A Passerby

September 6, 2016

 He’s overdressed in killing heat, the sun                                        a screw that’s turned too tight, the air on fire,                                concrete a punishment. Some thing is done                                     for him, extinguished, turned to ash. Desire                                     looks gone from his worn face, his eyes like holes                         that sink in sand. Perhaps a junkie, dressed                                   like that. Perhaps another crazy soul,                                     whose home can never square with his address.                               Perhaps he’s twenty-three or four, an age                                 when life should whistle through his bones.                                 Across the bridge he hurries on, the cage                                         surrounding him belongs to him, alone.                                       And gone, an apparition passing by,                                             the shape a man’s, who has, in some way, died.



Ed Hack was a teacher. Now he’s a poet. He’s been writing for years, published here and there, and, most recently, exploring the precision, passion, and forms of the sonnet. He is the father of the emergency medicine physician and toxicologist, Jason Hack, MD. When Jason asked his father why he would write a poem applicable to the experience of emergency medicine, he said, “I’ve lived it through your eyes and in the stories you have told me for the past twenty years.”

Writing and an emergency medicine life

April 3, 2016

I’m an emergency physician and a writer of fiction, and there is an inherent paradox in these two activities. When writing, I work with words on a page to create lives that readers will hopefully care deeply about. Meanwhile, when I’m working in the emergency department, there are moments when I’m faced with real people experiencing real suffering and I wonder why I don’t care more.

The great writer Tobias Wolff once said, “When I sit down to write, I discover things that I have, for one reason or another, not admitted, not seen, not reflected on sufficiently.”

And that’s the essence and beauty of writing, whether it’s writing fiction, an essay, or random notebook scribbling. By laying down words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs, I find myself thinking differently, making previously unseen connections, and discovering untended fears and blemishes. Read the rest of this entry »