Archive for October, 2008

The Scholar

October 28, 2008

I do not deny your intellect
It is a knife that carves
That cleanses, that purifies
You shunned aristocracy
In favour of the grandiosity
of academia. You embraced
Profundity. You are feted,
Lauded, praised and applauded

You were promised fortune
But instead you chose
To spend your days
Traversing old and hallowed halls
Deep within ancient
And blistered walls
Choosing to ignore the calls
To profit from your knowledge

You unleashed those ideas
Once tucked away in some
Secret vault deep within
Your capacious brain
And for that you attracted
An avalanche of acclaim
But those who praise you
Have not seen what I have seen

They have not been
Where I have been
For decades we have talked
In feeble candlelight
Years pass and we still inhabit
This detached and distant planet
Revelling in our academic eccentricities
Ours is a subtle complicity

You rise, you fall, you capture me
You pull me beneath a turquoise sea
You exploit some weakness within me
I was caught up in your dragnet
And yet, and yet, the waves still leap
As with gritted eyes I greet the morning
The nights are endless. The days are long
You are a bad egg. I know that now

I caress your pale and speckled shell
I break you open. Your spirit seeps out
‘The stench, the stench,’ I cry.
I have witnessed your worst
I have seen your inner scars, your warts
Your puss-ridden sores and at night
You scour the streets, hunting for whores
And yet I still love you to your rotting core

Pink Cheeked

October 25, 2008

This is her dystopian
Inner universe in which reality
Runs in reverse, a twisting, turning
Roller coaster ride
Eyes shut, lips pursed.

She would do anything
To keep from screaming.
A distraction, A freak show.
She never saw that little girl grow
Alive, she watched her thrive

She died at the point
at which water freezes
And the verdict was read
but that little girl
Was still dead

Quiet Rebellion

October 24, 2008

The girl in my support group was bitter and pensive. She told her story in a flat, quiet voice. ‘My life was mapped out before I was born. My parents were the cartographers. They sent be to an expensive, exclusive girls’ public school. A boarding school of course, they couldn’t deal with the messiness and chaos of a child’s everyday life. They paid someone else to do that for them. They laughed at me when I told them I found the work difficult. My dad wouldn’t believe me. ‘How is that possible?  You’re my daughter,’ he asked. And I tried so hard to live up to their demands. I really did. They told me to study pharmacy so I did. ‘A nice, solid career,’ they said, hiding their disappointment that I wasn’t quite clever enough to be a doctor. They also wanted me to marry, to give them grandchildren. I was a baby-making machine as well as a money-making machine. I was something they created and controlled. But another life was beckoning me and I stepped through the door that was opened for me and they’ve never forgiven me for that. I don’t suppose they ever will.’

Do They Still Believe in Manifest Destiny?

October 22, 2008

Faith in politics and politicians requires the memory of a retarded goldfish

And as for Colin Powell I bet vengeance never tasted quite so sweet.

There’s an interesting take on the matter here.

Pen and Ink Portrait

October 21, 2008

Fine Grain

October 20, 2008

More Than Just a Pretty Girl

October 15, 2008

Heard about this from the BBC.  Interesting idea.

And in other news a ginger Tom invades Nobby’s flat:

Charming, cute and, quite simply, adorable.

Little Slut

October 10, 2008

Well, now we know what they really think of us:

Staff in the mixed wards were also more inclined than in the single-sex units, to view male patients as needing protection from the sexually provocative and predatory behaviour of the women:

‘She had on like a short cropped top… it wasn’t too suitable on a mixed sex ward, so they kind of worked with her to really just cover up a bit more’ (staff, mixed-sex unit).
‘You have to ask yourself how safe the male patients are because this particular female patient has not been averse to finding herself going into the male bedrooms… she’s highly sexed, bless her’ (staff, mixed-sex unit).

When I was seven years old a neighbour repeatedly inserted his fingers into my vagina. I admit, I probably asked for it. I was such a little slut.  And I was probably wearing a crop top too.  I clearly should have been burnt as a witch in the village square and in more enlightened times I may well have been.

A Product of My Paranoia?

October 10, 2008

What I about to write is so sickeningly cynical that I am reluctant to commit it to print. But it is something I simply have to articulate. I am compelled to. I just hope it’s not true. I hope it’s just a product of my own paranoia.

A couple of weeks ago I submitted a post entitled ‘A Conversation With a Friend’ in which I explored the unfavourable treatment received by those who have the misfortune to be diagnosed with any form of personality disorder. I had dealt with this issue on numerous occasions in my diary (the pen and ink variety). I came across an entry in which I described how a friend of mind had a ‘psychotic breakdown’ in her second year at university. She was hospitalised, sectioned and forcibly medicated. She tells me that, on one occasion, a senior male nurse sat on her while another nurse went to fetch the needle. The section was eventually rescinded and she returned to college. In spite of several relapses she managed to graduate. She resented the way she was treated in hospital but conceded that it may have been necessary. A few months after she graduated, as a result of her condition, she was allocated a housing association flat. Then, suddenly and inexplicably, all local authority support was withdrawn. She was told that she was no longer entitled to a community psychiatric nurse or even a twice yearly visit to a consultant psychiatrist. When she demanded and got access to her notes she found out why. She had been rediagosed. She was no longer ‘psychotic’, she now suffered from a personality disorder known as schizotypal personality disorder and, as this was untreatable, she was no longer entitled to any support. She had, overnight, become a member of a group regarded by the psychiatric profession as nothing short of untermenschen.

Since then I have come across many similar cases. These people have the same problems they have always had, the same low self esteem, the same despair, the same social exclusion but all the support that had hitherto helped them to cope with this is withdrawn. A diagnosis of ‘personality disorder’ supersedes any other diagnosis you have ever been given. At the stroke of a pen, at the click of a mouse, public expenditure on the mentally ill has been reduced. Now that’s what I call genius.

These people may well be ‘untreatable’ but I just don’t see how this makes them any less deserving of sympathy, if not empathy. If someone has a physical disorder that is considered untreatable they are not belittled, they are not scorned, they are not viewed as outcasts and, even if they do not receive ‘treatment’, they still receive ‘support’.

I have been told that ‘mental illness’ and ‘personality disorders’ are separate categories and require very different approaches. If this is so then why call them ‘disorders’ at all? Just chalk their problems up to plain old fashioned character defects but I guess if they did that then psychiatrists would have to section the entire human race, including themselves.

Not Angry Anymore

October 9, 2008


Not Angry Anymore

Ani DiFranco

Growing up it was just me and my mom
against the world
and all my sympathies were with her
when i was a little girl
but now i’ve seen both my parents
play out the hands they were dealt
and as each year goes by
I know more about how my father must have felt

I just want you to understand
that I know what all the fighting was for
and I just want you to understand
that I’m not angry anymore
I’m not angry anymore

she taught me how to wage a cold war
with quiet charm
but I just want to walk
through my life unarmed
to accept and just get by
like my father learned to do
but without all the acceptance and getting by
that got my father through

night falls like people into love
we generate our own light
to compensate
for the lack of light from above
every time we fight
a cold wind blows our way

but we learn like the trees
how to bend
how to sway and say

I, I think I understand
what all this fighting is for
and baby, I just want you to understand
that I’m not angry anymore
no, I’m not angry anymore

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