Four Portraits and a Still Life

What do you do to get through the pain? I write. Unless I can’t. That’s when it’s the worst. I wrote this the other day. It’s just gibberish, mostly. Stream of consciousness nonsense that I’ve edited a bit to make it slightly less incoherent. I dropped in a Syd Barrett lyric, ’cause he’s my favourite crazy person.

Here, listen to his song before you read.


Dark days where I can’t find the light switch,

I fumble around in the dark

scraping my legs on broken glass

until the warmth of my own blood

hot and sticky

forms a pool beneath me

and I welcome the chill of shock

because at least I’m feeling something.


Nothing comes hard and fast like

a car crash

and Nothing moves slow and sticky like

a spoonful of peanut butter

Nothing holds my mind,

wraps itself around me

holds me captive

keeps me warm

Nothing is my lover and my enemy

I think I’ll stay in bed all day

doing Nothing and counting the dimples on the ceiling


Anxious tremors register 4.0 on my emotional

Richter scale

Tectonic plates scraping together in disagreement

One says “Listen, it’ll all end if you just give in”,

the other starts singing some Syd Barrett song

“Won’t you miss me? Wouldn’t you miss me at all?”

But of course, Syd was a crazy diamond,

so why should I listen to him?

Might as well pull up a chair

and have tea with the March Hare and his friends


With a head full of traffic

and the static of the radio caught in between two songs

trying to focus becomes

Closing my eyes only adds technicolour

nightmares playing in a loop — a scene that makes no sense

out of context

but somehow conveys the same message over and over again

Verse verse chorus

you are nothing you are nothing nothing nothing


and then the cheerful refrain:

enditenditendit nownownow

now  to the bridge

to throw myself off

into the cold





and finally

all will be still

and there will be silence.


21 responses to “Four Portraits and a Still Life

  1. I write, I paint, anything….. I chat nonsence with people online…. I seek solace in a hug, and I pray. etc.

  2. lol … Syd Barrett! Going way back there! 😀

    I can’t judge poetry because, to me, it’s almost all crap. I wrote a lot of it back when I was in high school, and I’m certain that every last poem I ever wrote was shit. The problem is, it’s so easy to churn out that finding the Mending Walls and Ozymandiases and Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evenings are damn hard to find in all the noise.

    • I’ve written good poetry — I’m just not claiming this among them. This is more like… bleeding onto the page, albeit bleeding eloquently and with a command of metaphor and simile.
      Good poetry, in my opinion, most often has the ego surgically removed.

      • One day, I’ll have to pull mine out of the dusty closet and look at it again. But I’m afraid. Of course, I was a teenager when I wrote it and you know … everything with teenagers is angst and drama and BS.

        It’s hard for me in general to judge poetry or to really get anything out of it with rare exceptions. But those exceptions (e.g. pretty much anything by Robert Frost) tend to be incredible.

      • Oh, I don’t know — I took a University poetry workshop a couple of years ago, and I think that the problem with poetry is that most people ONLY write the kind of stuff that I just wrote. Ego driven, emotional vomit. (yikes, I’m going to offend SO many people). And if that’s useful for them, then great — I understand its usefulness. But its appeal to a greater audience is often lacking (unless it’s put to gloomy music).
        Poetry, like any other form of writing, can be used to tell stories, to make people laugh, to make people cry, to make political statements, so make non-sensical statements. It’s just got to transcend being all about me me me me. Frankly, the reason I don’t write poetry very often is because it’s too easy for me to slip into ego and be seventeen and narcissistic again, and that, to me, is a step backward in my artistic growth. I’m not particularly proud of this poem, but it’s part of my healing process.
        It really is vomit, but sometimes it better out than in.
        I like some Frost — Fire and Ice, After Apple Picking, Out,Out… and t.s. eliot’s The Wastelands. Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings, Wallace Stevens, all good poetry.

      • I’ll agree on all counts there: If it’s therapeutic, it has value, though perhaps not to a broad audience.

        I only took the English courses required at my university for a chemistry degree, and as a result I tend to have little patience for poetry. One of the reasons I like Robert Frost so much is because I understand it immediately. On the other hand, I never used to like Shelley, and the first time I read Ozymandias I didn’t like it. But later, after I heard it multiple times and went back and read it multiple times, I came to realize I really do like it a lot. It’s just that it took more effort to understand than a Frost poem, and I initially wasn’t willing to put the effort in.

  3. Whenever you’re down
    And you’re feeling quite blue
    Just indulge in that literary
    Thing that you do
    For the readers will flock
    And in spite of yourself
    You might find that your ego
    (Once down from the shelf
    And having its heyday
    As it vomits onscreen
    With thoughts of an ending
    So calm and serene)
    Will be massaged by strangers
    (In spite of their cries
    As they weep and they gnash
    While you say your goodbyes)
    Who have been captivated
    By talent so fine
    Like a web that your spiderbrain
    Laid for their mind
    And they like the bumbling
    Flies you suppose
    Have got stuck, caught amidships
    Inside of your prose!
    Watch them flounder and wallow
    Good grief, what a lark
    As they willingly swallow
    Your tales of the Dark
    And yet, will the curtain
    E’er drop from our Queen
    Who remains so in sight
    Yet will never be seen?
    Who can tell? Who can tell?
    It could all be a trick
    So let’s drizzle that honey
    And give it a lick
    For as surely as each
    Teenage-angst-writer knows
    There’s release found in poems
    And stories and those
    Little writings which flow
    Like you thought on your feet –
    Putting Dark into words
    Even renders it sweet.

  4. I can’t imagine someone who has music running through their veins like you do would ever want silence. Maybe for a little while, but not forever. And for a little silence you just need noise-cancelling headphones, not a bridge…

    Which is good, because most of the really tall bridges are patrolled.

  5. That is much more coherent than what goes through my mind when I am in that place! It is good to just let some stuff come out of nowhere regularly. Posting it also helps other people to realise we all go to these dark places from time to time.

    I tend to go to a very dark place at least once a month (ahem) and a few weeks a go I wrote some stuff that was nothing like what I normally write (the exact opposite in fact) and I was really unsure whether to post it, but I did anyway (in my random category). It was interesting to try to put some of those types of feelings into words and in that case it did help me a little.

    I do try to either meditate or write when I feel that horrible stuck, dark way, but a lot of the time I can’t find the will to do it in that particular frame of mind. Going for a walk in the country always helps. Getting blind drunk does NOT, but in the past that is often what I have done.

    When I can’t think about what to write, I write my journal, because then I am not thinking about what I am writing before it reaches the page and the act of simply writing for no reason at all is refreshing.

    • I don’t usually use my blog as a journal, but I’ve been going through a really rough patch and rather than curl up and be quiet, I decided to try to write through it, even if what I’m writing is not necessarily up to par with my usual work. Thank you so much for dropping by, and best wishes for your own battle.

  6. Thank you Helena & Lizzi for your poems, one emotional vomit, the other an ode in rhyme to our favorite poetic puker. Yes, I am a fan of you both, the glamorous and starkly honest though anonymous author and the one baring her sensitive wounded soul amid glitter-bombs and gratitude.

  7. Is there no end to your talent? Even your incoherent ramblings out of the darkness are brilliance. I am glad not be in competition or I’d never write again *bows in humble adoration*

  8. I literally cannot tell you how much I love your work… it’s literally beautiful and I love the depth. I’ve been through some tough emotion lately and I love to write, I’m just afraid people will judge and assume it’s for pity and attention.

    • Thank you very much. Not to look a gift compliment in the mouth, but this isn’t even representative of the quality of my writing. If you enjoyed this, please do look around. There’s a tab called The Sordid Tale So Far you might want to check out.

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