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Pete Crompton

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Loony Bin


I have been in
A loony bin
I went in just so I could write
A poem about it
Loony bin kicked my shin
Loony bin pricked the skin
Stuck a needle a pin
The prick
The prick of a nurse
He rehearsed his verse and line
He does it time and time again
To row and row of us
Chemical cosh
Chemical toilet
stinks of ultra violet
Alcohol in the hare and hounds
Put me on the
Mental merry go rounds
The loony bin
And white coat man
swapped his lab coat
For a snobby scrota in a suit
Obsessed with the loot of our minds
And now the buggers in hot pursuit
Of my personality
My waking reality is stained by his stare
My ears burst with sound of his prayer
To the table, the periodic tables
His gods
His molecules
His ridicule of the random
His hand em out the kleenex
His disconnect with intellect
His Higher than this
His piss poor empathy
His cold cured
you have no idea brain-head
Listen to me is what I said,
But straight to a jacket and pump action bed
feed the pills made of lead
That dissolve in the pit of sunken bread
And when try to rise I’m a ten tonne sled
Of flesh
Flesh , flesh , I pinch it!
To make sure I’m alive
Flesh through it needles drive!
And swerving we avoid
The swill your serving up, you call it food
You are criminal and lewd
This delivery!
This skulduggery in the ward
This junk, you cant afford better
Dear NHS, a mess you made of me
Drugged up and traipsing round the ward
Slugging, trudging
The dragging feet
With no channel no choice no sense to meet
Just a tv needles me
The adverts
The blurting tears
The squirting blood
the flood of chocking basins
a distraction from a chemical reaction
this is not our usual fayre
our normal numb nut stare
is right over there
beside ourselves
Manic faces that only care
About satisfaction through the latest fix
The chemical tricks of psychiatrists
Shake a fist at the muggers
Club together and jolt the buggers
From their ivory tower
Show the swine’s who’s in power
Now, as we ransack you
And swallow the medicine cupboard
And cosh
How about a slap in the face
How about a medieval mace to mess
Your meddling hands your strangled lace
We throttle you
This is a crisp white zoo
Stained by the indignity you do to us
The patients in the loony bin
The sharpest sharks and trimmest fins
The misguided and super-brain pop
The pig-swill slop we fed on
Is history, were out of here, your alchemy
No use to me or him or us
Step aboard the loony bus
Were outer here.

5.06AM PC could not sleep
Wed, 15 Aug 2007 05:16 am
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I love the use of the term chemical cosh. It conjures up images of violence from something so (seemingly) innocent. Puts a different perspective on it.

The term jolt the buggers is clever too, with obvious reference to electric shock treatment but with another meaning also.

Interesting poem which tells a story. It gives an insight to what most people don't see behind the walls of the Mental Health Unit.

The title "Loony Bin" struck me as a bit harsh at first and a bit negative, reinforcing stereotypes of mental health and I didn't like it. Upon reflection, however, I feel that a more "politically correct" title wouldn't have had the same impact so I've got off my soap box on that one.

I like this poem ..... It put me behind those walls for a moment and it has built my empathy .... a term you mention of the doctors in the poem.

The poem almost makes me feel sorry for the doctors also, who are trying to help but seem to be facing an uphill battle. Probably due to the fact that the system has dragged them in, quashed the genuine empathy that they may have had years ago and shackled them with constraints and policy, making them appear faceless and cold.

In truth, I suspect, that as anywhere, it is impossible to generalise and some doctors will be better than others.

As you can tell ..... This poem has really made me think.
Wed, 26 Sep 2007 12:00 pm
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Pete Crompton


Thank you for your honest and constructive remarks.
I agree with the 'loony bin' title and its stereotypical connotation
It is not the best title and I think that this poem needs a lot of work.
I'm really pleased.that it has painted a picture for you and made you think and your comments have helped me to identify some areas I would like to improve on.

That aside I can see how this style may have caught your eye as I recall watching you perform your superb 'wife had left you' poem at the Howcroft. You use a direct approach and tell the poem in a direct and narrative style (like the Volcano one) I know Phil Golding was in agreement on this in his appreciation of your sequential imagery.
I think by writing in this way it enables an instant connection and gives the chance for comedy to present itself.

I will be watching your work with interest and enjoyment.

The only thing I may suggest is not to try and find a word in order to ryhme as sometimes (but not always) the reader may find it too obvious. You don't always need to rhyme, however this DOES not mean the poem loses its message its just it would sharpen the piece up. Of course the technique need only be applied where you see fit to do it.

I think the potential is there. You have an instant style and I look forward to seeing more performance too!


Sun, 30 Sep 2007 04:46 pm
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<Deleted User> (7790)

Yes, this touched quite a few of the old raw nerves here -- I was a voluntary hospital visitor on a psycho-geriatric ward at the age of 16/17. My mother had a nervous breakdown, and more. I've seen the dark side of mental health care -- and the insistent rhyme and alliteration and strange connectivity between internal states and external horrors is transfixing in this poem. Loony Bin summons up Loony Tunes for me -- the illogic of a cartoon imposed on people at their most vulnerable (including the casual violence without remorse, or consequence except for the victim who is turned into a passive, receptive vehicle). Terrific, Pete. Totally haunting. They are attuned to the spirit trapped in those very haunting and evocative photographs you took in the old hospital. Mighty strong mojo, Pete, as always.
Sun, 30 Sep 2007 04:58 pm
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