Deep inside

My living room window
looks down on the pavement.
from time to time I see her
passing by
or with people she pretends
are her friends
but she has reached the stage
where there are only aquaintances,
useful contacts to help her reach more contacts,
or to accuse and blame
whenever her psychosis takes over.
once, she had beauty, dress sense,
her own individual preferences.
as her brain began to fry
her style slipped away,
and her modesty

in the early days of her twin diagnoses,
she regularly swallowed the pills
to moderate her bi-polar mood swings;
we were still reeling from the shock of realisation
that there was nothing anyone would do
about the atypical autism,
and she said she didn’t want
to be the crazy woman
that people stare at in the street.
but that is what my lovely one
has become.

she’s given up the anti-psychotics.
now she sticks with heroin and amphetamines.
she’s lost all grip on self-preservation.
her addictions are expensive,
but even now, grey skinned and anorexic,
she has ways to make a buck.
three years ago she got wise;
good advertising is the secret,
professional, promising discretion.
it’s the one thing she gets right.
I imagine her clients are horrified
when they see what they have hired,
and there’s little possibility of repeat custom,
particularly at that extortionate price.

She is my offspring,
and it may seem disrespectful to speak of her this way,
but please understand addiction has taken her
and she was sick anyway.
sometimes I wonder if my little girl
still exists inside that ravaged frame.
but like the child in the Exorcist,
taken over by a sadistic Devil,
in my heart I know she’s
struggling, deep inside.

Most of the time,
I long for my daughter’s recovery.
but in less selfish moments
I wish her eternal peace,
no matter how painful that will be for me.
I tell myself she is beyond feeling,
but I know it isn’t true.
her only escape from utter misery
is to switch off the signals to the brain,
or to rant and rage,
to rail against the world and its family.

there is nothing I can do to help her.
even offering her my love, which I must,
doesn’t alleviate her pain, or mine.
It simply clicks a switch in her brain,
making her more angry,
and yet more insane.

©Jane Paterson Basil


Another tasty morsel



my daughter’s in the grip of a ghastly ghoul
which cannot be constrained by the laws of the land
it grows fat on the flesh of those poor lost fools
who have staggered onto its chemical hand
once it has grasped them it won’t let go
it consumes the flesh and it addles the head
and fear and conspiracies enter the soul –
they all end up crazy and some end up dead

and while self-seeking governments ignore our young
in their bid to find excuses to starve the poor
the outlawed crystal lewdly wags its tongue
grins at its victims then squeezes some more
with feline cheek he plays with my offspring
he stretches her tether then he sets her free
but within his reach, confidently offering
another tasty morsel, dispite the guarantee
that the next fix will bring more devastation
she’ll be stalked and abused by invisible foes
her madness will drive her into isolation
she ignores the inner warning
and she takes


Written May 2015

©Jane Paterson Basil

A wisp of hope

An unsent message to my daughter, written last year.

Although I can no longer look at you, I picture the image you left the last time you came into my place, filling my formerly safe space with danger and pain. You were so thin that I swear I could see the white of those bones which threaten to crumble to dust while I still live. Your skin a strange hue that defies description. Angry sores on your face. Blank eyes swimming in madness.

What do you want from me? Could it be that you feel the need of a mother’s love? Do you wish for sympathy or are you simply driven by the desire for drug money? I cannot give you any of these things. Even my love for you is locked so deep inside that it cannot be released.

I don’t ask you to listen. I write this not for you, but for me. Wrapped in your soft, blood-stained armour of golden brown liquid, you cannot hear me now, and when your inability to score strips you naked you are in too much pain to feel anything but your need for more poison.

Heroin submerges, deep beneath her lies, what you once knew to be the truth. She tells you you need her in order to survive, and although something inside you whispers that you are going to die, it no longer seems such a high price to pay because your sight is too dimmed to see what that means.

She led you to care so little for your life that any drug would do. Now she keeps her distance as you trip through amphetamine insanity, with black, staring eyes, and limbs akimbo. She lets the leash stretch knowing you are still within her reach.

These words are bent out of shape and refuse to be a goodbye. Hard as I try I cannot make them say what I wish you to know before you go, because within me a wisp of hope still exists.

The wish that you may recover, and learn a way to live.

©Jane Paterson Basil