An Idiot Wind Blows

a wind is sweeping the land
no wait, across our planet
the wind blows through the halls of power
no country is sacrosanct

mediocrity our new political watchword
on a good day!
on every other day
we would be considered blessed
to have mediocre leaders

the wind of the bigot
the ignorant
the illiterate autocrat
blows with vigour
no stone left unturned
all that stand in the way 
bashed, broken, ripped apart

theocracy takes flight
the hot air of idiocy
blows with venom
from the open gaping
vacuous mouths
of our elected leaders

even when they are eloquently
hoisted on their own petard
their praise singers and chorus lines
run to the fore
like court jesters of old

the halls are silent
laughter is absent
intentions are real, deceitful
wrestling power and control
from the blind electorate
who have realised to late
the error of their ballot cross
has now become a cross they cannot bear

© 2015 michael d emmerich

The Red Light Train

rain falling, mist rising, darkness beckons.

I clamber out of bed to join the red light train

bare feet on a cold concrete floor

soon shod feet on a metal pedal

as you push down, to join the red light train

cresting the dark hill the train stretches out before you

you latch onto the back 

sometimes with care other times with annoyance

so begins your day, for most, so begins everyday

the train has life and pace of its own

each day is a new train, always dynamic, ever-changing

it moves at its own unique pace

like a slinky, up and over the rolling hills

expanding and contracting 

moving at the pace of the slowest

Like life...

the train does not encourage one to look beyond the red lights

getting on and off causes frustration, 

it takes time, patience and determination

once you commit, you're hooked

that's why it's refreshing

to not ride the train everyday

Like life.....

one needs change, new challenges, new trains

a chance to ride the rails alone, breaking new ground

create your own red light train

trail-blaze your own path

create new uncharted rails

be your own red light train

driving into a new sunrise


© 2015 Michael D Emmerich

EMS – You Can Never Leave

Last thing I remember I was running for the door

I had to find the passage back to the place I was before

“Relax,” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave”

EAGLES – Hotel California

EMS is like the Hotel California: “You can check out anytime you like… but you can never leave” the memories, faces, successes and failures will always be with us. They dim at times over the years, but they are always there. I read a thought provoking and honest analysis on being a paramedic a few months back and have been mulling over her post, digging through ramblings from my field journals and the skeleton of a story I have been working on for about 2 years… these all prompted me to ramble further…

The blog post that triggered this article is: Unless you’ve been there, you wouldn’t understand: A Paramedics farewell to the job. Posted on February 10, 2015 by Di McMath

One of the key issues for me is the ability/or lack thereof to detach from what we are doing and seeing; this drags one into the massively dehumanising temptation of EMS. I do feel that this dehumanisation is both inexorable and dangerous – as practitioners we need to know how to halt or slow it down. After 30 years of emergency medicine practise; I am still not entirely sure if we can entirely halt the process, which is why we can never fully check-out.

Being a fan of the poetry of Wilfred Owen, and as I reread his poems on a regular basis, I was drawn back to his poems during this thought process and found some further insight on reading “Insensibility”:

And some cease feeling

Even themselves or for themselves

Dullness best solves

The tease and doubt

The poem plays along the interesting juxtaposed lines of detached versus involved, and the varied degrees of these mindsets. Those of us in the profession have over the years dabbled with both approaches, the trick is for each individual to find his/her own balance. That is all part of the process of slowing down the dehumanising process. Finding this balance is key, if we do not, then we are doomed to keep repeating the mistakes of our past (mistakes as regards emotions and those of a clinical nature).

Emergency Medicine has the ability to dehumanise and diminish or renew and expand our powers of feeling. It is our choice to decide which path to follow. We realise soon on in our profession that this is one of the many choices that we have to make. How we deal with this choice determines how we deal with another key critical decision we as practitioners in the field are confronted with at numerous times in our career. Who lives or dies, or why do some people die despite our best efforts; and the pain of admitting defeat and saying okay, we need to stop now, the patient is deceased.

It is on these crucial scenarios, that I have to agree with the title of Di’s blogpost:

Unless you have been there you wouldn’t understand – Its sounds trite, but it is so true.

Trying to explain this process of immediate Triage, that at times needs to be done in very short time frames, less than a minute, is very difficult. Those are some of the choices we can never walk away from, and even when we do make them we cannot stop thinking about “What If?” the curse and bane of every paramedic. The cursed ability to second guess yourself long after the fact on an ongoing basis. It is here where we as emergency medicine practitioners are faced with the dehumanising and diminishing or the renewing and expanding of mental and medical health.

The goal of our profession should be a living force in the quest for and prevention of human suffering, but that sometimes comes at the cost of our own mental health. As we enter, continue in and exit this amazing profession, lets consider the cost to those we have served and continue to serve. All we can do as practitioners is warn, and that is why the practitioner needs to be truthful.


Read these 2 poems I wrote on the cost of service:

Lights Camera Affluence

The following article is of my experiences, thoughts and observations as a set medic on film shoots, they have mostly been for the advertising industry. I have been working on film sets quite a lot lately, all about making ends meet (see closing comments). I am keeping it short and not alluding to any specific shoots/products or locations.

For the worker bees a day begins early and ends late, it is not uncommon to work in excess of 14 hours a day, excluding travelling to set., this can continue for days on end, leading to tired workers, who then make mistakes. The longer the shoot (hours and days) the more likelihood of injuries. The medic is one of the worker bees, one of the first to arrive and last to leave, we also serve a safety supervisory role (although with very little power, unlike in the construction industry where we can stop poor unsafe work). The medic fills a strange role, we are an essential service, shooting cannot happen without our presence, but that’s were it it sometimes ends. We are the adult baby sitters of the film set industry.

It is a strange world within a world, a peculiar insular existence, divorced from the reality of the day to day grind of the real world. It is possibly a very jaundiced view of society at large, on a micro scale. Although at times some of the hierarchy takes their positions to the extreme (in my opinion), with their strange demands and need for someone to always be at their beck and call. It is a world of chaperones, chauffeurs, PA’s – whose primary function is to be an espresso on tap machine (everyone has a PA, except the medic). I asked one of the PA’s how some of these people (senior crew and foreign actors) cope at home; the reply was classic: “They must still live with their mothers” 🙂

Summer shoots are possibly the worst (as the daylight shooting hours are so much longer); and the medics primary role is to dispense sunscreen and having to tell foreign actors and crew to drink fluids and apply sunscreen, which they never do… and then you have to assist them later gggrrr. An area of the industry that sits uncomfortably with me is when the child and baby “actors” that get trotted out, they at most times have no say in the matter and their parents seem to live their acting lives out , vicariously through their children or babies. Adult actors have a choice, but the kids not. They live a bored restless existence on set, in some cases just wanting to go home. The medic has to make sure that they are looked after and on hot summer days doing outdoor beach shoots this taxes one to the extreme.

I do battle to deal with the mindset of some of the people, and then their are the worker bees like myself (who have been doing this for years) and for them it is just a job, and is not office or desk bound, and for that they are happy. Many of these individuals acknowledge the concerns and issues when we sit and chat on the many slow days. It pays the bills and puts food on the table or their kids through school. They choose not to look beyond that. I suppose if one digs deep enough in any profession you will encounter similar issues, that the worker bees just live with.

The cynic in me has now come out… so stop reading if you do not want to read my cynical exposition of the ad/film industry.

When you look at the money spent on marketing to sell your next burger, cool drink, car, or dish washing liquid. Is it worth it? The cost of your next purchase carries all this marketing embedded in its base cost price, would it make the cost of goods cheaper if ad budgets were smaller?

Many jobs are created by these industries, but at the end of the day does the advert actually add value to the product? To what end is this entire process, as it becomes hugely self sustaining, and reliant on the general public to keep buying into this process, to which they are more than willing to comply.

A Sonnet of Requited Passion

Trying my hand at writing a sonnet… lets see how it goes (my first sonnet) inspired by and dedicated to my wife 🙂

Oh the journey of danger

Begins with the form,

Of one who is not a stranger

But rather with a burning storm

Passions unleashed by ones love

As the dangerous flowing curves

Of her female form are void

Of all clothing and other womanly reserves

Laid bare to the silhoutte

Of the fading streaming golden sunlight,

As the two-tone colours on an artists palette

Raising raging desires to a height

All these passions can only be sated

Once heightened passions have abated


© 2015 Michael D Emmerich

What’s Louder Than Words?

the crack of a rifle firing
in the forest or field of war
wailing siren of a rushing
an approaching ambulance
cutting through the black night

continuous wailing of a house alarm
shattering the darkened silence
hard rain falling on a tin roof
interrupted by the crash of thunder

Thoughts, visions, images
screaming louder than words

wind whistling through the lush pine trees on a mountain slope
gentle sound of a purring cat
nuzzling against ones neck
grating sound of a key in lock
as a loved one comes home

thoughts, visions, images
whispering to ones soul

silence... the sound of silence
haunting, reassuring, affirming, alarming, hypnotic

thoughts, visions, images
evoking pictures of silence

be silent, listen to your heartbeat
and just be
sometimes the loudest words
are the ones never spoken


© 2015 Michael D Emmerich