Another day, another poem, dragging through the ether. There are lots of twists and turns down the mental health road; no easy solutions, just lots of conundrums and silence scattered with unhealthy, stigmatising epithets of goodwill and brave wishes.
Love and Possession
Me and my shadow
kick an old leather football
back and forth across
a blackbird infested
patch of grass
inside the compound.
A wire mesh looms above us;
the taunts of twittering suburbia
are held by the rhythm of each thud;
the same old line tossing the
old argument back and forth.
Do love and need ever exist
I make it through the reality check
and land on a bench dedicated to
Shirley 1943 – 2009;
a bunch of dead dream flowers
lie gaffa-taped above a memorial:
“I am the gentle sea breeze”
love and possession held fast
by stark yellow-black lines,
long after the last sod
has had its final say.
© Colin Hambrook
In the 1990s I put together a visual arts exhibition called 'Dreams of the Absurd' which got shown in various galleries in the UK and abroad.
It was an extension of a series of large-scale paintings, prints and writing about experience of mental health issues. During research I did whilst still at college I connected the work with the representation of 'madness' within the history of art.
I've been trying to get back into making and showing my own work since the those days... With encouragement from other artists engaged with DAO I'm putting tentative feet back in the water...
So here is a poem that relates to my experience of growing up in a psychotic household and dealing with issues of psychosis personally from a tender age...
On Healing my Childhood
On RD Laings' fit of promise
I gave you a magic potion, hidden
in a steaming plate of baked beans.
You held your demons in suspension
for a while. I hoped you would find forgiveness
in the small hours and learn to be kinder.
Building a time machine with sticky
back plastic, you concocted a
spell; attempted to undo our births.
I put a band-aid on each moment that hurt you;
went to the moon for help, but couldn't find
my way past the myriad of therapists
who crowded the path to the place of no pain.
The universe exploded with nazi meditators
surrounded in light oozing from every orifice.
I travelled to the end of London and back
to find a potent enough medicine to calm your
nerves; put schizophrenia in remission;
denied its existence to release the guilt.
I tried remembering everything you had ever said;
confessed to the time doctor who gave you yet more
electricity in the name of healing. When
you blamed the next-door-neighbours
I wrapped myself in a ball and sent myself to the talisman.
Calling on blood and stone; I found the faces of change
in the place where the gods live and empowered
each memory with a prayer for healing.
You listened to my heart, made promises for every secret
and bound our love to the four corners of the wind
before your white blood cells dried up and died
of largatyl, chlorpramazine, depixol and modicate.