LOCKED WARD

SNOW AND ECTS.

There was snow
and ECTs
and the locked doors
of the locked ward

 

and Yiska was sitting
by the window
looking at the sunrise
after an almost

 

sleepless night
looks deep
I said
looking out

 

at the snow
on the trees and fields
she gazed at me
can't you sleep either?

 

bits and pieces of sleep
snatches of dreams
or nightmares
I said

 

I heard you
with that night nurse
during the night
Yiska said

 

asking her about
going home
you were awake too?
yes I got up for a while

 

and stared at the snow
coming down
against the moon's light
it looked so peaceful

 

so surreal
being stuck in here
seems surreal
I said

 

we'll get out one day
she said
walk out
into the free air

 

and no quacks or nurses
snooping over you
and no more ECTs
no more darn headaches

 

and all because
that bastard left me
at the altar
on my wedding day

 

I looked at her
sitting there
her hair unbrushed
her eyes red

 

her dressing gown
loose and pulled over
her white legs
gives you time to think

 

of things you don't want
to think about
and the ECTs
don't help

 

despite
what they claim
I said
when I woke up that time

 

after one
of my ECT sessions
my head was heavy with pain
and I saw you

 

lying on the bed
next to mine
and thought momentarily
we were dead

 

and I’d woken
in some kind of Limbo
with that white light
coming through cracks

 

in the shutters
then you woke
and we stared at each other
and never spoke.

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PURGATORY

When Christine heard
that he'd tried
to hang himself
in the men's crapper

 

desperation bells
began to ring
inside her head
then she saw him

 

on the locked ward
sans laces
or belts
or anything

 

he may use
to repeat
the performance
and he sat

 

in the big chair
his eyes dull
and his hair untidy
and with that loose hanging

 

dressing gown
minus belt
and in pyjamas
like some

 

Auschwitz guy
and she said
what the fuck
you in here for?

 

sitting in the armchair
next to him
broken heart
broken love

 

lost love
soul crashing
through all gears
to get back

 

to base
who knows?
he said
like that huh?

 

join the club
for what it's worth
we're all fucked up here
like driftwood

 

on a lonely beach
on some deserted island
she said
he gazed at her

 

disinterestedly
as if a gnat
had landed
on his hand

 

they lock
the doors here?
sure do
all the time

 

what about visitors?
once a week
Sundays
he looked at her

 

at her dark
long straggly hair
her dull eyes
why you here?

 

he said
some fuck
left me
at the altar

 

all dressed up
like some nun
in white
she said

 

he must have been
mad to have left you
anywhere
he said

 

well he must be
because he did
opposite
an Indian woman

 

sat crossed legged
picking
at her toes
a red spot

 

on her forehead
dressed
in long gowns
of bright colours

 

a plump woman
walked by smoking
eyeing them
suspiciously

 

foul mouthing
the nurse going by
so how long
you been here?

 

he asked
week or so
how long you staying?
until they say

 

I can leave
when will that be?
when they think
I’m better

 

or cured
or able to be
balanced again
when will that be?

 

how the fuck
do I know
she said
sorry

 

about the language
anger gets
to my tongue
before I do

 

you're not going
to hang yourself
again are you?
she asked

 

don't know
who I am any more
don't know jackshit
about myself

 

whoever myself is
she nodded
looked at his
handed in slippers

 

the scar
on his left wrist
not your first time then?
she said

 

touching the scar
guess not  
he said
welcome to Purgatory

 

she said
he sensed her finger
on his scar
the female touch

 

he wanted something
whatever it was
something
to hold on to

 

O
so very much.

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COLD AS SNOW.

It's snowing out,
Christine says,
peering through
the glass

 

of the window
in the locked ward.
You stand beside her,
staring at the falling flakes,

 

surreal, chilly, white.
I want to be out in it
like a child, she says,
not stuck in here

 

like some prisoner.
You can smell her scent,
near by, entering into you,
distracting you. She

 

presses her palms
against the glass,
breathes on it,
steams it to a small

 

area of invisibility.
There's a tractor out
in that field, she says,
see it? Yes, you say,

 

sensing her closeness,
her arm touching yours,
elbow touching elbow.
And those birds look

 

at them, gulls, rooks,
feeding on the churned
over ground and the snow.
You wonder why

 

the dick who left her
at the altar could do
such a thing, why he got
that far and then left her

 

there in her white dress
and flowers and a church
full of people waiting
and then not show and she,

 

now, stuck in here full of stress
and with a fragile mind.
I want to go out in the snow,
she says, but the nurse

 

ignores her, walks by,
goes on about some other
business. Why can't we
go out in the snow? she

 

says to you. Maybe they
think we're going to run off,
you say, watching the tractor's
slow drive, the birds flocking

 

behind on the ground.
She sighs, puts her hands
down from the glass, holds
them in each other, could do

 

with a fucking cigarette.
Hey, nurse, got a cigarette?  
Need a smoke, she says.
I got a smoke, you say,

 

I'll go get them. So you go
to the side room, where
the men are, and bring
your packet of cigarettes

 

and plastic lighter, and give
her one and light it for her
and light one for yourself,
and she inhales so deep

 

that she seems to stop
breathing and then exhales
up in the air, holding the
cigarette between her slim

 

fingers, her hand just so.
And you stand there by
the window watching the
tractor again and the falling

 

snow, and she's there again,
peering, smoking, sighing.
I'd not have left you at the altar,
you say, I'd not have done

 

it to you. She says nothing,
the smoke hitting the glass
and flowing inward again,
she gazes out, the tree tops

 

blanketed in whiteness,
birds in flight, you sense her,
smell her, imagine her.
I wonder who he's fucking

 

now? she whispers, easing
out smoke, the snow falling,
the tractor pausing, then turning
back up the field, birds following.

 

She inhales again, looks away,
walks back into the main ward,
her fine ass having that sway,
her white night gown like some

 

dowdy wedding dress, holding
tightly to her, her figure shown,
the outline of her panties showing,
blue against white. You turn and

 

watch the snow fall, the tractor
drive, birds in tow, your mind
blank now, white, cold as snow.

 

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