The Pain Remains
Cristina’s a weirdo, they would say.
She’s fat and stupid and a schizo.
Then there was this;
set in stone.
Names never hurt you?
They so do.
So, when you are
throwing poisonous darts
from the other side,
think about this:
the pain remains.
Just an Ordinary Experience
I knew I shouldn’t have told you my dream about the gravestone. As usual, you wanted to sound clever and said that the apple was a representation of my desire for wisdom, and that the hat was about my fear of power. The mirror was a little too obvious and I was disappointed in you. You can’t say ‘That’s about taking a look at yourself.’ You may as well have said it’s about introspection and searching the soul. I’ve come to expect more from our chats. The bird? Freedom, you stated, with no small amount of confidence. By this time, I was getting weary again. And I shouldn’t have mentioned the candle. That set you off on your usual path of criticism about religion; how you don’t trust it and that it is only there to control people. Stop worrying, it was just a candle.
Luckily, I forgot about the bow, so I didn’t have to listen to your suggestions about my childhood and whether I might have been teased because my mother bought me shoes with bows on and how that has created a subliminal block and led to psychic conflict.
That’s the trouble when you have friends who are psychoanalysts, you’re not allowed to have an ordinary experience. Call me reckless if you chose, but I like sleeping in my box with my red blanket. It’s the place I feel safest of all.
Henry Bladon is based in Somerset in the UK. He is a writer of short fiction and poetry and teaches creative writing for therapeutic purposes. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy, and a PhD in literature and creative writing. He frequently writes commentary about mental health issues and his literary work can be seen in O:JA&L, Tuck Magazine, Mercurial Stories, The Ekphrastic Review, and Spillwords Press, among other places.
The Paradoxical World of R D Laing
Nighttime Rambling Man by Marcel Herms (Netherlands, marcelherms.nl)
You, who talked of a heart full of ashes and lemon peel, you swept through the world in a flurry of words you pulled apart and reconfigured. You, who wielded an unconventional mind and stole fragments from the universe. Sometimes the journey of your existence looks like one long paradoxical interjection. Your maverick rhetoric was synchronized chaos washed down with a tide of LSD and claims of insight and breaking through. Smoking your way through session after session, you once said that existential psychiatry was just: ‘talkin’ to a bloke and listenin’ to what he says.’* You knew it was never that simple. It’s good to challenge, though and you questioned what is real. You even said that expression of distress was the way to real self-knowledge, that it was the way to change and develop. Yet you left some people more confused than they were before, and I can’t help wondering whether the whole thing was a huge double-bind.
*This is a line from the book ‘Zone of the Interior,’ by Clancy Sigal. Sigal was a good friend of R D Laing, and fictionalised his experiences with Laing in the book.
Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy and a PhD in literature and creative writing. His work can be seen in Potato Soup Journal, Entropy, Mercurial Stories, thedrabble, Tuck Magazine and Spillwords Press, among other places. His novel, Threeways, was published in 2017 and his recent collection, Donald Trump’s Hair and other stories, published by Alien Buddha Press, came out this year. Henry also runs writing support groups for people with mental health issues.