Tuesday, 28 February 2012


Take me, break me -

artificial life.

Sincerity, in reality,

seems too much

to hope for.

Shake me up, break me up -

my artificial life.

Saturday, 25 February 2012


I don’t feel that any of this is fine.

Your attitudes all stink. Yes, I said that.

You want me back on Prozac. I decline –

Which makes me "awkward". I’m the one you’ve spat

On time and time again. I’ve had enough.

Still, what is the use in my complaining?

The system’s unfair, sure – but that’s just tough.

Mind divert us with pretend "campaigning".

I just needed somebody to talk to.

It might be too late now. I am broken.

I was an inconvenience to you.

Would it have been so hard to have spoken

To me – as one human to another?

Talking might have helped me to recover.

"A Reason"

The truth is in the after-glow.

Is there a reason?

I don’t really know.

And, should the sun neglect to rise,

how do we carry on?

Yes, I see through their petty lies –

and, yes, it hurts so much.

There is no apparent reason.

I cannot touch

the edges of – no, must not go there.

Is there a reason?

I don’t know, but I know that

I simply can’t not care.

"Can't Mention"

Excuse me if I’m feeling too confined.

Can’t mention this or mention that – but why?

My mind is in Fast Forward or Rewind

Mode, mostly. That’s hard for me to deny,

But it’s worse when I keep it all inside.

So, can a pilot mention clouds in skies?

He gets to see a lot of those. A bride

Can’t talk about her wedding? Realise:

Survivors need to talk about the pain

Sometimes. It is unfair to say not to.

With no outlet, we tend to go insane.

Perhaps mine is an unpopular view.

Survivors’ poetry is so last year.

That’s your view: I just wonder what you fear.

"Not Functioning"


by fears

and confusion

fenced in

by despair


by feelings of guilt



not functioning

any more

Friday, 24 February 2012

"Why Can't We?"

Why can’t we all just get along?

Why can’t we all be friends?

I heard the line "Thou shalt not kill" –

not, "Oh well, it depends…"

I’m sick of funding pointless wars

until this country’s broke,

and can’t afford an NHS

that works. What kind of joke

is this supposed to be, and must

we blow The Planet up to

test out which, if any,

religious text is true?

"Emerald Dreams"

I trace my truths

with fragile fingertips -

floating through emerald dreams,

into azure infinity.


I have been rejected

And frequently shunned.

I have been affected

And I have felt stunned

At times by just how cold

Other people can be.

I’ve been feeling old

Since I was twenty-three.

By now, I know the score –

And life is never fair.

Most people will "back" war.

You’re asking me to care

Whether I live or die,

When life is one big lie.

I’ve had enough. That’s all.

"The Maze"

Abstract patterns in the shadows

Underneath a moonlit sky

Forced his way into my forest

And I dared to question why

And the maze is never-ending

And they think of a fresh lie

Each time I see through the last one

And I try to tell them: Goodbye –

And thank you very much, but –

I am moving on, and that’s my

Final word. My decision. Mine.

"Converting Each Hurt"


understanding so little

sad beyond sadness


each hurt

into the currency of


underlying consciousness of

psychic and spiritual sorrow

bleeding tears of anguish

bleeding pure despair

"Without a Tune"

I’ve a "care co-ordinator", but she doesn’t care for me.

They’ll only offer Prozac now, having talked of CBT.

The mental health team would like me to stop writing poetry.

They feel it’s unconstructive just to moan.

To my family, I’m someone they must ring on Christmas Day.

The Quakers like me when I’m keeping quiet and wearing grey.

The Mormons might accept me if I gave coffee up – but, hey:

We’re heading for "comply to please them" zone.

I’m getting sick of dieting, and of counting calories -

am so fed-up with being advised that I must not have cheese.

You would think that being more than a Size Eight was some disease.

I’m not very good at not complaining.

It seems as though hardly anyone accepts me as I am.

I’ve pet birds, but do not push a mini human in a pram.

How can you claim to be "pro-life", and then stuff your face with ham?

I won’t say it’s sunny when it’s raining.

If I was more positive, it might make people like me more.

Never mind that I scream inside: Hypocrisy is a bore.

If I go back to office work, I might as well be a whore.

I’ll try to write a happy poem soon.

If I try hard to keep something clean, it is bound to soil.

Anything that I enjoy, someone will surely have to spoil.

I’ve expected friends of mine to stick by me, and be loyal.

Guess lyrics aren’t enough without a tune.


Leaves turn to gold, bronze, copper, burgundy.

It still feels warm, but sometimes there’s a chill

In the evening air. We wait until

The leaves begin to tumble from the trees.

What we feel now is more like wind than breeze,

And we anticipate the winter’s freeze.

"Toco Toucan"

His oversized, golden beak looks

almost inflatable -

those feathers, so exquisite,

in contrasting black and white silk.

He bounces from branch to branch –

then pauses for a period,

to preen.

I am stunned by such beauty,

existing so close

to this spot where I stand.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

"Feels Like The End"

I hold the pain inside.

It breaks my heart and mind

and will not be denied,

diluted or defined

by words, which don’t suffice.

My end is drawing near.

They’re tightening the vice,

and everything I fear

is starting to come true.

I am dying on a cold, damp concrete floor –

and no-one seems to have a clue

how to help me any more.

The truth is that I’m broken now,

and cannot be repaired.

They’re not too bothered, anyhow.

One final meeting must be chaired,

before we’re into closing scenes:

theme tune; credits roll.

Those images on movie screens:

selected method for thought control.


Aerodynamic angels

Of the ocean

Whose graceful motion

Entrances and enchants

Your collective spirit


With my own

In sacred waters

"Slow Start Again"

I examine emotion after emotion.

Motivation, where are you?

Motivation, where are you?




To a day.

"Black-and-white (with a golden beak)"

I don’t believe in anything but this.

I can be as black-and-white as you can.

You like your Guinness. You go on the piss.

Don’t blame that on my friend, Mr. Toucan.

You must admire my friend’s big golden beak –

Just like an inflatable banana.

You meet a parrot – wait for him to speak.

You’d avoid a vulture or piranha,

Or any creature you misunderstand.

That covers most of them, including me.

Without a sauce, you’d find your veg too bland.

You couldn’t last one week without TV.

My meaning is as clear as mud to you.

You need your Guinness, and wrong point of view.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


I carry this around with me, day after day:

a dull ache,

in the background of my

conscious mind.

Constantly present.

Sometimes I get lost within

the complex tangle of emotions.

Mostly, I dream of a non-existent ideal.

Then, back to reality with a

violent jolt:

a dark place, where nothing is right

any more.

Sometimes the pain is acute,

and then I anticipate the tender caress

of the knife’s sharpened blade.

It is beckoning – more so than


I suddenly want a release:

a way out.

Then I shake myself out of this selfish insanity.

I just carry on.

Pick myself up from the floor

once more.


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

"Shades of Grey"

In comparison to their

uncompromising black-and-white-ness,

I feel drawn to your shades of grey:

the subtlety of something in-between.

I want to lace my grey with silver, though.

Is that not okay?

If you are as open-minded as you claim,

why is it that this doesn’t

seem to be okay?

There are no specific doctrines here,

after all –

or so you say.

So you say.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

"So Much Better When"

What if I cannot find a place for me?

To be a burden: Why would I want that?

If I let go, that's no-one's victory.

I just feel desperate: That's where I am at.

It's hard for anyone to understand.

It's not as if I truly would have planned

to chuck my life away - be childless -

with no career, either. No prospects.

Each aspect of my life is in a mess.

The psychiatric system just protects

the ones "they" see as valuable - of use.

I'm battered by a lifetime of abuse.

This is how it seems on my darkest days.

I pray and meditate. A sense of peace

returns to me once more, but never stays.

I wish that I could steam-iron every crease

inside my mind. I might feel better then -

or maybe I'll feel so much better when...

Thursday, 16 February 2012

"Night Poems"

my night poems

my unexpected blessings

I love you

but please


will you release

me now

I would rather

just sleep

for a while


for a while

"The Quiet Ones"

I don't run around naked in the street.

Kinda cold - you know?

And anyway, I'm always at home.

I don't set fire to myself,

although I might think about that one...

I don't set off alarms - false alarms -

in stores

on purpose.

I can't, anyway. I'm always at home.

I was trained not to make a fuss:

Join our orderly queue.

Stand in line. Wait your turn.

No, I don't say a word. I won't.

I'm fine - you know?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

"No-one Hears"

can't sleep can't sleep

can I scream

please please please

inside this deep dark

forest of insanity

I do scream

how I scream

but no-one hears

my silent screams

"All Night"

my thoughts and emotions

all night all night

I toss them around

all night all night

I toss along with them

all night all night

my thoughts and emotions

all night all night

but soon I shall fall asleep

soon I might

"Spiral Staircase in Sepia"

That spiral staircase -

which I visualise now in sepia tones:

Where does it lead?

Where did it start?

Spiralling, spiralling -

out of control -

the unanswered questions,

and unquestioned answers -

and the tick-tock

of 3am,

and a mind exploding,

dreams shattering,



Sunday, 12 February 2012

"Silent Screams"

just because my screams

are silent that does not mean

that I'm not screaming

Saturday, 11 February 2012

"Nothing Mends"

The slamming shut of dreams;

The darkness that descends;

I’m finding no new themes,

And nothing mends.

What’s broken stays that way.

I don’t have peace of mind.

The silver in my grey

Is redefined,

And redefined again.

The cycle just repeats.

Keep scrubbing the same stain:

All life’s defeats.

Friday, 10 February 2012

"Alternative CV"

I’ve tried to earn a living. What a joke.

Had fewer breaks because I would not smoke.

I’ve typed too many lists of licence plates,

And been in a few paralytic states.

I’ve tried to operate a fax machine.

I have become addicted to caffeine.

I’ve pretended not to hear a phone

At five to five; I know I’m not alone.

I have been very bored, and felt depressed.

I fear that you may not be too impressed

By my honesty. That is just too bad.

This poem may not please my mum and dad.

I have been stressed out over a deadline.

I have known that I really shouldn’t whine –

But still ended up moaning, anyway.

I’ve felt sick just looking at my In-tray.

"Quaker Plain"

She wears a bonnet to the pub,

on the grounds that she’s now "Quaker Plain".

She turns more heads than anyone else:

is considered harmless, sweet -

but quite insane.

So many girls choose low-cut tops.

The local lads find her attire

more sexy than some mini-skirt.

So much for "modest dressing" – if such

was ever truly her desire.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

"Non-directional Days"

these non-directional days

so vague

my mind's landscape cluttered



can't concentrate

or self-motivate

get started

stay started

so frustrating

knowing that

I could achieve

so much more

and yet sometimes


lightly brushes

the frayed edges

of my most

non-directional days

"Darkened Room"

Confusion overtakes my conscious mind.

I’m searching for solutions I can’t find.

I can’t even switch off when I’m asleep,

from pain so overwhelming – wounds so deep.

I can’t stay positive, but I must try –

when all I want to do is sit and cry –

here in this darkened room, where migraines rest,

and I can just feel quietly depressed.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

"Your Words" (for Stacey)


At such a significant time,

your book surfaced -

came to the top of one of

our "clutter piles" - as

the mental health team,

and certain judgmental

family members

would describe them.

Not entirely accurate -

or entirely inaccurate, either.

So I read your poems -

some prose.

I hadn't been able

to read your words

for so long.

And I am

the same. In so many ways.

I never mentioned that,

did I?

And I never told you

not to worry

that I would "get inside

your mind".

We were friends, right?

So why wouldn't

I be in your mind -

in your heart?

But I relate so much to the


and constant fear of

rejection and abandonment.

I totally do.

And I never read descriptions

of Prozac and Risperidone

as accurate as yours.

Were you still reading

Facebook when I

mentioned that?

I don't think that I ever

said it to you.

Not properly.

You know, what I wrote

was - roughly - that

you captured the feelings - sensations -

of being on the drugs.

My poems have delved

into side-effects, yes -

and the social-political

side...but yours...

so, no - I'm not a "better poet".

I was never, ever

more talented than you.


And I just wanted to say

that I'm sorry

that I wasn't there for you

more -

that I wasn't there

at the end -

that I let my illnesses

and insecurities

control me

to that extent -

but I never, ever

really believed

that you'd die,

and the day you told us

that the "C." word had spread -

you looked better,

quite well.

You were even

putting on weight -

although not nearly enough -

and we were looking at cameras,

and you took a picture

of one of our piles -

receipts or something, I think -

and I so

wanted to

take yours


you were beautiful -


you were you -

but I didn't.

I didn't feel that

I could

at that moment -

and now,

and now...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

"Early Hours"

Insomnia's cousin: early morning waking

Sleep's brief sanctuary

Sliced through

So soon

Too soon

Too hard to sustain


I can’t switch off and go to sleep.

I start to go insane.

By morning, I’ll be in a heap.

I can’t switch off and go to sleep.

I’m dreading the alarm’s loud beep –

Fear getting a migraine.

I can’t switch off and go to sleep.

I start to go insane.


Edged by hedgerows

Window ledge

Knife's edge - blade's caress

At the edge

On edge

On the edge

Edge of deepest darkness

Despair and madness

Edge of somewhere




Edged out

Over the edge

The sharpest edge

My edge



Having the edge over

Beyond the edge