#InternationalMentalHealthDay #WorldMentalHealth day poetry and artwork challenge. Have you written unpublished/published work about Mental Health, yours or someone elses. Have you made artworks about it? Please submit by DM or send me a message via my WordPress site. All submissions will be published.

girl curled in ball by Jane Cornwell

girl curled up in a ball by Jane Cornwell

Sadness by Neal ZetterMy Friend Tummy Ache by Neal Zetter10 Things I Hate About Winter by Neal Zetter

-Neal Zetter

Redemption by Matthew Smith

-Matthew Smith (Redemption’ was published by Fly On The Wall Press in the ‘Identity’ edition, guest edited by Anna Saunders)

Conspiracy Theory

She’s nicely spoken, neatly dressed,
intelligent blue eyes. She engages us
in conversation, but soon her story
leaks out in hints and covert glances.

She’s being hunted down, has left her home,
can’t stay long in one place, they are bound
to find her wherever she goes, no passport,
diminishing savings, no future plans.

We want to help, but every practical idea
is brushed aside like cobwebs. Her story
of doctors and lawyers, lies and deceits,
murder and conspiracy, thickens like gravy.

She smiles as she tells us she’s lost,
technically homeless, does not know
where she will sleep tomorrow night
yet offers to buy drinks, willing to spend.

She slips through the holes in her tale,
moves on to other listeners, takes
her constructs away in her small luggage,
shoes laced up tight to hold her secrets.

Deferment

Grief is a cruel handbag –
its catch snaps shut like jaws.
Inside is buried an old compact,
hankie embroidered with an M
in a huddle of forget-me-nots.
There’s a used-up biro, one cherry lipstick,
a purse stained from long-dead hands,
inside only a few pence, a stamp.
The handbag is a stomach
digesting the past. What can be
done with it? It cannot be thrown away.
Best hide it in the bottom of the wardrobe
an unexploded bomb.

The What Ifs

not like unwrapping a present
someone you love gives for your birthday
knowing it’s a surprise you’ll enjoy

more like putting your fingers
into the jaws of a black velvet bag
because you have to, don’t want to.

anything could be inside, lying in wait,
to trap you or do harm. You ask yourself
what’s the worst can happen?

Sometimes the worst is getting
the wrong train or being late. Sometimes
there are ways to solve the problem.

But when the worst is death
you know you’re in trouble.
Nor can you stay home fretting.

You’re too young to box yourself up,
disappear into your own armchair,
so ease your hand inside the bag.

Sometimes what’s in there
is a lucky green jade turtle,
cool and composed, on a red silk thread.

Run your fingernail along its carved lines
you can die just as easily
at home without taking risks.

-Angela Topping

At the Apple Orchard Clinic for Eating Disorders

Before we work towards recovery,
there is the need to uncover
the core hiding beneath
the accumulation of flesh,
wrapped up in dull skin.

Somewhere deeper inside,
pips invariably squeal about reproduction,
perhaps how some bumbling loper
crashed in one spring day
and rampaged among the cordons and espalliers,
since when the silent shame of the incursion
has been swaddled
by the redblush of skin
over layers and layers that have waxed
into that taboo word we all mouth
at each other, out of sight,
out of the hearing of the shrink.

Clinicians nibble away through the wraps,
closer to confessions of complicity,
exposing the dark seeds
at our compromised hearts,
our BMIs to die for.


-Sharon Larkin

Tucker Liebermann Bad Fire

Tucker says “This is my mental health memoir, published two years ago. tuckerlieberman.com/2018/12/31/bad The 1-hour audio recording is free on my website. It’s also available as a relatively cheap ebook and paperback”

 

Do one thing that shows you care
Do one thing that shows you’re there
Try one thing that’s all brand new
Try something that’s just for you
Do one thing to help campaign
Not for glory or for gain
My one thing I’ve had my say
For 2020 Mental Health Day

-Jo Fearon

Care

How does one care for the sick
When they refuse to take their pills

Becoming unstable
Caught up in mindful delusions

A pain for their homes and love ones
As such the situation leaks into the village

Whilst they shout, calling for white rooms with padded walls
Place me in them they scream

Their parents abandon them
Unfortunately, I have heard the lyrics to this song

And my prayer leak out to the affected
The family, community, the town,

The sick and much more for myself
For I knoweth not in how best I can help

-Trixie

Persisters by Ankh SpiceExtinction Event by Ankh SpiceHermit in the turret by Ankh SpiceGroup Therapy for Crabs by Ankh Spice

-Ankh Spice ( ‘Extinction Event’, which was first published by Ice Floe Press. ‘Group therapy’, was first published by Elephants Never.)

 

Bitter limp fruit

Imagine fishermen labouring in a heavy swell
pulling in the trawl to find silver bitter limp fruit
entwined in the mesh of drip green nets,
the dead eyed souls of their own young children.
And we stay silent for our history is never told
silenced from the hour, the days, and the years
for we are edited out of the hour of our times.

Imagine coal miners hollowing out the seams,
men stripping coal a mile and more underground
and the hooters above ground call them away,
brought up into blink white light to see the black tip
the waste of their toils washed into the village,
spewed over the school where small children,
sang hymns and songs and were supposed to be safe.
And we stay silent for our history is never told
silenced from the hour, the days, and the years
for we are edited out of the hour of our times.

Imagine the trail of letters written foretelling concerns,
the dead nerved fears that a disaster would occur
and the NCB replies not days, not months but years later.
And on a grey fog filled October day after weeks of rain,
a small children’s school and a day of devastation,
exactly in the manner and the way foretold.
And imagine if no one was held to account,
and those families told make the slag heap safe
from the proceeds raised for the disaster fund.
And we stay silent for our history is never told
silenced from the hour, the days, and the years
for we are edited out of the hour of our times.

Imagine the miner, the father, the brother, the son,
looking out at the sprawl of waste they’d dug.
Imagine the mother, the sister, the daughter,
looking out at the grey listlessness of another day.
Of the silent keening, the numbed grieving,
of the impossibility of using words to describe.
And we stay silent for our history is never told,
silenced from the hour, the days, and the years
for we are edited out of the hour of our times.

Imagine the mothers bringing up children,
the happiness and hopes for the future.
Imagine the sisters who stayed off school.
Imagine the brothers too slow and were late.
Imagine the vacuum where a life had been once.
Imagine a young life where a vacuum is now.
And we have been silenced, our history just words
and our future is silent and will never be told.
Silenced from the hour, silenced from all those days.
Silenced from the years, silenced from all that might have been.

Footnote: The Aberfan Tribunal found that repeated warnings about the dangerous condition of the tip had been ignored, and that colliery engineers at all levels had concentrated only on conditions underground. In one passage, the Report noted:

We found that many witnesses … had been oblivious of what lay before their eyes. It did not enter their consciousness. They were like moles being asked about the habits of birds.”

In the House of Commons debate on the Inquiry Report it was asserted by the Government, on the advice of the NCB and supported by comments in the Tribunal report, that the remaining tips above Aberfan were not dangerous and did not warrant removal, estimated by the Tribunal to cost £3m, but merely required landscaping – a much cheaper option.

The government made a grant of £200,000 to the NCB towards the cost of removing the tips, and under “intolerable pressure” from the government, the Trustees of the Disaster Fund agreed to contribute £150,000. No NCB staff were ever demoted, sacked or prosecuted as a consequence of the Aberfan disaster or of evidence given to the Inquiry.

-©robcullen10/10/ 2016

Wound up

Two boys standing side by side,
framed sepia, unchanged.

A sunlit room and the tablecloths sheen,
a deep green velour,
they’d dug a level into the slagheaps side,
spoil slipped and filled the tunnel,
two boys died,
a third survived.

A blind sister,
and a mother listen each day,
to the sound of a clock unwinding

Yesterday never came (for you)

I passed the exam too,
but we lived one street apart,
it was an arbitrary rule,
so you went to a different school,
that winter I didn’t see you.

In the early Spring I called one day,
to see if you wanted to play,
kick a ball about in the park,
your mum answered the door,
she fell in the doorway before me

Your dad came and sent me away,
so at 12 Leukaemia took you,
my best friend,
and no one said a thing.

Was it only two years before,
my other friend,
you were killed,
dragged into that pillbox,

On that beach,
another unexplained separation ,
and a need to provide a solution,
you moved from the village,
but he found you anyway,
my father said he noticed,
something about him,
the way he looked at me.

He never crossed the doorway again.
and then behind a closed door,
the adults discussed how to explain,
your cruel brutal death to me,
how was I to understand? I was nine.

Men don’t know how to talk,
about loss, guilt,
about many things,
men do silence.

We close it in.
We lock it in.
That fear and shame.
Of shame.

The way we feel,
we have failed.
Failed somehow,
No one explains,
Yesterday never came for you.

-©robcullen

How I Came To Be Dalit

‘About a month ago, he became very strange in his manner’—Manchester Courier, August, 1888

Holding the blood-soaked Manchester Courier
of August, 1888,
I had a vague sense of the past.
I retraced my great-great grandfather’s footsteps.
He’d checked himself out of all the best
institutions:
the Withington Workhouse,
the Chester Lunatic Asylum
and he walked the line—straight and unswerving.

The Courier said he was set to see his mother in the south.
It was a hot day in July.
I walked to Black Brook Farm, too,
climbed the embankment onto the London line
and headed south
on the wrong side of the track.

I crossed the line and heard an unrelated language of whispers.
I saw him there again, my GGGF, not a moment too late,
lying down on the track.
His job, I imagined, was to drive the train on time.
He was a boiler maker, a steel maker and a striker of fires.
He was born in Crewe, a railway town
until 1873 and the Great Depression.
He put his neck on the line without hesitation.
I watched the train.
He was broken and
scattered.
My family’s blood enriched the earth.
In rector Stowell’s* war
I came to be Dalit.

**The Manchester Courier provided Hugh Stowell, rector of St Stephen’s Church in Salford, with a platform to “wage war” on any group dissenting from the orthodox views of the Anglican Church, notably Catholics and Jews, but also including Unitarians, whom Stowell doubted even had the right to call themselves Christian’—Wikipedia

Meeting My Double

Muhammad ibn Hilal al-Munajjim al-Mawsili’s celestial globe was decorated with the 48 constellations and inscribed with their names in Arabic; dated AH 674 (1275/6)—islamicworld.britishmuseum.org

As skeletons in cupboards go,
this was no idiom.
It walked upright and was full of life—my double,
coming towards me with its head under its arm
like a footballer about to take a penalty
and I was the keeper
in the afterlife world cup final.

So, I’ll raise you. My skeleton against yours.
No one told me how my great-great-grandfather died.
They said he met his end on a street corner—
some kind of manly encounter to defend my right to exist.

But I should have known about my double—
He lived online in a digital archive,
a victim of the first Great Depression no one’s ever heard of.
A documentary on Lost Civilisations no one’s ever made.
Yet, no one said he would haunt me,
an out-of-work engine driver
who checked himself out of this life
lying down on the London line
and the London train crammed full of people
seeking a better life.

I’m seeing things from the outside now,
like the astronomer from Mosul’s
celestial globe.
He’s heading towards me now
with the sky imagined this way
surrounding me.

-Kit + Cy

Do you see me?

Do you see me, really?
Not who you want me to be
Or think I should be
Would be if I shaved my edges off
So you could see what you want
And I would be what you’ve desired
All these years your vision skewed
Have you ever once seen me?
Looked at me closely without distaste
Because I’m not who you envisioned I’d be
When you first started pushing, pulling at me
Trying to remove my awkwardness
Angry that what was there wasn’t desirable
I’ve noticed you still trying to cut
Little bits off when you think nobody sees
But here’s the thing
Even those who don’t know you have it
The vision to go beneath your veneer
They see you too and you’re blind to it.
Ailsa
AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Why do I feel like…?

My favorite Marc Anthony
Kohls shirt torn with so
many holes, looking like
the Hulk incredibly tried
to squeeze inside my slim
fit, making me feel like
David Banner, exposing
too much torso, feeling
fragile not very super
hero like, with all this
black gunk on my feet
that I try to wipe off
the depths of depression
like a black marker that
has stained me, hoping
Picasso can help me brush
off this dark canvas, Frida
what do you paint when you
feel like drowning from
the inside? Which flor
would you color to make
me bloom? From his
Friar Park garden listening
for the spirit of George Harrison
make me believe Love truly
comes bathing over everyone,
give me peace while carrying
me across the Pacific
pond, Brian Wilson this
beach boy needs a song
to surf me up on a wave
of a Smile, so I can sail
on sailor and keep me
mis ojos, drained
of madness feeling like
Alfred E Newman
exhausted of cartoon
trauma bubbles bursting
my darkest moods, as I
shiver ghost like under
bed sheet covers in
shadows awake again
during my midnight panicky
plea splashing sweat surges
as these tired buena
noches dreaming eyes
float focus ng, on and
on we go dum bee-doo
drifting off, duermo towards
a night slumbering into
deep blissful zzzzzz’s.

-Adrian Ernesto Cepeda
© 2020
All Rights Reserved

Barney Poem

He doesn’t care about the clothes I wear,
And whatever colour I have my hair
Always there for a hug when I feel sad
As I’m having a day when I look bad
Those days when your favourite jeans won’t fit
it doesn’t matter one little bit
Who’s this wonderful soul that can always care
He’s my dog Barney the bear

-Jo Fearon (Wrote this one for MH week 2019 body image about my best friend late dog I lost last yr)

 

Walking with Dad

Dad says, when we are first born
our stomachs are the size of a walnut.
He spews up his gut full of fears, tiny
cancer cannibals who eat and eat and…
shares his cheese pickle sandwiches.

Dad teaches a child to slide a rule.
He tells me Logarithm and amoeba
are proof of our existence, computers
will devour our facts and remember
pies are always square never round

Dad lies belly down over cliffs
at Land’s End. A child straddles
his ankles. He reaches for rocks
for his rockery. They body pivot,
stretch. Rocks splurge into squall

Dad sleeps behind door locks
Hospital ghosts float too close
He puckers to kiss and spit pills
Pockets full of drop stitch holes,
trail crumbs from chair to bed

Silent Chess

Dad teaches me to play silent chess
As we suck splinters of treacle toffee
Sometimes he vanishes from home
Bored I count his line of pill bottles

As we suck splinters of treacle toffee
Family quirks once seemed ordinary
Bored I count his line of pill bottles
Unworthy of any mental conversation

Family quirks once seemed ordinary
Then I burn out and stare at a road kill
Unworthy of any mental conversation
I fade and forget to feed my children

Then I burn out and stare at a road kill
Sometimes he vanishes from home
I fade and forget to feed my children
Dad teaches me to play silent chess

Wise Woman in Lockdown

my memories fill bookshelves
read me in sepia or dazzling

see me as inspired not infirm
when I swap feet for wheels

I’m my age from hearty feasts
give sparrows that tiny portion

do you think I’m lacking wires
if I’m living my life off-line

say my hair looks gorgeous
if it’s straight as pump water

I’ve witnessed great changes
and each day is outoftheblue

I’m practised with plumbing
we won’t need extra pit stops

leave me in a sunny spot, in view
of children’s play and games

our adventures are for sharing
especially when I close my eyes

=Helen Sheppard

This Is Cofusion by Fi

This Is Confusion By Fiona H.

-Moonflower

Full moon, low
rain heavy clouds the color of possum ,
dangle their long tails of lightning,
clearing the cabbage palms,
disappearing into darkness of Gulf.
Wind of velvet,
wind of eels, so much writhing,
laying on of hands.
Abomination is the word Granny
delivered to the cheek
with a kiss.
Cutting child, moon in your eyes,
salt in your hands,
so much emptiness incised,
fluid strokes, so much hibiscus
flowing , all the shades of burning,
flame is a circular pain,
cutting is linear,
so much rain
so much river, all into Gulf.
The flowers of wounds
bloom in this season,
my hair flows like turtle grass in this tide,
cormorants swim through my longing words,
your hands
of pine and cypress pass over me, pass through me,
firmament stretched horizon to horizon,
who can untangle such a skein of scars,
a birds nest of despair?
In sleep you throw one arm out
pulling me close, you breathe my name, such a small word,
flowering in moonlight
caressed by sphinx moths,
so many shells stacked as markers,
against the last day of cutting,
against the last utterance
of abomination

-5a-

Having cut into the arm nothing was revealed,
no secret landscape,
or true hide of the beast.
Every scar a day marked
with coral, shells of whelk
a bundle of feathers,
artifacts making a roof of time.

Incisions are seasonal indicators,
every calendar an unveiling of memory,
so much hibiscus flowering,
mouthfuls of expiation
dripping on the old white table,
nothing but meat beneath the rind.

Another revelation of cutting,
edge is not a tool of remorse,
edge is not a promise of discovery,
there is no chart of this shoreline
walking without compass
or timepiece, gradually realizing
there is no arrival or departure,
only sea and wind, tide and sky,
husks of what we once were
scattered, a mulch of abandonment.

Tongue of ash, of ember,
pale of teeth, voices of gatekeepers,
voices of blade and stone,
translucent shavings of moon
the heavy consonants of grief
wedged in the throat.

Wind unfurls from its roost
in the shaggy cabbage palms,
another day lifts from the sea
herons and egrets stretch
languid as predators ever are.

Your hands have framed a doorway
our grief has poured through
sluiced onto dry sand,
you gather the names of my scars,
scatter them on waves
fetched up from furthest shore,
you burnish the darkness
buried in my eyes, you fill
torso with shells, gourd of emptiness,
shells gathered from sandbar
another artifact of time constructed on loss,
sea is not a hollow reliquary
of sorrow

River return us-

Naming is not possession of a moment
or moth wing brushing moonflower in darkness,
some are nocturnal, some only walk in twilight,
having gathered up tracks of possum, sifted
wind for coyote, singing is the power buried in pine
released by lighting.

There was a time, a conversation
of jalousies clacking open then shut,
when my mother’s words were little more
than a wish for a rope and a tree, the motion
of her hands working into knots,
rope coiling on tongue.

What went in one ear and out; herons, the other
of dancing in shallows, rivulets of small fish
dart here and there, pelicans observe all,
the low glide of wave top precision.

We dissolve in this landscape where it is only natural
to be queer and trans, to hold a mirror to the sun,
to sing for my tide against windblown sparks
of what arson has laid waste, see now
how moon raises a great blade against day.

Darkness burnishing waters, mirror of opacity,
my grandmother’s cast iron skillet liquefied,
a face of sinuous power flowing to the Gulf,
gators hauled out on sandbars,
sugar drifts of sand, oaks dip into the current,
moss feathers on a wind, there is no god
that has not marked us for extirpation.

Today’s flow is north, vast flowers of water
strolling past us, blooming over the flatwoods,
shimmering with cicada and grasshopper song,
rain fills the many mouths open in supplication.

Never not unbroken, wind whistling through
lattice of bone and sinew lashings,
a lantern blinking semaphore
to a horizon of cloud and sea, never
a reply, only shadows lengthening
beneath oak and magnolia.

Everything here is a mirror of a mirror
blackwater rising, flood plain
extends wrist to sternum, inundation
of spine, incremental lift, embrace of cypress,
of sky, place without winter where no sap descends
tree, root and soil in sleepless conversation.

-If you possess stillness-

To be less than,
to be the love coiled behind sternum,
hollow is a state of fluidity, a tide climbs
the shelving, so many broken shells
fill our words, sky crackles, swallowtail kites
circle, vapor stacks itself into cumulus.

The consolation of being quick
not yet passed by wing of owl
or osprey, not yet wave tumbled,
hermit crabs come for this shell,
an odd fit, full of echoes and glyphs of sea.

We seek countenance from cownose rays
migrating in vast flights of undulation
what sea contains without answers, supplication
gains not a moment of wave, fetch uncoils
from the further shore, horseshoe crabs
gather in the shallows, another vanishing
of ancient names.

Songs of spoonbill, woodstork and oyster
lost to us, we have inherited nothing
but responsibility, wave curls over turtle grass
mangrove crabs climb into the canopy
osprey snatches moonlight from lagoon,
hydraulics of an inner sea, marsh filled
with hands of needle grass, palms
lift wind, pines buttress sky.

Consolation is tide breathing in estuaries
unraveling from blackwater river,
where mollusks still filter the fluidity
that fills us, of sea, of wind, of night
singing starlight, opaque shapes riding currents
we can not name, so much utterance
snagged in pine tops with a half moon.

It was not meant for us,
stepping out with the old dog,
wind without banners or tongue
night sky indifferent to our listening,
eyes brimming with time, when you say
my name the shadow in my mouth
swallows itself, some doors remain shut.
Some whetstones sing of the edge,
to be less than, defined
into smoke and ash, some cinders
sing only of flame, some sing
only of the axe.

-Peach Delphine

Painting by Kushal Poddar

Painting by Kushal Poddar

Mental Ball

At first, I think it
a kitten playing
with a ball of hay,
and then see shadows
surround shadows and
there rolls nothing else.

I know it is not a feline,
but my mind shoved around by
the paws of a long pause
caused by my promise
to the greying psychiatrist –
ceasefire, no more fighting
with my desire and reality.

Then I blink. Yes, a kitten.
Childhood spooks and hides
in the house. Then I blink.
Nothing is noted.

-Kushal Poddar

Pain by Melissa Cronin.

-Melissa Cronin

Monsters

When I was a child, I feared Monsters that lived under the bed,
I’d lay paralysed with fear as if I were dead,
Shadow-men silently creeping from all four corners of the room,
Ghoulish figures rising all around my linen tomb,
Leering from the shadows whilst I tried to sleep,
Those distorted grimaces haunted my dreams.

When I was a child, I feared Monsters that lived under the bed,
Then I grew older and realised the Monsters were all in my head,
One I’ll name Loneliness, one I’ll call Self Doubt, there’s Anxiety and Paranoia and many more cry out.
These faceless Monsters come to visit me in the darkest of dark nights,
Tangible and terrible,
They still fill me with immobilising fright.

I feed them and then I fight them, and it always goes the same way:
I invite them to my table but wish they’d go away,
They sit there laughing & expose all of my fears,
So I try to murder my Monsters by drowning them in tears.
When the water torture ceases my Monsters declare war,
But however much I bludgeon them they never seem to scar.
The more I do battle with them the stronger they seem to get, and yet I grow weaker:

It seems my match is met.

When I was a child, I feared Monsters that lived under the bed,
Now that I’m wiser I see I have been misled.
These Monsters are a part of me, part of who I am,
And the only way to quiet them is to become my own biggest fan.
Doing battle with yourself will turn you inside out,
You can’t save yourself by plucking your own eyeballs out.
So stop fighting these silly Monsters right here in the dark,
they’re non-corporeal remember? You cannot make a mark.

Instead, change your situation, look at where you are:
Get out of your own darkness & your Monsters won’t get far.
Drag your Monsters screaming into the bright, sunny day,
Expose them to the light and watch them fade away.
And when your Monsters come back to haunt you in the deepest of your dark nights,
Assure them it’s a temporary visit and shine out your inner light.

© Rachel Lightfoot

My Collection of Weirdos

I have a hobby of sorts,
To collect the strangest of cohorts,
Those that fall between
The cracks in the serene
And provide an elixir for the droll.

Wearing trauma as a badge,
Openly half mad,
Scarred and scared,
Bad and good, good and bad.

Outsiders,
Survivors,
Fighters,
Quitters,
Addicts,
Vixens,
Victims,
Bullies,
Bullied,
Exposing,
Exposed:

This is my collection of weirdos.

Each piece is unique,
Individual, tarnished and boutique.
No manufactured, peroxided plastic,
Or conveyor belt symptomatics.

Antique treasures hidden
Under the rest,
Bottom of the pile.
Allow them to beguile.

Their bruises sparkle like

Popping candy for the soul.

Come and behold!
My shelf of damaged wholes,
Those who refused to fit the mould,
But instead turned stories of ash
Into pure gold.

Here you’ll find the greatest tales to be told.

Roll up!
Marvel at my troupe of weirdos,
An array of frayed heroes.

The best I have known.
My clarion call to home.

© Rachel Lightfoot

Body Image by Jo Fearon

-Jo Fearon

Clarity

Empty
of unexpected
thoughts
moments resonate.
I listen
for anxiety
its negative
interference,
hear solitary
inquiry,
begin
to acquaint
absence.
Know I
have limited
time
to relish
being free.

-Anna Chorlton

Let’s go nighting
This summer night
Let’s make light
Work hard for us

The owl that might
See us not see
To hunt despite
Dark matter’s weight

Stand, be still
The gift of flight
Not offered yet
But time is ours
Tonight

Dave Green 1

A flower ripped from a foster bed
Filaments of fungal web
Seems like a bird that’s caught and caged
A travesty of global trade

In lockdown I curtailed what once
I took for granted, indolence
Took over as my cage or vase
Became the prison of my cause

Dave Green 2

In dusty corners of darkened rooms
He folds away like a drying rack
A man propelled to roll & roam
And hug a shore like bladderwrack

He might be satisfied, disturbed
Embarrassed as a secret guessed
But it is in his wishes curbed
That living sinks like land depressed

Dave Green 3

There are three ways to write a poem
One is to sleep on St John’s night
At Tinkinswood
And die, go mad, or poet be.
Or make for dolmens Keltic for a poesy tournament
More in hope than in certainty.
This is the third.

Dave Green 4

In driving to my father’s house
I slowed down on the A18
To watch an aeroplane take off

Going back to where I’ve been
Is always like a hollow hell
And suddenly my baffled head
Left senses from the present time
Suggesting that I might be dead

The moment passed I carried on
To fields and walls of childhood
And like a god of tiny things
I tried to see that life is good

Dave Green 5

In time the memory will arrive
The pocket dendrite send its spark
& from the darkness lines emerge
Like notes of hope from funeral’s dirge

His childhood shines like wartime fires
To anchor him to stormy port
But yesterdays are foreign lands
He almost grasps with grizzled hands

Dave Green 6

Once knew Thorfinn
Slept on his deck
My sleeping-bag a sarcophagus
For the sick. The swell

Ignored horses & reared
iron-hard seas to wolds
Like ruckle-whipped sheets.
Yes I knew

He plied sharp routes
To conquered lands
Made Normans grand enough
To fight themselves

Dave Green 7

I spent the night with pain
When pain was dressed as fear
And sleep deserves no name
For sleep did not stop here

I tried to play some game
To shift my mind’s high gear
But saw the void of time
Expensive yet not dear

Dave Green 8

-Dave Green (Artwork and poems)

The beat goes on

Shape shifters lingered on the stairs
And crawled the walls now I don’t care
Techno filled my darkened room
But now I dance to my own tune

A silent disco in my head
It thumped and pumped in my dan rank bed
But a sugar coated little dancer
Flipped me over to a new beat master

28 little ones lying in a bed
Roll over roll over the demon said
I stamped my foot cleared the clouds
No more dreams dressed in shrouds

Doctors, medics suggested more
Ive no pill popping pharmacy drawer
I want to alight the prescription train
Board one soulful, avoid the rain

Ive cut and pasted all my signs
Juggled the jingles in my mind
Changed the reel to suite the suiter
Soundtracks play for a whole new juncture

Show me a circle with a cross
A four track single to explain my loss
A grounding mantra on side B
On side A you can smell the sleeve

A melencholy tune, the need to please
I beat the fun drum to hide the tears
I sold the anthems that belonged to me
But I will reclaim my identity

I restart my heart with about 120
Staying alive because in life there’s plenty
Press my chest, feel the beat
I’m the red post box on corporation street

I wrote these words whilst receiving CBT, and dealing with sleepless nights and feelings of panic in the night. It centers around a music theme as this was a calming method and grounding measure I used to help me sleep. There are mentions to medication use a for the anxiety, my state of mind and the post box that withstood an IRA bombing in Manchester in 1996. The message being life was bad, but im still standing!!

-Leon The Farmer

Devil in my shoes

My heart is now presented with a black and tortured
And I’m instructed Lucifer to go and ride on home
Ill unhinge and remove myself from the ebony cross
Extract the nails one by one and hold my hands aloft

Go on then diablo ley your dog off the leash
Ill stare into its gaping jaws and break its bloody teeth
Black sheep fingers burnt still placed on a trigger
You’re a darkened silhouette and a lonely standing figure

I’m onto you old nick I’m not afraid of this
Ill grip you choke you and silence your snake hiss
Ill drag you from my party and vanquish you as it’s my life
You think that you can extinguish my candle in the night

So then darkened prince you want to shine brighter
Well I’m the fierce dog now I’m a battler and a fighter
I will not be imprisoned or suffer in a golden silence
The cemetery gates are ripped open and ill dance without a shyness

So here we are then Baphomet you played your final ace
I’m healing your deceiving and a spit in your face.

Because you cant walk in my shoes you would sink below the water
Your nothing but a lamb I am sending to the slaughter.

These words were originally called rebirth and control when I put them to book, I think I used the title as a meaning to say I have suppressed the devil and demons and I am starting a new life and taking control. However, when I started performing this one live off book I couldn’t register what to say when I saw the name so changed it for set list purposes and needed the word devil in the title. Its basically about taking on demons and saying let’s have you, I’m ready to move on with my life from anxiety and depression.

-Leon The Farmer

A monkey can fall from a tree

There’s that geezer with a long leather coat
Red paisley bandana covering his throat
Tilted trilby and eyes so vicious
He’s lurking in the corner of my subconscious

A waiter to the world of my emotional dysfunction
Serving ready meals to by personal destruction
I accept his twisted malevolent suggestion
I dine on guilt and a bottle of correction

So, when did I let him decide?
And wait for the bill to restore my pride
The menu reads like an old damaged story
With every attempt to remove life’s glory

This is twilight crazy town
Why should I pay with my voice and sound?
I dig deep and delve for my 9/10
A three course thoughts to feeling to actions and I’ll win

So, I stop and I reflect
I don’t collaborate or even reject
I’m intrusive I ask my thought Why
I don’t contemplate or listen to lies

Do they serve you or get in the way?
Do they serve you can those thoughts stay?
Don’t be ashamed of what you have done
Be punching proud of what you have become

I confront stories of a tiger and hunter
Those of mice and honey and they make me wonder
The pauper farmer and his broken son
Those of wild horses and what the army has done

Ill fold paper into fighter planes
They’re flying fucks to help not blame
I won’t let the cash cow grind me down
Ill take back my orb and thorn less crown

Ill pour water in flames of suppression
Ill pour petrol on hope so they burn with passion
Ill restore cracks with glistening gold
It’s a unique history and a story to be told

So, the reaper sits with a rust blade
He’s frowning and raging as my future is made
So, her is a message I give to you
Saru mo ki kara ochiru

Even a monkey falls from a tree
Even my monkey fell from a tree
Even I fell from a tree
Even you could fall from a tree!

Some verse centered around a Japanese proverb that I was directed to on my first visit to Japan in 2019. By my mum of all people on a message while I was in Kyoto. The verse does center around demons that can follow you when in a dark place and control you, and when realizing everyone can make mistakes it takes the positives and challenging your demons to move on. Some of my therapy is noted within the words too which I like to do as a positive edge.

-Leon The Farmer

I Sit by A.M. Juster

 

-By A.M. Juster previously published in Magma, now in his new book “Wonder And Wrath”

Silent Chaos

First Published in the Beautiful Space

Sometimes there are
hushed whispers under the bated breath sometimes there is a cacophony
the dissonance;
drowning our minds
leaving us numb and frozen

sometimes the laughter gets lost
floating through the trees
frozen on the moss
on a cold misty morning
a frozen ghost

Sometimes a loud thud
when the old chestnut

breaks down and opens itself to the wild
love is always a sacred offering

sometimes the scars tell the whole story
untouched yet cutting through the bone
sometimes the silence seeps in the wrinkles
those folds on the skin
bereft of any emotion

Sometimes a pale face
holds the mystery for the closed palms
and sometimes the crow’s feet
carries the laughter for eons

a still face holds the mirror to life
look closely at the reflection
floating in the swirls
of the deep those obsidian eyes
sometimes silence screams the loudest

 Fight

As you fight the darkness
looming inside your soul
you try hard enough
to keep away those nasty ghouls
lingering in the darkness
and claiming a lien on your soul

And you feed those black dogs
lying in the slumber
till they wake up again
growing and scratching
with their taloned claws
leaving the marks of
gnarls and gashes on your soul

As you split and splinter yourself
into a million faces
you count as one,
as slowly your face
dissolves in the vile
of those turbid thoughts
those poisonous ones

You keep your spindly legs in motions
throwing away your arms

fervently
in that vapid motion
keeping your mouth agape
to get that sliver of breath
which will keep you
afloat and awake

You try to keep the darkness at bay
screaming at your soliloquy
giving those desires a break
you look with those bleared eyes
and a broken heart
looking for
a hand,
a thought,
a face,
a hug
which stops you from being
shredding and ripping apart.
It’s your fight right from the start.

-Megha Sood

Therapy (Corrected) By Michael Dickel)

-Michael Dickel

Hopelessness by y Drw

-Jenni Wyn Hyatt

HER (PART II)

It’s just a parlour game
we play on rainy afternoons,

razoring lines down our arms
until red criss-crosses white.

She always wins.
She always regrets it.

Rubbing India ink into scars
that transform her flesh

into a field of rabbits,
foxes and brooding crows

that undulate when she flexes
and releases her biceps:

a menagerie that slowly fades
until the next time we play.

-Susan Darlington

Photo to accompany Andrea Prevett poem

Tears for you

Tears pool in my eyes every day, sometimes they fall,
yet I remain strong.
every day I live with the unnecessary
and sudden loss of my son
each day I sit with the pain of knowing
I will never hear his voice and laughter again,
and nor will his children.
We will never see his beaming smile,
watch him frown or pull a funny face.
He will never grow any older,
nor achieve the things I imagined he would.
He will not walk his children to school,
teach them to read, to swim,
to love nature, to fish.
He will not walk his daughter
down the aisle on her wedding day,
make a speech about how beautiful she looks
and how lucky the groom is.
He will not be there to guide his son
and tell him how proud he is.
So you see whilst I grieve for the loss
of the precious son I was lucky enough to birth,
my first born,
I also cry for the loss of the man he can no longer become.
I grieve for his absence in my future, in our future.
Yet I still have a future,
different than the one I used to imagine.
There will still be joy
and laughter, life’s ups and downs,
adventures to be had and tales to tell.
I trust my strength
will help me fully engage in this life,
in his brother’s life and children’s lives
whilst still feeling the pain of his avoidable loss,
and the huge void his absence has created.
I have lost one of my babies,
a gift so precious,
I spent 24 years nurturing,
loving and protecting
I will carry this pain deep within
my soul and heart
for the rest of my days.
he will be remembered every day,
even if his name is not spoken aloud
his name was Dai-Joseph Llewelyn Crofts
and I love him so very much.

Brief description relating to the poem
I wrote this poem some months after my 24year old son died unexpectedly; he had ended his own life after a struggle with mental illness. He loved the ocean and worked at sea as a trawlerman from 16years of age; it was his vocation. Following his death there were times when words would pour from me in those wakeful night time hours as I tried to reconcile his loss. Grieving not just for the son that was but for the son that might have been.

-Andrea Prevett

.sandbanks.

Lovely. I nearly rented a run down bungalow at Sandbanks before the boom. It was nice then.

I bet your bus went past St . Anns hospital where Mum was for a long and many times. She had electric shock treatment. It was all nuts

My boyfriend was in there too. He put his head in the oven. He came out as gay later. He was a croupier at the Royal Bath.

Oh my days. You have kicked off memories .

Enjoy the day x

-sonja benskin mesher

.herrison.

his name is geoff with a g

not jeff with a j

 

was on the seat beside me

travelling to dorset

 

i tried to be good and quiet

yet

 

outside dorchester i exclaimed again, he smiled

pardon me, did you say herrison?

 

i did

i blushed, did not explain

 

closed now, shut down rotten

 

i went back once over the fence

it was empty dusted done

 

memory remains of  visits

by train and special bus to alight

where patients waited

 

where on sunday patients paraded

to church

 

where i was horrified, terrified

 

where her head split in two

 

she tooks them pills constantly

sometimes too many

 

my brother lived away

my brother signed her over

committing her to that place

 

instead of st anns

we were used to that

 

now

 

my brother has dementia

he is  probably dying

 

the roundabout is called monkey jump

herrison iamge sbm

-sonja benskin mesher

#valium

 

look at the little people.
arms held high. the medicine
is in the cabinet, they cannot
reach it.

#Valium by sonja benskin mesher

 

sbm.

Bodies by Jo Fearon

-Jo Fearon

The Elements of Storytelling

Watching a butterfly
fold and unfold its wings,
poetry taught me this:
it’s grand to die of heartache
or to live, trying,
watching a butterfly
fold and unfold its wings.

Watching a butterfly
fold and unfold its wings,
poetry taught me this:
it’s grand to die of heartache.

Watching a butterfly
fold and unfold its wings.
Over and over,
my father,
ill with Alzheimer’s Disease,
tells his stories.
Watching a butterfly
fold and unfold its wings.

Watching a butterfly
fold and unfold its wings,
poetry taught me this:
it’s grand to die of heartache.

Watching a butterfly
fold and unfold its wings,
poetry taught me this:
it’s grand to die of heartache
or to live, trying,
watching a butterfly
fold and unfold its wings.

-Susanna L. Lee

THE INVISIBLE AURA

Step into the vortex of my soul
To decode the language
I often speak to myself

Every night when I peel off my mirage
That the sea of gazes around me
surmises to be nonchalance

This is my universe where:
Depression is not a mere mood swing
It’s an actual chemical imbalance

My facial expressions are not always
Gateways to the feelings of my heart
Sometimes they are merely decor

My silence is not a symbol
Of any kind of equanimity

Listen to the aura who’s decibels
Don’t roar like a lion
But squeal like a mouse

Observe the aura that’s the
shy one in the corner
Acknowledge the unfelt emotions

For you may not feel them
But just a moment of your cognizance
Could determine their fate for eons

A QUIET WAIL

Channel your inner beast of sorrows
Into a composition they said

Drown your tears into the ink
Let the scribes
delineate your fable they said

Take a palette of infinite colors
Let a canvas bring to life
Your deepest dreams they said

So I did…

I composed a scribe
Using a knife for a pen
My chest for paper

Fashioned my own ink
Mixing a cocktail of ecchymosis
& steady waterfalls of grief

Painted a picture of a still burgundy river
Using a blade as a paintbrush
My arms as a canvas

A sea of nonchalant gazes
Graced each exhibit
And requisitioned a refund

One they never even endowed
in the first placed

Speak up, they said
I guess my language
Was just a little too subtle

STEP-CHILD

Ever wondered what it’s like to be
Mother Nature’s bastard step-child?

Icicles cascade down your back
And all it feels like
Is a smoldering of your deepest desires
Because you’re used to cold shoulders
Burning your spirits alive
And leaving you to sweat in a coffin…
Before you’re officially dead

Rays of a “nice & sunny” day
Imprison your heart in frostbite
Because the “warmth” of comrades & the ménance
Ended up tattooing your skin blue
And pelted your soul with boulder-sized hail

Daisies smile jubilantly in your garden
And more water leaks out of your eyes
Than all the wells & sprinklers of the world
Because the only smiles you ever had a rendezvous with
Represented an abundance of snickers & mockery

So again,
Ever wondered what it’s like to be
Mother Nature’s bastard step-child?

My account is at hand for disposal
Go ahead & strip me inch to inch
I pledge that it’s of no concern
My soul was shredded the day I dared
to escape the womb

-Neel Trivedi

WorTheDeathofMe Kittie Belltree.

-Kittie Belltree

Getting out of my own head

The terror of the nights
Gave way to the morning anxiety
Quivering hands trembling breaths
The harsh white light blinds me.

I’m struck down by the scenarios
Playing out inside my head
Like a morbid drama
Such horror coming to life.

My eyes are sunken and bloodshot
My hands grasp the bedsheets
The room feels claustrophobic
The dread inside my head pounding.

This winter decay of my soul
The wind howls through my bones
Icy fear slaps my face
I’m a prisoner inside my own head.

My skin is cut and torn by whispers
Mortifying looks from strangers
I bleed from stabs of insecurity
Can’t talk about it.

The butterfly through the window
At first merely a distraction
Grabs the black dog’s attention
Briefly gets me outside of my own head.

Getting out of my own head
I’m standing shivering and naked
I can barely put one foot forward
But it’s one step more then yesterday.

I will fail and I will fall and bleed
Wounded hands will grasp a key
To open the locked door
To free myself from inside my own head.

-Robin McNamara

Fog-Mind By Greg Santos

-Greg Santos (Previously published in “Montreal Writes”)

Bright frizzy wig
atop the head
Caked in make up,
Smile painted on,
The stage lights switched on,
He’s happy, acting the fool,
Yet he’s fooling himself,
The smile
It’s only painted on,
Happiness a performance
his own eyes do not see
-Anthony J.P.

Contact

Craving
Contact
In a contactless age,
Not just swipes
Left or right,
Not just post likes,
I’m craving contact
In a contactless age.

Not just touching screens,
But touching my body,
Touching my soul,
Not WiFi connection,
I’m craving true connection,
Craving contact
In a contactless age.

*sadly written before covid

-Anthony J.P.

Christmas My Way by Jo FearonKindness is by Jo Fearon

-Jo Fearon

 

Bios and Links

-Megha Sood

is an Assistant Poetry Editor for the Uk based Arts and Literary Journal MookyChick and a Literary Partner in the “Life in Quarantine” Project by Stanford University, California, USA. She is a contributing member at Free Verse Revolution, Heretics, Lovers and Madmen, Sudden Denouement, Whisper and the Roar, GoDogGoCafe. Over 500+ works in journals including Better than Starbucks, Gothamist. Poetry Society of New York, WNYC Studios, Kissing Dynamite, American Writers Review, Setu Magazine.FIVE:2: ONE, KOAN, Quail Bell, Dime show review, and many more. Works featured/upcoming in 50+ other print anthologies by the US, UK, Australian, and Canadian Press. Three-time State-level winner NAMI Dara Axelrod NJ Poetry Contest 2018/2019/2020.National Winner Spring Robinson Lit Prize 2020, Honorable Mention Pangolin Poetry Prize 2019, Finalist in the Adelaide Literary Award 2019, Shortlisted for the Erbacce Prize 2020, Nominated for the iWomanGlobalAwards 2020, Finalist in TWIBB Beyond Black Sakhi Awards 2020. Works selected numerous times by Jersey City Writers group and Department of Cultural Affairs for the Arts House Festival. Chosen twice as the panelist for the Jersey City Theater Center Online Series “Voices Around the World”.She is currently co-editing the anthologies (“The Medusa Project”, Mookychick), and ( “The Kali Project”, Cross Tree Press). She blogs at https://meghasworldsite.wordpress.com/ and tweets at @meghasood16.

-Neel Trivedi

is a freelance journalist and in the advertising business. He writes poetry and fiction and is a Pushcart 2020 nominee. His work has been published in several digital and print publications. He can be reached on Twitter @Neelt2001.

-Andrea Prevett

lives with her husband by the coast in South Wales.  A clinical psychologist by profession she is currently on a sabbatical following the unexpected death of her son.  She currently spends her days supporting her family, helping to raise her young grandchildren, cooking and baking, trying to improve her gardening skills and knowledge, and learning French.  Andrea has written professionally for many years but is now enjoying spending more time writing creatively.

-Jo (Joanne) Fearon

is a public sector worker,  Mental Health First Aider and enthusiastic amateur poet. She rediscovered poetry to highlighting the dangers of social media as a MHFA. Second of Ian McMillan’s guest Hear My Voice Sonnets. Unpublished to date. Passionate about live music especially rock/blues/punk and supporting new artists and please no VIP. Loves the company of a great cappuccino and notebook. 

-Anna Chorlton

writes in the Cornish wilds. She is author of Cornish Folk Tales of Place and writes for Mazed Tales. www.mazedtales.org She has a poem published in the Spring Summer 2020 edition of The Atlanta Review. Her website is www.annachorlton.com  She is a member of Liskeard Poets.

-Fiona H

lives in Ireland and is rather shy so would prefer to let the writing do the talking. She is a former Humanities student, now she studies humanity through creative writing. Twitter:

-Trixiedreamspank

is a bit of an introvert existing only within written words.

https://trixiedreamspank.tumblr.com

https://allpoetry.com/Trixiedreamspank

https://twitter.com/TDspank

-Kushal Poddar

An author and a father, he edited a magazine – ‘Words Surfacing’, authored seven volumes including ‘The Circus Came To My Island’, ‘A Place For Your Ghost Animals’, ‘Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems’ and ‘Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel’. His works have been translated in ten languages. Find and follow him at amazon.com/author/kushalp Author Facebook- facebook.com/KushalTheWrite Twitter- twitter.com/Kushalpoe

– Anthony J P

by day a teacher of young minds and in his spare time, his alter ego the Poetic Prince writes poems on a multitude of issues. He’s used his poems to raise awareness of homelessness and mental health, two causes close to his heart. He also loves history and mythology too.

https://thepoeticprince.home.blog/

-Rachel Lightfoot

is a Poet with a dark sense of humour and a passion for creative self-expression. No stranger to the Arts, Rachel has worked in and around the rich and diverse tapestry of the entertainment industry. 

Growing up in a small rural town in South Yorkshire (UK), Rachel moved to Sheffield to study Film & Literature. After acquiring her BA Honours Degree, Rachel built her very own Burlesque Empire which ran for eight years. Drawing on her passion for creativity, Rachel successfully wrote, produced, promoted & performed in her very own live stage shows.

Now pursuing her rekindled relationship with the written word, Rachel spends her time supporting local film productions as well as creating short works of poetry inspired by her life experiences. 

At one with the darker side of the human psyche, Rachel’s poems explore mental health, unbridled human emotion and self-imposed limitations. All whilst keeping a sense of humour and optimism alive. After all, if we cannot laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?

Her influences stretch across a multitude of genres and include a range of Artists from classic Poets to rock stars: William Blake, Keats, Neil Gaiman, Brian Froud, Salvador Dali, Alice Cooper and Hozier to name but a few.

-Kittie Belltree’s

debut poetry collection, Sliced Tongue and Pearl Cufflinks, is published by Parthian (2019). She works as a specialist tutor for neurodivergent students at Aberystwyth University.

-Greg Santos

is the author of Blackbirds (2018) and Rabbit Punch! (2014). His newest full-length poetry book is Ghost Face (DC Books, 2020). He is the Editor in Chief of carte blanche magazine. He lives in Montreal with his family. Author’s website: gregsantos.me

-Jenni Wyn Hyatt

was born in Maesteg, Glamorgan, in 1942 and now lives in Derbyshire. A former English teacher, she started writing poetry in her late sixties. She writes mainly using rhyme and metre and has published two collections of poetry ‘Perhaps One Day‘ (2017) £5.99, and ‘Striped Scarves and Coal Dust‘ (2019), £6.99, both on Amazon.

-Jack aka Leon the pig farmer

is a Manchester based Yorkshire beat poet or spoken wordsmith as he prefers. He performs no holds barred spoken word that centres around his mental Health subjects and dabbles in social commentary.

He is an ex serviceman who has been writing verse for almost 18 months since experiencing a breakdown and mental health issues. Using the writing process as a form of therapy and catharticism.

His verse centres around his recovery journey and dealing with PTSD covering all angles and topics.

His energetic and direct performances have caught the eye of the Manchester music scene promoters where he has unintentionally  migrated towards and supported bands raising awareness. This has received great reviews from the local art press..

-Melissa Cronin

is an author and journalist living in Vermont. A recipient of Notable Mention in The Best American Essays 2019, her work has appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, Narratively Magazine, Tahoma Literary Review, Saranac Review, and elsewhere. http://melissacronin.com/

Michael Dickel

is a writer and editor living in Jerusalem, born in the USA. He is an English lecturer at David Yellin Academic College of Education.

-Susanna Lee
is an active member of the poetry community and has has featured at “The Red Wheelbarrow Reading Series” and “Thursdays Are for Poetry,” among others. Her first book of haiku and other poetry, Sunrise Mountain, was published in 2015.

-Angela Topping

is the author of eight poetry collections and four pamphlets, with a fifth forthcoming from Three Drops Press. She is a former writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library. Her poems have been included in prestigious magazines, including Poetry Review and the Dark Horse; many anthologies and have featured on Poetry Please. She is a prize-winning poet, and has also judged several competitions.

4 thoughts on “#InternationalMentalHealthDay #WorldMentalHealth day poetry and artwork challenge. Have you written unpublished/published work about Mental Health, yours or someone elses. Have you made artworks about it? Please submit by DM or send me a message via my WordPress site. All submissions will be published.

  1. Pingback: #InternationalMentalHealthDay #WorldMentalHealth day poetry and artwork challenge. Have you written unpublished/published work about Mental Health, … – Kit + Cy

  2. Pingback: .world mental health day. | sonja benskin mesher

  3. Pingback: ‘Bad Fire’: A new, hallucinatory memoir – Tucker Lieberman

  4. Pingback: Poetry Published in the Wombwell Rainbow in honor of #InternationalMentalHealthDay – Megha's World

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