short short story

“… why she was unable to break free …”


She’d had a long and fairly variegated history of mental ill-health: a patchwork of reds and spots of polka dot yellows which defined her quite clearly in the attentive eyes of the world.

On a previous occasion or two, she’d tried to break everything: not just break herself free of the nightmare of emotions but break almost everything around her.  And this explained exactly – and she could understand it herself – why everyone had (wrongly, in her mind) come to the conclusion she was mad.

And she clearly wasn’t going to make the same mistake again.  But the implications of not doing so were tremendously hurtful to take on.  Because she knew, like no other, that one of the main ticks to be boxed – by psychiatric manual in the condition she’d been assigned – was that of latently, even blatantly, wanting to promiscuously break away from the safety, comfort and goodness of a “life at home”.

And this was even the case when such a home was “safer”, “more comfortable” and “less bad” than the world you’d objectively find outside – although from her (admittedly) subjective point of view, it was a world where less bad meant living death, where comfortable meant a sofa and TV dinner not a passionate embrace, and where safety implied the house wouldn’t go up in damn fool flames – never, however, that you’d feel at one with your people and surroundings.

So there in a nut[ty]shell was the reason why she was totally unprepared to attempt ever again to break free.  If she didn’t, she might objectively fall very ill again; on the other hand if she did, they would more than likely, even as quite incorrectly, claim – once again –  the surreal assumption that because she wanted more of life, she was ill.

A Catch-22 if there ever was one, dear friends.  Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Who said there wasn’t a heaven on earth?  After all, hell existed in tandem with the former – and hell there did exist most definitely.


poetry, trails of thought

“And how was I so bad you needed to abuse me?”


You know that moment when everything falls into place?

Well, that – but not quite.  Here I get the feeling

everything just falls into

some space that spaces out like mad magic mush-

room or habit-

ated environments that nudge and provoke our


ambulance in advance of curious reaction.

Though not chemical any more: I have lost the

ability to feel and enjoy the life I wrote about

in love these past few months.

All that is left is the husk of a man who once smelt

the musk of a woman.

And how was I so bad you needed to control me?

And how was I so bad you needed to use me?

And how was I so bad you needed to abuse me?

And how was I so bold you had to make me old?

And how was I so unreasoned you felt your every

excuse to underline my tying down to stump and

hump once clearly promised, then never delivered?

And did I serve for all of you now, not just the woman

I married so innocently, as warning of futures unseen by

most – or more as a potential manual of action?

Or was I host for more evil motives?

Or did you imagine I was?

And so then was my skill and aptitude and

ability ground down by you all, not just the

woman I married, to prevent me from telling the

things that I saw to a world which would then

have to believe what I sensed was going to

happen so early before

anyone else saw it happen?

And did you believe and use me as warning –

or did I become, corrupted, a manual?

And did you believe and use me to protect

yourselves freely – at the expense of my lifetime

of joy, kindness and love?

And was this the cost of being different from you?

And was this the price you extracted from me?

And did I pay all of this without knowing the bill?

And then all these names you called me



the years –

Bill of course, naturally; but Phil, Will and Mel

as well – were they just there to ensure I never

was able to form a clear sense of myself:

an identity that might have allowed me to rise

above the violence to my person you all felt you

needed to commit?  An identity at last: something which

meant I was sent down to this rock to be someone like

me: to be I, me, myself instead of the warning or instruction

manual you made of me all this time for your own

bloodied purpose!

And so from wifely suspicion to stately deconstruction, the life

I’ve loved begins to dis

integrate into parts that fall not into place but into that

space that spaces us right out of all of our minds, and leads me to



childlike as ever,

how everyone used me, in some way or

other, along the awful {[line}s] which now {[end]s} … right here!

poetry, trails of thought

Wot / Hau / Wai [from the home that did you so much harm]

The Scream.jpg
By Edvard Munch – WebMuseum at ibiblio
Image URL:, Public Domain,


So OK, you say, you’ve said all along:

they were right and I was wrong, and so many

wrongs you never righted lie unrighted

like ship, already mentioned,

under levels of grave water: muddy as hell.

And the bell rings out like a soulless creature

I never forgot by the bedside I hid from

as child in thatched cottage of anciently

fearful time, with big white mooning face

over my face: and my whole damn childhood

is a scream, you know: not a scream of lovable

moments of joy but a scream, like the scream

you see in the art of the galleries which

display the terror of the mind you and I never

shared completely, nor even tried to.

And all I strive now to know is wot happened

to you as child.  What happened to

me is irrelevant any more: I once loved

another, and although I did badly, and still I

do badly to still love her much more than

anyone else I ever will touch, I can’t

help myself, she’s a white angel of

love who made me feel good and bad

about life and sex and stuff, and you didn’t

do that, but your fear and wot and stuff

escaped my temporary detection, and all I

know now is your wot and your hau

will end up destroying what little we have

left, unless you or someone can say some sort

of wai you found it so hard to enjoy physical

affection, even before I shrugged you off for

the love of my life.


And I wonder if it was me, or you – or us both.

And I wonder this big wai we could give love so

gorgeous to the children we brought up as we

did (admittedly, in rather curious and solitary privacy);

and who love us so finely, and who’ll achieve in their

love and passion and endeavours the exceptionally

fabulous drama of personal grandeur.

And that independence I so begged from you

we’ve given to our children – stepping-stone by

stepping-stone by stepping-stone by


Frog-leapt people who croak not to die but to

sigh and rise to higher climes

than you and I

will ever reach now.


And whilst I know the wot: a life where you found

yourself incapable of loving me with the touch

of your hand in joyful communion, in pleasure

and life … and whilst I know the hau: this existence

of cold steely fearsome “correctitude” on my part

as I resisted the instinct inexpertly to demand,

and as I find myself naturally unable to beg any more

you coercive collaboration in the pleasure

I yearn for, the simple pleasure of skin against

skin was all I asked for … and so I am

led to my final straw: I can no

longer continue: the wai of your life is quite beyond

me at last.  And all I can say and all I can do is admit

we have nothing we can do or can say.

For I asked you if you think my problem is work

and by answering affirmatively, you affirm that

your love is no longer – if ever – a matter for

negotiation.  And though nothing for the moment

shall happen at all with

your wot,

your hau,

your wai,

all so bewildering … I still do find myself asking the

final questions: wot, hau and wai in your

upbringing or background did hurt you so much that

a human being like myself should be considered

by the world, in the company of your presence,

not a gentle soul of lovable instincts but, rather,

a violently mistaken paranoid schizophrenic?


For if my condition is considered to be final and cut

by the drying tick-boxes of psychiatric manual,

and my problem in life is because I don’t have a job,

and my reality and my two-facedness that

you suggest is my being has nothing at all

to do with your leaving me solo, without your

easily given touch (if at all you had wanted to)

during decades of life together, then all I can say


what could have happened if we had been lovers

in much the same way as lovers of grand


Would I really have fallen ill?

Do you really think I would have done?

And is the spell which I’ve really fallen under

the gorgeous four days of love with my lover

that time we never discuss now,

or the weirdest thirty years that have driven

me to madness; to sadness; to badness; to

baldness; to mistrusting people I easily find


Is the siren my dear K – or has it been

you all along?

And did you really not speak to the man in

the white coat – or was something

slyly indicated to break any chance I had

of escaping a diagnosis that destroyed my

whole life as you drew me back home for

such terrible reasons wai

which I only imagine might have

hurt you so badly that the real paranoid

soul is not the man you see before you but the


you now see –

as I do more clearly –

behind and about the mother and wife I never understand once more?


And ultimately I do need to find out that wai:

and ultimately you know this, I know:

and ultimately you refuse to find out that wai:

and ultimately I’m sad in my love of your being –

and fearful, as you surely are, of what

may be dis-

covered from the past you run so fiercely away from:

from the home that did you so much harm.

short short story

The importance of burning bridges

She had been beaten until she’d wept for days – so many days she’d totally lost her memory of the times it didn’t happen: when or before that awful now.

And then he’d drunken bottles of whisky before breathing her body sorry – a breathing which left a dreadful smell she quickly learnt to fear as soon as it began to drift up the stairs he would so proudly show off to the neighbours: though, of course, when they were there he never touched her fragile frame.

And then again he would burn into her delicate white skin tiny secretive weals with fag ends he’d gladly smoked and dressed her mentally down with, until she felt like a different kind of fag must have felt in the jolly old privileged school which the fag end-burner had – in his time – so successfully boarded at.

And in the end the violence meant very little.  It meant so little because she knew nothing else.

And when you know nothing but the violence others commit, in truth it’s time to quit.

And that’s the importance of burning bridges: I mean, here, to places you just know you never wish to return …

And violence is a place, you know.

A place you never want to know.