When I was twenty-one,
a large ungainly man, the colour of rainbows,
sent me a birthday card embossed with heartache
over love of me; a dozen bled roses,
and a compliation tape of happy songs.
This was the final unrequited gift, coming on the tail of fifty-two love letters strewn across the year.
I woke up then to the beauty of his hand, the man
whose fierce affections were so kind to shine on me,
and I picked up the phone from my hospital gaol,
and asked with tears in my fanciful head,
if he would marry me.
My proposal came as a shock,
judging from the broken words that zipped across the line,
so unlike his finely crafted letters.
But he said ‘yes’ – to my regret,
and we courted over six long weeks of hospital leave
until I came to my senses and realised that I must let him go,
that I could not go through with love or marriage
for this, or any man, while my head was full of razor blades.
I broke his heart all over again and made him feel like a fool.
He ran away, became an émigré a million urgent miles from me.
And I went back to hospital to do my time.
Showtime On The Psychiatric Ward
The circus master
draped in stars and stripes
signals the crowd to hush.
I stride on stilts into the ring.
A patchwork of beautiful faces
beam with incredulous pride
as I take my first bow
Then stun them with a back flip.
Fucking genius! , the crowd are gasping.
They don’t know whether to applaud
or apprehend me.
Next thing I know
I’m in the recovery position.
A limp daffodil stares
from the bedside table.
Time to take your two O’clock,
says a familiar voice in the background.
I’m back in the land of pacing ghosts.
A flush of adrenaline swells me back to life.
Open the window!
Fetch me my wings!