Dandelions

I sat and watched you in the garden
This morning
Your lips like fairy kisses
Blowing those dandelion seeds
Like scattered, forgotten dreams
Some victories, some near misses
Your little face like peach fuzz
Your glistening cherry pout
Poised to whisper those innocent wishes
Within and without
A wish for a promise
And I always promised you
Love

Boy, we have had our battles
Time when Fortune thought
She’d overdose us
For the adrenaline thrill
Maybe a lifetime sentence
With a mother like me
Was overkill
But hey
It’s character building
Watching mummy meltdown
Maybe pop a pill
Or plot ourselves in a movie

Maybe your wishes will be
Bigger than us
Maybe you’ll skip the mental bullshit
Get your ride in a limousine
Rather than catching the crazy bus
Maybe you’ll dare to dream
Where demons fear to live
For son you deserve the light
You put up with some shit
And I don’t know
If you’ll make it big
But I know
My love for you
Will always be
Bigger

© 2020 Sarah Drury

To the Misogynists

When I had a lengthy spell in hospital, many years ago, I was very poorly. I was on what is known as a ‘one to one’, which meant I had to have a nurse with me at all times. One evening, whilst sitting in my room watching TV with the staff nurse, he turned around and said to me, “you know that people like you should never have children, right??” Those words really hurt me and he should never have said that. I am now, many years later, mother to a son with Autism, and although i have times when I struggle with my mental health, my son has helped me stay as sane as I possibly can because I am all he’s got after his father died. He keeps me strong, and was a turning point in my life after many years in psychiatric hospitals.

I wrote this poem about the nurse’s cruel words.

Just because
Mental illness blights
My fragile mind
Just because
My soul travels
In divergent dimensions
Gives you
no fucking right
To play God
Or Hitler
With my right to
Bear child

Casting aspersions
Of prejudice
You broke me
May as well
Rip out my womb
And gift my ovaries
To the mentally stable
Yet barren

Mothers are born
Not made
Merciless are your
Arrogant aspersions
As callous words
Plummet in placentas
Of castigation
Blood staining
Your misogynist shoes

My right to
Bear child
Never smashed by
The patriarchy
Will be

I pray the vitriolic men
Within whose care
Rest women vulnerable
And broken
Embrace humanity
Whilst the tongues
Of those ridiculing
My maternal potential
Are bound in
Repentance
Regret
and
Retribution

©2020 Sarah Drury

Lithium Mum

I have bipolar disorder and anxiety, which pretty much rule my life. I am a widow and have a tweenage son, who has Autism. I know it is hard for him, living with a mum like me. I know I do the best I can. I like to think we are souls and he chose this life and it is part of his life path. It feels easier that way. But it is no excuse for a poor childhood, so i just try my best to keep things as normal as I can.

I am sorry for you, son
Sorry that
Each and every day
You have to live
Your fucked up life
With me
Your screwed up
Lithium mum

Necking bottles of
The good stuff praying
It is magic, mending
Melodies I’m playing
On a broken record
I’m just sayin’
There are
Nicer tunes

Mood swings
Psychotic blackbird sings
Are we up or down?
Is it smile or frown?
Are we Happy Valley
Or are we paddling in
The sea in sodding
Suicide town
Or is it a
One way trip
To the
Psych ward?

Every day I say
Today will be a
Better day
Son
and I mean it
‘Til the moods
Fuck up the way
I’m feeling
Brilliant rainbows
Slaughtered of their
Colours
Blackened tempers
Stealing
Cursing, crying
Screaming’s
Just my way
Of dealing

I will try, son
I will try

©2020 Sarah Drury

To the Kind, Mute Bloke

Dedicated to the kind, mute bloke who gave my son half his chocolate stash in the local corner shop.

I’d noticed you
Shining at the counter
Trying to appear as dull
As we were unpolished
It wasn’t the way
You couldn’t speak
With muted lips
But the way
You conversed
In synonyms
Of special

Sometimes words
Fall meaningless
Like sunshades
In the Arctic
And you didn’t need
Fancy metaphors
Weaved into
Articulate Soliloquies
To be heard

I didn’t want to
Be unkind
I had my own
Business to mind
As I loitered
Inconspicuously queuing
Maybe curiosity
Would be my undoing
Not knowing if
This immaculate being
Was deaf, dumb
Or blind

You didn’t say your name
Was kindness
There were no
Regal fanfares
No stench of ostentation
Love doesn’t need
Grand gestures
Vocal cries of salutation
When half your treats
You gifted
To my son
One tender moment
When love was the victor
And wars against
Humanity
Were won

And don’t you know
You lifted
My soul out of
The gutter
That day
I didn’t think
I’d ever meet
One whose words
Were cloaked in
Secrecy
Sheer volume is
No compensation for
Human decency

And my son said
It was wrong
Taking gifts from
A stranger
But I said
When I am there
You are protected
From danger
I hold my son’s heart
Like Jesus
In a manger
And we knew
We were
Looking
At an
Angel

©2020 Sarah Drury

Too Big for Hugs

TOO BIG FOR HUGS

You’re too big for hugs
Now
Too big for hugs
Now you’re 5ft tall
Catching me up
I’m pretty sure
You could
Pin me up against
The wall
As you
Meltdown

This morning
Leaning into me
And those sweet words
“Hug, mum,”
In your sleepyhead
Voice
And your
Dreamland eyed
Glaze
Smelling of
Tween
Head of clean curls
This is a miracle
You’re usually
Not playing
Keen

Where did my baby
Go
Where are those
Hazy days of
Snuggling at
The breast
And toddler dinner
Mess
Wobbly
First steps
Potty poop victories
First time you said
Mamma
Sobby
First days
At school
But
You’re too big
For hugs now
I Guess
They’re just
Not cool

© 2020 Sarah Drury

My Son Had a Panic Attack

I have a son with Autism and he has bad anxiety and sometimes hallucinates. I have been trying to get him sleeping in his own bedroom (he’s 12) but last night he had a really bad panic attack and was hallucinating. It breaks my heart…

Oh, my son
The tears dripping down your ashen face
Falling from deep within, a place
Where childhood dreams turn sour
Where the careless day becomes the anxious hour
And the hallucinations and nightmares come to devour
Your poor mind.

The sobs become cries become yells become screams
With the nightmares victorious over suffocated dreams
And you shake
And you shake
And your carefree spirit aches
And the bastard anxiety takes
What sanctity I try to make
In your head
Your screwed-up head.

Once a joyous ocean
But now a choked-up lake
And every day you fake
Every day to school your smiles you take
Like a cyanide laden cake
That you eat alone.
And you choke
On your insecurities
Gone are the childhood ways
The sitting on your mother’s knee
While she kisses your sore finger better
And hello
To this inability
To grow
Hello to the nasty fucking paranoia
And the seeds the anxiety sows
And the fear that through this wrecked bundle of autism and emotional delays
Flows

And I cannot see what you are seeing my love
I cannot feel the fear
As faceless faces fly towards your eyes
And your desperate breath escapes
To some nightmare psychosis place
And anxiety invades your only safe space
With your mother.

We have the experts
Three years fucking with assessments and funding
Yet that can’t buy a boy a crystal mind
Put the textbooks down and take a look behind
Your degrees
And your astronomical fees
And set this boy free
For this anomaly
Will not die if he
Always feels alone
If his mother’s omnipotent love he cannot see.
And another brick in the Pink Floyd wall he will grow up
To be.

©2020 Sarah Drury

Vivaldi

Ode to that bloody awful music you get when you ring the DWP! And the way they compartmentalise our disabled kids!

Vivaldi
Your timeless beauty sounds so ugly
In its incessant, perpetual monotony
On the end of this goddamn phone
Streamed into had-enough ears
As I wait
As I wait
As I wait
My last thread of patience almost gone
My son a statistic
As you sit in your ivory tower offices
Ticking criteria boxes
Playing God but Godless
Not giving a flying fuck
That my kid is a human being
Not some faceless scrounger
Not some work shy loser
Not some benefit fraudster
Just a child.

Vivaldi
Never had perfection
Sounded so brash, so annoying
Like salt rubbed into raw, bleeding wounds
Waiting for a ‘how can I help you?’
Waiting for the punchline to the joke
The pretence
The ‘we care’ rhetoric
But in their defence
They deal with pounds and pence
Not hearts.

Vivaldi
Whilst my child can walk, can talk
What the fuck do you know?
He eats, he sleeps, his mind is set on go slow
He has a learning disability
He tries, his mind denies him
Of a ‘normal’ life
His condition a serrated knife
With jagged aspirations.
But he can walk, he can talk
He eats, he sleeps
That is all you need
You do not see him
Yet your protocol has agreed
To reduce his benefits.
Like some germinated seed
Who is yanked from the ground
And tossed into the gutter
To save a pound
While the voice of my spirit resounds
In futile, hostile whispers.

Vivaldi
I hope one day you know what it is like
To have a child with a disability
To raise a soul with a differing ability
So that you develop empathy
Where there was apathy
So that sympathy spreads its comforting palms
Around torn, worn parents
So that understanding spews from mouths
Of those invested in the system
So that disabled kids are not pawns
In austerity
So that politics are not a mitigating factor
In this cancer we call an equal, enabling society.

©2020 Sarah Drury