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The surgeon's plump fist fit in the skull's half-scooped tub.
Stitching up, after the hemispherectomy,
each needle pump sealing off the left half's torn stub.
Grey, brainy clouds roll over missing metropoli
of all function and control, the mind's pup and cub,
neuron-storms over seas of phantom memory.

Only stitching remains to kilter the neck's hub.
Fontanel of Bible-black thread fed through holey
scalp-skin makes fusion from entropy's urgent drub.
Criss-crossing wire hems this fear: scars shaping bony,
knobby, crusty ridges, burbling up just to snub
the stitches, shed like baby teeth, and as lonely.

Right half on a pan, a nurse passed in bloody scrubs.
So the patient voided, avoiding ignomy.
Terminology explained at the end.

Ever since I first heard someone could live, relatively unaffected, by the loss of half their brain, I was pretty damn-well impressed by nature and the human body's resilience.

Despite my imagery, there's no real loss of memory or function at all. There is an increase in mental retardation, though that's usually present already in the seizing people requiring a hemispherectomy. That said, some people have lived almost completely normal lives (or above normal) with half a brain.

I've tried to divide the poem into two halves and a remainder. One half the logical, nature-dominated side of thought. One half the irrational, fancy-dominated side of thought (where myth and religion come from, in my estimation). Recent research has shown that left-brain/right-brain stereotyping is actually bunk, but it's bunk that people understand, so I went with it. In the remainder I deal with philosophy, which I think is where logic and fancy meet. Specifically, Sartre's Nausea, wherein he talks about the truth causing in the realizer a sense of nausea that results in vomiting. The medical term for the expulsion of matter from the body is 'voiding', but this becomes a double entendre, obviously, for the empty void in the skull (which fills with fluid, but still).

Another visual point to evince would be the ABAB rhyme scheme, which was meant to parallel the stitches theme, obviously.

One last point about the word-use before we get into terminology: I came up with the idea to use words that are missing letters from other words in the poem. Like 'fist' and 'fit', 'avoid' and 'void', and so on, to touch on the idea of what remains when you take away something you think is crucial. But there's one word that degenerates throughout the poem. I'll let you find that one.


Hemispherectomy: an operation where half or parts of the brain are removed to improve conditions involving seizures.

Fontanel: the soft, boneless space in infant's heads where the plates of the skull haven't fully come together and sutured.

Entropy: the force that causes the universe to expand, pulling apart atoms, and, theoretically, causes the denigration of systems and bodies of interacting matter. Interestingly, the human species, as evidenced by its development/civilization, seems to defy entropy as a universal causality.

Ignomy: variant on ignominy: public shame or disgrace.

Void: to excrete waste material from the body.


Honestly, I think this piece needs work. I'm not sure if I struck a good balance between jargon and plain speech, cacophony and euphony, flow and percussion. But, I spent all day on it, so I probably won't return to it anytime soon.

One interesting thing to note is that I wrote the piece while watching movies. So, my attention was pretty divided, which wasn't a writing exercise intentionally, but it sort of became one.
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Yvning Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2011
Very well done. To confine that sort of imagery and sound in a form as tough as a sonnet (I know most wouldn't think so, but it's harder than it looks) is worthy of great applause :clap:
sandzen Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2011   General Artist
Wow, geez, thanks. And for the fav.

I know. I come across a fair bit of uninspired, impenetrable sonnets that fail to achieve half of the promise of whatever inspired them. Honestly, I was worried Stitches was creeping toward that territory. But you make some interesting points. It's a true pleasure to have a stranger offer their two cents. I'm in your debt.
Yvning Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2011
HaHa. I just call it like I see it. You've managed to make sound and imagery the focus as opposed to the form --which is a hellish task when dealing with a classic form, especially a tradition iambic sonnet. This not only shows maturity, but also control and great awareness and intelligence of form. So, comment and fave well deserved :aww:
Parsat Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2011   Writer
The wordplay of this sonnet is simply astounding. Case in point, my favorite line has to be "Fontanel of Bible-black thread fed through holey." The number of themes in that line alone is amazing to me.
sandzen Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2011   General Artist
Aw, thanks. This comment really made me return to the piece and re-evaluate it. I don't hate it quite so much anymore, although I think unity of image, and exactness of image needs to be brought into better focus.

Yeah, that line really saves it, though.
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Submitted on
February 21, 2011
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