Compliance

I owe my life to two things: my son and a drug called lithium. It is not an easy medication and comes with some harsh side effects. It can also be lethal. Here is my experience:

I chew the cud of psychological
plaster casts
A cow crudely masticating broken dreams
Oh, white lithium
Not so refined
as to be spherical
Choking the resistance
Laid dormant within me
Valiance succumbed by
radicalised defeat

My glazed eyes from
days of psychiatric praise
My mouth parched
Drinking deserts
Spitting out the camels
Yet feasting on the humps

I may be as animated
as a corpse
Chasing heaven
Yet pursued by fallen angels
My limbs may tremor
Swathed in tsunamis
as they tremble like
leaves tossed meaningless
in a merciless wind

And in my darkest days
I will be penning eulogies
Darkness clothes the weary
in roseless thorns
Yet when the leaden clouds
disperse
Joy becomes an ecstasy

“Euphoria”, sings the blackbird
delirious on Puccini
Taking flight on wings
of obsidian promises
Just as my mind
Grazes the stratosphere

The steady choke of conventional
pulses through my veins
A military equator
uniformly bleeding
regulated nonchalance

The tick tock passage
of the anaesthetised psyche clock
whispers in demands of compliance
And I dot the i’s
and cross the t’s
As the lithium punctuates my life
into fairytales
Not horror stories

©2020 Sarah Drury

Image by jessica45 from Pixabay

Strait Jacket

I am not an exceptional human being
for we all wear clothes
Slobbing around in PJ’s when
our tranquilized, minuscule world
is encapsulated
in a space called home
Killer heels when we’re facing the
fucked up world and we remember
who we are, and we straighten
our crowns
Perchance a smidgeon of warpaint
as our battle cries holler into
societal combat
Cherry lips and spider lashes
spun with purest L’Oreal

But I?
I wear a white strait jacket
White as in hospital issue
boiled to death grey
Sanitised and purity leeched
It looks rather smart with
my lithium eyes and my
lunacy smirk
I don’t wear it for ladies’ luncheons
as padded cells are lonesome bistros
And all that cutlery is contraband
And I’m not fucking Houdini

When my couture isn’t a
hospital inspired affair
I am living one
Valium junkie
Lithium chick
Watching the wall for
the clock tock ticks
which govern the drugs
which make me well
But make me sick
Don’t go high, you’ll crash
Don’t go low, you’ll crash
Can anyone tell me
how to score
a gram of sanity?

Does anyone want to
hold my strait jacket for me?
Try it on?
Wear it with me?

©2020 Sarah Drury

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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

Valium

Valium
My old cathartic friend
Take a seat beside me
Fuck the ‘don’t get addicted’ trend
Wash down the pill
Act out the finale
That never fucking ends
In your dramatic air
Of sensory obliteration

Take my mind far away
To some fond childhood day
When neurosis
Was a word
I hadn’t even heard
When psychotic, insane voices
Were just another
Exhibitionist exotic bird
And now when I
Hear them singing
They snarl in tuneless, grimy
Sinister threats
Like my life
Smiling at strangers
When the face in the mirror
Is full of acrid, bitter regrets
And hatred

So I pop a Valium
And wait for that glorious
Blanket of don’t give a fuck
I think my friends and family
Must have mistakenly mistook
My strangeness
For not taking my meds again
Does anyone really think
I would inflict that
Suicidal pain
I’d rather stick
Hot needles in my
Eyes
I’m not that fucking crazy.
But who gives a shit now
The chill starts to spread
I’m starting to feel lazy
If I could bottle this feeling
I could peddle it
Drug dealer hazy
Street cred
As fuck

I pop a Valium
It steals my thoughts
Those charming, psychotic quirks
Mad hatter moments
That can’t be bottled and bought
And I am Alice
Lost in Wonderland
And there ain’t no tea parties here
Just psychosis in a teacup
And lithium cake with a side helping of fear
As the medics binge
on the cream
Of condescension

But you, my faithful friend
I may be addicted
But fuck it
Lithium chick
The side effects are contradicted
What is better?
Blood on the hands of a psychiatrist
Or sanity in the minds
Of the heavily medicated
And I owe you
My fucking life

©2020 Sarah Drury

Queens of Lunacy

Six twenty a.m.
Meds not kicked in
Yet
Another psychosis
Again?
I hear the birds
Free bitches
Tunes as though
Life has no locks
No dirty ditches
To dump
The head fucked
In

Like us
Queens of lunacy
Boasting our
Lithium crowns
Regal but
On a different
Frequency
Time for pill pop
Want the fucking
Crazy shit to stop
The clock
Ticks
Out of time

Psycho mum
Drag my bones
Bust my butt
Necking my meds
Like a Valium slut
Popping the pills
To get free entry
To a sanity club
Crazy has
A price tag
I can’t afford
Ring a roses
We all stay mad

I’m fucked

©2020 Sarah Drury