Dr. Ali Hemdan: Raw Poetry, From The Front Lines

Dr. Ali Hemdan is a pulmonary physician in Meriden. Since 2010 he has lived in Westport with his wife, Dr. Ingi Soliman, and their children. The other day, he wrote a very moving account of what it’s like on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you, Dr. Hemdan, for sharing this. Thank you too, for all you do for all of us.

I have seen the flesh of the face swell and open. Black, white, yellow and brown. Looks different but I am sure it feels the same, old anguish pain!

I saw the virus decimate the body. 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 years old. Risk felt different before the plague hit but once the organs fail, it is the same rapid dreadful unavoidable collapse.

Dr. Ali Hemdan

I have spoken to the families. Husband, wife, daughter, son, nephew, niece, father, mother, grandson, granddaughter. Different lineage in the family tree. Roots, branches and leaves. But same heart aching panic for loved ones they can’t see.

I have worked with the team. Nurses, executives, doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, janitors, secretaries, security guards, first responders and nurses’ aides. Different roles but all putting their best face to cover the same cracking back under the weight of the responsibility cross we all cannot alone bear.

I have felt the same hope and saw it crumble

I have faked the same invincibility and saw it betray me leaving me exposed

I have shaken the same despair just to see it seeping through the cracking of my fleeting sense of safety in the midst of my family

I am not a hero

I am just a man

A few seconds of cosmic time ago I was just a child looking for comfort, looking for a haven

A long time ago I promised myself not to shy away from inconvenient truths or uncomfortable realities

Now I want no reality and I want no truth

Lie to me and tell me this is a bad dream

A sick finale to a horror movie written by a disturbed psychopath

Lie to me and I give you my word that I will not find holes in your lies or joke about your need for the spell

Bring out your magic wand

Bring out you your blessed sword

Bring out your crystal ball

Bring out your prayers and your healing sermons

Bring out your medicine man and his cure

But wait

Better

Extend your hand and reach out to me

Open your soul and sing with me

Let us drum and string

Let us whistle and hum

Let us dance and jump

Let us unite in the darkness of the unknown

Let us be one even if it is for a little while

A fleeting moment of love toward one another

For once the danger doesn’t discriminate

The pain

The collapse

The panic

The responsibility

The hope

The despair

The ultimate equalizer has come to hold the mirror so we can see ourselves

Naked, frightened and together alone.

13 responses to “Dr. Ali Hemdan: Raw Poetry, From The Front Lines

  1. YES!!
    Naked, Frightened, Alone…
    Trying to find the path…
    But ALWAYS!! ALWAYS!!! ALWAYS!!! FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!
    TOGETHER!!!!!!!!!!!

    Here. There. and Everywhere!!!!!!
    Love to You and Your Loves ALWAYS…

  2. You are not just a man Ali… you are a hero! You were one before this all happened and you will be one after. So proud to call you a friend.

  3. Théo Feldman

    Thank you, Dr. H.Hemdan for your incredible bravery, when so many people are living in fear. This is a beautiful expression of hope in spite of despair.

  4. We only become insane when we forget that love is forever. Then we TRULY ARE ALONE AND IN GREAT DANGER!!
    The man who ‘never’ felt the love denies its existence but is tortured by seeing it all around him without being able to feel it.
    Pity him but DO NOT BELIEVE HIM!!
    WALK AWAY FROM HIM!! MAKE A BETTER PATH CHOICE!!
    CREATE what YOU KNOW IS TRUE but may not see TEMPORARILY!!!!
    THE POWER OF CHOICE IS YOUR ONLY TRUE POWER no matter what you THINK you see. YOU KNOW THERE IS ANOTHER CHOICE!! BE ACTIVE IN CHOOSING IT!!
    That is NOT lying to yourself!! THAT IS CHOOSING WHAT YOU CREATE and WHAT YOU REMEMBER!!!!!!!

  5. Very powerful.

  6. Wow. Thank you!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  7. Mark L Yurkiw

    WoW, wow, wow. How can we spread this writing as quickly as the virus? Margeret Mead is credited with the quote ” Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”

  8. Diana Muller

    So powerful and insightful. Thank you for giving voice to this and all you do.

  9. John Terpening

    Beautiful! Exquisite! Thank you for letting me ride on your shoulder, watch what you do, and feel your heart breaking day by day, hour by hour. Your vulnerability is a gift and your words refreshing. Best description of the horror most of us hope we will never see. I fear for you. Let us all remain raw, receptive, teachable and patient.

  10. Dr Hemdan,
    Heroes are those that are frightened and continue on anyway. You and your team and all the teams ARE heroes!! Please, let all of the rest of us give you strength to keep on through the gauntlet. The gauntlet will end with strength from within as well as without on the other side.
    I ask permission of you to use your plea, your expression, to add a choice that we can all make!! Many of the people on all of the teams that we all wish to thank are hourly wage people- imagine, all of this and not enough food for our families!!
    WE MUST ALL DEMAND AT LEAST $15/hr for those people by the time that this has changed!! We cannot say that it will all end. We can decide on how it changes!!
    PLEASE CHOOSE CHANGE WHERE AND HOW IT IS DESPERATELY NEEDED!! STARTING FROM THE TOP CERTAINLY, BUT EXTENDING ALL OF THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM!!
    Thank you Doctor, for ALL of your help. BODY AND SOUL.

  11. Lynn Jeffery

    sweetheart, very sad, true, and gorgeous poetry worth experiencing.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  12. Jeanine Esposito

    Beautiful and poignant expression of humanity’s experience of this long, long global moment in time. Thank you.

  13. A beautiful and heartbreaking poem. Thank you for sharing and for your incredible work.