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Whit Jan 1
You never really know anyone.
Need an example? Have a stay at in the psych ward.

The girl who caught my eye
after rolling up her sleeves to paint
started to cover scars until
I showed her mine.
She wrote song lyrics on her arms
to remind her that others feel the same way.

There is solidarity.

One girl with the cute afro
and anger issues
cried after yelling at one of the other girls.
She loved to do word searches.

Who says we are in control?

The little girl who bangs her head up against the wall
to rid herself of the demons
looks adorable with her fuzzy blanket
singing along to watching Disney movies on the couch.

Anyone can be effected.

One girl who had to learn to eat again,
wouldn't let you
hate on your own body.
She could
speak 3 languages
and draw like a goddess.

We are more than our pain.

The people living under depression can crack the brightest smiles.
We wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone-
that’s we always want to crack jokes.

Between the locked doors and gray walls,
we shared stories from days long ago,
we got excited on chicken tender day,
we ran around the gym and painted everything we could-

We are trying to heal.

Next time someone assumes
they know you, but get it all wrong, try
not to get mad,
no matter how hard you have to grind your teeth,
because you know the truth.

The truth that
you never really know anyone,
at the end of the day-
if it helps, don’t worry, nobody really knows you.
Based on true stories. Stay strong everybody.
Terry Collett Aug 2018
From the window
I see snow falling
and that old friend
darkness calling.

Darkness embracing
with its chilling arms
and cold breath
on my neck
and in my dreams.

The snow drifts heavy
and clings to branches
of the tall trees
and white caps
like old maids
or dying giants aged.

I stare and stare
as the whiteness
drifts and falls
and beyond the trees
the darkness
ever the darkness
beckoning to lie
like old soldiers
in Russian winter
just to lie and die
blanketed by snow.

I smoke and watch
the silent drift
splitting the darkness
with a sprinkle of white
to brighten the night.

Some days I want
to drift white and pale
drawn by darkness
into that abyss
and sense on my lips
and brow
that cold cold kiss.
Terry Collett Apr 2018
The Scottish woman
moaned about the medication
being late and the Asian woman
rocked back and forth
on the armchair
with a bone looking grip
looped in her hair.

You were standing with me
by the large window
gazing out
at the trees and fields
covered in snow.

You touched my hand
with yours
and I sensed
the roughness
of the bandage
around your wrist
where you had cut it
and few days before
and the tubby nurse
found you
sitting on the floor
watching the blood
flow out
and the nurse
screamed at you
something she wasn't
meant to do.

"Wish I was out there"
you said
"lying there
like some lone soldier
deep in snow
waiting for death
and what a way to go."
Terry Collett Feb 2018
Yiska slides the razor blade
along her wrist
a line of red erupts

drips into the sink
she stares at the wrist bloodied

she takes the razor blade
with her free hand
and wraps it in tissue

and drops
in the lavatory bowl
and presses the flush

and water rushes
the tissue away
the ****** hand and wrist

become objectified
she studies how red
the palm and wrist and sink

she lifts her hand
and walks out
into the ward

leaving a red trail
a scream
and a nurse runs to her

and takes her
to the medical room
Yiska what have you done?

The nurse washes the wrist
under a tap
the blood runs diluted

into the sink
she holds the wrist gently
until clean

Yiska watches
detached gazing on

other fingers dab
and bandage
Yiska senses

an inner rage.
Terry Collett Sep 2017
Yiska stood by the window
of the locked ward. Snow drifted  
slowly in large clumps
settling on the window sill
and the trees and on
the lawn below.

I should be out there.
Not stuck in here.

Her bandaged wrist smarted
where she'd slit it days before.
Should have done it better.
Try again if I can.

In a nearby field
a tractor ploughed slowly.
Gulls and rooks followed behind
like small ghosts.

Where's Benedict?
The other patients
roamed the ward.
Nurses passed purposely.

Hands went around her waist.
Benedict kissed her neck.
Warm kiss. Snow? He whispered.

The gulls and rooks
lifted up and away.
Beginning of a new dull day.
A girl in a psychlatrc ward in 1971
Terry Collett Aug 2017
Nurses rushed past,
flashes of white and blue,
Benny watched them go;
someone must have slit a wrist
or saved up their pills and ODed,
he didn't know,
just one from the women's
dormitory who'd had enough
and wanted out.

One tried to hang herself
in the lavatory from the water pipe
with a nylon, but they got her
down in time(much to her
annoyance afterwards.

Benny tried on his first day
in the lavatory outside the locked ward,
but someone saw him
and grabbed him down
before he could succeed;
******* soft heart,  
Benny yelled at the time.

A flurry of voices
from the passageway.

Maybe it's Yiska again.

Have to get a free ride
out of this place somehow
she had said the day before.

Benny pulled on his cigarette;
inhale he mused, and forget.
A patient in a psychic ward in 1971
Terry Collett Jun 2017
The skinny nurse
was on duty today
alongside the brunette
with the beauty spot.

Big Sid
brought breakfasts
into the lounge
after making sure
both doors
were locked.

The radio played
pop music all day
with the usual chatter
in between.

The skinny nurse
brought around
the medication
each in little tubs
for each of us.

Yiska stood
by the window
watching the snow.

I stood beside her
watching it drift
heavily on fields
and trees
a tractor ploughed
a field beyond
gulls followed in
its track.

Yiska asked me
how I was.

I said
waiting for
the ECT.

She said
she was too
hated it gave her

Me too
I said.

I wondered how
my mother
was coping
in the snow drift
how my siblings
were getting
to school.

Yiska's hand
held mine
it was soft and warm.

What time is
the psychiatrist coming?
Yiska asked
the skinny nurse.

the nurse said
a mindful
of information.

I sensed
the bandage
about Yiska's wrist
where she'd slit it
a few days ago.

We stood
by the window
watching the snow.
Terry Collett Nov 2016
What books are those?
Yiska said.

Philosophy books
my mother brought in
to save me
from further madness,
I said.

I showed her
the titles.

She shrugged:
I'm too tired to read
after the ETC
this morning,
she said yawning.

She lit up a cigarette
and lit mine too,
and we walked
into the lounge
and sat on the sofa.

Nurses passed
by us.

The Scottish woman
stared at her hands
which were shaking:
the DTs,
she said,
need a fecking drink,
feckin nurses an' quacks.

Yiska's knee
touched mine,
her nightdress
had risen up
as she sat,
and my dressing gown
had no belt
(least I try
to hang myself).

Did you not sleep
last night?
I asked.

No I didn't,
not well,
she replied,
I thought of him
leaving me at the altar
and got angry again
and lay there
in the bed
listening to rain.

She took my hand
and we walked over
to the window
and peered out.

Rain was falling heavy,
the sky a dull grey.

I sensed her fingers
fold into mine,
slim and warm.

I wanted you last night,
she said,
but all we had
was the Scottish hag
moaning in her sleep.

We both inhaled
our cigarettes
and stood watching
the dull sky,
both in our own ways
wanting to go or die.
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