Armour

armour1

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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

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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.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

The Dark Lane

Archives #4

April 2 2017
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“Later,” I heard you say.
Turning, you walked down the dark lane.
I watched as the numbers on the clock changed,
eating minutes, hours, days.

Years went by,
then, “Soon,” you cried,
and turned to walk again down the dark lane.

Your last word was “Tomorrow,”
spoken with confidence and hope.
I reached for you,
crying, “Today, please, today,”
but you turned away
to take one last walk down the dark lane.

Your clock stopped,
leaving memories of a lost embrace,
the deathly echo of a promise made too late,
and nightmares of a dark lane.

.

In memory of all the lives which have been stolen by addiction.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Archives 2. Street

1st February 2017

 

streets.jpg

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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.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

Fucking drugs

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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