Before they took his brain
they didn’t tell him
that their “medical procedure”
originated with a violent explosion
in a furnace, in 1847
that blew a crowbar through
Phineas Gage’s head.

They probably just thought it “odd”
(if they thought about it at all) that
Phineas survived.
And his personality didn’t.

It didn’t matter.
They just needed to keep their patient,
strapped helplessly to the table,
quiet.


Before they took his brain
They never told their patient
how much they were getting paid for doing it,
And that they just needed to pay their bills.

They didn’t need to.
Maybe, they hoped that he wouldn’t mind.

That he would think that it was OK,
because he was helping them
make the car payment.


Before they took his brain
They didn’t tell him that
no one
had ever fully recovered
from the driving
plunge of the
ice pick , up
through the upper corner
of his bleeding eye socket,
near the bridge of his nose.

Never recovered from the crunching “crack!”
of the hammer
against the base of the ice pick.

Never recovered from the gurgling
swishing
cutting
tearing sound
that delicate brain matter makes
when it is turned into hash.

But it was “OK.”

With “surgical” precision,
they had a judge first remove his rights.

It was “OK.”

They had his family give permission.

It was “OK.”
“It’s OK.”
They told his family as they assured them that
“it will make him ‘better.’”

And his family believed,
because the teller was a “Doctor”
of Psychiatry

And a doctor
is supposed to do no harm.
Some doctors.

They didn’t tell him.
Because they had first legally,
carefully,
surgically “properly”
removed his “inalienable” (though, obviously THAT wasn’t the case),
human rights.
So they didn’t have to.


Before they took his brain
They didn’t tell him how much it might help their carreers.
Perhaps ANOTHER Nobel Prize (like in 1949) awaited them.
Were they drooling over
the possibility?

At the base of it
one supposes
they just had the need to keep him quiet.


Before they took his brain,
they didn’t tell him the ultimate fate
of all of the others

who had had pieces of their “soul” removed
through their eye sockets,
or through holes in their skulls.


Before they took his brain
they didn’t tell him
that the father of their “procedure”

Gottleib Burckhardt,

SUPERINTENDENT of a German psychiatric hospital
presumably with too much time on his hands
and an annoyance with “noisy” patients,
perhaps inspired by Phineas’ “experience”
with the crowbar,
drilled holes into the heads
of six mental “patients”
and tore out pieces of their brains.

“Chust an interesting eggspeeriment,” one imagines him telling English-speaking
colleagues.

One of the patients died in the procedure.
Another was found dead in a river
10 days later.
One imagines that Gottleib probably thought to himself: “Vell, dat’s nod zo bad.”
That he probably thought to himself, “you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette.”
What COULD he have been thinking?
If at all.
Maybe:
“ahhhh....It’s a little qvietar (quieter), now.....?”


Before they took his brain
They told his family that it would make him better


Before they took his brain
They assured his evil aunt that it would make him more controllable.


Before they took his brain,
they told his relatives that his fortune would be available to them
soon.


Before they took his brain
He was an artist who screamed against injustice.
Brilliant in his crafting of the written word
or in paint upon canvas
or in telling stories that needed to be told
upon the screen
or in song.
Or maybe he was just too loud.


Before they took his brain
He didn’t feel so good.
Now he just doesn’t feel.


Before they took his brain
The tyrant instructed them to “Keep Him Quiet!”


Before they took his brain
They got all of the “necessary paperwork” filled out.

Isn’t it wonderful how the “necessary paperwork” eases the conscience,
of the guilty,
and permits atrocities.
by making them “legal,”
“permissible,”
“acceptable.”
How the “proper legalities”
conveniently assuage the concern
of the uninformed.

They lobotomize with chemicals, now.
Yes, RIGHT now.
It doesn’t bother so many people.
It’s quieter.
It’s “OK”
Like smoke rising from the chimneys at Auschwitz

Do you wonder how he felt, when he heard your icepick tear through his brain?
Afterward, you said (with a shrug), “He didn’t feel a thing,
he was unconscious.”
Like that makes it better.
Afterward you said,
“Now he is at peace”

Deep inside - his mind still screams!

--Graves 4/14/09
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“Rosemary Kennedy, the sister of President John F. Kennedy, was given a lobotomy when her father complained to doctors about the 23-year-old's
verbal skills were reduced to unintelligible babble.

“Her father hid the nature of Rosemary's affliction for years and described it as the result of mental retardation. Rosemary's sister Eunice Kennedy
Shriver founded the Special Olympics in her honor in 1968.”

“Howard Dully had a lobotomy at 12, after his stepmother was simply tired of his ‘youthful defiance.’. At the age of 56 he said, ‘I've always felt different --
wondered if something's missing from my soul. I have no memory of the operation.’ Late in his life, Dully uncovered the story of his lobotomy. Crown
Publishers published Dully's memoir (co-written by Charles Fleming), My Lobotomy[16], in September 2007.”

“New Zealand author and poet Janet Frame was due to have a lobotomy because of a diagnosis of mental illness. She was saved from this procedure
by receiving a literary award the day before her operation was to take place.”

“Swedish modernist painter Sigrid Hjertén died following a botched lobotomy in 1948.”

“The older sister of playwright Tennessee Williams, Rose, received a lobotomy which left her incapacitated for life and provided inspiration for his plays,
Suddenly, Last Summer and The Glass Menagerie.”

“It is often said that when an iron rod was accidentally driven through the head of Phineas Gage in 1848, this consituted an "accidental lobotomy," or
that this event somehow inspired the development of surgical lobotomy a century later. But careful inquiry turns up no such link, according to one
expert.”

Lobotomies have been outlawed in several U.S. states and in Japan and Germany. The Soviet Union made lobotomies illegal in the 1940’s

Now they use chemicals. Apparently fewer sensibilities are offended.

[Quotes above are from the entry in Wikipedia: “Lobotomy.” Source references for these quotes, and for other information contained in the article, are
at that site.]


Copyright 2009 Michael Graves, All Rights Reserved - Author grants permision for this piece to be published in it’s entirety, wherever you like. We have
had ENOUGH of this type of behavior!
DvD Making a Killing the Untold Story of Psychotropic Druggings
psychicatry's prescription for violence
Contact Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)   to
help handle this international problem!
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