This Way Then That

Thursday afternoon at four he stopped
layering slabs of brown on grey on black
got up to get the scissors and masking tape
unrolled a sheet of frosted tracing paper
hung it over his face like a veil
looked out to where there once had been
a vision of roads and homes, shops and parks
where far off normal people – smudges, lines
and dots – moved this way then that. “So tell us
what you can see” said the art therapist:
“Animals? Shadows? Waves? Or weaving bones?
Come on, let your imagination go”. He thought:
Shut the fuck up. Smudges. Lines. Dots…





Chinese (For Eddie, RIP)

I admit it was a little mad to believe
That my poor head for heights would allow
The steep climb up the water tower steps
And final swallow dive onto concrete.

Mad for thinking that the acned pharmacist
Wouldn’t question ten packs of paracetamol
(His boss reported my behaviour, not
As dangerous, but eccentric and comical).

Mad to suppose the police would ignore
Me dawdling across the High Street.
Or, after limping slowly back to the ward
With a dodgy stomach and ripped up jeans

Mad to think they’d take me seriously
And bleep the Emergency Psychiatrist.
(Behind the cracked observation window
They were heads down over a Chinese).

So when Crazy Eddie lumbered across
I thought the worst – he’s come to take the piss
Thump me, or cadge a cigarette. Instead,
he said Here, have some sweet and sour pork.