On Friday, Nov. 13, 2009, poet and actor Michael Lally
underwent brain surgery at Weill-Cornell hospital in Manhattan.
[at left: The Extraction of the Stone of Madness (The Cure of Folly), ca. 147580, by Hieronymus Bosch (ca.14501516). Removing “stones” from the head was a fairly common medieval operation; Bosch, however, depicts a flower as the object being removed.]
Readers of Michael’s excellent blog, Lally’s Alley, which is usually a vehicle for his passionately held opinions on politics, writing, music, movies, and art, along with his reflections on life and his seemingly uncontrollable need to create all manner of lists, have, in the last month or so, been given something else—the day-to-day chronicle of a poet regaining his cognitive abilities. He had great difficulty at first putting words and sentences together; even listening to music or watching a movie were challenges. But over the past few weeks he has steadily gotten back his formidable powers of expression.
It is clear, however, that Michael has, in very
characteristic fashion, grown to value the traumatic and extraordinary
experience he has been through, enjoying a soul-deep transformation in how he
perceives the world around us.[photo: Will Farrell, His Holiness the Lally Dama, Terence Winch, Nov. 14, 2009]
Here’s a post he did from about a week after the operation (which I’ve re-arranged a little into a more poem-like shape):
500 DAYS OF SUMMER: After Brain Surgery
Could follow the simple plot
despite jumps in time.
Could appreciate the soundtrack.
But many finer points
I could not grasp.
Like where it’s set.
Seemingly a Midwest
My mind kept objecting, kept asking,
WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE?
And the connections between them
seemed false to me too.
Could not follow the young girl's
story or place in the story.
The big gaps in perception
making much of the film
seem almost atomized.
As if each scene,
each person, etc.
were uniquely and separately realized
without the usual fluid connection
between things that may be just in
our minds bridging those gaps for us.
What a strange trip this all is.