when you are sixteen and wet with fever
when a teacher slips her hand to the small of your back and you feel
the mooned curve of her nail.
and not really understanding why you hear them
balling your hands into a tight fist
while it rains indoors, under the rafters.
Hearing voices and having to explain why you hear them
to a complete stranger in front of your parents
Before you have learnt about psychiatrists
And what people mean when they use the words ‘artful distance.’
Hearing voices and wondering at what point on the third date
do you mention that you hear them
people ask if you’ve tried chamomile tea
and yoga, or that mindfulness app CALM
but you can’t be CALM
when you want to talk about your experience with:
- the disability benefit
- employment discrimination.
and you are only ever met with looks of begging silence.
Hearing voices and feeling the most profound
sense of alienation, in a room full of friends
who are happy and laughing
because they don’t know the weight you feel
how when you were younger and admittedly a bit of a cunt
you almost died.
And that date passes each year like a stranger
waving from a crowded train
Somewhere in the northern hemisphere, romanticised
Hearing voices and having people tell you
that what you need
is the Lord
And if they knew what your voices actually told you,
they’d throw you in a bucket of holy water
Hearing voices and wondering why people think
it’s appropriate to tell you
you need deliverance; or that you’re
don’t forget: Joan of Arc, Hildegard of Bingen, Virgina Woolf.
Hearing voices and wondering why
we’re still using the word stigma, when the definition
means to blemish: a mark of shame
where are you branded, you wonder
and why do people keep assuming that because you hear voices
you’d like deal with that by
killing their families
I mean really, you’re quite sensitive
You’re a crying-during a-good-recipe-and-sad-backstory-on-Masterchef
Hearing voices and wondering if they’ll ever go away
or if people like you will have to keep fighting
the words of wilful ignorance forever
Which is a long time, when you think about it.
You are tired. They tell you: get some sleep
but it’s so hard to be sleeping
when they’re whispering in your ears, all night
Not to mention
it’s a bit rude.