Four Poems From Risperidone Diaries
1: Just strike this causal love and all will be well, I will be well, not sat on the edge of the bed in sad face-palming pareidolia trying to shut out the dead, my dead, and you, especially you, persistently perished boy, exerting your deadness like mime. I do it to myself, they said. I’ve studied the rank acrimonies of loss, how nothing comes clean, how to work a grievance mute and sheer. I loathe prayer, creaking in the cabin fever of my faith, when kneeling is bobbing for apples, myself and your sister, our shrill litanies rising like damp smoke, our headscarves going up and down, sobbingly, blow-jobbingly. Oh, Satan have mercy on my long distress, etc. Here is a church, choice with attrition. Mary, Star of the Sea, sucking on her stained glass, smiles like an East End hard case. This is no place for you, whose haunting is so much sexual harassment. I touched you in the baggy, soggy dark, your face as cool and empty as a tin collecting plate, I swear. You spat into the ruinous solemnity of church, have always hated church with its disciplines of cringing, quite contrary. Your sister said you were not there, but I know better. You are alive, livid inside this headache if you’re anywhere.
2: I am writing a poem that is really a diagram of a frightened child. Writing a poem is a form of involuntary conjuring. Compassion is funny ha-ha and very rarely decorative. Today I have been asked to consider my madness as a piece of statement jewellery. A poet is an octopus. Her brain is in her eye. Unhappy as the last scented candle in the shop, I am tedious with heatstroke. Poems elude me and so I chant richer, stranger into the two quid chocolate cake mix. There is a chill and delicate pain, like a rip in a fingerprint. In a contest with the moon I am not even best at drowning.
4: Oh, I’m so pretty! The cascade quaintness of my hair, like a medieval princess. The clinic gives me Venlafaxine. It sounds like science fiction. The clinic gives me Risperdal, whose patent name is a second Camelot. The light is a steel comb, dragged across the face and my smile suggests a grazed knee. The houses have an empty, leaning look, a look of such dilapidated smugness that they make me deeply angry. On a day like this then no one can help me. Not Christ, with his freshman’s face and group hug mentality. Not the Immaculate Hearts of the Immaculate Sisters – those rock hard hearts like snowballs with stones in. No one. And here is Saint Jerome, as wan and barefoot as any Little Match Girl, knocking his head with a rock. And here is Saint Martin, whipping a white mare down to Smithfield with sad eyes and indecent haste. Here is a whole twisted tribe of ‘em, mad in the unkempt convalescence of their holiness, their jalabiyas flapping at the back like hospital gowns. I’ve got a blonde dye-job and I can see everything in tiny microdot detail. I can see everything and I will not go home. The haywire brain in omniscient scribble writes everything down. I get undressed, stand in deriding purple light, pitch nakedness like a fit. I am a plain girl, genderless as a stab vest, thin girl lavishly schizophrene, androgynous as G.M corn, and my eyes can look literal daggers. In the mirror I watch my madness taking shape like a YouTube tutorial for perfect hair. I exist in extremes of platonic monstrosity. An ugly room that fits me like a borrowed swimsuit, dank and unflattering. I hate this body, an adipose fiction for perverts. I wanna go ghost, historical, like you.
10: I want nothing better now than to mither my pain in private. The hurt may come in lumps or slivers. It may not come at all, and that is worse. They held out their pills to me today, on the flat of their hands, the same way you give sugar lumps to horses. Okay. Well okay, if I can go outside. Standing under the gritty white stars, they grate in the mouth, like glass in powdered milk. Hey, there’s coming true and panning out, the heart we talk to death. Not a good week. I was keeping the moon afloat with my thoughts. And then I wasn’t. Rein this in, my tremulous malignancy. Run, lift weights, on long days of suffocation and avoidance, bend and stretch. Love is a lyric regime we sweat through. And I love. Today I do. Evening light, failing gold. You’re Christ in his Byzantine shroud. You breathe your own equivalent air, acutely archetypal. Michael. I remember, how the dusk settled on your collarbones unevenly. How the sun went down, shrieking in an ague. The sky was rife, was spray-on tan, was Jaffa and Shamouti. At first I wanted to run from this, sexing a rodent pain in my heart alone, but now – how we were double-glazed in our drunkenness, the deaf scavenge of dancing, fucking, a tender joy you can thwart like a cause. Oh God, I carry my head like a loaded spoon. I don’t really know what happiness feels like. Am I accepting anything? Resentment bevels, somewhere between the dog and the wolf, the spinning floor, the hectic, sooty sky.