There must be something in the water
i.m.  Jesse James; 15 year old gun crime victim

And of course there is, although whether it's
addling your brain or not is the difference
between typing this at home or under supervision
in some entirely other kind; let's call a spade a spade
and call it a hospital, or is it an institution? It makes
no never mind, okay it does, but not in the context of
this idea, well, not if this idea has edges, which
it doesn't, but there are limits to how far you can go,
alright, there aren't, but now I'm lost and how does
that help? Anyway, it seems a lot of people (please
qualify) right, some people I know (how many?)
it appears that I am finding life (do you mean
all living things or the experience of living?)
really difficult and complex, and the country
of my accidental birth somehow another planet or
parallel dimension, which suggests I may be
more confused now than I was when first aware
of that as a possibility, which is scary and does make
whatever it is in the water rather sinister, or liberating,
or exhaustingly slow in killing me off, or whatever.

Anyone who says 'Life's a bitch and then you die'
I would happily prove right by running them through
metaphorically, with some inadequate tool like a biro.
And I know how resistant the epidermis is, having once
pronged an innocent patient in the left upper quarter
buttock, after practising on an equally innocent orange.
But my nursing days are over and I'm madder than ever.
(By mad, do you mean mentally unstable or angry?)
Both, now fuck off. God, I need a drink. I'd like
some water with my water, thank you bartender,
even though you are wearing a teeshirt which reads
'Life's a bitch and then you die', and when I turn round
everyone in the place will be wearing one too, as the
jukebox whines something dreary by Snowpatrol.
The point being, I understand less and less
in perfect undocumented ratio to more and more
attitude, terror, all that, as the fracturing gallops
(what does that mean, what are you trying to say)
the fracture fractures like cells subdividing, no, it's a
mirror smashed repeatedly into smaller pieces forever.

I've never been this old before and it's a challenge
to be taken lying down, preferably whilst being
drip-fed sugary magic water by pixies in happy hats.
I used to think having a holiday would help but
all that does is create a weird kind of listlessness
punctuated by guilt and visions of deliberately
stumbling off truly cinematic castle battlements
accompanied by Bjork asking 'when I land
will my eyes be closed or open?' but so far
I've settled for something more sane and human, 
shutting down quietly out of the wind, in a sunny
crenellated niche, thereby avoiding any distress
to tourists with small children. Being alone
makes the water taste less chemical, more salt,
which is a good thing, because blame is personal
and undiluted, which may be wrong but something
you can own. Which is a good thing. What this has to do
with a boot stamping on the face of humanity, I dunno.
I never said that. It's not what I mean at all.

Stella says Hi often meaning low but dammit
what are friends for if not to compare isolations.
She says 'I don't recognise this land anymore.'
So we move somewhere else, try to catch up;
geographical displacement a decent excuse
to express concern about the water supply for starters.
But then there's the same old late night yelping outside
and the crush of brick and steel and glass, as we move
our stuff deeper into cyber space; it squeezes the chest
to think of it as an escape, the innocence all dried or
grown up, and everyone gasping with thirst. Hey,
look on the bright side, there are still plenty of castles,
enough to fill the heart with simple awe. And the sea
is still the sea, whatever's dumped in it. Getting old
is a really neat trick. Deal with it. O, if only.
There's a luxury about labels, and I often believe
I can afford them, hah hah bonk. Then
the news comes on and I see Jesse James
has been shot to death twice, but that's history for you.
I should like to be rigorous without seeming pedantic.
I should like to drink the Indian and the Atlantic.
I should hope. I do, but I'm howyousay? compromised, so.


     Sandra Tappenden 2006