Hospital of Transplanted Hearts

I came upon this bit of literary engineering by D. M. Thomas in Best SF: 1969 (ed. Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss). I love the project idea, but I don’t endorse all the content.

  A B   C D E F G H I J K L M N
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      Body of:
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      Priest Soldier Whore Gardener Sadist Virgin Psychologist Stakhanovite Scientist Composer Masochist Surgeon</td>
                               
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Heart of: Priest     Bending sadly over his enemy he gave him his cup of grace. Absolved by her, he lit a small candle. He told folwers they would rise again if they were holy Religiously he choked evil spirits out of her. She stopped at the laying on of hands. He strove to marry the schizophrenic, whose tongue could not find his name. From his crane-pulpit he made a new heaven, new earth. In a smear of communion-wine: DNA of God. He believed in the triad, three-in-one, one-in-three. Lunchtime eucharist. Her sad, broiler flesh stigmatised. In the waiting flesh he made a vertical and transverse cut.
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Soldier   He baptised the little ones with fire.   After the fray she withdrew completely exploding bridges. Unimaginatively he heard the insecticides silent rain. Her nails left stripes on arms, epaulettes on shoulders. She made them retreat from the capital’s gates through snow. Bravely he climbed down into sewers where the Resistance lurked. Sagging dugs fed her tenth son to a patriot’s death. On Mt. Palomar: Such multitudes! And more in reverse. Choric Ode Warsaw Ghetto for unaccompanied keening of mothers. She guided the gun barrel between her lips. The enemy on x-ray. We will attack at first light.
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Whore   He loved all men equally. He did not question their instructions.   Where he planted used condoms, a gard of limbo. Shagging her, he pulled away from the intimacy of a kiss. She hung hesitant at the entrance of unlit alleys. If he were not paid for his skill their souls would feel enslaved. He holidayed in santinarium. Regained health. Inadequate theories passed each other on the stairs. All day at the piano, the spume of notes breaking and idling back. He dreamt he was a jewes in the Auschwitz brothel. Cunningly his hands moved as though we were operating.
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Gardener   The butterfly evading his touch he mistook for Jesus. Where the shell struck, poppies bloomed from the astounded body. Two roses in the hot-house; one overblown one cankered.   While police raged he cultivated his garden quietly at night. She regretted pollinization by the wind. How could he restore the lost paradise beneath Suicide City? He drilled desert after desert, Planting a future forever receding. By morning, the culture had flowered unrecognizably. Instrumentation of a hot summer’s day, concerto for busy ephemera. The cooked and ate the insecticide-ridden plants. The steering column was grafted into the beautiful girl’s breast.
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Sadist   He pictured a femal Messiah’s bloodied, heaving breasts. Afterwards, no one found it was only the moon rising over Finland. She left their mutilated bodies in backstreet hotels. The face of the rose purpled, crumpled.   Take me! she said, as the bus left, in church, on the big dipper.</i> He restored naturals to sanity. His skill faltered by an inch in the third story of the skyscraper. Test tube in hand, he stood over the city’s reservoir. He ended all movements with imperfect cadences. She had herself whipped by a reluctant weeping masochist. Religious he refused to cut away.
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Virgin   He swooned at the snakeflesh of the communicant’s tongue. He did not know if he had died in that attack. She wept at her inviolate purity. Spring congress: nature’s pandering shocked him. She told her daughter You are ugly the world must not see you.   His fingers holding the pencil trembled. His cheeks blushed. He shuddered as the road drill clove soft earth. He shivered at the neutrino cleaving light years of lead. Convent bells over the fields stirred his heart to new modes. He kept himself untouched. Seventy years he fought to save the small tissues.
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Psychologist   He considered Christ’s over-compensatory Oedipus complex. Bayoneted, he watched his killer’s face. She asked them why they did this. Autumn divorce: psychosis of Kore lengthened. He studied the child’s face. Lying on her lonely couch, she made notes on her case.   He felt for the huge machine’s pent-up sexual energy. He observed the expression on the dog’s transplanted head. At the first performance he watched the faces of the audience. On her couch of nails, she took notes on herself. Skimming the memory cells his lancet found the trauma.
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Stakhanovite   In his confessional, a camp bed. He wanted to be the firing squad for the world. She frigged the hunover gray morning into cupfinal night. He dreamt himself sole survivor and named Adam. He emigrated to South Africa. She took the veil. He emigrated to the States.   If only nature had covered up its tracks more cunningly. His 999th Symphony was his last. Sketches of the 1000ths remain. He longed to believe in the consolation of Hell. He said We must take out the lot.
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Scientist   So many worlds! So many galaxies! So many saviors! The silent village forgave him, for not using germ warfare. As her sighs quickened, she graphed their heartbeats. Birds hooded, flowers shut: everwhere entropy accepted. He experimented with the velocity of falling bodies. She feared the Pill, she feared it. Uncertainty: observing quanta changed by his observing. Give me an ideology and I will move the whole earth.   Tone-poem Jodrell Bank. The cracklings of infinite space. Singlehanded she sailed for the atom-test island. He toiled to turn inert mass into energy again.
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Composer   Through all troubling modulations always the home-key. He wrote a victory march for the refugees to sing. Afire with impatience, she felt its percussive rhythm. Violets muted trumpets, then spring’s full sweet jazz. He looked at the inert score he played with too much brio. Night-music. The wind’s singers clicking sadly her bones. Slowly he collected all the strange lost tunes of the mad. He could listen to the song of a tractor forever. He played moon-light sonata of the cool star’s spectrum.   Dies Irae, Her favorite lovesong. He gasped at the cancer’s unexpected counterpoint.
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Masochist   As the rope tightened, he offered to die instead. He turned the napalm inwards. She made love for love. He fecundated the Venus flytrap. He lashed a masochist who cried with joy. All night her moist, lustrous eyes begged him not ot rape her. He drove the devils out and into his own Gaderene mind. He toiled to complete the robot which would destroy him. Love bites of laboratory rats. He destroyed his magnum opus. Only God was worthy of it.   He turned the scalpel inward.
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Surgeon   The one he had lost, not the ninety-nine he had saved. Heart transplant. He sent them to slave factories in the fatherland. She felt the hump on his back with skilled healing fingers. Plantation of transplantation. All members of one body. He said To whip you externally is not enough. Loving her, he allowed her to tenderly emasculate him. For freedom the patient must find her heart grasped by hands. Onto church-rubble he transplanted the factory. Man came: slowly, heart grafted into the universe. Thirty years he cut, sighed, stitched up the white silence. Lovebites in his old diseased heart.  

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