ParalyticIt happens. Will it go on? ----My mind a rock,No fingers to grip, no tongue,My god the iron lungThat loves me, pumpsMy twoDust bags in and out,Will notLet me relapseWhile the day outside glides by like ticker tape.The night brings violets,Tapestries of eyes,Lights,The soft anonymousTalkers: 'You all right?'The starched, inaccessible breast.Dead egg, I lieWholeOn a whole world I cannot touch,At the white, tightDrum of my sleeping couchPhotographs visit me ----My wife, dead and flat, in 1920 furs,Mouth full of pearls,Two girlsAs flat as she, who whisper 'We're your daughters.'The still watersWrap my lips,Eyes, nose and ears,A clearCellophane I cannot crack.On my bare backI smile, a buddha, allWants, desireFalling from me like ringsHugging their lights.The clawOf the magnolia,Drunk on its own scents,Asks nothing of life.
There were usually not nearly as many sick people inside the hospital as Yossarian saw outside the hospital, and there were generally fewer people inside the hospital who were seriously sick. There was a much lower death rate inside the hospital than outside the hospital, and a much healthier death rate. Few people died unnecessarily. People knew a lot more about dying inside the hospital and made a much neater job of it. They couldn’t dominate Death inside the hospital, but they certainly made her behave. They had taught her manners. They couldn’t keep Death out, but while she was there she had to act like a lady. People gave up the ghost with delicacy and taste inside the hospital. There was none of that crude, ugly ostentation about dying that was so common outside of the hospital. They did not blow-up in mid-air like Kraft or the dead man in Yossarian’s tent, or freeze to death in the blazing summertime the way Snowden had frozen to death after spilling his secret to Yossarian in the back of the plane.“I’m cold,” Snowden had whimpered. “I’m cold.”“There, there,” Yossarian had tried to comfort him. “There, there.”They didn’t take it on the lam weirdly inside a cloud the way Clevinger had done. They didn’t explode into blood and clotted matter. They didn’t drown or get struck by lightning, mangled by machinery or crushed in landslides. They didn’t get shot to death in hold-ups, strangled to death in rapes, stabbed to death in saloons, blugeoned to death with axes by parents or children, or die summarily by some other act of God. Nobody choked to death. People bled to death like gentlemen in an operating room or expired without comment in an oxygen tent. There was none of that tricky now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t business so much in vogue outside the hospital, none of that now-I-am-and-now-I-ain’t. There were no famines or floods. Children didn’t suffocate in cradles or iceboxes or fall under trucks. No one was beaten to death. People didn’t stick their heads into ovens with the gas on, jump in front of subway trains or come plummeting like dead weights out of hotel windows with a whoosh!, accelerating at the rate of thirty-two feet per second to land with a hideous plop! on the sidewalk and die disgustingly there in public like an alpaca sack full of hairy strawberry ice cream, bleeding, pink toes awry.