On Poetry and Culture Shock

March Eleventh

I could talk about my experience of March 11th, 2004. I could write a little meditation about the value of poetry, art, in times of mourning or desperation. I could talk about the political implications but I’m not going to. I’m going to talk about blood.

Early March last year I had teeth pulled out, which meant I was not allowed to donate blood until June. I had a good cry over that, feeling impotent I could not do my bit to help. Then in June I was sick, I can’t remember what of, and then I had minor surgery. In the United States, Europeans cannot donate blood. I haven’t donated in a year and a half and I really want to. So it’s my mission to make others donate.

Blood is always necessary. Even the victims of the terrorist attack last year need it now because some of them still need surgery. Blood cannot be synthesised yet there is nothing to substitute it. You never know when you will need someone else’s blood (I had two relatives in hospital days after the second-to-last time I gave blood, which was sad and scary).

Almost everyone can donate. It hurts very little or nothing at all: if it hurts it is not done properly, like so many things in life. You probably live close to a donation centre (just google your town’s name and either Red Cross or blood donation). All it takes is a few minutes, drinking lots of liquid before and after, and if it is your first time, making sure you will not have to drive back home, just in case you’re a bit sleepy. That’s it.

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