Spring Summer Internship 2011

(where I don’t enter a fast-track grad scheme, or go on the road with Kerouac)

In this funny ward, we’ll sit together and read the dissidents and listen to Pink Floyd and build dens out of hospital sheets, and we can hide there, us, the crazy diamonds, in our tepee huts, and we’ll call it a literary retreat, or an intellectual hibernation, and not a sickness. We’ll go Oscar fucking Wilde.

It’s a poor excuse for a clinical wasteland. Festering, near-vaporurised girls threaded up with IVs and wasting and sickness, hunched over in wheelchairs with creaking bones and scratchy hospital gowns and tubes pouring out of their noses. I think I’ve joined an extended tea-party of tarnished has-beans. Both juvenile and ancient, a difficult disjunction because the adult expert part doesn’t want to embrace the forced changes (eat, function, live). But as children, we want the attention and the tantrum. An eating disorder ward is full of performatic antics, you know. The coy child and cruel adult. Here. we play with food, chew, spit, puke, moan, groan, and hold our distended stomachs like famished famine children. We talk about defecation, and enemas, and constipation, with glorious abandon, mostly just to shock the Nigerian agency nurses, who ask us for diet advise in exchange for hair braiding. We forget about the normal and become a savage little tribe of ravished Medeas. Social niceties and norms diminish. It’s like a Mallory Towers for the starved.

Continue reading