?

Who has a choice?

Land of the free.

Love your work.

Bauke Kamstra @wyrde said...

OK, this is rough, but only because we don't know what comes next. The autism man may be better off next time around.

Or not.


Natasha Head said...

I proudly refer to myself as an armchair activist...I have no choice. I am so completely entrenched in this system and survival is a daily chore. But I will not stop shouting. As nerve-wrecking as I may be. Opinions, like orifices, are our entitlements...but that's about it. I take sides boldly and ready my arm chair as shield. At this point, with family, children, and everyday concerns like food and shelter...I have to find a way to make it all work. Okay...I admit to banging pots and pans on my front veranda...and my small town will more than likely tell you I'm crazy...but I'm hoping you'll pick my side in that debate ;) But...for the record...if my organs are any good to any BODY once I'm done with them...have at 'er.

marousia said...

Brilliant - you confronted the hard questions head on bravely

C Rose said...

we fuel the machine that holds our binds...your fury in this is perfectly executed. Send peace and love to you ~ Rose

thecourseofourseasons.com said...

Each day brings decisions big and small - one doesn't know if they are life changing or not - many layers indeed. Thought provoking, Brian! K

Kimolisa said...

Great piece, makes one really think

mrs mediocrity said...

a tough lesson, both for those still young enough to be saddened and those old enough to be hardened...

but having the discussion is half the battle, right? looking up, noticing the plight of others, caring.

someday, we will get there.

Poet Laundry said...

Heck yes. A hard-hitting, straight-shooting piece. Love it, and the imagery of the white-washed walls-great!

manicddaily said...

Very great close especially. k.

Serena said...

Ah, Brian, now you've gone and made me all uncomfortable. I wouldn't want to be making these kinds of decisions and I have to believe the ones who do aren't all monsters. If resources are limited ... how do you decide? How would you keep your soul intact? Now I'm going to have to check out the article you posted. Darn you! :)

joanna said...

whoever has the job to make those decisions is in an unenviable position. "fair" isn't even on the table, and the sad truth is, the choice is made mostly by algorithm, so that i wonder if anyone even loses sleep at night.... thanks for bringing up the hard stuff, b.

Joanna Jenkins said...

How sad is THAT! Maybe if politicians and corporations spent less money blasting the "competition" in tv and newspaper advertisements they'd have more $$$ for the important stuff. I'm shaking my head at this one.
Very well written to make the point.
jj

Joanna Jenkins said...

PS Soooo glad to hear about the new job. The school's lucky to have you!
High five,
jj

sonny said...

those who care....just do...as simple as that....
and those who ponder over these things...are usually the ones who do....

Teresa said...

You've really started a conversation~certainly the sign of a great poem. I am just glad I don't have to make those decisions.

Beachanny said...

Topical, textural and provocative - tightly packed in a small space crammed with voices, emotion; where the walls are painted over and the subjects are ever changing. Quite a tight poem that slips in between the words.

Sheila said...

Wow. Can't believe in this day and age...

Catching up on reading. I see u had a bday. Hope it was good! Also, I am completely enjoying your musings about highschoolers. We just had the big hoopla about how short the shorts can be (or not be ) when my daughter start middle school a week ago. Fun times.

Quotes,Photos and a little Poetry said...

Still thinking about what you wrote and that's a good thing. I promise :)

lifeisaroadtrip said...

I remember having debates like this in school. Those classes and the teachers who taught them were always my favorites.

Semaphore said...

Unfortunately our society continues to choose the wrong answers to those multiple choice questions. Unfortunately I'm not sure whether there is actually one correct answer - it's as if every choice can lead to tragedy.

PattiKen said...

The decision is a tough one, and I would hate to have to make it. But I would like to believe that if I were responsible for something like that, money, power, or fame wouldn't factor into it.

SaraV said...

Wow Brian, you went right for the heart on this one--so difficult, if you're the mom or dad--how could anyone say that life is not worth saving? Layers indeed.

Wander said...

That is some hard shit...I can feel a bit of contempt here Brian...
good poem!

Fred Rutherford said...

what an amazing piece Brian. Love the merger of the real "classroom" to the life "classroom" and the hardship of life, into a poem about activities within. The rejection because the person is autistic is awful, it hurts just to think, gets me mad, who has the right to judge where that donation should go, a waiting list is one thing, which I guess can't really be avoided, but to deny because of "quality of life" or even worse, to who some administrative group feels the donation will go to someone with a higher upside, that's just embarrassing to me, as having to share human status with these types. Strong, strong, piece. Thanks

vivinfrance said...

Everyone has a right to the best treatment available, but there aren't enough organs to go round. Catch 22. The decision-makers presumably know more about the medical reasons for yay or nay than the journalists and the public.

A splendid campaigning poem, Brian.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

"who lives, who dies & who cares?"

Hi! Brian...Unfortunately,
"the denial of one to a twenty three year old last week, because he's autistic---"

This is the reason why:
"quality of life & usefulness to society,ability to pay taxes & create revenue streams..."

[Which make your poetic words...extremely, sad and a revealing a harsh truth...too!]
Tks, for sharing "Multiple choice tests & No. 2 lead-ings"
and the image too!
deedee :-(

beckykilsby said...

Love how a real experience in class has made it into poetry, travelling continents.

I can only say that having the freedom to debate and the possibility of changing things (in theory) is a hard-earned freedom... and we need reminding that active involvement beats sitting on that couch.. otherwise, you might as well be sitting in an autocracy (like I am... :( with only the chance of gradually influencing thinking.. could take generations, and our systems may not work in other contexts.

Brian, a great write. I enjoyed the immediacy and the stimulation.

kkkkaty said...

Socially conscious is something we all need to be for "but there by the grace of God go I"....your style makes good use of asking hard questions.....

Tigerbrite said...

A strong message here (as always). My friend has just returned from UK after being with her father whilst he died. She is gutted over the lack of compassion from the National Health Service.

kez said...

So true and well said ...if only we could all be equal and resources plentiful , I have been blessed personally but unfortunately have to wait yet again for someone I will never see, to determine how long or if I receive another "gift".
I can really relate to this strong message thanks so much for sharing x x

Rachel Hoyt said...

Wow. No heart transplant because you're autistic?! That seems like the definition of heartless.

Day Dreamer said...

Wow! Heavy stuff here and fantastically written! Decisions like these have many different repercussions, much like the thick layers of paint...

Great write!

Ash Sharma said...

Thought provoking piece. Brilliant

Raivenne said...

Land of the free, home of the brave -- as long as they have of the right mind and money.

You've posed a hard, question Brian. It's akin to those individuals who are ardently for the death penalty, yet when asked if he or she personally could "flip the switch" suddenly blanch. Someone has to make the decision, and someone else has to carry it out it.

CiCi said...

Interesting viewpoint, at least someone made a decision while so many are in their comfort zones with strong opinions.

sreeja harikrishnan said...

Thought provoking....where will the answers come from........

AmyLK said...

I read that article awhile ago. Its a shame about the decision.

colleen said...

My brother was told he was not sick enough and then too sick to survive a liver transplant. He died in 2001.

Arron Shilling said...


calling in to question ??? . . .

a call to arms!!!

making me think . . .

cheers brian

Marbles in My Pocket said...

And the guy in the rear burnt his drivers license? No! Wait! Can I buy a vowel?

flaubert said...

Hard question, Brian, with no beautifully accurate answer. As always you do make us think with your writing. Nicely done my friend.

Pamela

Buddha3074 said...

This country is in a sad state of affairs, for sure. The slow death is catching up to us, while the ruling tyrants living on high watching the chaos!

Uneven Stephen said...

Ouch, heavy. This stanza really speaks volumes:

"Angsty stuff
knowing you will piss off
some/every/body
no matter which side you take."

And that newspaper stuff....it's hard. Good questions you pose here.

awakenedwords said...

one of my favorites of yours Brian. Edgy, current, right on point.

Sue said...

An autistic person has every right to a heart once his/her name comes to the top of the list. I know several families with autistic children (my own included) and they are no less valuable because they are different.

Disturbing.

"/

Apryl Gonzales Sweet said...

the cinder block walls are thick with layers of paint,
so many layers---aren't they
pretty

wow! slapped it down, love it! You always make me think :)

RMP said...

I think I'd like to sit in on your class and hear the reactions, thoughts, and ideas of the future. I commend you for asking the question--if we don't ask the question, no one can answer it.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Beautifully edgy, cuts to the point. Loved the first line.... no easy answers...

Syd said...

Hard choices and ones not so much made because of compassion but something else--necessity, expediency, money? I don't know but I hope compassion is in there somewhere.

william said...

its all about MONEY, lol how unusual :)

Goofball said...

oh gosh, what a difficult topic

adan said...

the truth in this reminds me of a dog chasing its tail, occasionally get a snip of a bite then howling in pain then resuming the chase to get what hurt him, lot of stuff to think about in this poem, thanks brian!

poeticlicensee said...

Money talks & more times than not, with pitch-forked tongue...