Thursday, 17 October 2013

Angst

You never quite forget the hell of it,
the smell of it:
charred flesh and cordite;
and the never ending mortar fire
and sometimes you go mad with it.

I body-rock:
rhythmic   repetitive 
like a ticking clock,
tick-tick-tick, to-and-fro
not side-to-side like a stick insect
and he asks:
how do you feel about this;
and I say I don’t know,
not being arboreal 
I've never lived in trees.

My feelings for you are inchoate
although I’ve known you
longer than a piece of string
and I can’t help wondering
if that time we smoked all night long
and I got paranoid
whether you just might’ve set fire to the bed
as you rocked to-and-fro in candle light
grinning like a Cheshire cat.

My heart
has the monotony of a metronome
and my mind
is bored with its click-click-click-click
and I think I am bored with you
but as said feelings inchoate.

The garden is overrun by weeds
and ivy strangleholds the trees
and sometimes I think you are strangling me
and I wonder if I should cut and run.

I think my mind is running out of time
and I don’t quite know who or what I am. 
And I wonder if this coldness in my breath
is death whispering holding out its hand,
and whether it is or not,
either way do I give a damn.

Anna :o]

Gay at dVerse has us writing beat poems and she writes: Beat poems have no set form. They are free verse influenced by blues, jazz, post-war angst, the feeling of being beat down by society  (therefore a little rebellious) inspired by hallucinogenics (surreal) also influenced by meditation, Zen Buddhism, Native American and other ethnic tribal lore and folk stories.  The challenge for this article is to take some of these elements and create your own beat poem.

Not quite sure the above is one, but I chose to write about post-war angst and the effects of hallucinogenics.  The image sourced at Wiki is itself sourced from the 'Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research Fact Sheet' authored by The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Interestingly (or worryingly?), the fact sheet advocates cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and I wonder about this having personally seen the damage that can be done in taking this 'talking' path, where the patient becomes stuck on the merry-go-round of constantly reliving a traumatic event or events.

Of course the skills of the counsellor are paramount here but sometimes I wonder if all this ‘talking’ is to meet the needs of the counsellor…

One of my great mentors (on this subject and via reading his blog) is The Cockroach Catcher and you may be interested in reading his posts on PTSD here.  He writes:

What was most surprising was how the group that had counselling generally faired worse, much worse than those without any counselling. The group that did best were the ones that drank, and drank a fair amount.

Please visit his blog and read more.

26 comments:

Claudia said...

better run as far as possible..was trying this and that when i was a teen...so dangerous...and i know people who never made it back...

aprille said...

a heady mix
I agree with your tutor: bury it and bury it deep.
And when it resurfaces, as it will, bury it again.

Laurie Kolp said...

I am so grateful.

Brian Miller said...

dang..what a feel on the end there wondering if you even give a damn...def reminds me a bit of my teen years...i escaped luckily....did smile at thinking you might have set the bed on fire...ha...

freyawrites.com said...

This is stunning, I wanted to read it out loud.

annotating60 said...

A strong poem. Loved the ivy image. >KB

vb holmes said...

"My heart

has the monotony of a metronome

and my mind

is bored with its click-click-click-click

and I think I am bored with you

but as said feelings inchoate."

This passage really captures the boredom of the Beat Generation (whether twenties or fifties). Very nice.

Kathy B. said...

I applaud "known you longer than a piece of string"! if it is not an old saying, it oughtta be.

aspiritofsimplicity said...

great poem. I think you covered things well. It's pretty interesting about the counseling, non-counseling and drinking groups.

Nico said...

Great writing here, the troubled, altered mind is powerfully portrayed. Excellent!

Gabriella said...

"I think my mind is running out of time and I don’t quite know who or what I am." A great line Anna!
You have certainly make us feel what post-war angst and the effects of hallucinogenics might have meant for some.

Björn said...

Absolutely perfect poetry.. I really so many great lines so I can not really pick out any. The angst and confusion so palpable it hurts to read...

Optimistic Existentialist said...

This was wonderful. Made me feel a lot of things. I'm with Brian, reminded me of my teenager years as well.

Beachanny said...

I think this poem succeeds brilliantly. Your notes were interesting but the poem conveyed everything. The language is what is so poignant and reminiscent of the Beats. The language is not elevated but the stream of consciousness style, yet the metaphors are apt, revealing, and profound. I think you pretty much nailed it here. Excellent work.

Amrit Sinha said...

This is awesome ... I read it twice, thrice ... lovely :-)

Anna Chamberlain said...

Potent and artistically envisioned - I tend to think virtual reality therapy holds the best hope for treatment of PTSD. The merry go round seems torturous.

Mama Zen said...

Really outstanding write.

Cockroach Catcher said...

I wrote that over 5 years ago and I think no one has managed to change my mind.

When money comes into play the best patients are those that did not die and never get better..

Better still if it is tax payer money.

Even in England , CBT is 50% private.

kkkkaty said...

Indeed, a poem with a beat that says volumes about how we beat our heada against either a wall or someone else's sometimes...that period of angst when we wonder about our identity....a crisis you give a great flow to here in this form...

ramblingsfromamum said...

This was read out loud - there was no other choice and my words in time of a metronome. Love when reading out loud brings a new way of looking at what the writer has penned. I escaped my teenage years thankfully unharmed :-) Great write and smiled at what you wrote here -What was most surprising was how the group that had counselling generally faired worse, much worse than those without any counselling. The group that did best were the ones that drank, and drank a fair amount. Reminds me of something :-)

mindlovemisery said...

Excellent Anna I love the way you use language wow I wish I'd written it!

Charlotte H. said...

Really strong work, the language pulls you in, the emotion devastates. Love it.

Jinksy said...

Knowing someone longer than a piece of string, can be the best medicine for them - and oneself - in times of trouble.

Akila G said...

Nice verse!

Brian Miller said...

ah i saw your comment at bjorn's and thought yours might be up already...smiles.

dlilahcarson said...

Anna, thank you for reading my poems and commenting on my blog. I loved this poem although I am intimidated by free verse. It also makes me think I should reconsider taking another drink (lol).