Can I call you Betty? She was a friend of mine,
When I lived over in Scarborough, they were wicked times.
We'd stay out late going to movies and shows,
Sleep out on the sand if the wind didn't blow.
Can I call you Betty? You look a little like her,
Though after Twenty-some years it's hard to be sure.
She left, I mean I woke up and she'd gone.
I waited some weeks but she never returned.
I thought perhaps she was hurting so I asked around,
I never thought maybe she didn't want to be found.
Hey your name's not Betty is it, have I asked already?
Sorry, it's a time-thing, stuff's a little bit edgy.
Can you spare five minutes, just to sit by me?
We don't have to talk, not even in pleasantries.
It would help make it real, have the illusion again
She truly was once here, not just in my brain.
You've the look of someone who might understand.
Betty, she understood, like it was all part of The Plan.
I would never have hurt her, she was my Peace.
She made sense of it all, she joined up the streets
Like some kind of map that helped me be safe,
'Cause we were together, in our own little space,
'Cause we were a couple, Betty weren't we, together?
We were, Betty weren't we? We were each other's Carer !
Sorry, did I call you Betty then? Sorry, I'm sorry, that was bad.
I must say I confuse things, the present and past.
They tell me, the Nurses, I forget more all the while
But meantime I must not be so “predatory and hostile”.
I miss her you see, the real Betty, in my world,
I hate all these days feeling lonely and being blurred.
Can I call you Betty? She was my Wife I think
Or maybe my Sister, I just can't work out the links.
She brought me here I remember and we had some tea
And then she went to the toilet and I have to wait you see?
Betty, could You ask the Doctor please if I can go home.
Betty, I don't like it, when I wake up and you're gone.
Tommy Randell 30th July 2017
My wife has worked in Mental Heath for many years nursing elderly and not so elderly patients suffering with Dementia diseases, Alzheimer's, and other conditions. All of us across the World now know someone who has suffered or is being affected as a patient or a family member with such conditions. I wanted to do a Talking Heads poem to attempt in my own narrative style to portray sometning of the huge sadness of such diseases and conditions. This attempt isn't about anyone specifically or any real incident I am aware of and it is my dramatic attempt to show something of the sadness.