It’s letter writing today in verse. This really hit a synchronous chord with me and also allowed me to express some inner anger.
An Open Letter to the Powers that Be
Dear Minister for Health, Simon Harris
Sligo-Leitrim TDs, and
Just for good measure
All the board members of the Sligo HSE
Because, you see, we are failing with our kids
And I really want this one I know to fail
Where she is trying to succeed, because
Suicide Awareness is all very well
But the rubber hits the road with resources.
And there is sweet eff-all psych inpatient care
For our kids, and not a whole lot out in
The community either, given staff attrition
And I am not talking about locking them up
In the bin, just having a safe bed, without
Her mum having to sit bolt upright all night on the ward
Because she needs to be watched round the clock
As much as she did when she was a toddler
With the knives, scissors, razors, stones thrown
Away, because you would be surprised
How inventive a cutter can be.
And her mum should not have to refuse to leave
Camp out on the A&E floor, because she can’t
Keep her daughter safe 24/7 and there is no one else
At home to watch over her baby girl
Who is teenage now and, like Persephone,
Gone down a great septic, psychiatric plughole.
If one day, she succeeds where we want her to fail,
To die by her own hand, instead to live her precious life
May I assure you, it is all on us
Who did not care enough to hire the staff,
To make the beds, to find the money
To find the heart and the will
For us and you, our government to stop
Treating kids as optional extras, left luggage,
Disposable as nappies bought in bulk
And left to non-biodegrade on landfill.
And the bonus poem…it has been that kind of day. Epistopilary poetry might be my thing.
This is a letter I will never send
That one March day your drama dazzled me…
Having cheated death, I felt more alive
with you than anyone before or since.
Which fact you profess something like shock
that I would/could/should love you of all
planetary people. If I tied you
to a chair and asked you repeatedly
it would be all name, rank and serial
memory denied. Now there’s a mind fuck
for you, you son of a gun on the run.
It’s become your signature MO
a bit, this come and go, hasn’t it?
Except that day we faced off in rainbow’s glow
midst boneyard’s history. And family
seemed to give their blessing and nod assent
that we two, despite how seemingly oddly
paired, were meant. Some ancestral matchmaker
fitted us up. A celestial spit
and handshake to plight our troth. That’s how it felt,
being caught in a timeless claw, fairy
glamour, spun around, turned inside out, without
so much as a kiss. But that day you were
the anti-Scheherazade with Semtex
laying your life in my lap, where I hold
it, undetonated. If I licked your
heart, would it explode? Would I become some
more collateral damage? Are you the
hardman/softman gone all hardman again?
Is it guilt or shame? Or hideout from blame?
Does everything now have to be denied?
Me, yourself, family – all for one
authorised version of your history?
If I tied you to that chair to make you
listen you would only say you never
lied. I get it. I really, really do.
To survive you rationalised. It’s true.
This is a letter I will never send.
But that day, that glorious, pot of gold
in the graveyard day, best day of my life
it seemed to me that given your full
and frank confession, that the barred door swung
open. That with a newfound freedom
that comes with love, history would end.
This is a letter I will never send.
But I need to document it beyond
your flat denial, trapped in your very
own mesmerising story. So, carry on!
Go and feed the neighbour’s cat fully armed,
you son of gun always on the run.
Hope that works out for you! That you never
had the courage to pillow talk, caress,
kiss me. I am the woman you let get
away. And scarred my soul forever more.
This is the letter I will never send.