(sutherland hospital, april 2020)


the blue chair is algorithmic and we who are not apostrophes
cannot spoil the things we do with the furniture
we love useless things, so if you are digging with a spoon  
in the garden of the hdu and you are a poet and mad
remember it is a spoon and not a pen

in the morning, in the muralled hospital courtyard
a star, the mourning star points down
in the afternoon, the sun contrives with the sail cloth
to create a specific volcano

it is twenty minutes since you took your meds
zyprexa, the communion wafer
the blasphemous one
instead of taking it on the tongue
you take it under the roof of your mouth
sedative tongue kisses numbing us

leaving the tomb on the third day you try
to stop them thinking you are end dead
but if you don’t want to say anything
just go and know you’ll come back
out the front of the caravan park
where no one can hear us
just you and me pressing against time

there are always devils on the ward
they spit bullets into the mouths
of the innocents and drag us down
with their growling, clawing, gnawing syllables.
there are always angels on the ward
they speak flowers at medication time
watering our tomorrows. they lift us up
with their songs, their wings, and their beautiful caresses

it is the coming down time
coming down from the vision place
the reminder of concrete landings and the smashing of intellect
it is the fool tripping over his outrageous shoes
again, again & again

it is like history playing backwards
what has been done is
playing live – music improvised
the future catches up with the past
and in time you are moving
back and forward to your present

to get out of here we all need to walk to schedule
meals arrive on dalek-trays vertically mirroring
the ward where the rooms are stacked laterally
unlike their inhabitants. it’s still all about screen-time
nurses stare out of the fishbowl while we swim round and round

on each of our leave breaks
a newly born baby emerges from the
hospital entrance/ exit into this Covid-19 world
evidence that this day belongs to them
as we sit on the grass seeking distance
from each other



The aim of this project is to share lived experiences of mental health via poetry. Therefore, some of the content may potentially trigger some readers. If you require mental health support or assistance, a list of free confidential 24/7 support lines can be found here. You are not alone in your journey.