Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Poems By Matt Barrell

Matt Barrel has been suffering from schizophrenia for 25 years and also draws and writes comic books. NIGHTMARE SCENARIOS was published earlier this year. Please check his site


Sitting in the library 
Passing the time
Reading three books 

Poems on the underground 
The night torn mad with footsteps by charles bukowski 
And the complete family guide to schizophrenia 

There's a guy opposite me
In a leather jacket       in summer
Laughing madly at his phone
Teeth bared       like some wild animal

Maybe I should feel for the guy 
But as the family guide tells me 
Schizophrenics suffer from a lack of affect 
Besides the poor attention span
Which prevents me reading further 

I give up halfway through 
The first chapter
After learning that the SPLIT 
In SCHIZOphrenia is between
Perception and reality
And not between personalities 
As is commonly thought

The guy goes out
The guy comes in again
And sits on the floor in the corner
By the water fountain        
Still laughing and muttering to himself

He seems happy enough 
Maybe I should ask him to swap places
For half an hour       so I'd be the one
Who is unpredictable and wild
And he'd sit here       outwardly calm
Suffering only from the delusion 
Of possible escape from the dog
Trapped in darkness in his head 


So it's my turn in the ward round
Doctor Gordon (his foot keeping time
With some imaginary chorale) asks me
How I am
                                Not good I say
My voice leaking out weakly
I've been feeling very bad
For over a year now

And he doesn't ask what sort
Of thoughts have you been having?
Or what's been troubling you?

He says we can lift your mood
                         Er Matt
Before confirming a course of Seroxat
With his junior and out I slip
Through the curtained door


I clutch the cool apple
And begin to cry

Only a beef sandwich
Or maybe potato salad will do

Or sprouts
At the moment I can't get enough of them

My father's reading the paper
I feel a formal love for him

My hope is in her pocket
Far far away

All I have is a hole
Where my stomach should be

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