glenn & the crashroom

from down the phone he is playing with a child
& there is a ball rolling along twice.
the girl is testing her voice & he fidgets.

glenn i say i
would like to know about the way a crash sounds
& what can you tell me of the smell

my ear hears his ~ well mate
& he says there is a quiet sort of privacy firstly—they’re never keen
to be naked & broken

& then there is a general disorder to the body
for example a knee bent up & forward is really
quite ugly

i remember vividly the long haul of noise
& sometimes 5 different conversations going
at once ~

there might be a doctor saying fuck this drain
wont go in or a nurse scissoring the clothes off
on the table or the abc person ready with the abc

& the closeness of the ambulance driver
saying this is the second one today—
o really good thanks—yep—she’s 6 now

& the way the crashroom is a factory of noise
& all you want to do is get in there & fix
the poor bastard & hitch his accident to some star

what you really notice are the pieces of
windscreen that fall from the clothes or
the little lines of grass dropping to the floor

especially if the person was thrown
far from where they started off.
& then there are all the colours you would ever

wish to never see
like the grey & clammy for shut down.

Sonja Yelich was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1965. She was published in AUP New Poets 2 in 2002. Her first solo collection of poetry, Clung, was published by Auckland University Press in 2004. She lives in Bayswater, Auckland, with her partner Vic and their 4 children.

Yelich comments: ‘The Glenn of “glenn & the crashroom”, is the poet Glenn Colquhoun who just happens to be a doctor. I was having a conversation with him on the phone about accidents and the Accident & Emergency Department in a hospital and he referred to it as a crashroom. Of course I found the word hugely attractive and the rest of the conversation turned into a blur.

‘The line about hitching an accident to a star comes from a childhood accident – when I slipped through a glass door and needed stitches all over the place. I remember a nurse saying to me to hitch my accident to a star – and then everything would stop hurting. Didn’t work one iota.’

Poem source details >



nzepc – new zealand electronic poetry centre
Auckland University Press
Auckland University Press: AUP New Poets 2