“We Are Shrinking”: a Poetic Blog

Justice, anyone?: York

Justice, and balance, anyone?: York

Caution: the following poem contains bad language, plus a rather shocking reference to a basket.

Yesterday, I learned that a Tory parliamentary candidate suggested that mental health patients could wear wristbands which identify their mental illness.

I sometimes wear one of these:"Let's end mental health discrimination"

Wearing a “Time to Change” wristband is my decision. Because I want everyone to feel able to talk about their mental health problems: to their friends, family, colleagues … their doctors, even.

Do I think anyone would be helped by my wearing a wristband which says “Bipolar”? (1) Probably not. Would someone be harmed? Almost certainly, yes: me, for starters. Plus the people who turned tail, and beat a retreat, least I conform to whatever scary stereotype they happen to hold about people with bipolar. (2)

So this idea, on the face of it, makes me see stars. Yellow, compulsory ones.

I started thinking about the poem below. It was published in 1991 in Issue 10 of “The North” (3) poetry magazine. I’m guessing that, after 24 years, the rights have reverted to me.

We are Shrinking

They are too bald.
They are too fat.
They are too old.

We are shrinking.

They are too short.
They are too dark.
They are none too handsome.

We are shrinking.

They are the wrong sex.
They are having sex with the wrong sex.
They are having more sex than we are, and
We are bloody annoyed about it.

We are shrinking.

They are too young.
They are too tall.
They are clearly too idle to afford
Holidays abroad or sunbeds.
They are too good looking by half, and
They know it.

We are shrinking.

They are godless infidel heathen bastards.
They are knocking on our doors on Sunday mornings
When we want a lie in.
They are going to hell in a very big
Handbasket indeed.

We are making more room.

Ultimate destination: York.

Ultimate destination: York.

(1) Do I get to choose the colour(s)? Black goes with anything, but I’m not so sure about red, or shocking flamingo pink.
(2) At least I’d be wearing it in the UK, where most of the population isn’t armed.
(3) No relation.



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