In the months following my 'release' from inpatient treatment, I've joined a writing group.
I joined on the premise that it seemed to be a very relaxed, sociable, light hearted group which, whilst keeping 'writing' at its core, didn't take it all too seriously.
As it happens, my impressions of it were correct. We meet on Tuesday evenings in a pub. A good situation (although, for those of us with Anorexia, the calories in alcohol are enough to send us running for the Diet Coke).
The group is made up of characters who are intriguing, inspiring and... talent wise, fairly intimidating! Although I can only recall one person who is remotely self important, most of the regulars (around fifteen or so) are published; some are even fairly prolific writers.
Tonight there was a 'showcase' evening. where folk were invited to read something they'd written in the past.
It would have been too revealing, too personal, but a poem I wrote (and posted here years ago) has been in my mind, (called forth in a very roundabout sort of way) by a poem I read on someone else's blog. An honest poem about desperation and despair.
This poem was written in the aftermath of my own depression, and is not without its own, very potent, sense of anger. I apologise in advance if readers find it offensive. I post it here as a kind of offering to those who have suffered in silence, or have been unheard.
It's for those untouched by comfort, not necessarily because it wasn't there, but because the pain was in a hidden place.
It's a bitter cry, best cried alone, but until it's been cried, it can't fall away.
Where were you when I
When darkness cast death into me?
I bled black for years
Tears turned to stone and I screamed
each time I passed a tear through ducts
too small for stones.
Where were you when I had words,
to spill and spout and squander?
And my arms ached and ached
from holding the binding skeins apart.
And I retched unseen as they tangled
and strangled deep in my gut.
Where were you when I was fighting?
Punching holes into a silent wall,
Spitting truth bullets into denial’s flesh,
Kicking the dust and biting angry hands
that levered my bitten swelling lips apart,
and rammed words back down my throat.
Where were you when the salt burned like sulphur?
My beaten pillow, wet with censored pain
And twisting, I writhed with the knowing
Of things yet unknown.
And my cheeks smarted with their rage
Truth- shy handprints scorched my skin
Where were you when nothing was left
When slivers of cold metal comfort
Whispered sweet numbing into flesh
And I bled silent pools of hidden screams
On shiny, hard bathroom floors
Where were you when sweat and tears
Plastered matted hair to my face?
Smothering silent screams,
I twisted and turned and gasped,
As I aborted myself
and bled secret shame
onto my sheets
And it’s too late now
For your saving reach
My cold corpse
Can’t feel your comfort
And it’s too late now
To breathe life
Into the bloodless womb
“I want to understand”
Echoes in the hollow
And I am filled with sickness.
And grief swells like thunder
In my head
I spit on your floor
And walk away.
You can pay your respects
But don’t fuck with the dead.