Armour

armour1

.

I loved you

with a mother’s heart,

thinking my love could save you,

but I was a fool, slave to your determination,

lost in your control from the start.

Your supremacy has been hacked away,

but you still have the power

to cut me apart.

.

Liquid armour

sweats through your skin,

your skillfully smelted weapons rust,

corroded by a war that you could never win.

You sought cheap freedom from pain

but found yourself in chains,

battle-scarred limbs

weakly reaching to steal alms

from scattered compadres and thieves.

.

Once the lady of deceit

soared through clean veins

bringing laughter and a peaceful relief,

your inner warnings melting on a sticky spoon,

your synapses giggling in denial of disease.

.

Did you feel that moment

when the switch flicked from want to need?

Did it creep up silently, like age sneaked up on me,

Or did it swipe you like lightening from behind?

.

Every vow to stay clean

Fades as it encounters your frowzy face.

The lady will not be disobeyed.

.

What think ye of thine armour now,

my beloved, struggling son?

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

I Want You to Know

Archive #5

September 12, 2016

I want you
who feel unravelled
by your children’s addictions,
to hear me, and remind yourself:
“She survives, and so will I.”

I want you to know
there is life after
that day

~

that frozen moment
when black pain spilled into your brain

seeping through your veins like opiate’s antithesis
and you became a breathless ball of loss, falling to the floor
whimpering hot liquid half-finished prayers
to a deity you’re not sure you believe in
and you felt so alone

~

I want you to know,
while your bones freeze,
and your heart screams,
and while you beg
for relief from
fearful
agony

— I want you to know —
though it may hit you over and over,
sweep you into a clawing tornado of terror
— I want you to know, and to bear in mind —
you can rise from it every time,
and you can smile,
even laugh again.

I want you to know
that your life is precious,
and I want you to gain solace
from this simple knowledge:

you are not alone.

<> <> <>

©Jane Paterson Basil

Archives 2. Street

1st February 2017

 

streets.jpg

.

Saw him in the street today.
I could say we passed like strangers,
but it wouldn’t be true.

Years of  abuse
curled like vapour
in the grey space between us.
I caught the rueful look on his face,
maybe shame, maybe regret at having lost
his power to use me.
He limply lifted his hand in vague salute,
and my view willingly slid from his face.

He didn’t slow his pace –
neither did I.

After we’d passed each other by,
I felt chilled relief;
throughout the vacant years of addiction,
I have clung on to a fake picture of a wonderful son.

I don’t know when he went, or understand why,
but he died, leaving but a shallow crust,
to be squatted by the horror I saw
in the street today.

Maybe I need to grieve,
but it feels like I’ve been grieving forever.

Please don’t criticise,
nor empathise or sympathise.
Don’t tell me he’s still there, or that he cares;
don’t treat me like an innocent,
or like a green beginner ~
I may be too brittle to take it;
I may break.

<> <> <>

©Jane Paterson Basil

Just a kid

when it visited your street you were just a kid –
flying kites, swimming in the sea
eating cake with your sister
fighting over who had the biggest slice –
you were just a kid
too steeped in your innocent life
to take an interest in your neighbour’s strange sickness

when they spoke of Addiction you were just a kid
your questioning eyes flitted towards the window
taking in hastily built bars and an anguished face within
mouth screaming for release, pleading for one last hit
you turned from his shame and you said
Why does he do it?
It doesn’t make sense. How silly can he be.
behind you, your mother sighed her relief
but you were just a kid
you’d only just put away your plastic fire engine
your Pokamon cards, your Superman suit
you had far to travel
before adolescence stole your wit.

she slithers through unresisting skin
racing through veins to swallow your brain,
fitting in place, taking you, flooding you with golden nectar
so close, so close, but never quite as you remember her
never the roundness, the ecstacy of that first kiss
she keeps her distance by an inch
like a femme fatale with one eye on her next victim
like a siren singing you to her side to see you die
you know her love is exempt
but you need her to survive
you need her though she has robbed you
of friends, family and pride,
and next she may take your life

so many times you’ve tried to leave
with gritted teeth you’ve begged for your release
angered, she squeezed you as you writhed
holding tight until you agreed
to yet another parting hit

©Jane Paterson Basil

Happy land

oak123456.jpg

did you find that place?
glimpsed so clear and clean in the split-second
when you tripped from doubt to decision
so clear and clean that you could almost feel the
toothpaste-tingle as your lips stretched across your teeth

did you find that happy land?
where the wraps from yesterdays tricks and treats
have been blown from your soul and into the bin
where hope has been reborn and grown
(deep rooted like a noble oak) to become reality

did you find that place?
did you stagger, did you crawl, to reach it?
did you cry out for mercy or relief?
rolling in you own vomit, odour of the devil’s shit up your nose, curled up stretched out writhing cramping agony, aches through every inch of you thinking it’s big so big like the planet like the Universe nothing but this this is all there is brain screaming out its need brain screaming for release screaming for
one
last
pinprick
that little pinprick would take away the pain
did you give in?
or did you reach that happy land?

did you reach that place?
did you escape your prophesied fate?
or do you still die a little every day?

©Jane Paterson Basil

Missing you – for Laura

dandelion-1379865_960_720.jpg

missing you
is a colourless statis
a bland taste on the tongue
a distant white noise
echoing in my ears

memories of the life we shared crowd me
seeking attention
the fine dust of yesteryear floats in stagnant air
settling on me as my sights dim
into the endlessness of missing you

missing you, even as you sit here
drinking coffee, struggling to engage,
your numb fingers twitching,
frayed from their tenuous grip on a thin thread.
I’ve witnessed each agonising inch-by-inch effort
to climb out of addiction, and every slip,
as with crimson, blood-slick hands
your tragic spirit sinks.

I long to rescue you, but rescue is not an option
so I will kiss the fog that surrounds you.
I will whisper soft words of love and free them to the wind
that they may get caught in the eye of your storm
and like dandelion seeds, take root and bloom
filling in the existential cracks that childhood couldn’t mend
healing the cuts and rips of an accidental life
but if they lie fallow,
I shall spend the rest of my days
missing you

©Jane Paterson Basil

Fucking drugs

drug-432668_960_720

Ok,
so you’re what, thirteen?
fifteen? seventeen?
and it’s cool to swear
well I don’t fucking care
you can fucking swear all day
because I’m here to fucking stay
and you can fucking spit on the fucking pavement
if you really fucking must though I really fucking hate it.
you can yell fucking sexist, ageist, racist names
as you walk a-fucking-way
you are only fucking young and it’s just your fucking way
but don’t do fucking drugs and
don’t do heroin

I don’t know your history – you may have lost your sister
your father may have raped you, your mother may have blamed you
your brother may have beat you, you may have hated school
or none of the above. maybe you were loved
and nurtured from the start, but you just like to party
maybe you’ve seen your friend gouching with relief
as she bled from the tip of a needle
and you think it’s an escape from your boredom or hell
’til you wake up slouching in a filthy toilet cell
your hair draped around the sticky lavvy bowl
stale piss sinking through your joggers and your soul
while the blood from your sad vein slowly drips
and you know that pretty soon you’ll need another hit
so you get on the streets to beg or shoplift
or sell your wriggling body for another fucking hit
and your so-called friends don’t give a fucking shit
‘cos they’re not real friends and they all need a hit
you’re stealing and scheming and trawling the streets
and you’re rattling and hurting from your head to your feet
and you look like shit and you smell like shit
and you feel like shit but you can’t fucking shit
because the dirty brown slush has twisted your guts
and it won’t let you shit
and you’re fucking fucking bloated by fucking fucking shit
and suddenly the ritual
makes you feel sick
but you need another hit
so don’t do fucking drugs, and don’t do heroin
you can find a fucking cleaner way to do yourself in
or if you want an alternative
you can find a better way to live

©Jane Paterson Basil