I want to see someone holy, to confessThe nature of my soul, free with graceThe prisoner of my conscience, to blessMy heart and mind, mend my spirit, traceIn my confusion a sanctity. Can you addressThis, say I'm sending for one, placeAnd time to be chosen. Nurse, lest I digressFrom the disorderly matrix of my caseWith words, I now ask you to impressIt in your diary. I am out to paceThe healing of my heart. You say bad cessTo me, my illness is the token of a raceGone to extinction, burned out without will.Someone will come when I have had my pill.
The priest will come when you have had your pill:Please sit down or you'll disturb the sickCreatures in my care. You are very ill.This asking for a priest is just a trickTo waste our professional time, killWith constant wearing down, incessant pinprickOur repertoire of compassionate nursing skill.The pill is good for you, just take a lickThe candy coating's nice. You're very ill.He'll come for sure when you have had your pill.Your eyes are bulging. I told you you were sick.Come here, you wretch, stop slinking out the door.The priest will come. I told you so before.
The priest will soon be here. Nurse said so before.I can't believe you're getting any better.Double dose, Nurse. And if you hear her roarKindly call. I've got the very fetter:But of course we won't use it. Give her more.The pills really quieten them. The letterFrom her GP I believe she tore-Up-I think she was declared a debtorTo the bank. A hundred in the red, a scoreOf unpaid bills. She's no go-getter-Hasn't the gumption for the daily strife. StoreHer records in this file. Now we can net herGive her ECT, a woman without a manI'm tired of helping them out of life's thrash-can.
I'm tired of helping them out of life's thrash can,But a few electric shocks will sort her out.So trusting, a permanent also ran,A loser, a messer, there's no doubtAnxiety personified. I believe she ranThrough the ward in her night-dress. A scoutSaw her clawing at the window. At once a banMust be enforced on walking patients. RoutTheir needless guilt and crucifying unsan-itary nightmares. They cause a droughtOf human sympathy. But then I'm no fanOf unchecked impulses. And yet a poutOn her dial as I give her the injection.I smile at her, to show her my protection.
We smile at them to show them our protection.She's safe now, in the stupour of the drug.The ECT machine has passed inspectionIt's funny how it makes me feel a thug.Shock wave, then convulsion and projectionOf limbs flying like a stranded bug.Her mouth foams. I think its found in sectionA of the manual. I don't want to be smug,It's really harmless. But pitiful. IntrospectionPunished here. They just need a hug.But who will hug the face of life's rejectionEspecially now. The heartstrings' tugIs dead forever in the electric shockShe won't remember love that science can mock
You won't remember love that science can mock.Well, I'm your social worker. And I seeYou're still complaining about the electric shock.I haven't time to discuss loss of memoryYou don't need it, really. The lockOn your door is necessary. The ESBWere on. The charge. This going into hockWith public bodies has got to stop. Have you VD?Oh, good. There's not a problem I can't knockOff in three minutes. And Science is freeTo bare our secrets, systemise for good the RockOf Ages. Nothing, it is clear, can simply be.There's solution in sociology. ResistanceIs a Case Study, just needing persistence.
I'm a case study, that just needs persistence.I rock myself all day. The constant flightFrom life's troubles is my whole existence-I am tempted to yield to my spirit's blightAnd remember little else. Your assistanceAnd ECT have burned my memory brightWith tears that can never be shed. The distanceIn my eyes shows thread of the dark nightWhere mystics have written of the soul. Co-existenceOf chemical pill and mystic insight cannot lightThe lamp where my reason had subsistence:Pills hold me in thrall to nothingness and wasteThe sweet spring of my youth now has a bitter taste.
He knew the under-sexed and over-privileged,Was on to a good thing with hysteria:Knew these maladies could be treated, wedgedIn with a 19th century mendacity feria:Days when a solitude of young women pledgedA secrecy to incestuous fathers who were wearyOf wives' costly chilled ardours, hedgedImplicitly in a materialist world. WisteriaAnd aspidistra were fecundity. DredgedFrom the classical annals of outer SiberiaHe made a new codex and creed, allegedIncestual fantasy the norm. 'Twould sear yaBut Freud couldn't see Freud. He couldn't seeBeyond his own sad childhood fantasy.
Well beyond his own childhood fantasyJung sought for spiritual food, was raptIn a mythic reconstruction of the memory,Where race enriches the individual, sappedBy his failure to talk to God, to seeWhere his life takes him past the untappedResources deep in his psyche. A mysteryOf a kind to rescue him where he is trappedBy the ordinary day's demands. A pharmacyCannot store the elixir of life. WrappedWithin the search, a person finds the keyDeep in his own unconscious, a mappedTerritory to Jung. We cannot blameReligion or the meaning of the game.
Religion or the meaning of the gameSkinner understood to do with rats.People were like rats, exactly the sameOnly tiresomely mad as bats.Still, with a few electrodes, shameCould be seen as extraneous, and patsOn the head an adverse stimulus, a tamePhysical reaction. So congrats.To the nerve cells, to hurt or maimIs merely a blind animal impulse, that'sAll. Love is a case, he claims,Of stimulus and response. Pour that in your vats.We'll go on conditioned reflexes down to hellOr up to heaven, depending on the bell.
Heaven doesn't depend on the bell-My discovery was the function of the orgasm.No matter what sex is, just do it wellI sent whole populations into spasm.When they saw my work was going to sellThey flung me into prison with enthusiasm.They were certain I should be going to hellFor feeling was a kind of protoplasm:Medical pros knew I shouldn't excelAt this peculiar brand of iconoclasm.The nasty and particular fate that befellMe has opened up in medicine a chasm-For the puerile info is, mind's just a body-smith-I'm proof of sanity, sensation's zenith.
Proof of sanity, sensation's zenith!Some folk would rather have it that they're crazyMy books set out madness as a myth-Whatever is socially not aisyI say power is the only monolithThe kernel of the matter. Being lazyIs perceived generally as the kithOf she devils, born of a hazyNotion that witches were power-smithFor man, not Satan. It was quasi-Religious views persecuted a fifthOf women at one time-I'd say none were mad,But the defiant, the unregenerate, and the bad.
The defiant, the unregenerate and the badWere seen by me to be in a fix,And at bottom, it really makes me sad.I spend my life wondering how a person ticksWho can't love his family, and be gladTo be alive and kick against the pricksAs if he enjoyed it. Instead, we've labelled madAll who can't love, are hurt. The crucifixHolds hearts in thrall that daren't padWith the cushion of affection, the onyxJewel of life. It doesn't, sorry, addUp to much. I mustn't get prolix.For as you know, my name is Eric FrommI'm un-ambitious, loving, and quite warm.
He's un-ambitious, loving, and quite warmI'm honest, poetic and Glaswegian;I tend to see the truths that others scornThat people just want to cry a squidgenAnd mostly there are reasons for mind's stormLike himself below, their names are legionBut basically reflect what can transformLove into hate, homely life into regionOf frosty intercourse; failure to conformIn grisly incommunicado. A CollegianScorning academic discipline, I performWonders of healing. Without religion.My name, I'm sure you've guessed, is R.D. LaingTo love mankind, I'm doing all I can.
When they visit her I stay downstairsBeside the office. What goes on upstairsI can only guess at. I saw my motherHere. And she looked far away. I was sureShe couldn't possibly love me any more.She held me close before the lift doors closedAnd whispered ."tomorrow." before I nose-Dived away from her tears. It hurts me stillShe didn't say goodbye, but that the pillMade her feel that things were going down-hill.I thought she loved me, her one and only joy -It's plain to see I'm not at all a good boy.She doesn't care now if I'm bad or good:The doctors say she's doing what she should.
The doctors say she's doing all she shouldI always thought she was a little queer;And I, a friend, have done all that I could.Why, once she even called me ."my dear."Another time, she told me I was uglyBecause I tried to snatch her little snuggly.Even with her boyfriends, I was flirtyAnd she grew morose. I found her dirtyThe Irish habit of never ever dustingOf leaving everything till tomorrow, trustingThe dirt won't show under the bed.I guess the men knew they'd never wedA slut like her. Literary pretensionLeaves in the married state a fierce dissension.
Yes, in the married state there's fierce dissensionI favoured her. Watched her declensionFrom mirthful girl tittering at the boysTo serious critic of their serious toys-Motor cars, drink, sex and nightly snooker-And going home they'd swear to seeing a Pooka.Her aversion grew. She saw a paradigmBetween the world's power games, and mine.The penile appendage was another projectileNot in essence different from a missile.Phallocracy's the centre of the matter-We can't say heart, for fear it would grow fatter-Her thesis was, the male impulse to kill,Which she's now counteracting with a pill.
She's now counteracting with a pillAll I've ever done to make her ill-My promises to love her were a painWhich bled afresh like wounds, again,Prised open with my inexact criticismWhich so often took the form of witticism.I thought her aspirations smacked of vanity;I mimicked her, made much inanityOut of her wholesome hope. She criedSo often I thought our love had died-But no, it had become a separationWhich became my malevolent inspiration-It wouldn't have mattered save I was her spouseTo whom she pledged and swore eternal vows.
He to whom she pledged and swore such vowsWas soon discarded. A regular louseHe blackmailed her with threats of suicideOnce he knew that love had really died.He didn't love her, but felt a man diminishedWhen she first told him their thing was finished.He'd rather move her purposefully, claimThat underneath all women were the sameThough she was bright. But that was her misfortune,As if she were born to carry a torchon,Be there if he raped her. That was the bitter endAnd thus a woman scorned went around the bend.Hell may have no fury, but the hospital has moreTreatments to even up the score.
Treatments may even up the scoreI saw her crying in the street, pourHer heart out to strangers. I ran insideTo get her a glass of water. She deniedWho she was. She said her name was PhyllisBut long ago she was known as AmaryllisThen she said she was a lonely ValentineWho could see her undoing in red wineAnd then she said her name was Holy MaryAnd like the nursery rhyme, she was contraryBut not because of cockleshells and bellsBut she had seen demons who had lived in hellsWhere phantom lusts raged in bodies pure,She was, she wept, a virgin and a whore.
She was, she wept, a virgin and a whoreI understand, but I wish I knew more-In general, I'd say she's very niceThey say that every person has a priceAnd she had none. She took seriouslyEvery nuance and tone, even imperiouslyWithheld approval at a tincture of a lie,And she became worse as time went by.She couldn't exchange the merest pleasantryWithout her ignoble life, her peasantrySnapping at her heels with bitter prideOf ancient lineage. No bartered brideIn work or misery, but trusting to failureLike babes whose brains had yet no suture
4: The Malady
Her song is absence, but her art is absent.She exists in her own bad faith, a centreFlying out at her own frozen pace, a dentIn the counterpane of her hated mentor,Herself. She exists to prove she's hell-sentOut of the racket of silent cacophony, dissenterTo the faith in herself she herself bentIn the flying wind, a sad lamenterOf what is good, is gone. A secret assentIs wound up in the coils of her tormentor;Her language locking the floodgates like cementNow bursting in the tide of being repenter.Undone with nitpicker's gravity, like a crime,Her centre is time, time spent doing time.
Her centre is timeless, time spent doing timeAnd its slow pace towards healing. Time and againShe pulls apart the treasury of thought, rhyme,Lets it fall in a cluster on good. PainWelcomes the transition, and the undoing, climeFor a fated ego to unblock the drainOf warm feeling, current for the grimeEncrusted hearts are fed. The purpose plainIs to loose the vestige of sentiment, climbInto the turret and throw away the key, mainChance with the stowaway scissors. Clip the sublimeTresses. Then throw them to the wind and rain,Crying ."Whatever is, let it simply beRemember these beauties which are not for me.
Remember these beauties which are not for meAnd throw away also the brazen treasure chestWhere I had etched our memories in my blood, seeThe unsalutary symptoms of my plague, testFor reference and you will find perfidyWhere once the Queen of Ransoms was thought blessed.All that issued from my pearlised eyes, the keyYou warders stole when trussing up the restYou called a person, whom you said was free.Degradations begin at the breast,Where once the child of happiness went on spree,Called his mother saint, and father quest.Now the imp has danced the reel of wrath,Seeing his mother near a psychopath.
Seeing his mother near a psychopath,I tear my hair to make the falsehood rightMy heart is broken, tell it not in GathOr how this lasting daytime's blightHas torn my family, who in my wrathSee an everlasting endless nightInhabited by the spectre of a PlathScribbling in the darkness without lightBut my darkness is the troubled aftermathOf the pills and treatment, I am out of sightAnd in my place a wretch turns polymathGarbling in unknown tongues of wrong, to fightWith streeling sense the battle order's rage.Suppressed, my fever is to tear the page.
Suppressed, my fever is to tear the page,To make what happened disappear. In fact,The long slow death of prisoner in a cageIs paradigm to show we cannot with tactAlter what has passed. Put on the stageA show to please the mainstream. PackIn anguish what can understand our rageDirected at oneself. It cannot be the rackWhich I am strung upon, it is the ageAbstracted in concerts to show its general tack.My sickness testament to the malady of the sageWho exclaims, all is futility. I am proof demoniacOur time's neurosis hides eternal truth-I am the victim of my own timeless ruth.
I am the victim of my own timeless ruthCompassion never really knew its name till me.I picked up every brown winged bird, couthWith longing for the south, and set it freePushed a leaf off every insect, smooth-Made the way for every tiny bee,So all should be free to sing. In youthI tried a quaver or two, like heWho charmed the generations, Bob of Duluth:Yet never felt as free as his songs said we'd be-Besides, money was involved. And my sleuthSaid, don't sing for money, for poetry is paid no feeI believed it, and gave away my songSang everywhere I felt I didn't belong.
I sang in places I did not belong,I wept in ruins younger than yesterday,Made every tried logic a fiddler's song,Made every song lament that it should payRespect to what the culture said was a longConcept of morality, the pedant's wayTo higher densities of philosophy, a gongTo summon spirits, dismembered and astrayIn the rank demonology of the cursed dayGod wove weft and warp, and right and wrongSent angels upwards, bad spirits in the dreyWhere secrets bought and sold for centuries, bongOut the names of those who die for good.I am on-beckoned by an infinite sisterhood.
The physical and the spiritual entrainedTogether, each got a body blowAt the five doors of sense, were trainedTo ask ."who's there?" There was no showOnly a dumb anguish, which fear constrainedTo mock with a meek smile. It was no-goBetween the spirit and the body. BrainedIn the emotions, boxed in chemicals, noOrdinance of personhood, where once had reignedSweet reason. Love was an absent foeWhich hammered constantly to prove it gainedNothing by execution. It was always so.History was a fop, a dull conspiracyAnd truth was the mockery it could never be.
Truth was the mockery it could never be.The fact was God, or godless, to be terse.What happened to the sacred territoryOf ."you and me." celebrated in verse,Popular song, crooned on the radio, freeOur realm of household love and felt in Erse?Who hears it in the corridors of insanity?A demonstration of the knee jerk, privy purseOf medicine's rendering up of soul to fee.Knave or fool, the hospital's daily curseReduces to physical reaction, eternal verity.A matted mass of measly microbes pressedAs in answering a summons. It's a cod.Believe in us, not in the one true God.
Believe in us, not in the one true God,Our name is Legion, and we live by lies.All who have the reckless midnight trodOn creaking floorboards, have heard our cries.Once Truth and love and day are gone, a squadOf demons rushes in with night. And tiesOf birth and blood friendship are oddSport to our presence. Where there's fear, prizeOnly what is ours. In the land of NodIs the appetiser to our full-blown sway. SpiceAt first, we eat the heart away, prodAt the props of decency. We adviseA cunning madness to pay virtue's toll,Alienation is our cherished goal.
Alienation from God is our goal,And so the frantic woman in the denOf mad lionesses like herself, can rollBack the dawn of her burnished Imagist penThat rides high on uncommon destiny, a roleTo astonish history: to parade in the fenOf amazed critics who astutely pollHer chances of pulling off the impossible: zenHell turned to heaven, a bartered soul'Twixt good and evil. Faust again,This time a woman. And did the dice roll.How near she came to surpassing menComprehending paradigms of moral weight and swoon!This gift to herstory wedged the crack of doom.
Her gift to herstory wedged the crack of doomOn which bad faith depended, and bad luckThough all the doors were opened to that roomOf life abundant, she preferred to truckWith half-baked notions, that needed a zoomLens to enliven, bring the monstrous ruckOf materialist philosophy to its destined tombWith indifferent scorn and second-fiddle schmuck.She pipped such notions that have need to vroomDown the fables of casual accidental muckThat so-called scientists call the present boomOf wealth, indecent waste, and pass-the-buckPhilosophy. Hers was the chilling answer-Merit must be found, even if it were cancer.
Merit must be found, even if it were cancer,And right must be subsumed for wrong to flourish.The scars must be telling, a gut-lancerNot the healing power of God and good, perishThe thought. Ms. Average is a shoddy chancerThrown out the window for normalcy to cherish,A viper in the bosom turned necromancerWhich makes even her last few days currishIn the extreme, snapping at the heels of a dancerWhose departed spirit love has failed to nourish.In his pop-eye stare the last great romancerAs she bites the dust of a lifetime's demurrage:Being sorry for oneself is jumping the gun,Saying no to life before it has begun.
Saying no to life before it has begunRefusing to take part in one's own storyBeing sorry for oneself can be such funNot accepting one's part in Creation's gloryIs just a way of saying, I'm going to shunThis life of accident, appalling goryStrife and competition. Attila the HunHad the size of it. We're doomed a prioriTo murder, bloodshed, before our race is run!I will abstain from this compact of furyLeavened in the gloom of mind. No sunWill shine its light. A ribald ToryMocking rebellion in the frenzied fray,I'll die before I live to fight a day.
6: In the Corridor
The first cut was the deepest, the jangleOf many keys upon a laundered breast,The thud of silence, after the wrangleThat ensues between the keeper and the rest.He's not on till noon, this rota's in a tangleCan I, with sanity and eyesight blessedMake sense of it? I'd ask you to wangleAnother bed in the upstairs ward .- Depressed .-I'll keep her there. It's like being in a mangleWith psychotic, manic. It puts to testOur professional forebearance and our angleOf objectivity. She needs to be caressed;But we can simulate with pills and shocksThe nature of our nursing and our locks.
The nature of our nursing and our locksAre intertwined in tight conspiring bonds:Our chief deterrent, a kind falsehood, rocksThe towers of belief. The magic wandsOf doctors' pencilled orders, the lonely noxOf dreamless sleep keeps lies in pondsWhere like trapped fishes, the poor soul knocksAt the glass bowl of truth; to correspondWith fact its punitive task. DeadlocksOf intuition and of sense, and diamondOf a dark jeweled head. A soul's rot,Self a forever-running vagabond.Lies added to lies make fiction grate,Upon the brain, a client of the state.
The nerveless brain, the client of the stateIs now the subject of much ripe canonic:Nerveless of course it's not, it's just lateIn registering emotion .- unTeutonic.Or should we say, it registers a rateUnsuitable for programming. Quiet histrionic.A bandaged soul is not the proper fateFor one dignified as man/woman. It's ironicTo call us human when the experts prateOf matters manic-depressive or catatonic.Why can't we be normal, find a mate?Why be platonic and demonic?But in straps and chains the State no longer dressesThose whose being a bad entity possesses.
Those whose being a bad entity possessesWill find a chink in their immortality.What began as admonishment regressesTo where good is not a necessaryPart of the fabric. Instead it dressesUp with lures to attack with fineryOf thought and diction the unschooled messesOf adolescent putting on of agony.Fearful violation of self pressesAgainst the grain of ineluctable realityAnd the often sought after caressesContain the essence of the germ ."to be."Gone putrid, dank with fright and with dismayA violation of all that for which we used to pray.
A violation of all that for which we used to prayBrings us to the hospital's grey doorOur alter ego standing in the wayOf ."I." shouts ."Rape me no more!."With your shard of promises. Now I payDearly with my dream's life storeI put off learning to be human, sayNow I was wrong. I know your loreOf madness, debauched reality, layAt your feet my broken self. It's soreTo have carried the load such a long way,So out of touch. I know the score.Your tranquillising chain, your strait-jacketAwait me with instructions on the packet.
Awaiting me like instructions on the packetAre tortures both medieval and new.In darker days the sick kicked up a racketAnd it put visitors off, (like at Kew).It's nice to know my treatments in a bracketWith bloodletting, hot water, and the pewWhere I was taught to sing hymns. A placketRound me, and the infirmary screwTight around my neck. I'd like a whack atThe orderly who tells me what to doBut mostly, I'd like to put a tacketIn that deep frenzied heart to which I'm clewAnd worm-eaten puzzle. And yet I tholeDaily in hopes God will mend the hole.
Daily, in hopes God will mend the holeI shrive out in tiresome counterfeitI can't be said, to own, at all, my soulAnd see myself always in defeat-A nicety. Conjecture and the wholeTriumph of order, science and mercy-meatGround out in daily routine. And the roleOf patient is to be her own compleatInvalid, see herself as drollCarbon copy of a great deceitShe has no right to herself. A pigeon holeIs perfect metaphor, she's obsoleteIn the great life-game. She's out of kelterHere she will find unremitting shelter.
7: The Cure
Heaven, if depending on the bellCould be on earth, if we could get it right-If we could make positive the hard sellTo keep us doped on optimism through the night;How lies and fibs we'd never tellTo ears whose eyes were allowed the sightOf something good. And in our cellOf-nothing-is-under-the-sun-but-it's-rightWe'd call love into question, sound the knellForever on the famous serpent biteIn history nothing went wrong, tellNo story, nor children hear a fightPsychologists tell us another fairy taleIt hinges on the blaming of the female.
It hinges on the blaming of the femaleThe matter, mater, matrix of our songThat she should live and yet could tell the taleAnd do justice to herself, right the wrong,But ambiguity is dressed in shyness, scaleBy which is measured, protesting, longImprobability. That she did not railAgainst conception, suffered silence, did not bongOut the names of her betrayer, gave a paleImage of her integrity. A fiery tongueAnd truth locked in shame, indeed to failTo vindicate her honour had her hungNot in a gossip column, a rolling crown,But in the mental health hospice of a town.
In the mental health hospice of a town,The brain is deemed a strange and complex thing:No one understands, it is admitted with a frown,But there's no knowing what experiment can bring.Our cunning chemicals and knowledge bring renownAnd soul and spirit, anachronism, ringOf medieval superstition. We drownThe patient in our pills, a fairy queenReduced to blubber. He blubbers. DownThe hatch. You'll get fat, probably singOnly one song of the hundreds that you own-Synapses seared with poison, heart a broken wing,And eyes that bulge with knowledge that has spoiledGod's work mangled in the serpent's coils.
God's work is mangled in the serpent's coilsAnd stares out, a beheaded, gibbous postThe pure subtlety of intellect, soiledAnd little left, wandering as a ghost-The self has been killed. Where one had toiledTo mine the diamond heart in suffering's mostDifficult moments, now reduced and boiled-A globule to replace a sacred host.The body's gross distortion, now foiledOf natural grace, on the moneyed coastIn the profession's gutter, a slovenly gargoyleShows the profitable nature of the toastThey raise to themselves ."Control is the wayOn man-made pills we have the final say.."
."On man-made pills we have the final say .-Here's to procrastination. I'll earn my pensionOf dull days with no combat's edge to pay,Or decorate my feigned interest's pretension.."Somehow, there was hope in the urge to prayAn end to constant friction, tension,To bring living peace. I shouldn't mentionSurvival of the fittest was the wayOur natural historian's notable dissensionTo edge God out of the picture, to betrayWith nonchalant vocation a whole Being's declension,Reduce the power of thought, and good, to layWreaths at the feet of a secular, concerned world,While centuries of philosophy underneath whirled.
Centuries of philosophy underneath whirledAnd on a raft of confused fear, I payRespect to the one's jealousy which hurledMistrust of the ages, am witch to sayWhether I sink or swim. Yet I am furledOn the flag of disrepute, dishonour, mayBe called mad. When my hair was curledAnd my dress pressed, I was eager, nay,Clumsily anxious for your praise. You purledMy plain, turned rival in the frayLike a mother wishing a daughter gnarled,A jealous eye undermined my day.I keep looking for the good friend who'll smileWho, seeing me well and happy, won't be riled.
She, seeing me well and happy, won't be riledNor will she freeze the summer with her frownWhen she consults Britannica, finds there filedReferences she heard only in the townYet I was familiar with. Me, that clown,Now out of hospital, whom she's reviledTo every acquaintance. ."She's really downPoor thing, she's swallowing pills, piledHigh in charactery in her cabinet. Her academic gownWorth nothing, like her scroll. I dialedThe holograms on her pills, a disjointed crownGot me the doctor. A roof could be tiledWith what she's taking. He's found the right palliativeThe exact chemistry-her brain's co-relative.."