Archive for September, 2010

Hide and Seek

September 30, 2010

The medicine cabinet is the altar
Upon which I will be sacrificed
Now playing hide and seek
The game commences………..

‘Coming ready or not!’ the doctor screams
As he prepares to invade my dreams
‘Coming ready or not!’ the doctor cries
As he prepares to dissect my lies

‘Oh, Doctor, I am
Not awed by you
Punished for this
I see, I see
You seeking me

Oh, Doctor, you have
Declared war on me
I will be a fatality
I hear, I hear the incantation
You chant as you move to the rhythm
Of the battle dance

(And slowly it invades
The voice to halt all voices
The tranquillising pill)

Within my body
I hear a fire starting
A door slams behind me
The door to the universe
Remains unopened
The word, so perverse
Remains unspoken

As the you begin to reassemble me,
Celebrating a hard won victory
Over and over, these words emerge from me
‘Over and over, I have been violated by your foot soldiers’
Over and over, your ears close against me
Then you turn, you hiss and spit
You say, ‘In the sixteenth century
You’d have been burnt as a witch’

The Drugs Don’t Work

September 30, 2010

I am lost. I am pushing everyone away. My family are distancing themselves from me and I don’t blame them. I feel like there’s nothing tethering me to the world. I cannot relate to others. It’s like I’m imprisoned in a huge invisible glass jar. `it is soundproof and impenetrable. I can see people and I scream out to them but they can’t hear me. Or maybe they pretend not to hear. I don’t blame them for that either. For my birthday I went out for dinner with relatives, including my brother and my niece, but I’ve never felt so alone in my life. It was as though I didn’t even belong on the planet, as though I was not fit to be among ordinary, decent human beings. I have a baby niece who I am reluctant to hold or cuddle because I am terrified that I might contaminate her. I can only think in fragments:

and I will sleep
the deepest sleep of all
and they will remain
undisturbed by my fall

and the waters
they are shark infested
and I have nothing invested
In the world beyond these shores

See? Don’t expect coherence here. And, as the song says, ‘Now the drugs don’t work. They just make you worse.’ Maybe it’s different this time. Maybe there really is such a thing as terminal mental illness.

Blood Red Years

September 29, 2010

Blood Red Years

The blood red years
Contained losses many time larger than me
I backtrack as a balloon floats into the sky
And pops against the surface of the sun
And believe please only this

That angel’s wings sprouted from my shoulders
For that is what they are for. Isn’t it?
Isn’t it? I lie alone like a stone in the middle of the road
I shake the hand of life. You liar, you thief!
As grey as my eyes, as grey as the sky.

A bird’s eye view for those of you who die before dawn
Embracing cardiac arrests. Will you find me alive in the morning?
A promised land is snatched away. Illusory?
Oh, yes, most certainly. It is. It always was.
And it always will be.

Stirring the Hornet’s Nest

September 29, 2010

I’ve been engrossed in the blog of Inspector Gadget (No, not that Inspector Gadget with the niece called Penny and all of those Gadgets; our Mr Gadget is not even entitled to carry a firearm).

The main topic of conversation over there at the moment is the inquest into the death of Barrister Mark Saunders and The Daily Mail’s unashamedly biased reporting on the issue.  First, a caveat: I have some sympathy for Mr. Saunders and his family and I expressed it unequivocally here.  In spite of this I believe Mr Saunders was killed lawfully.  Whether they were aware of it or not the authorised firearms officers were acting on the principle of the lesser of two evils.  The greater evil would have been to simply leave him be and let him do whatever he pleased with his loaded weapons.  This, clearly would have been untenable so they reacted exactly as their training had taught them to and fired back when they were fired upon.  They killed one to save many.

The ever-self righteous Daily Mail includes a gallery of gunmen shot dead by  authorised firearms officers in the last fifteen years.  According to The Daily Mail these men are victims, even those who, at the moment they were shot, were holding innocent bystanders hostage.   Of course, this has all been precipitated by the inquest into the death of Cambridge educated barrister Mark Saunders.  If you take a look at the paragraph accompanying Saunders’ picture you will see that his apartment was worth 2.2 million.  Only in the Daily Mail…

But the greatest calumny of all can be found in  their Sunday editorial in which they equate the shooting of gunmen by police with formal execution.  They then go on to propose that any AFO who draws his weapon should be  identified and publicly named.  They clearly have not thought of the consequences of the policy they are advocating, for who would volunteer to be an AFO in the knowledge that if they do their job they will be ‘named and shamed’ by The Daily Mail and possibly be facing a murder charge if the mob turns against them?

The Daily Mail is beyond parody.  It frequently complains of the break down of law and order in this fair land and then prints ‘investigative’ pieces like this that only serve to contribute to the destruction of all it claims to hold dear.  What is their agenda?  They don’t have one.  They like to stir the hornet’s nest for conflict is their bread and butter.

Devil Dogs and Phantoms

September 28, 2010

Devil dogs wail at the crescent moon
A fragment of some long cherished island
Projects itself out of the sky, into the garden pond
A slice of lemon on its tremulous surface
And, to our dismay, it still remains unreachable

These are the games we play after dark
We are phantoms who have not made it to heaven yet
Instead we dance gracefully over our terrain of regret
We hold hands, we leap across the land
And, just for a moment, we are free

Invisible mostly, but every now and then
We flicker into sight. The living call us ‘ghosts’
And assault us with priests and holy water
From which we flinch because it burns
We retreat, preparing for a counter-attack

Found in the Bowels of the BMJ

September 28, 2010

Finally, I have discovered someone else who is not star struck by Theordore Dalrymple/Anthony Daniels:

If Symptoms Persist

Theodore Dalrymple Andre Deutsch, pounds sterling8.99, pp 150 ISBN 0 233 98898 X

Writing under a pseudonym in his weekly column in the Spectator, Theodore Dalrymple presents a picture of a lawless world. Dr Dalrymple works at a hospital, and he makes regular prison visits. His life is threatened, and within the space of a week his car is broken into for the third time in a year, his secretary’s mother is attacked, and one of his patients is robbed and beaten in two separate incidents. Responsibility for this anarchy is placed squarely on both the courts and the police, who are either stupid, lazy, or interested only in clearing their cells.

Inhabiting Dalrymple’s world are an edentulous people, unable to read (with the exception of benefits pamphlets) and sometimes called Jason, who use words like “yoof” (for youth). His patients carry knives, and they tell stories of robberies, burglaries, and vandalism. Their tattoos determine their relationship with the world and proclaim a message which is either unambiguous (“Fuck Off”; “Made in England”; a swastika) or subtle (the Old Borstalians’ blue spot on the cheek). They are a whingeing breed “maintained if not created by the welfare state and whose every word is uttered with the dying fall of complaint.” Even in prison the standard British burglar, malevolent and self righteous, lives the life of Riley, endlessly replaying the violent parts of videos.

The environment matches its inhabitants. A community centre’s garden is barren because its clients urinate on the plants. Residence in a tower block is possible only if tenants are calmed with Valium. Housing officers and social workers are the targets for attack and manipulation. One man requested a transfer to a three bedroomed flat because his existing accommodation was too small for himself and his 40 ferrets.

Felons blame either drink or drugs. Young women, blessed with many nippers (sic)—who are mostly cared for by someone else—and deserted by their violent cohabitees, become pregnant in an attempt either to force their men to return or to have another person to give them love. Overdoses and threats of self harm have an added value, causing bad debts to be cancelled and those who have been disconnected from services to be reconnected.

A selection of Dalrymple’s articles is now available in a book, and the whole could be read as an exercise in satire, with invective and wit being used to dramatise the vice inherent in contemporary urban society. Some hint as to whether or not Dalrymple is a psychiatrist can be deduced from the following. (Of a patient frequently the victim of burglary): “It was fortunate…that she was too poor to have valuable possessions”; (speaking of giving evidence in court): “It gives me great pleasure to cook the goose of some of my more obnoxious patients”; (of a man tormented by hallucinations whose origins he believed lay in an intestinal worm): “No doubt advances in parasitology will soon result in a compact disc worm.” A last example is worth a thousand words, and in it he mocks in trenchant tabloidese: “Single mother victim of bag snatcher outside social security.”

Coming from a doctor’s pen it all has a certain shock value. But there is something sinister about a physician presenting in this way people to whom he has a duty of care. It is both exploitative and unremitting in its harshness. It is a perfect paranoid position: reason surrounded by feckless scrounging, short-termism, and greed. But is it not all a fabrication that panders to those who have the responsibility to change things from being what they are but choose not to do so? And do his patients know what he thinks of them?—PAUL BOWDEN, consultant forensic psychiatrist, Maudsley Hospital, London

Amidst the Debris

September 28, 2010

In the cellar of some bombed out building, we wait
Detached only half willingly from the wider world
Amidst a snowstorm of desiccated icing where once
There was an underground eatery. We sit passively
Waiting for rescue. Still and silent as fossils
On proud display in an abandoned museum
And the fixed grin and the suppressed hysteria
Of the Air Raid Warden silences me, eradicates me
We are entombed, it would seem, and these stone walls
Unyielding. The end is approaching, we know that now

We have grown accustomed to the dark
And the one we call Mother Midnight sings us to sleep
She touches us, she caresses us, she clasps our hands
She is leading us to another land, to a place devoid
Of land mines, of bombs, of air raid shelters
There is something wondrous about this woman
She shimmers in the blackness. ‘No one will come now’
She says and wrenches our spirits from our earthly bodies
And leads us through the crevices in the stone
Up through the coal-choked air and up into a clear sky

Inner Empire

September 28, 2010

This inner empire was something sacred.  Her words were dispatches from a foreign country.  The persona she presented to the world was it ambassador.  Everything seemed unstable and kaleidoscopic.  A rainbow on the edge of vision.  True communication was elusive.  She inhabited a tiny, barren island, surrounded  by a shark infested ocean.  She wanted to throw herself forward into the jaws of these ravenous sea creatures.  She wanted to be swallowed whole.  She wanted oblivion.  Dark blue nothingness like velvet against the skin

Not Dead Yet

September 25, 2010


You are not dead, I tell myself
You have merely gone into hibernation
Your likeness is embedded in my core
At the centre of the hurricane
What consolation can be derived
From your dull and frigid overflow?
That will never again reach the sea
Who but you will swim through this desolate space?
You are the forbidding orb that overhangs
The marsh of my heart. An oracular symbol
Just out of view; looking down with disdain
Bleak in concept you hunt me like a hawk

The grass blows frenziedly
And, like me, it bemoans its destiny
Its feeble lack of rigidity as cruelly,
Mercilessly, the night snatches at it
What is it you want from me, I ask
For I feel that I have given you everything I had
You imprison me within your territory
Of ivory castles and bones of ebony
The atmosphere descends, oppressing me
A night as dark as a whore’s knee high boots
On which silver buttons shine.
The horizon is forever beyond my reach

Can’t Do This Anymore

September 23, 2010

am overwhelmed by fear. There. Just had to get that out. I haven’t spoken properly to another human being, apart from a chat with Nobby on Thursday, since I got back from hospital! Binged yesterday and today. Slowly expanding. A huge and ugly scar on the landscape! Unproductive, carefree (or semi-carefree, you know what I’m like!) days rule. Today was pretty much in that category.

and the voice it says
you are not possessed
By demons
You are the demon
and you should jump
before you are pushed

I cannot swim
So I am cut adrift
On the whim
Of some carelessly capricious
Medical examiner

But I couldn’t stay there. Going into hospital is like being cast out. The hospital is like a leper colony, far removed from the city. Far removed from sane, civilized people. My mind had slowed and congealed through lack of use. I could not articulate my kind of hunger. Beyond food, beyond warmth, beyond anything worldly. A need that would never be met.

And now I emerge to see I am being targeted by the powers that be b/c I can’t work full time. The politics of distraction drives me to well, distraction except its not its fiction. You may have encountered this concept before unpopular governments adore a common enemy. And that’s usually okay as long as that common enemy is not you.

when I am not on medication I spent my days doing everything I can to prevent myself from spontaneously combusting.

I don’t think I can do this anymore.

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