Archive for the ‘betrayal’ Category

‘I could burn you and there would be nothing you could do about it’

June 18, 2010

‘I could burn you and there would be nothing you could do about it’ Winston Smith described an ‘incident’ in which one of his clients (residents, service users, whatever) tried to *burn him to death* and he faced no consequence? Even if his managers care nothing about care workers then surely they should care about the other residents.

I get the impression that care workers are not treated with the respect they deserve in most sectors. They are the ones who spend the most time with ‘service users’ and yet when they voice their concerns to their ‘superiors’ they are dismissed. I noticed that when I was a patient in psych hospital. I spoke up when I saw a kind, compassionate nursing assistant who didn’t suffer fools gladly being given a dressing down by some G grade nurse who’d only been there for five minutes.

I’m wondering if their lack of concern for W.S. was due to the fact that he didn’t have a DipSW.

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Je Ne Regrette Rien

July 1, 2008

I don’t know why I chose to pin
My colours to your mast
For this was a war I could not win
A river in which I could not swim
Your reputation is destroyed
The dogs of vengeance are deployed
The newspapers snoop and vultures swoop
Picking over your remains, saying,
‘Go on defend her if you must
But be assured we’ll grind you into dust’
Yet I did not elect to join the winning side
I did not elect to be swept away by the tide
But still I was sucked in and swallowed whole
I dutifully played my allotted role

They say you hated her
I disagree. I saw you
Foraging for affection
On the day of my defection
You did not ask for much
But she was far too delicate to touch
As incorruptible
As a wedding dress
As pure as an ivory rose
With bright, white petals
Defying the darkness
But she was so hard to impress
Enmeshed in the webbing
Of purity, of perennial insecurity

She is somehow seductive
Gentle, subdued and soft-hued
She was the stone wall you clung to
Like creeping ivy and wandering
Through the wilderness you needed to be close
To the stillness at the centre of the whirlwind
She has never sinned
Ambivalence made no sense
And this was the consequence
The two of you are dissected, then polarised
And you are transformed in their eyes
Reduced to the status of saint and sinner
One spoilt, the other serene
One corpulent, the other lean

You are despised, she is idolised
You are sour as curdled cream
She epitomises youth and truth
A sycophant’s wet dream
She is so easy to adore
This is all that remains
A drowned world
A planet aflame
Much has been lost,
And little has been gained
But I do not regret a thing and if I had to
I would do it all again because even the devil,
Yes, even the devil
Deserves an advocate

GhostCat: Where are YOU?

January 7, 2008

There will never be a perfect time to have a pet. I am being bombarded by offers from my friend Andrew who works at a cat sanctuary – He has found a lovely little affectionate cat called Bounce. I don’t even feel like visiting. I am so tired. I don’t think this will be a good time to bring cats into a still grieving home.

Bella has been my (almost) constant companion. For a decade she has been by my side. (Apart from my trip to America and Europe when Bella stayed in Birmingham with my parents). But I thought about her, I dreamed about her.

But Bella was a stubborn little Madam and would make me endure lots of silent treatments when I returned which were resolved when Bella felt that she had made me suffer enough. She wasn’t nicknamed ‘Bratcat’ for nothing.

I know I will never find a cat like Bella again. One night, back in 1996, I opened the front door to let a friend out and, as the friend left, this little white cat invaded by apartment. She slipped through the door and let out a piercing miaow, a miaow that said ‘I’m here and I’m here to stay’. And stay she did for eleven years. A lady downstairs had one more cat than she needed. The youngest(Bella -6) was being bullied by the Top cat. So, she came to live with me. Melissa, her first rescuer, told me that she’d been wandering Mill Road – emaciated, with no fur on her back legs – when she found her. She took her back to her flat and was surprised to find that she was house trained. She had also been spayed. My neighbour nursed her back to health but cats can be fickle creatures and Bella began to explore other flats in a bid to find herself another home. Bella had made up her mind. Every night she stood outside my door calling for me to let her in. I did. And every night she came. I made an agreement with her human who found it difficult to have to deal with night after night of hissing, spitting, snarling.

So she surrendered and brought Bella to me. She sat perched on my chest that night and the purrs she emitted soothed me into a sleep devoid of dreams. She became a permanent fixture in my life, almost to the exclusion of everyone else. And she was loyal to the end. She died in her sleep. Next to me. The best way to die some say. I’m not so sure. Doubts are setting in

If anybody’s interested Bella was 17

More Later

Deconstruction of My Mother

December 3, 2007

She told him about the boy at the end of her street, the one with the overgrown garden permeated by the stench of cat piss.

‘Did he touch you?’ asked Patrick.
‘Yes,’ Wendy replied. ‘He did.’
‘Where?’ he persisted. Later, looking back, Wendy would realize that she was his first psychiatric patient. His blank canvas. He transformed her. Wendy touched her breasts, and her vagina. ‘It happened because my parents were never there, never home. The Rose and Crown – our local pub was my father’s second home. The factory was his second. We came third.. His work kept him just this side of sanity. He worked in a factory. There was camaraderie on that assembly line, he used to say. There was camaraderie on the picket line too.

She was his chameleon; his Eliza Doolittle.. Under his tutilige she became glamorous, vivacious, intelligent, creative, charming. Or, at least, that’s what Patrick told her. Before he asked her to marry him. She had got what she came for – the status and privileges that come with being a doctor’s wife.

In the end Wendy became an unpaid actress. The whole world was her stage and their family and friends were the co-stars.

On the night before she died Cynthia’s bedtime story had been The Water Babies.

They found her face down, floating in the lake.

There He Goes Again

November 12, 2007

There he goes again
That mad megalomaniacal monarch
Severing heads and hanging heathens
With one look we could condemn ourselves
One word out of place is treason
And often he executes without reason

He sits on his throne
A sumptuous feast spread out before him
He watches as the executioner does his work
He slurps amd slavers as he anticiptes
Future killings and bestial bloodlettings
While all around him subjects shudder

‘Your Majesty, it was not I,’
They cry but it is rather like addressing
The indifferent sky. With a gloved hand
He waves them away. He has never had
So much fun. Power makes him high
Power makes him fly….

….And his reign has only just begun

Stepfather

October 1, 2007

I am merely an object moving through space
Out of place and lacking in grace and you begin
With a disclaimer. You tell me I am essential
But incomplete. You desecrate my disordered dreams
‘Your mother is gone. She died in the night’
No one cried and then the great divide arrived
You only die once, after all. You move in on me
You disagree with my methodology. You disapprove
Of my every move. My words are unheard and undeterred
You detach me from all context and you begin,
Slowly and deliberately, to deconstruct me.

The Queen and the Great Revolution

September 28, 2007

Little empires crumbled
Miniature kingdoms toppled
As the princess became a queen
And men knelt, grovelling
At the feet of this new matriarch
She loved no one but herself
The peasants that lined the roads
Were but money-making machines
Fairy tale figures – Snow White,
Rose Red and Little Red Riding Hood
So pure, so soft, so good
To be trodden underfoot

They threw flowers at the motorcade
A rainstorm of roses aimed at that princess
Her feelings were suppressed
By vodka, vodka, vodka
‘She is an angel,’ they said
But that was long before
The Great Revolution
When this new Queen dreamed
Of cutting out the tongues
Of rabid republicans
Now she is still the centre of attention
She is still the star of the show.

But she is not adored anymore
And up in that dock she can smell
Her own blood, her own death
And those who once revelled in her grace
Will dance jubilantly,
Madly, on her grave.

March 31, 2005

The Violence of Parting

A shudder, sudden
A vehement, violent, viper’s sting
I was nothing to you
And yet, I thought I was everything

You fragmented before my eyes,
Transformed into everything I dispise
Hatred emanated from your face
Telling me to begone from this place
Get out of my house, you cried

Sudden, searing, a lightning strike
I was a mere child
Just like your little girl
And yet you tore me in pieces
Emotional limb from emotional limb
Frail, fragile enough already

You recocognised my condition
Without realizing it – madness
People are afraid of it
I realize this as I stumble
Half-unreal, across flat grasslands
And through crowded streets

I tense my body for death
My body tenses for death
Contemptuously, it passes me by
Those who don’t want to – die
Those who do – don’t

It still burns
It still turns
Revolved inside
Everytime my eyes
Fall upon you.

Interview/Interrogation

March 9, 2005

Suffice to say that Doug, as always, was immensely helpful. I am concerned though that he might try to confront Andy. ‘If he were here right now, I’d kill him!’ He is an 89 year old pensioner (albeit a very fit and sprightly one) but he still sees himself as the 25 year old reconnaissance commando he once was.

Ever since I have been spending most of my time in the bedroom with my laptop (my desktop is steam driven), Bella has colonised the living room. Her white fur covered every surface. Doug had only been sitting on the sofa for five minutes and he was covered in white fluff.

The policewoman arrived and, much to my relief, I warmed to her almost immediately. She was polite and efficient and not in the least patronising, a credit to her profession. We discussed the Tony Martin case in the context of ways in which I could defend myself should Andy attempt to gain access to my flat. She told us that Andy has assaulted the police officers who had gone to his flat to question him. I think they (the police) despise him. Assaulting police officers is something of a hobby of his. Maybe they are looking for an excuse to put him away for a while. They have raided his flat (once in riot gear) and have arrested him on numerous occasions but have never been able to make any charges stick mainly because Our Hero: Dr. H and his team have always stepped in to protect him. Andy has told me that he has no criminal record (only in Israel when he was working on a Kibbutz for shoplifting).

‘It seems unlikely that he would have had so much contact with us and not have some kind of criminal record,’ said the policewoman.

I ran through the catalogue of Andy’s ‘crimes and misdemeanours’ in my head – committed against friends, enemies, strangers. I thought of the day he stormed into the Catholic Church around the corner and struck a priest in the face and then smugly boasted about how he had escaped the consequences of his actions by feigning illness and being admitted to hospital. He even gloated over the fact that the priest had to move to another parish because he was so unnerved by the incident. Andy is beyond justice thanks to Dr H. and his ilk. ‘Why did he need to move away if his faith is so strong,’ he mocked. ‘He should have turned the other cheek anyway.’

A person only has so many cheeks to turn, Andy, my dear.

He also conned a fellow bipolar sufferer out of £5,000. I’ll call his victim ‘Brendan’. He is pitifully faithful to Andy, following him around like a starving puppy. He went through a severe manic episode and gave away all of his money – £5,000 of it to Andy, who took it and spent it on redecorating his flat and an expensive computer system. (A real friend would have taken the money and kept it safe for ‘Brendan’ until his crisis was over.) He also abandoned his friend and ‘partner in crime’ ‘Caleb’ when he was most in need and then tried to turn me against him by claiming that he had stolen his credit card and had withdrawn four hundred pounds from his account. (£400? Pah! Andy rarely has more than four hundred pence in his bank account. Actually, I’m not sure he even has a bank account). He has taken an iron bar and smashed down two people’s front doors. One of his ‘victims’ was ‘Daniel Merchant’ (another alias) – a gentle New-Zealand drug dealer (Does that sound like an oxymoron to you?) who has somehow gained the respect of Doug, perhaps because of his love of animals and the fact that he reads for the blind, what a saint, huh? But this just proves that everyone is inconsistent, even Doug.

I thought about his string of ill-treated girlfriends – blonde, buxom Helene who left Andy to live with his flatmate Sean. Years later, Sean left Helene to live as a lodger in Andy’s flat where he remains today. Poetic justice, I thought, until I heard Andy and Sean referring to Helene in the most hideously misogynistic manner. ‘Helene’s huge. She’s a gross bitch.’ Bearing in mind that Sean and Andy are not exactly God’s gift to womankind. I think they’re both so deluded that they both look in the mirror and see Adonis or some other Greek God gazing back at them. I remember Helene nodding Andy’s front door and referring bitterly to him as ‘That thing in there’. I remember the girl who came to live with Andy last summer and the grim face of her mother when the two of them came to collect her things. What did that man do to her? All of these images jostled for prominence in my mind, but one forced its way to the forefront: the look of triumph on Andy’s face as he told me that he had beaten Sean up the Christmas before last. And still he returned, as did Daniel Merchant and Brendan. Our Friendly Neighbourhood psychopath seems to have some kind of hold over them. What is going on down there? Some kind of bizarre sado-masochistic society? Andy being the sadist and his followers the masochists (Do they really believe he is some kind of Messiah?) Was Andy’s assault on me my initiation ceremony. Well, I’m keeping well away from that weird little cult and I’m going to do my damnedest to warn potential new recruits off too.

The policewoman politely listened to Doug’s war stories. He told her he had once been arrested for killing a civilian in Sicily during World War II when he was a Special Services Reconnaissance Commando and tried by a military tribunal. ‘There was a riot,’ he said. ‘And this man lunged towards me. I moved aside and he fell forward over a cliff. I was exonerated, of course. It turned out this man was a soldier who had disguised himself as a civilian – pro-Mussolini. This was before Italy surrendered.’ The policewoman noted the parallels with contemporary Iraq in which the occupying forces are unsure of who is friend or foe.

I was frank with her from the start: ‘I can’t testify. I’d be a useless witness in court. I have a history of mental illness and the Defence are sure to bring that up.’

‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘Your role in this is restricted to making a statement. You don’t have to appear in court. We, the police, are pressing charges.’

She told me what happened during the attack from the point of view of ‘the witness’. (Daniel, I presume). A scene flashed through my mind: ‘I’ve always fancied you,’ Daniel was saying and in my Schnapps fuelled state I reached out and grabbed his hand. I was starving for human companionship. The police woman said that when Andy attacked me Daniel had stood, rooted to the spot, unable to process what was going on and then he had lunged towards me, seized one of my arms, pulled me out of the door and dragged me upstairs to my flat. It was there he had called the police and, because of my obviously distressed state, an ambulance. ‘That’s another thing that would make me a disaster in the witness box,’ I said. ‘That huge gap in my memory. It’s as though someone pressed the pause button and, for me at least, time stopped.’

Doug suggested that Andy might have slipped something into my drink and the policewoman conceded that this was a possibility.

In spite of her warm and sympathetic attitude, I was relieved when the policewoman received a call on her radio and announced that she had to leave. The interview had been prolonged by Doug’s reminiscences about his time as Sergeant Major of Regimental Police in the ’50s. ‘I’ll see myself out,’ she said after I had signed my statement and she had given me details of a victim support organisation.

Doug left soon after. Just before he stepped out of the front door, he turned and embraced me and I clung to him as though he were the last decent human being on earth.

Becoming a Statistic

February 22, 2005

I have become a statistic.

I sat on the bed in the hospital cublicle, my face and powder-pink dress encrusted with blood, talking to a cherubic young junior doctor. ‘I suppose that statistic was right.’

‘What? The one that states that one in four women will be the victim of an assault by someone she knows in her lifetime?’

I nodded. ‘Indeed’.

Something I never believed would happen to me has happened – I was physically attacked by someone I thought was a friend. Andy, a person I only ever tried to help. Andy, a person who just a few months ago said I was one of his most faithful companions (I dread to imagine how he treats those he considers unfaithful).

I remember very little of what happened. I’d merely visited his flat for a cup of tea and a chat, just as people do every day without consequence. (One thing I will concede – Andy is/was a damned good conversationalist – something I shall miss). Then some male friends of his arrived and some more and soon the room was filled with the stench of testosterone. I recall flirting with a rather handsome blond guy called David. ‘I’ve always fancied you,’ he said.

The next thing I knew I was being slammed against the wall by Andy. He was hoving his palm into my face. Apparently he was punching and kicking me but I felt no pain – the mind is an amazing thing, they say. I think what I was experiencing is called primary shock. I then remember being pulled out of the flat and dragged upstairs to my own flat by David.

Then there was a long, yawning gap in time.

I awoke in the middle of the night in hospital. I was dressed in one of those nightgowns with a flap at the back. (Oh, how they appear to love humiliating their patients). I stumbled, half-blind, to the bathroom. I stared into the mirror. I looked quite hideous – like something from another world. My hair was fluffed around my pale face – drained of all colour. Blood dripped from my nose. My upper lip was blue as though it was stained with ink. I tried to rub it off before realizing it was a bruise.

I stumbled back to my cubicle and slipped beneath the single sheet. It was like sleeping in an ice box so I slipped beneath what seemed to be another sheet. It was an undersheet. It added little warmth. My mind was still protecting me. I shuddered and fell into a restless sleep.


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