Shelfies Part I

February 7, 2017

The Confessional

February 4, 2017


The Confessional

She enters the confessional
‘Oh Father I have sinned’
The world beyond has dimmed
A separate dimension exists
In the oak-panelled box
A land where everything is forgiven
Sins obliterated, guilt banished

She tells the priest
Barely discernible, beyond the grille
An insubstantial shadow
Yet still comforting
‘Father it has been so long,
Half a life time
Since my last confession’

This lapsed Catholic has returned
To be wrapped in a cloak
Of warm patriarchy
To be clasped in the hand of God
The fat controller of the universe
Enveloped in the trinity
And rocked to sleep

She is fearful now. For it is time
To leave. She does not want to live
In the world beyond the confessional
She could stay in this dark place forever
A perpetual religious apprentice
With the priest beyond the grille, acting
As her direct line to God

‘Oh no, my dear,’ the priest replies
‘That is not our purpose. Our aim
Is to arm you with faith and courage
And then unleash you onto the world
And the stand back and watch
And applaud and cheer
As they make a martyr of you.’


Writer’s Block

February 2, 2017


I face a blank sheet of paper – ice-white and treacherous. A No Man’s Land I cannot cross. My thoughts are imprisoned in my head and I do not have the key needed to release them. My head is a wasteland. My brain is teflon like. I wonder what the medication is doing to my mind. Abilify is known to cause atrophy of the brain. Some might say this began happening to me a long time ago. Now it seems to be accelerating. And I am terrified. So forgive me if entries are sparse and disjointed.

In Sepia

January 31, 2017

Celebrity Messiah

January 28, 2017



I watch you scream down from the pulpit
An anonymous speck in a vast congregation
You shake your fists at the sky
As the sun bursts from a cluster of clouds
Madmen shriek back at you
One who believes he is the Messiah
God’s sole representative on Earth

Never doubt my knowledge, you say
Never doubt my wisdom
Your tune is irresistible
You are rendered powerful
By the chanting crowd before you
They see God glimmering in your eyes
They hear Armageddon in your voice

They are intoxicated by you
They are bewitched and beguiled
As you depict blood and suffering
In glorious and beautiful detail
You describe every imaginable daemon
They stand, cheer and beg for more
They are God’s newly recruited army

They surround and sustain you
Some see you as a saviour
Others as a screaming psychopath
To your enemies you scream
‘Rot in hell’ as your invoke
The acrid odour of long dead heretics
And burning witches

You are captured in a camera flash
And all over the world people
Who will never meet you
Watch your flickering image
On their television screens
Few can look upon you
Without something dying inside

Members of your congregation
Reach deep into their pockets
Purchasing immortality. I hear
The clattering of coins
As they fall into your collection basket
And iI imagine a huger and greedy grin
Forming in your mind

I knew you when you were
A street corner Messiah
Amidst the neon lights and skyscrapers
Of a vast and lonely city
How high you have climbed. How tall
You stand. But I know
That someday even you will fall

Alternative Title Bar

January 20, 2017


Apologies in Advance: Some things are hard to hear

January 20, 2017

This is how things used to be:

Why is it that the mere mention of mental illness arouses such extreme reactions?

We are freaks, outcasts, deviants.  We  arouse hostility and fear.  Unlike Bedlam today’s lunatic asylums do not attract tourists.  Nobody wanders through the wards laughing, joking, pointing at the inmates. But I  know that if they could they most certainly would. We are  protected by the thin veneer of civilisation.  But something tells me that in the years since Bedlam closed its doors, humanity hasn’t changed a bit.  The stage occupied by the mad has moved to that voyeur’s paradise: reality television.

The mentally Ill represent devastation.  Lives laid to waste by some invisible force over which we  have no control.  We do not follow the rules.  We do not obey instructions.  We are weak, we are feckless, they are helpless.  Our very presence corrupts society.  The industrious middle classes are the most hostile.  It is  not that they lack imagination.  It is not  that they are devoid of empathy.  Far from it.  They posses those qualities in abundance.  They understand more than they want to.

People are afraid because one day they know it could happen to them.  Like aerial bombardment.  No one knows who the missiles will hit next.  But they will never acknowledge that.  Not in a million years.

If you have a problem with this then please tell me why you have a problem with this. I need to hear alternative views.



January 18, 2017

The Old Library

December 13, 2016



Recently I returned to the city in which I spent my childhood: Birmingham. Now, when I actually lived there I hated it but if you have been absent from a place for a decade or more something called nostalgia kicks in. Of course everything had changed. The city center has altered beyond recognition. It was grotesque before and it is even more so now. The city architects deserve high praise because I never thought such a feat was possible.

But here I shall focus on suburbia. My mother has moved to a flat nearer Worcester than the city centre. From her living room there is a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside. Here some things have remained the same. The Catholic Church is still there, along with the accompanying primary school. But the one thing has changed and it is the one thing I loved the most: the old children’s library located just around the corner from my old semi-detached childhood home.

A few years ago it was sold to the highest bidder and is now someone’s home. It is a listed building so at least its facade remains untouched. This is something to be thankful for.

Every year of my childhood the first fortnight of January saw snowfall so deep the schools were forced to close and we would be sent home. For one glorious week I would spend my days ploughing through the contents of the Old Library.  In my bedroom on the upper floor of a house with no central heating I would devour book after book, on my bed, propped up against plump pillows, huddled beneath the quilt, hot water bottle clutched to my chest, sipping from a mug of hot, sweet tea. For a while I was in paradise.

I do not know if there were any protests against the closure of The Old Library.  Firmly ensconced in another city, I did not find out about the building’s change in status until several years after it had occurred.  As I pass by the Old Library I remember that it was once my second home.  Memories come flooding into my mind: the red headed librarian called Jenny, the smell of the polished wooden floor, shafts of light streaming through the windows highlighting the dust on the book-lined shelves.

I have a strong urge to knock on the door. I wonder what kind of family live there now. I can only hope they are happy there, even though they have stolen ‘my’ library 😀

Antidote to Winter

November 18, 2016


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