We never knew Nan,
knew only that she'd died quite young.
one tea-time over egg'n'chips
Dad told of approaching her house,
thinking it strange that doors and windows
were tight shut to summer's heat.
Peering through 50's lace,
he saw the ironing board
propped against the oven
swallowing a permed head.
The rest a bit of a haze,
until the note's incoherent ramble
about 'being useless'
and 'not wanting to go on'.
He'd held it all in for decades,
that enormous pressure
shaping him from skinny youth
to the bulge of middle age.

with his head in hands,
we watch him re-live
that days events;
and as they swirl
then condense to pool his eyes,
words hiss,
leak to coughs and sniffs.......

FESTIVE (for jm)

Don't hang decorations.
No shimmering baubles
or twinkling stars.
Don't light the arse-end
of the year
with gold and glitter,
in a tacky attempt
at brightening life.

just drink and smoke
and soak up anything
that eases the pain.
For Christmas is a cunt;
with its advent countdown,
its atomic explosion
of bright bonhomie,
that just accentuates her absence,
then etches her shadow
on every day of the coming year..............


I've tried to kill myself twice.
I rattle with pills-
(seroxat 8 years);
I'm obsessive compulsive
and anxiety prone
have panic attacks
and counselling
take beta-blockers
and sleeping tablets
think about death everyday
killing someone hourly.

So when the job application
asks if I have 'mental health issues',
or are 'currently taking medication',
of course
I print 'NO' .

I'll not lose sleep;
well, I will,
but at least the insomnia
gives me time to self-harm.........

Chris Major's work has appeared online at Zygote in my coffee,
My Favorite Bullet, Remark, Lily, Stirring,Pemmican, Snakeskin
and Underground Voices.

2005 Underground Voices