Thursday, June 21, 2012

Last Tango in Frankfurt

We only try to help the ones who come back from war.

The below poem was written for a group of mental health providers who knew Maria, a talented tanguera and caring psychiatrist, who upon bringing up patient safety concerns at the military treatment facility was badgered by the hospital leadership to leave.  She finally returned to San Antonio to be with a military hospital which had long valued her talents.

The group of people who knew her in Germany knew that the soldiers lost more than we did.  Her talent as a psychiatrist was amazing, and soldiers really needed her to help them to be weened from the over-medication they often receive from less experienced psychiatrists.  We are not desperate; some soldiers really are desperate for her care, experience and love soldiers.  She knows their stories --r these men and woman who have given far more than they ever thought they'd be required.  So desperate many have become that we our nation's Army is losing a soldier every day to a suicide -- that is not counting those who have already left the service.

Maria, and those she left in Germany only try to help the soldiers who come back from war.  That is all we can do.  Too bad that mission is not always held by those who lead -- or so it seems.

Last Tango in Frankfurt

I held Maria, knowing she would soon leave.
But the personal sadness I felt
Or the tears she sheds,
Or the melancholic cry of the bandonión,
Or the sad lyrics of tango cannot compare
To the silent screams out of soldier's hearts,
Weeping from the ravages of war --

The soldiers she could have helped.

That is the tragedy of her leaving,
And her desire to stay.
This was bigger than our own hearts:
The vast desperation of young soldiers
Trying to find help and finding too little.
Isn't this the center of sadness of our hearts?
...We who know who how to help.
...But too often cannot
...Because of those who tie our hands.

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