Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Because the DSM wasn't enough

You will never understand this until you experience it.
You will think that you can imagine it
You can’t.
You will blame my mood on ego and you will tell me at least once ‘to snap out of it’
You will question me relentlessly as to the source of my pain
I cannot get over it and I have no answers and if I had the answers I would feel better because then at least I could rationalize this impenetrable sadness that floors me every time.
You will advise me
You will say in frustration ‘Take a damn pill’
I will tell you that the drugs only take the edge off, that they leave me functioning on autopilot, that I may as well be a zombie because there is nothing in me that feels on them and I need to feel
There are days where I find it hard to get out of bed
I don’t feel sick
Just sad
Sad to the point that nothing helps
The joke you heard at work is not going to cut it – it wasn't that funny then and it sure as hell isn't funny now
And if I was functioning I would laugh for you
I would laugh for you
But today I can’t
I am beyond the laughter – it eludes me
I know you are trying
I appreciate that you try
I want to care
I want to be better for you
I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t
I am consumed by thoughts that leave me cold
I will consider suicide at least three times today
I don’t want you to worry because I won’t do it
There is still enough reason in me that suicide has not become a viable option
Instead I will sit in my pajamas and pretend to watch TV
If I can muster the will perhaps I will clean the floor obsessively – it’s what I do when I feel like the world is spinning out of control
I can’t stop war but I can clean up
Go figure.
There is no bandage for this
You cannot put a plaster on it or stitch it up
The wound is not open
I know that is frustrating
I know that to you it does not make sense
Maybe it’s not meant to
Maybe this is just how I am wired
I’m not weak.
I’m not stupid.
I’m not narcissistic.
Most days I’m pretty average – funny even
I’ve hit a low point.
I felt it coming with the change of season
I know it’s here when I start waking up early
I lie in bed and listen to the first birds chirping
And I will myself to sleep
But I can’t
And I can’t get up either
And I want to be sick
And I want to be someone else who doesn’t wake up in tears

And making the bed is so final
Such a commitment t
o get up and make the bed because once it’s done then what?
Who am I fooling?
With that perfectly made bed
When I feel so incredibly empty
So I have skimmed the surface
I will spare you the really dark stuff
You will read this and maybe you’ll give up on me
And maybe I want you to
Because it’s easier than having to answer you every time you say
What can I do?
Who has upset you?
It will be okay.
And sometimes I lie to you and I tell you I’m fine and that I will be okay
Because the look on your face breaks my heart
And the truth is
I’m just trying to get through it myself
And I don’t have the answers
I’m still here aren’t I?

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I had the words to say it all
And you understood every word
And I wrote my soul
For a thousand days
And journeyed out of myself
Like something free and unencumbered
I was unafraid
Of failing myself and failing you
And the world it’s impossible beauty
Was a photograph before me
A vast landscape of hope and promise
And I could do it all
I was no longer sad
And you loved me
And every day I woke hopeful
And there were no tears on my pillow
And I threw out my pain medication
And I no longer was numb
Or afraid to feel
You understood me
Like you understood yourself
And we were no longer strangers
Holding hands in the dark
And tripping the light fantastic

Over your shoulder

Over your shoulder
you carried me
Through the timeline of myself
small weight on your back
Swaddled to you
something fragile and unsure
over your shoulder
gaining ground
Years later I watch the world
It's endless cycles
stuck on repeat
new mistakes follow old ones
the postmodern plod
of the born again
and over my shoulder
the years have passed
in an instant moments lost in the rear view mirror
gaining ground
running hard
towards all those improbable destinies
wishing for the comfort of you
carrying me forward
The compass of you that would keep me on the right path
the calm assurance of your sureness
Over my shoulder
I carry you to bed
Your joints ache and you're afraid you may fall
some fragile thing
swaddled to me
the timeline of your days approaching their end
Over my shoulder
I see my shadow
it follows me relentlessly and will not let up
If only I could go back
or stand so very still
that time unnoticed will slip past me, forget me,
keep me
to you
gaining ground.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


In the newspaper of my life
You were headline news
And the reports that followed
Were the stories we told
Of daily routine
And swims in the sea
And promises kept
Laughter shared
Tears we wept
They made the front page
And pictures of you
All over town
A billion copies, every one sold
You were not tossed out the next day
Crumpled and worn
To line a birdcage or wrapped around some delicate glass
Some person bought on sale
Instead framed
In a precious vault
In the newspaper of my life

We got two lines
Alongside classified ads
For used cars
And money for sex
And missing pets
Two lines
For which we paid
To tell the world
That you were loved
That we, your family
Filled with grief
Would miss you so
Two lines
To some up
Your life well spent
No mention of the mountains you moved with your little finger
The way you laughed at all our jokes
Your passion for old cars and collecting junk
Your dreams of sailing around the world
Your love of theatre and old books
Your impossible temper
Your endless capacity for forgiveness
In two lines half way through
The stories of politicians and violent crime
Our small obituary
Inadequately expressed
Nothing more
And nothing less

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Your illness gnaws at me
Its perpetual voice
Chews through the muscle
The sinew, the hope
I call to God – whatever that is,
I berate myself –
I fill myself with silence
I pour the darkness
Through a sieve
I decline phone calls
I gag on words
On sentiment
The radio is switched off
Your illness my Achilles Heel
I bleed resistance and purge platitudes
How is your mother?
What a deafening blow
I soften in my cynicism
Harden at my lack of faith
Quick to anger –
I cover bruises with masking tape
I have emerged something else from this fire
I clutch bandages and disinfectant
I laugh at my gallows humour
Religious icons
Smile and fret
I surprise myself with this vulnerable girl who retreats
To dance in shadows, who burns in the sun
I fill your cup with water
Offer up pills and potions
Shame at the inadequacy
Of words
My voice small across the glacier
How are you feeling?
Tiny offerings skim the water,
Sinking ripples in their wake
I marvel at the clumsy thought
There is no exile in imagination
Instead I watch you from the door way
Peer in to the half-dark room
I send silent assurance
I weep at complication
For on this journey I cannot go
I weave the light like spider webs
I am reminded of Odysseus
Daedalus and Icarus full flight
You alone, sent to kill the Minotaur
While we watch
While we break
While we wait.

Tunnel Vision

I think of tunnels
Of late,
Spiraling darkness
Through space
Spitting mad like a snake
Cold sweat
Heart in my ears
Blood thick
Blind faith
This tunnel quest
This slow spiral through hell
Fumbling for a torch light
Matches snuffed by gusts of wind
Searching, just searching
For the smallest slice of light
Burning through
Some crack
But then I catch myself
This misplaced hope
This tunnel vision
It is so dark in here
Even the light must be defeated.


Before you left
I had the sense that the world was about to spin off its axis and crash into darkness
I felt something fall through me
Heavy like lead
This dread
Before you left

Before you left
I remembered you the way you were when we first met
In your mother’s flat
In your green cardigan
Your glasses broken
Offering me tea
I remembered you
A smiling face in photos on mantelpieces
Forever eight and twelve and fourteen
And I hurt for that small boy
And all the wonderful dreams he would dream
Before you left
I snapped at you for leaving footprints on the bathroom mat
I was angry and I shouted at you
And your face was suddenly that of another
And I wondered how we became strangers to each other so quickly
Before you left
I dreamt that we were back in Covent Garden the rain in our hair
And we were laughing and smiling
And you wanted me
And I felt like the most beautiful girl in the world
And your hand was warm in my own
And the world was our oyster

Before you left
I caught a glimpse of your chair empty in the afternoon sun
And this wave of longing
Struck me so deeply I could not stand
And an emptiness so deep and despairing washed over me
And I ran out onto the road
And I called your name
And you turned back
And you smiled like you used to smile
I loved you
But the words were stuck
And so I said nothing
On the day you left


Today in the autumn light
I caught a star and held it tight
I made a wish and set it free
I prayed it would come back to me

The wish was big yet very small
very short yet very tall
it had all the answers
but was dumb
it felt all pleasures
despite being numb
it was joyful and joyous
and so very sad
this wish that I clung to
this wish that I had

I borrowed a compass
I sought out a map
my heart sprung a leak
like a broken tap
for the wishes worth wishing
seldom come true
for the pitiful masses
for me or for you
and the stars that we cling to
shatter to dust
and the the brightest veneer
will start to rust
and the world knows no better
the stories we made
and the very best memories
eventually fade
and you're left looking out
when you should be looking in
and the credits are already rolling
when you're set to begin

Japanese Song

You have the East in your eyes
returning again to unearth all your secrets
The Geisha girls come undone
unravelling from their kimono's, those silk Kimono's
and they pour you a drink
and they grant you a wish
and their painted red lips run away with them
And We're big in Japan tonight
And we're dancing a whirling dirvish
furiously free
and accross the runway
the engines roar
and the birds fly South
and the world stands still
and you capture yourself in the pictures you make
silent replica's trapped in ink
much like these words
these bruises we leave
This week
what a terrible week
I watch you cry on your bed like a small child
again death breathes its rancid breath
the weight of the world too heavy
the days too dark
And Albert, poor, dear Albert
on a ventilator
his mother and sister wishing him back
but Albert has left the building
and in your dream
he is as he was
and you're walking with him up the stairs to the place where he lived
how strange
when you think on it
here one day, gone the next
But Alphaville keep singing
and the words are so sad
We're big in Japan tonight
and the Geisha girls are laughing
and we don't understand

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

For Albert

Everything and nothing
Oh how could I say it all?
If all I had left was this
Paper and ink
And a heart full of promise
And a world full of dreams
And so many things unlived
And so many things lived raw
Everything and nothing
Into some vital essence of who I was, who I am and could have been
Had I all the time in the universe
It still would not be enough
To say that I love you
To say that you have left some indelible mark on my heart
My tattoo lover
My blessed wing
At night upon you I float over the city
Dreamless, smokey landscape of light and dark
The traffic a far off distant lullaby
And the steady beat and promise that is your heart.
Everything and nothing
For nothing could be enough
And half of it would be nothing at all
Perfect light
Sun of my sun
How the days wake with you
And the stars watch you sleep
How the world aches for the love you have shared with me
How the nameless masses find hope in your smile
How the seasons promise to return
This swan song not nearly beautiful enough
Not nearly enough
For all the unlived hopes I cupped in my hand and passed to you
Drink it
Drink my sweet love
Tonight paper-thin skin of my resolve crumples under the sheet of our years together
A dove coos outside my window
And a late summer breeze breathes hello
The tulips you sent continue to wilt
Their pallid pink mouths droop open gasping for air like fish out of water
I tried to revive them
But found some beauty in their demise
Some silent requiem
Of our mortality
Everything and nothing my love
This elegy for you and the loves we loved
And the dreams we dreamed on your Turkish carpet
And the laughter that overfilled my cup
And drowned my sadness
Oh how you shone a light amongst my shadows
How you gave me everything
Made me everything
Showed me everything
Something nourished
And alive
Out of
This is for you.