It’s my stop on the Urbane Extravaganza and I’m featuring Adam Steiner’s Politics of the Asylum today with an extract.
Creatio ex Nihilo
I intensify atoms. With every step, every breath between pause, a rushing haze of red water flicks –to remind me– there’s that ugly taste on the lips. Picked apart the platelets crack stubborn shades to get floor from skin, but it’s already too late to try – must stay awake – rubbed raw a thousand times and watered-down to the same vague sense; not red, not pink, a mirage of rushes cycles back around again. The big-red has blown, its heavy water spilt – but at least it’s not mine, it’s his.
Nurses and doctors blur past in stream of bodies to attend his fleeting melody –then into discord– a pixelating splash that conquers the eye. Quick-marched to intensive care via tromboning silver seraph pipes, grabbed and pulled, spinning faster undone through double doors of crowded halls. Paperwork explodes into crushed white doves, they’re slamming harder now but almost there, another lonely cell spirited on to the emergency ward.
Hands rest heavy on the pole (grip fast to what you know) waiting, still, to breathe in sulphurous moods from before. Those same waves flow in crystalline ammonia, a scent that guides me to motion as every sweep arcs harder, no different from the last, though the water gets bloodier as you go down. Every changing patient looks like the other with pain multiplied against laboured erosion. There’s more rushes and blood, more beats and breaks, stand well back to watch surfaces evaporate. Splash out more water to send away the burning tigers that flourish in course, sweeping dead cells down the drain. This is the way: cleaning around the clock to make every one, every thing, the same.
Want to know more? Here’s the blurb …
Urbane Publications Limited (8 Mar. 2018)
Nathan Finewax is a cleaner in a hospital steadily falling apart. He’s working on a ward where staff cheat, lie and steal to get ahead, where targets, death tolls and finance overrule patient care, and every day the same mistakes are repeated in a seemingly unstoppable wave of failures.
Nathan is sucked deeper into the hospital routine as he dreams of escape, trying to avoid one day becoming a patient himself in this house of horrors.
Based on the author’s experience working in the NHS, Politics of the Asylum is a nightmare vision of the modern healthcare system. Adam Steiner’s challenging debut is a novel for our times, and an emotive and highly original story of people trying to do more than simply exist.
About the author …
Adam has worked in the NHS as a cleaner and porter and in mental health – later finding a career in independent publishing and book production. Adam is currently running the Disappear Here project to produce a series of poetry films about Coventry ringroad.
Adam Steiner’s poetry and fiction appear in Rockland Lit, Proletarian Poetry, The Next Review, Fractured Nuance zine, BoscRev: 4, The Weary Blues, The Stare’s Nest, ShoutOut UK, 3:AM, The Cadaverine, Spontaneity, Abridged 0-13, The Literateur, Nostrovia! SquawkBack, NOUS. Anthologies: Interpal – Palestine Verses, Fugue 1 (Siren Press), Poems Underwater, Stepaway – Voicewalks (Durham University).
Adam was selected for the 2014 Ó Bhéal Coventry-Cork Twin Cities Poetry Exchange and was part of the Coventry SHOOT Festival, 2014. He is former Editor of Here Comes Everyone magazine.
follow Adam on Twitter: @BurndtOutWard