The muddy water washed over them as they stood shivering on the street corner. Two girls Mary and Gennie. They weren’t wanted by society; they weren’t wanted by anyone. They had a mother. Yes, a mother that lived in unclean squalor who smoked rolled up cigarettes and talked to herself. Who sent them out on an ice-cold day in January to collect messages because she couldn’t be bothered? Mary pulled her arm around Gennie pulling her towards her in a hug. No one was going to hurt her, not this time, this time mother had gone too far. She slapped Gennie in psychotic rage, the doctors had given her pills, pills that she washed down with Russian vodka. Mary wouldn’t say mother didn’t care, that was not it. She had always blamed her father far more than her mother a selfish man who’d run off at a young age with another wealthier woman. Who’d left Mary and Gennie in the care of a woman society would claimed as unfit. It was the nineteen forties and the second world war was still raging on.
They lived in London but hadn’t been fortunate to be evacuated here they lay stiff in bed at night, planes circling overhead wondering wither a bomb would drop upon their heads. Gennie suffered from mad fits of panic waking in the middle of the night shivering at the sounds of the sirens her whole body would shake her teeth chattering, her knees knocking, I cant breath she would yell at Mary , “Mary take her back to bloody bed” mother said dismissing her through a cloud of smoke as she sat in a worn armchair watching some old cowboy film on a black and white television. “You don’t have to be so selfish” She yelled at mother although she was only fourteen, she felt like the only person in the world who cared about her sister. She pulled on Genies hand dragging her into the kitchen and putting some milk on the gas hob to heat up. Gennie hopped from foot to foot as the air raid sirens wailed on. Mary wished they would stop. What good did it do? It only panicked people, people running into shelters or just running around the streets clutching at others anything to sooth their fear. Mary thought it was unnecessary and selfish of the government to panic people in such a way. Once the milk was heated up enough, she poured it into a mug and took Gennie by the hand leading her back up to bed. Climbing the stairs. She Lit a lavender candle and tucking her under the covers. “What if we get bombed” Said Gennie still shivering. Mary took her hand stroking it in a soothing manner. “Were not going to get bombed” she said as if the idea was the most absurd thing anyone could ever conjure. She took out a book Alice in wonderland and began reading to Gennie. Gennie Sipped at the hot milk as her sister soothed her into sleep that eventually came. Mary sat back on the old wooden chair; her sister lay peacefully with her eyes closed. Outside the sirens still wailed on and Mary wished she could be younger, she wished someone could sooth her into sleep, but no one would. mother sat downstairs half drunk and showed her no pity. She felt as if no one showed her any pity, perhaps she didn’t even deserve it?
The mornings were slow but easy. Make the beds, empty the chamber pots get dressed, then go downstairs for cornflakes with a little milk. No sugar, not even on birthdays. She longed for something soft and sweet like the buns she saw in the baker’s windows but there was no money.
Gennie was staggering about trying to put her tights on, they were laddered and bobbly, but again there was no money. They were both trouncing from school again, they were too scared to go as that would mean risking evacuation, and although she longed to go sit at a desk and learn poems and arithmetic in a quaint countryside town something in her just wouldn’t let her leave her mother.
Mary stared down at her black cup of tea no milk as usual. They used to get eggs and milk delivered when their dad was around. Sweets aswell once a month on payday they would go to the corner shop and chose between sherbet and liquorice balls all laid out neatly behind the counter. They had nothing like that now. Now all they could get where some out of date potatoes and carrots that mary would have to cut the bad bits off to make some watery soup.
Should I vote Labour , SNP or …Tory?
Personally I want to start of by saying I’m sick of the SNPs propaganda I literally hate the party. I just feel like they could do better I almost feel sorry for them with all of the grief we’ve experienced this year.Actually correction I dont think I could have a simple act of sympathy for the snp. I feel that Scottish labour is the only party that can really make a difference to scotland. We dont need rallies with flags and irn bru we need a party who actually care about the most vulnerable in our society such as low wage workers , the disabled and long term unemployed. Even the conservative party want to put more money into the health service.
More over I think the NHS has came to a breaking point and it shouldn’t be free for everyone , if you have enough money you should pay so that we can have a better health care service for everyone. The middle class are only voting for SNP so they can get free university access and prescriptions while the lower side of society suffer.
We use these things to seem superior to England and other countries when really our education and healthcare are suffering and generation after generation are slipping through the net. The conservative party even pulled us out of a fascist European union. People with professional jobs just dont understand the need for jobs , for those at the bottom of society which are taken by foreigners. They just happily skip along in ignorantly thinking the job market is great. The SNP are charming but in reality their just watered down conservatives.
I can actually say this right now at this moment I would literally vote conservative over SNP. If I had to! I really don’t agree or understand what they do but at least even in a country of conservative rule , youd her better treatment than the slums where I live. Overall I want a party that can look after me , not one that breaks me!
I cant stop writing like tapping your foot or slamming your head hard against wood.
They wouldnt say we’re “Very” poor , obesity can say for sure.
I crossed the line
I didn’t care to read the signs
disillusioned by all my rhymes
guilty of my sickly crimes.
Perhaps if I re spun the dial
waited for a little while
and through the crackling static said
go to the forth and baptize your head
with the spilled blood of the dead.
Would you rather see your taxes go
to a sick man
arise poor soul.
Or see your hard working honest gold.
Slide into a stoic MPs pocket.
Damn those civil servants too
the heartless policeman
the shitty nurse
the lawyer with a bulging purse.
I wouldn’t preach to being proud of the poor
oh for goodness sake will you shut the front door.
Your desperation has leaked all over my nice floor.
I feel guilty are words you’ve never said
My poems are all stained in red.
Surely the day will one day come
we’ll bleed our veins
for our little ones.
Oh you’ll be sorry
through the muffled silence
I think that is what he said
when your children are crying I’ll turn away my head.
And cruelly smile.
Perhaps if I re spun the dial.
(Before I start.I would really like it if you commented and put forward your opinions on this topic)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. No one owns art. I feel like the only accessible art form in 2020 is music and film. To most the books are left to collect dust on a high shelf’s out of reach to many and great paintings are ruined by the coffee stains of the class divide. Literature like classical music and fox hunting seems to be a possession of the higher classes. Believe it or not I don’t hate the church. The elite built me aside from school and my parents I was raised by the church. The psalms of the bible and the verses of the hymns helped me create poetry and write prose. The summer clubs helped tutor and nurture me. However I wasn’t on the same level as them. My mother dusted the pews and scrubbed the toilets whist the conservative Christians preached the pure word of God towering above us on their high podium.
At school I was always degraded siting in a third set English class I was bitter , but I made friends I will never forget despite walking along the narrow tightrope that was the poverty line. Clutching a pen for balance , one slip and I would of tumbled to my doom. Perhaps I already have. in fact I know I have. What I write is in vain , they will spit on my grave.
Survival of the fittest is interwoven into our society despite anyone taking into account the middle classes head start at the game. Yet to say this puts a black mark against your name. Artwork is too expensive to buy for many , words to extravagant to understand. , and if your a woman who tires to challenge this you may as well thump your fists against a brick wall until they are bloody and bruised , but perhaps I’m biased. No one owns art. That’s all their is to say.
There are children jumping in front of trains , and grown men throwing bricks through window panes.
An old woman drowning out her sorrow by voting for the devils of tomorrow.
There are qualified girls lining up for food , and young boys disguising their face with a hood.
Polite ladies burning up my book , whilst their dearest darlings get up to no good. Kicking the life out of a man until his lips turn to blue.
For I have seen your likes before , I have already chapped this door and ran away I never stay. In the dark I stiffly lay.
For they are you and they are me. Scotland’s shame to the highest degree.
Sentence me with immortality.
You are people in textbooks no more , which teenagers think are just a bore.
For we have slept here before.
If I am being brutally honest with myself I would call myself a failure. I dropped out of school aged 16 which in some peoples eyes makes you only useful for collecting bins or scrubbing toilets. My grammar isn’t up to scratch my writing misspelt and disorganised. Would I preach to the gods that this is the best way to live your life. No I wouldn’t. Poverty is brutal and takes its tole on you. If you want to spend your life on the couch watching Come Dine With Me and Primark hauls and hanging around the bus station all day filling your lungs with god knows what to numb your reality out then by all means follow in my foot steps.
If you want to drive around in a BMW and go shopping for fruit in Waitrose. Then maybe stay in school. However I suppose our experiences make us who we are. I for example am probably a chav who roams the streets in a hoodie and leggings. I am the definition of slipping through the net. Although I’ve made good friends and art from the depths of hell which would never have happend if I didn’t make the choices I did…. I suppose.
Perhaps In some ways failure is good for us It makes us more humble. It gives us a different perspective. You look at a homeless person on the street and instead of judging them your like Jesus Christ Im one away from being them !! And hastily hand them your months benefits (Jks)
Just go easy on yourself If you find yourself at the job centre your among thousands of people in the same boat. Dont live alone with your fear of failure.
You might recognise the title from the book love on the doal (Which I admitedly have not read) Currently Im living on benifits. I am poor. I think being a poor woman in The UK. Is probably the worst thing that can happen you. We fear poverty. We get nervous in exams because of it we fear being titled a
“bum” we fear drowning in what is the uks class system. Far from the life of oliver twist modern day poverty is maybe a little less brutal but still FUCKING AWFUL !! Its something you wouldnt wish on your worst enemy. Here are some points on why as much as much as the middle classes idelise our life of doing nothing all day and long lie ins why poverty in the UK is still the closest you will get to a living HELL!!
Not being able to drive – This is the first thing that makes life impossible. Having to hang around at bus stations is not something youd want to bring your children into. Aside from the dismal scottish weather. The whole situation of not having a car and having to travel on buses is very degrading and alienting.You somehow feel less. You are the underclass they label us as in the sociology classes at prestigious universitys. Somehow we are not human because of this fact.
Poor Housing – It seems that accedemics who have escaped their council houses which they were born wear it like a badge of honour. “I’m a working class acedemic” For the rest of us left on the estates of hell its not so cheary. Small cramped houses , damp coming through the roof and the constant lingering smell of ciggeretes for all us low class people who still smoke. I think in Britain we focus on becoming middle class too much.We forget about making life for the “working classes” more bearable in an attempt to maybe move up the ladder.
Money – Ah the thing that devides this country. Money. Living on the doal. Is practically a death sentence. I mean to the extreme right we are baisically useless burdens and may aswell be burnt at the stake like witches. We are all mennaces to society who didnt try hard enough at school and go around spending the countries money crowding up pubs and enjecting heroine into our veins , because of this somehow we “deserve” to be poor. Like the money guzzling tax evading , probably cocaine taking rich deserve to live in mansions. Right?
Food – I read an article recently on a couple who spent all their benfits on take aways A.K.A me. Why this made the news I do not no. I think it is just to make us look like fat useless burdens who should be living off gruel and packets of potatoes powder. Like let them spend their money on what they want. Theres not articles about analysing how middle class couples spent their money on shoes and wine and a car they cant even afford. Most of us “poor people” realistically live off cheese sandwhiches and thats a fact.
So the next time your about to judge someone on the doal think about theses things 🙂 We are suffering and it needs to end.
Ann lay with the sheets pulled up to her noes so that it covered her cheeks which were numbed from the cold. The darkness hung around her the silhouettes of what little objects she possessed lit up by a stream of pure light that slunk through a gap in the lace blinds that covered her window. She reached out running her slim fingers over the shaped holes in the yellowed material. A musty smell cast off them filling her lungs and making her splutter her throat burning. When she was little she’d had, the same sounding cough a great whooping one, one that made her father awaken from his sleep in the dead of night and run through to her bedroom to see if she was alright. Coughs weren’t the same when you were a child, it could have been scarlet fever or polio it sent her father into a state. If she ever had one he would run himself down accusing himself of not feeding them well enough, when in reality it was never the fault of an individual. Now her cough came from the city smog, the pollution off the factories that stuck to your skin and hair or the damp that grew from the walls where she was housed.
She rolled over, turning her back to the light and staring into the pitch black. She could feel the cold nip at her legs as she lay in only her thin vest, the thick blanket over her shoulders the only thing covering the vulnerability of her bare flesh. Not that long ago she had lay in this bed with another body whose strong arms had wrapped around her chest and whispered bliss into her ear with his warm sweet breath. She had caved in, in those moments safe in a gentleman’s arms. Just outside had lay the cruelty, poverty, decay and the selfish desperation of her fellow humans. Survivors only at the expense of another. No. She wasn’t good. No number of acts could make her pure. As no human was. We are simply animals run on fear and instinct, poisoned and diluted by intellect. No one individual was evil. Only a society could be that. A facade of the masses that hid the cruellest acts of torture, oppression, and evil in plain sight.
That night had been a one-night stand with a high ranked man in the forces. Not a working man from the pit or the site. He was not one who would be drinking in a pub around her bit. He wasn’t their “kind”. He had fair skin and hair along with clean manicured figure nails, and polished boots. A white-collar boy. He’d lured her to him. Slid up to her at the bar and made her laugh easily. Had her in the palm of his hand from the first sentence. It made her feel special that he’d picked her. She was nothing. He’d paid for her drinks and joined her at her table filling her with lager shandes after a Friday shift. They’d chatted and laughed for hours about the cold weather, his work and politics. She wasn’t very aware of politics. She’d heard rumours of the suffrage movement going on in the cities although had not seen much in the newspapers they tended to ignore it, didn’t like to give it the attention even if it be negative treated it as a disease they feared would spread. Here in a small industrial town most woman lived in the dark over the topic. She knew her older brother voted liberal the party in power at present. And whenever he talked about it he would swear a lot. This man was a member of the conservative party and said for a fact there was to be a war. She’d dismissed it as guff. They’d never be a war. Not now with all the new technology, bombs and artillery they had nowadays. They weren’t that stupid. They’d kill us all. At eleven the pub was closing up and they had been thrown out by the barman with the other late-night stragglers. A group of men from the pits, a lone chubby man, and a thin ragged alchy. Outside the rain had been pissing it down and they’d made a spur decision to seek shelter at the bookies. He’d placed a bet on one of the horses in her name chucking on ten pound the equivalent of three months’ wages. “It will win” he’d announced. He’d a confidence and asserted way to him she’d marvelled at. He held himself up straight. There seemed to her no doubt that plagued his mind. Not like them here where they doubted themselves constantly wither they could put food on the table or heat their frail bones, constantly straining to not sink to the bottom.
“Why was I always suffering , always browbeaten ,always accused , for ever condemned ? ” – Charlotte Bronte
In this post ide like to touch on my experience of a Scottish psychiatric hospital. I have been in hospital twice. The first time so awful I can barely write about it and the second a more pleasant ride. The first thing to note is there is not much difference from a prison. You get dished out the same food for instense some kind of mash potatoe , and lumpy custard washed down by weak diluten juice. Maybe you would get more freedom you would say ? Nope you are trapped behind locked doors with the only entertainment some badly written detective novel and some worn out game of snakes and ladders. Overall the hospitals are pretty dire and could be used as a method to increase suffering.
In the morning you line up for your medication like queing to be served in Primark. Except a lot more drained and fatigued. You get dished out some yellow anti psycotics and nausating tasting anti depressents and swallow them down heavily with luke warm water. Then you go through to the “lounge” to get your tea and cold toast and settle down to watch a nice channel four drama made Before Christ. At around ten ocklock you slump back to your bay pull the curtains and collapse into a mid morning nap. To wake two hours later feeling like your mouth is some African desert and the only thing you have to quench your thirst is some stale jug of water from the night before.
At this point you pull out your granny pants and leggings and some oversized pink t-shirt which is supposed to make you look sexy but instead just makes you look like a giant marshmallow , and brave the shower. Only to discover the hot water is not working yet make the wise decision to keep quiet convincing yourself a freezing cold shower might just be the cure to bring you out of your deep depression.
The rest of the day is a blure spent doing crosswords very badly and using up all your mobile data watching YouTube videos on pointless items people have bought out of Home Bargains. All this of course is disturbed by patients swearing and shouting in distress and doors beeping as smokers ferry in and out. Then after your evening meal. It hits you. The reason your in there. Thoughts of sucide. It seems that putting yourself in such a vulnerable uncontrollable position of being a patient in a psychiatric ward takes it’s toll on you and makes you just want to end it.. Overcourse you can’t cause your supervised twenty four seven by nurses and your probably too much of a chicken anyway. Then your mum comes in to visit and all is resolved. As you realise no matter how bad your problems are your mum’s always top them.
He woke his body crumpled on the floor his limbs stiff. A warm stream of light that fell through a gap in the grimy curtains onto his toes was the only part of his body he could feel. He rose to his feet unsteadily reeling slightly placing a hand on the solid white walls. He wore only his pants and a dirty t-shirt. He could feel the worn stubbly stained carpet beneath his feet. It was early November and the desolate flat was deathly bitter. He reached for his jeans on the floor clambering into them desperate for some warmth. The bottom of them was covered in dry sick. He rubbed his pounding foggy head and new the headache was the result of more than the cold. He stumbled through to the kitchen of the flat where he had been squatting. It was already littered in crack needles and food packets from the previous visitors and some rat droppings due to an open hinged window. He reached for a half drunk plastic bottle of Irn Bru and some aspirin. Swallowing three pills down heavily with a slug of sickly E numbers. He grabbed his smashed up iPhone which had a little charge, and scrawled down to her number. It dialled each ring hollow. She answer it was her voice. Her sweet slightly fatigued voice. “Hello” she said hesitantly as if she knew it was him. “Stace it’s me !!” he said his voice sounded highly strung in the empty flat. There was a heavy sign on the other end “stop calling Rebus I’ve told you this or I’m going to call the police. Your harassing me” she said tiredly. “we need to talk Stace I know I’ve messed up in the past but I can change I promise just let me come back let me see jack he’s my boy I’m aloud to see him” he said desperately. “Why” she spat. “what good would you do him” there was a pause her anger fizzling out. “I supported you for years rebus. I swept your drinking under the carpet I handed you money I even did nothing when you bruised me up, I can’t do that anymore not when you lost your job I can’t support you I told you that. “ she said in a tone of hopeless despair. “I’ll change stace I promise. I’ll get a job I’ll make money I’ll provide for you and not spend it on drink you have to believe me” He begged. “no you won’t!!!” she screamed “you don’t care not about anyone but yourself do you not think I struggle do you not think we all do but I still do it” she said. “ I was ill stace I’m sorry….” He tailed off. “so what” she said “do you not think we all are do you not think I wanted to go to sleep forever when you left but I can’t because I’ve got a son to look after and bills to pay you twat” she spat. “please stace” he soothed. “don’t do that” her voice cracked “don’t pretend to be the strong one” she shouted “you’re a weak selfish man John there’s nothing more to it” she rung off leaving the line ringing emptily in his ear. He through the phone at the wall in anger so the battery fell out and clattered to the floor. He fell against the door no longer able to support his body. He wanted to be dead. No he didn’t that wasn’t it he feared death just like any animal. He just had an intense craving for relieve. He looked out the windows at the sun dancing upon the roof tops. A thought came to his mind from when he was a boy. Sitting with his grandfather beside the electric fire the old man sipping on his pipe. “At one point you realise John when you strip it all back theirs no such thing as failure it doesn’t matter where you are on the status spectrum or the buggered things you’ve done or the people you’ve hurt the people who are scared of failure and scared of success so they stay stuck they’re the only failures in life. Their the ones who get depressed and turn to drink and sex and religion and drugs and violence to block it out. They’re the ones who will die in fear. The world isn’t safe John or pleasant but there is a way to find some content. And that’s to never give up.”